The principle of an equality of rights is clear and simple. Every man can understand it, and it is by understanding his rights that he learns his duties; for where the rights of man are equal, every man must, finally, see the necessity of protecting the rights of others, as the most effectual security for his own. — Thomas Paine
We didn’t come here to play the games of the parties. In order for the people to have power, it needs to be taken away from the parties. We’ve come to do that. — Pablo Soto, councillor for Participation and Transparency in Madrid
We’re living in extraordinary times that demand brave and creative solutions. If we’re able to imagine a different city, we’ll have the power to transform it. — Ada Colau, Mayor of Barcelona
That if we had people from all parts of the country, they would represent the country.
Revolutionary, so revolutionary at a time of autocratic monarchs with a God-given right to rule he had to flee England, flee France, flee US, for fear of his life.
Now we have autocratic governments, autocratic corporations, with far more power than autocratic monarchs could have dreamed of.
When an election is held, the people are ballot fodder, used to legitimise a corrupt system, nothing more.
A few minor changes take place, but the people have no say in these changes, they have no say in the policies that are dictated, let alone determine those policies.
The people of Greece had no say when the EU decided to destroy their country.
Michael Moore is pushing that young people stand for election. But again, it is within the existing system. Why not the young people effect change directly?
Representative democracy has been hijacked by political parties, it has been an utter failure.
We now have to seize control in all areas, the Town Hall, the workplace.
We have to follow the example of Madrid, Barcelona and A Coruña.
Nor should we forget what happened in Frome, a small town in England, with their flatpack democracy revolution.
We have to move away from 19th politics, corrupt political parties and corrupt politicians, representing no one but themselves, the people little more than election fodder.
Ordinary people have to seize control of their local Town Halls and regions, invite public participation. Then network with allies.
Networking citizen controlled Town Halls is vital, to share ideas, to withstand the state and global corporations. Network across Europe.
And in the US, a network of independent citizen controlled Town Halls.
Michael Moore has drawn up a plan which includes ordinary citizens standing for election.
People make policy, carry it out.
The ONLY role of councillors and officials in Town Halls is to carry out the policies agreed at meetings with full public participation.
Think of this as a lawyer acting for you in a court. You could act for yourself, but engage a lawyer to act for you.
This should be the same in a Town Hall. You could act for yourself, you have a representative to act for you.
Representative, not a politician, not a party hack, who acts for own self-interest, acts for party, not the community.
Clearly they should have some freedom but not freedom to completely ignore the wishes of those they are there to represent, to act in their own self-interest, to act for party. If they do, then we are back to representative democracy which has spectacularly failed.
We have to change to participatory democracy where a consensus is reached through participation,
If a representative is not willing to carry out that consensus then the representative either should resign or there be a mechanism to force their removal.
There was a move for Right of Recall of Members of British Parliament. It failed.
We also have to realise as they have in Barcelona, seizing control of the Town Hall is only one step, necessary but not sufficient. We also have to change the way the town functions, that it is orientated to people and the environment, the focus on small businesses and open coops. It builds resilience into the system, able to survive shocks.
Ahora Madrid has created a software platform for public participation, Decide Madrid. They could have placed a contract with a software consultancy, paid a million euros or more. Instead, they developed as Open Source Software, all could participate in its development, it was then available for other cities to use.
Decide Madrid, public participation on-line. And those who are not able, visit a local Town Hall office.
We need local, community-owned and controlled energy grids, into which feeds renewable energy guaranteed a fair price, consumers pay a fair price. Any surplus power fed to other community-owned local grids via a publicly owned national grid, any monetary surplus either ploughed back into the network or used to support community projects, irrigating the collaborative commons.
In Barcelona they have agreed to bring water back under local community control.
The civic space is not different to the social space, the collaborative commons, each supports the other.
If we look at US, Trump offers an opportunity. He is going to smash the existing political system, drain the swamp as he calls it. A system in transition, is a system where we can force the change we want before it coalesces and solidifies into a worse system in the image of Trump.
Trump was elected. Get over it. He was elected because there was no viable alternative to the existing political order. Democrat corruption ensured Bernie Sanders did not stand. That does not mean people should roll over and not oppose his policies.
The best way to oppose the policies of Donald Trump, of the EU junta, is to build radical alternatives at city level, and then network, strength in unity.