Loomio
Tue 24 Aug 2021 12:05PM

Establishing an a-political party that advocates solely for Proportional Representation

JF Jason Farthing Public Seen by 265

Hi there,

So I have been playing with ways in which we might actually realise the revolution and what is needed (which I am sure you agree with) is proportional representation. That is absolutely essential. However, labour and conservative will never support this as they benefit massively from the system of FIrst Past the Post. What are your thoughts on:

The creation of a political party with the sole purpose of introducing proportional representation. Once achieved, the party would immediately disband and a new general election would be called under a proportional system. Furthermore, the party could remove arbritrary democracy inhibiting rules such as costs to register, the main 5% rule and so forth (although these extra rules might be more difficult to convince people of).

This strategy would be far easier to garner support for rather than advocating for specific policy as essentially the party is advocating for an enhancement of democracy (which everyone agrees with).

The next question would be how would the party attract supporters? Here I ask you to read this very long but also interesting and inspiring article regarding the creation of 'the five star movement' (an Italian digital political party) : https://www.wired.com/story/italy-five-star-movement-techno-utopians/

I am struck by the obvious simplicity of utilising influencers to provide the catalyst needed to get the movement started. I am certainly no influencer with zero public presence but I believe that if we could get enough influencers with large enough followings to unite around this idea then that would be sufficient to get the ball rolling.

What do we think?

JF

Poll Created Tue 24 Aug 2021 12:06PM

Good idea? Closed Fri 27 Aug 2021 12:02PM

Results

Results Option % of voters Voters
Yes 0% 0  
No 0% 0  
Undecided 100% 1 JF

0 of 1 people have voted (0%)

C

C.A.Scott Wed 25 Aug 2021 6:42AM

Hello - Totally agree - I am a member of Lib Dems who have been Long Term proponents of a PR system -you are correct Labour -Tory Leaders do not want to join and support - The need many feel is to form a sort of "single use party" my own vtew is "Government of National Unity Party" this would have a Fixed Agenda/manifesto - to incude PR - Written Constitution - scrap the Monarch in Politics as it has caused the Elite v the rest for Decades - PR for 6 English Assemblies to join with NI -Wales & Scotland = to link with a Council of Britain (copy of EU) where the Council Members are drawn from the 9 Assemblies

All parties with a 1000 ??? members to get Govt/Taxpayer funding -- Zero Lobbying of parties - all Lobbying to the Assemblies - all other lobbying - payments to politcians and Civil Servants a Crime

Priority Number One - to Have the Justice systems hold those Brexit Vote Leave persons to account for Breaking the Law and Cover-up in Parliament - Met Police and CPS-- this may well include many MPs - most certainly the Official Opposition should be charged with Aid and Abet the 2016 Vote Leave Brexit Referendum Crime - has not been closed down still ongoing - File of evidence covering Outstanding Serious Offences = buried by Met police and CPS -- This means that Met Police and CPS have also broken the Law as they have a Duty laid down in Statute - not complied

There is already a Group advocating for PR - yes I am a member but - it is not going to happen until the present mayhem is sorted and there is a Political system for all and not able to be bought/blackmailed by Foreign Actors

JB

John Bunzl Thu 26 Aug 2021 6:18AM

I think it depends on what you expect PR to actually achieve. There's no doubt it would be fairer and much more democratic and that is valuable in itself. But if you expect it to allow politics to solve things like climate change and other global problems, you'll be disappointed.

In today's globalised world, it no longer matters that much which party or coalition is in power because all governments have no choice but to keep their national economies "internationally competitive". That means, relatively attractive to inward investors, corporations, the rich, the ratings agencies, etc. Any government that fails to do that and tries to support the poor and the environment, perhaps by raising taxes on business and the rich, or by robustly tightening environmental regulations would only make its economy LESS competitive - LESS attractive - and that would cause investment to dry up, business to go elsewhere, unemployment to rise and the next election to be lost. My point is: under globalisation, we effectively live in a market dictatorship in which the party we elect and the process used to elect them no longer matters much.

So do not think that PR will change that. It won't because it can't.

That's why a new global level of political action is now needed.

