The Future of Governance is not Governments
Arthur Brock

Democracy as a complex adaptive system

Ahora Madrid Reunión en el Ayuntamiento de Madrid / Enrique Flores

All complex systems are adaptive systems with multi-path, non-linear feedback systems.

An ecosystem is a complex adaptive system.

The planet is a complex adaptive system.

Capitalism is a complex adaptive system.

These are also networks within networks. One network has it own feedback, it then forms the node of the next network.

Within an ecosystem, the individual parts contribute to the whole, the whole provides the environment within which the parts exist.

Gaia is the mechanism that controls the planet. It keeps within tolerable limits for all the parts to survive.

But, if we push too far, a complex system cannot adapt, it either breaks down or flips to another state.

As we melt the polar ice caps, the darker sea absorbs more heat, the shrinking ice caps reflect less heat. The process accelerates.

As we melt the tundra, methane is released, warming accelerates, more methane is released. The process accelerates.

Capitalism had adapted over fifty year cycles. Since the banking crisis of 2008, it has lost the ability to adapt. We are now post-capitalism.

Donald Trump has relaxed banking regulation, it was already too weak, making the next banking crisis more likely.

Democracy is a complex adaptive system. Feedback from the people which controls the executive. Only it does not. And the feedback has to be in real time. We have a linear system, with little feedback. An autocratic hierarchical system, a command and control structure.

All an election does, is change the executive, it changes the faces nothing else changes, and when we are given a choice between a right-wing party or a corrupt socialist party, nothing ever changes.

In Ancient Greece, we had participator democracy.

Thomas Paine in The Rights of Man proposed the radical idea of representative democracy. At least radical at the time of autocratic monarchs. What happens when the representatives fail to represent? Now it has degenerated into parties dictating to the people.

The answer is not some techno-fix, p2p, cooperative platforms. Though these may offer useful tools we can use.

The answer is local organisation, build alliances locally, form open coops, it has to be in the work space and the political space, from these broad alliances seize control of City Halls, then network these City Halls, and these networks have to go beyond the nation state, they have to network across Europe.

The EU has no future. There is a need to have a strong Europe with Donald Trump one side and Vladimir Putin the other. A strong Europe does not come from a dictatorship, such a structure is brittle, not resilient, unable to adapt.

DiEM25 wish to democratise the EU. A futile pipe dream, it is built into the DNA of the EU to be anti-democratic.

DiEM25 need to recognise that collapse of the EU is inevitable, but we need a strong Europe, therefore efforts should go into providing those links at all levels to ensure we have a Europe of cooperating democratic countries.

If we look to the US, we have seen massive anti-Trump demos, and these will only grow. There are now sufficient numbers to force real change, to engage in an ongoing dialogue, with two targets, seize control of Town Halls and seize control and clean out the corrupt Democrat Party.

The same is true in Romania, where there are massive protests against corruption.

Looking to England, Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell have already turned the Labour Party into the largest social movement in Europe and have progressive ideas, but that is not enough, the members have to clean out all the regressive forces within the Party.

In Europe, a different course has been followed, the old corrupt socialist parties have been replaced by more radical parties Podemos in Spain, Syriza in Greece.

But these parties whether a reformed old party as we see in England or new radical parties as we see in Spain and Greece, have to recognise they can have no role at local level, this has to be citizens taking direct control of local Town Halls, as we see in Madrid, Barcelona and A Coruña, opening up to citizen participation, and networking with other Town Halls.

We are already beginning to see a new adaptive system forming. Complex feedback systems around the Town Halls, they in turn forming the nodes of a network.

The same in the economic and employment space. Small independent businesses, open coops, that then cooperative, as we see in Barcelona and Catalonia, Open Source, contributing to the collaborative commons.

What we are seeing with Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, al-Sisi, rule by decree, by directive, punitive threats if the decree is challenged, is the exact opposite of democracy and an adaptive system, this is an autocratic system, hierarchical rule by a dictator, a dictator who once has ownership of the levers of power, may be very difficult to dislodge.

The Greeks dared challenge the EU, they had their country destroyed not only as punishment but as a warning to others. UK is leaving, is a threatened with a trade war as a warning to others.

The front line is Blockadia, sites of protest that resemble war zones.

At Standing Rock, tanks and chemical weapons are being used against protesters.