A Radical Utopia

Written by Ruth Hannan – Ruth is Director of People’s Powerhouse, a social justice organisation working across the North of England.


If the past few devastating years has taught us anything we don’t make things better by doing them alone. There is no single individual, organisation, sector, region or nation who can act alone to address the massive challenges we face. Collaboration is key, being radical is vital if we have any chance of a good life for people and planet let alone a utopia. People’s Powerhouse has a vision (albeit for the North of England but we think it probably applies further) of a North where people feel they have a say, know how to make change happen and see a fairer more inclusive North as a result.

This vision is underpinned by three strategic foundations, creating safe platforms for citizens to speak and be heard, to challenge power holders and crucially to collaborate with citizens, partners and activists in the North to showcase & develop solutions that enable all to live good lives. It’s for these reasons that we have partnered with the Better Business Network over the past year. They get it. They know that the business community can’t address the challenges alone, just as civil society can’t. But equally it is those smaller more radical businesses and smaller radical grassroots organisations that may have the solutions we need for all of us to live a good life.

Creating spaces like The Better Business Summit enables us to explore the challenges we face. Moving to a greener future presents an opportunity to also address many of the societal ills we have created with our current economic model. We can’t have a protected planet if many of its citizens are still living in poverty, have little access to good work or little power to have a say in how work takes place.

Creating spaces to explore current social challenges alongside environmental ones is crucial. Worker rights, unionised workplaces, worker and community led businesses, community wealth building, different economic and social models are vital to explore alongside regenerative and sustainability challenges.

Despite a plethora of events that explore business, sustainability, politics, economic development and social issues. There are few that create spaces for smaller organisations working across these sectors to come together. That has been one of the benefits of the growing partnership between People’s Powerhouse and the Better Business Network; recognising the need to create spaces that bring these sectors together and introducing new collaborative spaces.

After all, whether we work in business or civil society we are all citizens first; experiencing the challenges of the 21 st century as such. The more we collaborate in these progressive spaces the more likelihood we have of realised that radical utopian dream.

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