Paint Your Town Red tells the story of how one city in the north of England decided to level up without waiting for Whitehall.
Across the world, there is a growing recognition that a new kind of economy is needed: more democratic, less exploitative, less destructive of society and the planet. Paint Your Town Red looks at how wealth can be generated and shared at a local level through the experience of one of the main advocates of the new Democratic Economy, Matthew Brown, the driving-force behind the world-recognized Preston Model.
Using analysis, interviews and case studies to explain what Matthew and Preston City Council have done over the last decade in order to earn Preston the title of Most Improved City, the book shows how the model can be adapted to fit different local circumstances, as well as demonstrating how Preston itself adapted economic and democratic experiments in ‘community wealth-building’ from elsewhere in the US and Europe.
Preston’s success shows that the ideas of community wealth-building work in practice and have the capacity to achieve a meaningful transfer of wealth and power back to local communities. A lot of recent coverage and references have tended to oversimplify the Preston Model, which is not just about ‘buying local’ but a comprehensive project, which envisions local and regional discussions and collaboration adding up to a wholesale transformation of our currently failing economic systems.
About the Author
Matthew Brown is Labour's leader of Preston City Council and a Senior Fellow for the Democracy Collaborative, tasked also with promoting Community Wealth Building across the UK and abroad.
Rhian E. Jones is a writer, historian and author of four books on politics and popular culture. She is a founding editor of the New Socialist website and now edits Red Pepper and writes for Tribune magazine.
"Paint Your Town Red provides activists and campaigners with a critical insight into how they can transform their local economies from the ground up... Vital reading for all those campaigners, activists and local leaders seeking to rebuild their local economies in the wake of the pandemic." - Grace Blakeley, author of Stolen
"A very useful tool to describe how cities and towns can assess their current socio-economic paradigms and formulate new social transformation models based on economic democracy. Preston is leading today what Mondragon was starting decades ago." - Ibon Zugasti Gorostidi, Mondragon Cooperative Corporation
"This book is everything we need right now — a how-to guide to municipal socialism that works, right now in the present day, compiled by one of the contemporary left's best writers and one of its best councillors. Informative, clear, passionate and thoughtful, it should be mandatory reading for all socialists." - Owen Hatherley, author of Red Metropolis
"Of all the political experiments tried in the UK over the past decade of painful austerity and polarisation, the city of Preston ranks easily among the most daring and intriguing. This is an honest story of how it began, and the lessons it can teach the rest of us." - Aditya Chakrabortty, Senior Economics Commentator, The Guardian
“Paint Your Town Red is a timely reminder that despite years of austerity and neoliberalism there are now genuine economic alternatives emerging in many towns, cities and regions across the UK." - John McDonnell, Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington and former Shadow Chancellor
"At a time of compounding economic, social and environmental challenges, Paint Your Town Red offers a powerful and detailed roadmap for how local public authorities, institutions and citizens can leave deprivation behind and rebuild their communities." - Gar Alperovitz & Ted Howard, Co-Founders, The Democracy Collaborative