AD

Ashvajit Dharmachari Sat 28 Aug 2021 6:47AM

The inability to present an unassailable or unchallengeable case for electoral-cum-democratic reform is a major barrier to effective action. It is important to remember that democracy is an ideal towards which humanity is headed - an ideal of equality, the heaven-kissing summits of which we are oh-so-slowly moving towards. This democratic ideal has nothing whatsoever to do with day-to-day party politics, which is all too often diametrically opposed to it.

What is needed is a revolution in the heart of every individual - a revulsion against party politics of any kind, and a yearning for a transcendent socialistic ideal which has faith in the possibility of unlimited human co-operation for the good of all, for the benefit of all, the welfare of all. It is an ideal to be attained non-violently, by means of consensus arrived at by truthful communication, by means of honesty, by means of loving communication, vehement if necessary, but always with respect on both - or all - sides.

M

Mofwoofoo Sun 29 Aug 2021 5:30PM

Please consider thinking a bit further out of the box. All governments need to be restructured from vertical top down, which corrupts easily and inevitably, to horizontal bottom-up which excludes the need for politicians, lobbyists, and political parties in one fell swoop and hence leave little room for corruption of any kind. This is a 7 minute animation I finished in April, 2020 explaining it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wywMhg604W8&t=5s

SH

Simon Heath Tue 30 Nov 2021 1:59AM

PR puts people in a seat to do as they please. What we need is direct digital democracy Facebook has something like 3 billion users now. So enough people have access to technology to enable them to participate in governance. We don't need parties or central governments. But just the civil service, and representative groups to do the donkey work of scrutinising new legislation.

M

Mofwoofoo Tue 8 Feb 2022 11:17AM

Deductive Thinking

What we are experiencing even though there are some similar precedents (i.e. the Spanish Flu, the Plague), is a singularity. It is unique to the human experience, to our history. And to understand it deeply, one must know history and remain open to all possibilities, from one extreme to another. I am one who holds an extreme position. And I am not doubting that many people have died from something other than the usual causes of death, which we can call "covid 19". How many that have died is controversial, since it seems evident that many deaths that have been attributed to covid 19 may have been caused by other causes, and all information sources cannot be fully trusted.

The percentage of deaths from covid 19 compared to other causes may not justify the draconian, authoritarian measures that haven't seemed to have been able to stop the spread. Omicron, apparently is not fatal, yet the same draconian measures are being enacted as though it is. When in reality, it could be bringing us closer to herd immunity.

What is baffling however, is that people who had covid 19 once, sometimes get it again and that people who have been vaccinated also get it. So, it seems that antibodies that the vaccine produces and that the body produces are not working so well. Which makes one wonder if this is really a virus or something else?

From my perspective, it is no longer about Left or Right, it is about tyranny vs. freedom. From a historical point of view, it is clear to me at least, that the controllers are from the eugenicist-nazi factions. It is from the same line of very rich people and mega-corporations that sponsored Hitler's rise (https://fort-russ.com/2016/05/hitler-was-financed-by-federal-reserve/) (https://justice4poland.com/2015/09/26/the-americans-who-funded-hitler-nazis-german-economic-miracle-and-world-war-ii/?fbclid=IwAR31Q6l7CWzrFCaVcJOD3SwK99_zNwpHvGFZh4ee3o4l3JVeq8Et2Vt-cJ4), it is their ancestors who continue to control either behind the scenes or in front (Bill Gates).

Allen Dulles, the first head of the CIA, met with Hitler secretly in 1933. Our gov't. has been historically and currently subverted by these entities (Kennedys' assassination, etc). It is a shame that progressives tend to ignore this reality.

I believe that most of us here know that governments around the world have been subverted by these same kinds of people by the same base and barbaric technique of intimidation, bribery, and murder for over a millenium. It is so simple to do, when you have no compunction about taking the lives of others, in a top-down, vertical structure of governance, simply because no one can resist. You either capitulate or you die. I am not a "conspiracy theorist". You can either refute these claims if you can, but don't simply dismiss them as a "conspiracy theory". That is lame, arrogant, and unproductive.

