Plea for a Village Movement

From the former co-founder and member of our partner "Village Movement Brandenburg" Kurt M. Krambach we have received the following plea:

Efforts to start a German village movement began in 2005 in the State of Brandenburg – inspired by the experiences of the Swedish village movement – by founding a working group "Living Villages". When ERCA was founded, the WG became its member.

In 2011, in co-operation with the Rosa-Luxemburg Foundation, ERCA organized an International Village Conference in Berlin in order to provide suggestions for a development in Germany inspired by the experiences of European village movement. However, only in one of the 16 Federal States, in the State of Brandenburg, was there significant progress in the development of a village movement. An important impulse was in 2015 a step from the WG Living Villages to found an independent association "Village Movement Brandenburg"
The plea is based on giving ideas and suggestions for developing a village movement in other German states. On the one hand, a German village movement must take into account the real regional differences that underlie the federal system of the FRG. For example, in the 16 federal states, there are 3 different municipal systems and different levels of village communities in the hostile communal system. The Brandenburg delegation referred on the 1st and 2nd ERP to the special situation of the Brandenburg villages, which had lost their local self-determination through the formation of large municipalities and suggested a corresponding conclusion for the Manifesto to recognise its self-determination by the governments.
On the other hand, the Brandenburg and international experiences lead to general conclusions which would be important for the development of village movements in other federal states:
(1) A Village movement distinguishes from all other movements or institutions, indicating that it is a "movement of village communities, which “move themselves”, taking its development into its own hands. This includes self- planning, self-shaping and self-organizing, which can be described as the three elements of "self-organization" of villages. The second aspect is that a village movement consists of village communities that "move together", raising their voices to share their interests.
(2) At the beginning there must always be a strong leadership, working according to a strategy, the most important of which should be the systematic winning of village communities and promoting their capacity for self-organization.
(3) For the development of the village movement all relevant civil society institutions / organisations should complain cooperatively for the interests of the village communities
(4) A village movement must be politically wanted, state recognised and financially supported.
(5) The development of the village movement "bottom up" by the village communities themselves and their interaction does not mean to regard this development as a spontaneous process and to be afraid of the application of "top - down" methods.
(6) The international experiences are of high value at all levels of development of a village movement. For this reason, the author also advocates counteracting the real danger that the connection between the European village movement and the ERP process could be lost; but every ERP should always devote a part of its program for the exchange of experience on the self-organisation of the village communities and the "functioning" of the village movements.
Kurt Krambach
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Literature:
* Kurt Krambach, Nationale Dorfbewegungen und Ländliche Parlamente in Europa. Rls Studie. Berlin 2004 (National Rural Movements und Rural Parliaments in Europe) . . * Vanessa Halhead, The Rural Movements of Europe.2005 / Translated by Kurt Krambach: Vanessa Halhead, Dorfbewegungen in Europa – Verallgemeinerte Erfahrungen. Mit einem Vorwort von Kurt Krambach. Reihe rls papers. Berlin 2006. * Kurt Krambach, Dokumentation (Reader)der Internationalen Dorfkonferenz 2011 in Berlin. http://www.rosalux.de/event/43471/internationale-dorfkonferenz-2011.html. * Kurt Krambach, Dorfbewegung – Warum und Wie? Reihe rls papers. Berlin 2013, (Village Movement – Why and How?) * Kurt Krambach, Plädoyer für eine Dorfbewegung.RLS STUDIEN 5/2019 ( www.rosalux.de Studien_5-19_Plaedoyer.pdf )(Plea for a Village Movement)

Kurt Krambach is a retired Professor of Rural Sociology, doctor scientiae philosophiae (Dr. sc.phil.). As member of the Ökospeicher Association, a village association in Wulkow/East Brandenburg, he represented this association in FORUM SYNERGIES, where he experienced the European Rural Movements at the end of the 1990tees. In 2005 he founded a Working Group “Living Villages” in the frame of the Brandenburgian “Local Agenda 21” – process, which later became a member of ERCA. From 2010 to 2016 he was a Board member of ERCA and is until today as observer in its Board. In 2011 he organised the International Village Conference in Berlin, which was arranged by ERCA in cooperation with the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, where arose an initiative group for a German village movement, which led to the creation of a “Federal (German-wide) Association Living Villages”, to the members of which he belongs. In 2015 he was a co-founder of the Brandenburgian Village Movement Association and became its chairman for the first two years. He was one of the initiators of the ERCA Board for the creation of the European Rural Parliament and belonged to the delegations of the Brandenburgian Village Movement at the first three ERP.