Federal pluralism

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Federal pluralism, sometimes known as Canadian communalism, is a political concept theorized by Benjamin Pickles about a system of decolonized government for Canada, and specifically southern Ontario. Its key features include the principles of direct democracy, participatory democracy, plurinationalism, environmentalism, feminism, alter-globalization, and a democratic economy. Influenced by democratic confederalism, communalism, social ecology, indigenous anarchism, postcolonial anarchism, neozapatismo, pre-Marxist communism, and the pre-colonial structure of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, Pickles presents the concept as a solution to Canada's "national question".

Concepts and politics

Nationalism in Canada

Federal pluralists see Canadian nationalism as oppressive, anti-Québécois, and anti-indigenous. However, because they believe that Quebec and Indigenous Canada are oppressed nations, federal pluralists view Quebec nationalism and Indigenous nationalism as effective tools for the liberation of the two nations.

Three Canadas theory

The three Canadas theory is a theory which argues that Canada is not a nation itself, but rather of consists three different nations, English Canada, French Canada, and Indigenous Canada. The theory posits that two of the nations, French Canada and Indigenous Canada, are oppressed by the other, English Canada, and that English Canada's existence is predicated on the subjugation of French Canada and Indigenous Canada. Therefore, English Canadian patriotism and nationalism is inherently oppressive, while French Canadian and Indigenous Canadian nationalism and patriotism is liberatory. The theory was developed by Benjamin Pickles with elements inspired by The Native National Question and the Marxist-Leninist Movement.[1]

National equality

National sovereignty and globalization

Political organization

Federal pluralists emphasize the importance of a decentralized democracy. A federal pluralist society would be organized as a confederation of localized communities. Each community would be governed by a town meeting, a form of participatory consensus democracy popular in the New England region of the United States and similar to the localized consensus democracy practiced by the pre-colonial Haudenosaunee Confederacy. At the town meetings, any citizen would be able to propose and vote on decisions for the community. At the first town meeting of each year, the community would select a citizen to serve as the moderator, who would then preside over the meetings for the rest of the year. The moderator would be able to be removed by a simple majority, and a new election would be held, which would be presided over by the citizen who proposed the removal motion.

Every two years, the communities would each elect a delegate to the federal council. These elections would be non-partisan and would not have a campaign, citizens would simply be provided with a list of candidates and their backgrounds before voting. Once elected, the delegates would be required to attend all town meetings in their communities, where they would ask for community consensus on any decisions being debated by the federal council. Delegates would be able to be recalled at any time by their constituents, and a community-wide vote to remove them from their position would be held.


Federal pluralist economics are heavily inspired by communalism and the pre-colonial economy of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. Federal pluralists favour the abolition of the current market system in favour of a decentralized planned economy managed by elected local economic councils.


Federal pluralism focuses particularly on the importance of civic agriculture. In a federal pluralist economy, most food would come from local community farms, which would be overseen by the local economic councils and managed by their workers as agricultural cooperatives. Produce from the farms would be distributed by the local economic councils, with every person receiving three meals a day (which they would choose from a list of options each week) in a similar way to meal kit subscription services.

Larger farms would exist in certain areas where the best agricultural conditions exist which would provide food for communities in the event that they are unable to farm due to unexpected conditions (such as droughts), do not have land which is suitable for farming on a large enough scale to feed the entire community, or experience a food shortage. These farms would also be run as agricultural cooperatives, but on a much larger scale. Unlike many present-day industrial farms, they would be ethically-run and ecologically sustainable, due to strict regulation by local economic councils and the lack of a profit motive. A federal agricultural council would also be elected, which would coordinate the distribution of produce between communities when it is necessary.

Views on property

A federal pluralist society would allow the ownership of personal property (meaning anything that one owns for personal use, rather than to profit from). With regard to economic property, federal pluralists support an ownership-by-use system. This means that if one uses an item for their job, they own it. For example, if one works with a tool, they own that tool. A workplace would be owned collectively by everyone who works in it. However, one would not be able to sell any of these properties for a profit. Instead, ownership is transferred when the person who uses it changes. Federal pluralists argue that this system would prevent the disproportionate accumulation of capital and protect workers from exploitation.


Social components


Influenced by Indigenous feminism and jineology, Federal pluralists emphasize women's liberation as a key part of their political philosophy.

LGBT rights


Notable people