It seems quite likely that these people who truly wish to depopulate the planet and make a "super race" have planned the pandemic for decades (checkout the WEF agenda) and now that the technology exists to make it happen are using the "pandemic" as a pretext for world domination. Of course, this is an extreme position, but please keep your minds open to all possibilities, no matter how insane they might appear to be.

It is the idea of "social darwinism", a misconstruction of darwinism that justifies their behavior to them. It is the idea of the "survival of the fittest", the driving force behind the behavior of all living matter, that the "most fit", that is, the elites with the most money, have every right to dominate, since it is "natural" for the smartest to survive and flourish at the expense of the "weak", the less intelligent, and in this way for humanity to evolve towards a "super race", as opposed to a degenerate one, with all the "weak" constantly reproducing and overpopulating the planet.

The vaccine mandate today is not the same as those in the past. The reason being that now, as opposed to then, it is world-wide and with today's technology it could easily be used to entrap humanity inescapably ala "1984", if you just think about it for a second. Imagine that once this is in place, all gov'ts. can mandate vaccinations whenever it deems there is a need. This could go on indefinitely. And it would be very difficult, one might say, impossible to get them to ever reverse this. And with vaccine passports, all must submit or be left in the cold, so to speak. Welcome to 1984/2022.

I believe that this is what is being left out, which seems to be the most important necessary understanding if we ever wish to dig ourselves out of these tyrannical circumstances.

http://www.declarepeace.org.uk/captain/murder_inc/site/massdeception.html


Addendum: first, a 7 minute animation explaining horizontal governance to prevent the dominance of nazi-eugenicists from usurping the powers of government: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wywMhg604W8. Can you imagine that the Jews sent to the death camps could imagine their fate? Just like today, if we are being sprayed with toxic materials, most people cannot imagine that anyone would do something that horrible. Yet, over and over the controllers assault humanity with unbelievably cruel attrocities, like war for example, or poisoning our water and food, indoctrinating our children in school, spying and censoring us, not to mention, rampant murder and assassinations of political figures and activists. If only people would wake up and realize what we are up against. https://www.nutritruth.org/.../chemtrail-pilot-speaks-out... ( https://www.nutritruth.org/single-post/chemtrail-pilot-speaks-out-it-s-a-slow-?fbclid=IwAR2EmcfcjPIrd3Gi1dZY4K6CFjD9WW7L-540kGxPDsmnDOBDeCAoNTErlno )

SH

Simon Heath Tue 8 Feb 2022 3:59PM

I think the politist way I can respond to this is to say I don't think it belongs in this thread. Maybe you should start a separate post as it's so off at a tangent it really has nothing to do with the conversation that's been going on other than the word goverment is included in your post.

M

Mofwoofoo Tue 8 Feb 2022 8:10PM

I thought it was relevant because it's necessary to address the root cause. Also, if you don't restructure gov't from vertical to horizontal, they will just do the same thing that they have done and do over and over, corrupt it with bribes, intimidation, and murder. If you would rather ignore my ideas, that is your option, but the links I provide are pretty convincing that what I say is not just idle conjecture. I am someone who doesn't like to attach to beliefs, but to always keep an open mind. I am not an absolutist. If anyone can refute my assertions, that would be great, because I would love to be wrong.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wywMhg604W8

DS

Dan Scrimgeour Wed 9 Feb 2022 3:01AM

The video that you've shared on horizontal governance is actually very relevant to this discussion, especially with reference to the real world examples of Rojava and Chiapas. However, by nesting it within such extreme views, I suspect that you've unintentionally alienated most people on the thread, who won't therefore take the time to put aside the conjecture and watch the video.

