The Porto Alegre Alternative: Direct Democracy in Action (IIRE (International Institute for Resear)
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Porto Alegre in Brazil is famous as the city that pioneered a revolutionary kind of local democracy. Started over a decade ago by the municipal administration of the Brazilian Workers' Party (PT), this process -- called the 'participatory budget' -- has steadily attracted attention from around the world, including the UN and even the financial press. It was the main reason Porto Alegre came to host the first three World Social Forums in 2001, 2002 and 2003. This is the first book in English that allows the creators of the participatory budget to explain the process for themselves -- what it is, how it is achieved, what benefits it brings. Written by key figures from Porto Alegre -- including the former mayor and the head of the City Planning Office -- it provides a unique insight into the revolutionary democratic changes that have proved such a success. It is also a practical how-to-do-it guide that will help local communities and policy-makers put these ideas into action. The Porto Alegre experience shows that a truly different kind of political democracy is possible -- it presents a real alternative to the current model of liberal representative democracy that has been eroded by unelected transnational institutions and multinational corporations. This book shows how a more positive and genuinely democratic future is within our reach.