M

Mofwoofoo Wed 9 Feb 2022 5:24AM

Gracias Dan. Wow, what a shame. My view is extremely extreme, it's true. But I perhaps innocently assume that people are open enough to examine all views, since extreme views have the possibility to be true, especially in these extreme times. If anyone can refute my points I would be very happy. Because what I assume that may very well be true, is dauntingly frightening. But we have no chance if people would prefer to not examine all possibilities, i.e. head in the sand model. We all know that the CIA undermines democratic governments. We all know that the amount of money spent on the most polluting force on the planet, the military, is abombinable. We can all imagine that the Jews going to the death camps and the gas chambers never imagined that such a horrible fate could await them. We all know that there are people who kill others for money and sell arms to kill people with, for money. We all know that atrocities are a daily occurence. We all know who funded Hitler, the same giant corporations and rich families that are so powerful today. We all know, I hope, that many nazi scientists and high ranking nazis came to the United States after WWII and assumed high positions, etc., etc. so why are my ideas considered so extreme, especially now in 2022 when so much has been revealed?

SH

Simon Heath Thu 10 Feb 2022 7:17PM

I actually find it quite offensive you compare the capitalist industrial complex that makes profits from weapons of war, in reference to Hitler and the Nazis, i.e. the systematic execution of millions of people. I suggest you read this...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin%27s_law

I'm not here to waste time refuting your points, its up to yourself to extract yourself out of whatever echo chambers you are hanging out in. Most likeky some "Truth" site that also sells herbal remedies. It's a common marketing tactic for people who choose to not follow mainstream narratives... provide shock [un]truths as clickbait, sell CBD oil, aromatherpy oil & generic meds. I'd prefer to spend my time finding alternative systems of power. If you want to discuss that... I'm all ears.

M

Mofwoofoo Thu 10 Feb 2022 9:06PM

Hola Simon, I am sorry that you find it offensive, but I think you miss my point. I am not comparing anything with nazis. I am saying that it is nazi/eugenicists that are behind what is going on. I have provided links that confirm this. This is not a conspiracy theory. One way to shortcut your research is to see who funded Hitler's rise and war. Sometimes the truth is shocking and horrible. I hope that you can prove somehow that I am wrong.

DS

Dan Scrimgeour Fri 11 Feb 2022 3:08AM

Your ideas are considered extreme as it is untrue that 'we all know' what you purport we know. Time would be better spent on workable solutions focusing on what can practicably be done.

M

Mofwoofoo Fri 11 Feb 2022 1:14PM

Thank you for your response. I am not against your idea of proportional representation, though I am not sure exactly what that is. But you may have noticed that political parties get subverted by surreptitious elements and how would you stop that?

M

Mofwoofoo Fri 11 Feb 2022 2:41PM

Thank you for your response. I am not against your idea of proportional representation, though I am not sure exactly what that is. But you may have noticed that political parties get subverted by surreptitious elements and how would you stop that?

DS

Dan Scrimgeour Mon 14 Feb 2022 6:05AM

Education.. "A well informed citizenry is at the heart of a dynamic democracy and the best defense against tyranny."

M

Mofwoofoo Mon 14 Feb 2022 11:21AM

But the education we have is just another form for propagandizing the youth. So, how realistic is it to suggest that, when time is of the essence?

J

Jay Thu 2 Dec 2021 7:20PM

Forgive me all for the late response. I did not receive any notifications!

@John Bunzl I fully agree that PR won't solve global problems due to the reasons you mentioned. However the issue is "how do we transition to a global governance system?". This is a serious problem which I don't see being addressed in anyway. Parliament will never just transition from where it is today to some form of decentralised global governance system for a number of reasons. First, because labour and conservatives control parliament due to first past the post. Just look what happened in the labour vote on PR - overwhelming support for it but it was voted against due to the unions. And Unions are not representative of what the people want.

What we need is a long term generational plan to implement our goals. Incremental steps. Between the reform act of 1832 and the representation of the people act of 1918 stood 86 years before everyone recieved the vote.

We cannot just go from today's parliamentary system to direct digital democracy @Simon Heath based on horizontal decision making @Mofwoofoo . First we need an entry into the system. But there is no entry with first past the post. None. PR is the first necessary step to be able to introduce these ideas into parliament. And PR is something that 'the people' can broadly support outside of left/right wing political divides. After PR has been achieved, only then can we introduce a party that supports direct digital democracy @Simon Heath into parliament.

We need to think of an actual plan because at the moment it's just egos telling other egos what should and shouldn't be done. Great! It's obvious what need to be done. But wheres the plan of action? As@Ashvajit Dharmachari said, we need a revolution in the hearts and minds of people. At the moment we are left Vs right. Brexit vs Antibrexit. Conservative Vs labour. This is ridiculous. Truly ridiculous. PR is party neutral.

First past the post is equally unfair on everyone making it a good policy to fight for. Imagine adverts which use the following images. I can see them hitting a chord in the hearts and minds of people.

The party has one policy, PR. As soon as we win, THEN we introduce a decentralised digital democratic party into the runnings. I see no other way unless we want to continue presenting our own grand dictatorial ideas to the world pretending they are revolutionary. Come on guys! Let's get something moving instead of sharing hot air. Here's an article for inspiration which talks about how they implemented a direct digital democracy party in Italy and succeeded in winning the election (it's a great read!) https://www.wired.com/story/italy-five-star-movement-techno-utopians/

JB

John Bunzl Fri 3 Dec 2021 7:26AM

@Jay "How do we transition to a global governance system?" One campaign already making good headway is www.simpol.org. By offering citizens a means to use their votes in a new way, it has already driven over 100 UK MPs who come from all parties, and a growing number of MPs in some other countries, to support its cooperative global governance agenda. You might want to check it out.

J

Jay Fri 3 Dec 2021 11:40PM

@John Bunzl That is fantastic work John!

I am blown away continuously by the synergies that activists have in what they desire and the organisations developing from that. Please take a look at the following proposal if you have the time as the synergies to your project are uncanny. It is serving no good in my Google drive and I do not have the contacts to even begin turning this into a tangible reality. I trust it will be of value irregardless of whether you support the broad mission. I hope we can continue this discussion after you have taken a look.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/161k-utHrzubit93D8ObqQpzgEznCZEcpVgEPd92uDrw/edit?usp=sharing

SH

Simon Heath Tue 21 Dec 2021 12:43AM

There's abput an 80% overlap in there with what i have in my head. Some differences on voting mechanisms and upvoting vs proxy. Need to get mine written up. Probably biggest difference is I don't envisage a single app of choice, im thinking more of a collection of apps that create everything you need to run a democracy. But you've also recognised the foot in the door of 1 constitency is a key. I think there's another way to achieve this. Best worded as... if you value someone's opinion enough, why not pay them for it. I'm having to do a lot of learning right now, which you seem to be ahead of me on crypto currencies. Im thinking(& was going to do a masters in Data science and machine learning covering this, but wpuld take to long, so decided to just do it as an experiment insteead) is "Can public participation in Democracy be inceeased by incentivising rhem with digital currency payments?". I've left it looser than crypto, and just said digital currency, as it could just be a tokenised credit that gives you , for example more say on where the budgets are allocated if youve responded to 1,500 opinion statements and contrubuted 40 of your own, 10 of which have now been voted to policy. Its a divergence from 1 person 1 vote to , you earn your votes by participating and earning credit.

I domt think you then need to win seats. You start the system start gathering opinion, let pople have their say. But it has no power. The people recognise this and dwmand for an independent candidate that will follow the will of the people is created. This person can be rhe chair person for peoples assemblies, but should have a mandate that gives no power other than to convene, not influence.

J

Jay Tue 21 Dec 2021 5:20AM

It's interesting that you mention providing monetary incentives as it is something I initially included in the idea. The general idea is this:

Imagine a social media platform that is a sort of Facebook/twitter/LinkedIn hybrid. Every confirmed voter will receive X number of upvotes (as opposed to 1 single vote). These upvotes are used in the same way that likes are used on twitter, FB, YouTube or Reddit. They can be delegated to other voters, used to upvote contributions (comments etc), or used to vote in perpetual referendums. A perpefutañ referendum is simply a referendum that lasts for perpetuity. Every decision will be represented with a referendum (for example "should we abolish the house of lords"). The flow of all upvotes around the system can be thought of like the flow of money around the economy. they express the desires and wishes of the populace. The holder of each upvote would receive an interest payment or dividend for as long as they held the upvote. this would incentivize people to politically participate and also improve the quality of their contributions.

That's the gist of the idea. Can explain in further detail if you like.

regarding how we might begin, I was thinking perhaps we could set up a charity or non profit. the goal of which would be to 'enhance and improve democracys worldwide'. donations would go into the pot where everyone will use the upvote system (or whatever other system that is decided upon) to decide on the distribution of these funds in a decentralised and democratic manner. we would use the charity as a sort of test bed for the app development.

JB

John Bunzl Sat 4 Dec 2021 5:48AM

Hi Jay, Thanks for sending the document. I took a look. While I share your overall aims, I respectfully suggest that Simpol offers a far more elegant and faster route to achieving them and is demonstrating that through the number and variety of MPs in various countries that already support it. Be that as it may, it would be good to discuss both further if you'd like. You can contact me at info@simpol.org

SH

Simon Heath Mon 6 Dec 2021 4:37PM

Want to share this system overview. Working on turning into a presentation. How to replace Representative democracy with a functional, parallel system. (Have a read up on vTaiwan) Starts off as a consulting platform driven by open access data.. data feeds are there already from Open Gov APIs. Needs a dozen hackathons each year! Then you form a party. Don't waste energy on PR... straight to election under FPTP. The system is self organisimg, decentralised. Elected members are basically chairs of discussion groups. Any one can vote if they study the debates. Or they can nominate a vetted proxy (political party, campaign group etc) And change proxies at any time for any new legislation. Parliament is replaced by citizens assemblies. Only thing left is the civil service to actually do the work.

J

Jay Wed 8 Dec 2021 11:09PM

I have just realised that I have two accounts: This one and @Jason Farthing .. so for the record, I am also the original poster.

@John Bunzl I have emailed you John.

@Simon Heath That looks profoundly thought out but I am afraid I can barely read the text, my fault I am sure. You say "starts off as a consulting platform driven by open access data". Could you expand please.

Also, "needs a dozen hackathons". do you mean to create the system itself?

And when you say "form a party directly and go straight to election", how do you propose to get around the problems of the entrenchment of safe seats? UKIP have 15-20% support yet never get a seat because support is scattered. I assume it would be the same if you formed a party. I don't think a party is necessary. Independents working as a block would be just as effective without all of the polarization that party politics contains. No?

SH

Simon Heath Thu 9 Dec 2021 11:38AM

I'm working on a presentation as i know it looks like a sketch. Will come back when its done.

The whole approach is based on trying ro sell the idea to the (international) hackathom community. Not just coders, but researchers, designers, and even people who dont work in System building... the users as they have to be able to understand what and why and how. At least a dozen... maybe hundreds of hackathons. They say, if people believe in the goal they woll work for free. Building in training for junior team members is part of the plan.

Open access data is already publushed by the government on many .gov.uk sites. Via something we call an API, or application programming interface. This allows anyone to write code and pull in data from that service. Great example... no 10 petitions... where i would want to start sourcing "Generate" ideas. This is a link to the data sets published just for parliament.

https://explore.data.parliament.uk/?learnmore=e-Petitions

But most departments publish their data too. (I've worked for HMRC, MoJ, NHS, Insolvency Service, Apprenticeships service) and all have some form of public API or data publications. For now lets focus on Westminster...

So we get this data, take it into a new system like pol.is, and ask people to make comments on it. Find what people approve of and what they disapprove of (something missing in ePetitions).

The diagram goes through the flow of an idea to implenentation, with the systems snd process to get public involvement along the way. So is web based, some is citizens assemblies appointed by sortition, some is public nominated / voted.

SH

Simon Heath Thu 9 Dec 2021 11:47AM

The reference to a consultation platform, is that at first this system is parallel to Westminster, it has no decision making powers and is run by volunteers. Some crowd funding is needed to run the cloud platforms and fund meetings. When you get to sortition, we then need to get gov on board. If not, and there are enough system users thinking this system is worthy, and the government are blocking it to retain power, that's when the voting platform needs to be built. What's known as fluid or liquid democracy, allowing you to vote on issues or assign them to a proxy... a party, campaign group or other pre-approved organisation. For a start it can still be run in parallel to government, but the public can express their wishes and be ignored. It's at this point where you form a party of independent candidates who pledge to do the wishes of the voting system. By this point if it all works as expected you will be looking at (in my head) greater thsn 60% of people voting for an independent candidate, who doesn't make a load of promises and fails to deliver, but will react to the pressing issues as they occur, consult the public and vote accordingly.

To be ready for this, on grass roots level, I'm just starting work to setup a Flatpack council takeover. ;) The thinking is that this system won't be ready for 2024, more like 2029. Bit its a long term project. It could go mainstream, get funding and staff but I'm thinking more of a wikipedia project than Facebook.

Once it works, you can roll the system out anywhere in the world, and give power to the people. Democracy 2.0. The End ;)

SH

Simon Heath Thu 9 Dec 2021 11:59AM

Just one point i missed... why a party.

2 reasons:

1) Being an officially registered party gets you access to the full electorol roll data so you can contact people to tell them what you are doing. That's the most important reason.

2) Having a party of independents allows you to become the goverment if you win most seats. Likewise on local councils. If you have 500 independents (not in a party) but the tories get 71 and labour get 69 and 10 more others the tories get to form the goverment.

Maybe this is even more important. Than 1 lol.

Now you could ignore all this system stuff, get a flat pack council, run a primary to get 1 of the councillor nominated as a parliamentary canididate (or open up to anyone), put them through selection, then send them off to Westminster, and run a bunch of peoples assemblies (as opposed to citizen assemblies) for any issues they need to consult on. But doing it digitally makes it quicker as long as you solve the issue of equality of access to put in your opinion. That's where the fluid democracy part comes in.

C

C.A.Scott Thu 9 Dec 2021 12:17PM

Hello Simon,

I have been in this space for 5 years – the need is for a Govt of National Unity Party – fully registered – all those opposed the Tory – UKIP Dictatorship in the making – need to join together on common ground that is young – you and Old
me

It takes money = Crowd Fund – it will need a few known people – such as Caroline Lucas – Gary Neville -- Garry Lineker

Have to make it fully public that Labour Leaders could have stopped this and Brexit twice – they are the reason we have Liar Johnson and Brexit they are another colour of Liars.

It is no good saying “Global” you need to concentrate on UK – start small and get the millions of smart young people on side – Full Reset of the UK – get Tory influence out – 6 x Regional Assemblies with a % guaranteed Independent members
10 Assemblies - Council of Britain taken from these Assemblies – not as open to Lobbying as not permanent members – Make Lying by Politicians a Criminal Offence -- it is after all Fraud.

Al Scott

Sent from Mail ( https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=550986 ) for Windows

SH

Simon Heath Thu 9 Dec 2021 1:02PM

I'm only thinking global for the software development side - not the politics. You've then got USA + India among others adding to the pool of available talent to build the open source software that any country group can stitich into their process.

PS I'm not young or old.. in the middle at 49 ;) Been looking at this democracy problem a while too. At least since before 2010 as I know I was voting either liberal or Green (When available) back then and was a big supporter of PR - but not the referendum on AV. It's only since Brexit I really started getting my teeth into how to change things so instead of being divisive we come together.

I'm not wating tio run any campaign that mentions "get the tories out" as that's back to party politics. It has to sell the vision of a inclusive consultative democracy in words that are more appealing to the common voter.

FYI I'm actually a supporter of Brexit and still am as I believe the EU was facilitating environmental destruction through CAP, CFP and by making it easier for big businesses to trade across borders, at the expense of the smaller companies. Letting national governments off the hook for things they should be sorting more locally instead of waiting for EU directives. Plus about 10 other reasons - but don't want to start yet another Brexit debate ;) The tories might be getting stuff wrong - but we can get rid of them in 2024.

I really should have a think on how to get the politics in place by 2023, but not sure you can offer it without the systems to back it up. You could "promise" to implement it as a national system once elected when you have the budgets, but having worked on some unseccuessful projects - I'm not sure it would be feasible to get it done in 1 term. What I'm proposing would be a 10 year project for a medium sized IT department - say 100 people. About £100M budget. With agile you can start putting stuff out in yeat 1 but it will take 10 years to complete.

Done open source that becomes a few hundred thousand per year just for running infrastructure. But maybe at a much slower pace... ?

Funding is a separate issue but I think there's projects in most countries that with some decent MSc projects and undergrad support - you can get it built for peanuts. That and some donations from philanthropical foundations could sort it.

SH

Simon Heath Thu 9 Dec 2021 1:06PM

Just realised - posted the wrong link to Parliament open data - that was just e-Petitions. Here's the full data set avaiable...

https://explore.data.parliament.uk/

Even as a basic user, you can download the file that interests you and import it into execl and start making graphs from it.

SH

Simon Heath Thu 9 Dec 2021 1:17PM

Gonna close (for this lunchtime) with a comment. That since properly starting to research how to build this I've noticed the biggest problem... Fragmentation. There's hundreds of websites, apps, groups all saying the same thing, having a dabble, and then seemingly stopping, loss of interest with no progress.

My favoured tool for running a voting platform democracy.os ( http://docs.democracyos.org/ ) seems to have gone into no maintenance mode. Yet to find why.

Imagine if you could unite all these projects and people into one concerted effort. So that's why I'm trying to build a system architecture design, list the alternatives for each software platform and let individual countries plug their bits together as they need them along with the people processes outside of the system.

As an example - democracy OS is open source - the source code is here on github, so it doesn't take a lot to get it restarted ... https://github.com/democracyos

You could extend democracy OS to become the Facebook (hopefully more like wikipaedia) of Democracy as its got a lot of the work done already. https://democraciaos.org/en/

JF

Jason Farthing Fri 10 Dec 2021 1:06AM

@Simon Heath Sometimes I think the person on the other end of the computer is myself on the other side. Did you take a chance to read the google docs link I posted earlier (link here)? The synergy is striking.

I would have to agree that one of the biggest problems is fragmentation. The question is, how do we unite us all? I unfortunately would have to disagree with you @C.A.Scott in saying that a national unity party is not the answer due to similar concerns as @Simon Heath. I for example supported Brexit (for issues with the CAP subsidies being one of my main points of concern). I also support open borders and the freedom of human movment. Who woulda thought it? My point being, we must transcend the ficalties of left and right wing politics because they don't exist. We should move towards something like 'upwing' politics.

Regarding creating a party - I have played with the idea myself but then came to the conclusion that it wasn't neccessary. For example, if a party were to win government with say 71 Mps, but our bloc of independants numbered 300, then the government couldn't implement their policies anyway. They would be defeated at every non-supported decision and would be forced to resign. Unless I am missing something?

What is interesting is the fact that the elecotral roll is given to registed parties. I was unaware. Does that mean we would have access to all voter data? What data is given? And couldn't one just spam each voter with that data?

This idea - that of a bloc of independants - seems to be a common thread here however. @John Bunzl organisation Simpol is also similar. The concern which i mentioned to him however is that it dictates policy. I believe this to be the chink in our armour. That of dictating what we believe to be right. By doing that we get locked into 'politics'.

On the other hand, a digital forum where people come to consensus (the mind of the people) that is connected to the legislature (the body of the people) through an 'a-political' party or bloc of independants (working as a proxy to the people) is an 'a-political idea'. All we have to do then is to sell the idea of self sovereignty (which everyone loves) rather than on policy itself. Resources and attention can be focused on the flaws of the system itself (rather than on what that person did or said, or what that party supports). And because there are so many flaws in the system, our ammunition is infinite. Am I off base here?

How the system works obviously needs clarification and thought. Things like pol.is seem very interesting.

Regarding funding, I have been active in the crypto-economy for a number of years now and there are a number of unique protocols available now which provide tremendous opportunities for fundraising (i'm talking 10s of millions of $s). One specifically is called a 'decentralised reserve currency protocol'. I am no coder however but could particiapte in providing resources to pay for one..

A problem which none of us have mentioned as of yet is that of duplicate accounts. What are the solutions here? I proposed something in the google document linked above. However there may be better alternatives. (perhaps we can leave this problem for later).

A video to inspire and which outlines eloquently many of the issues: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-WB6dVkETI

C

C.A.Scott Fri 10 Dec 2021 8:23AM

Jason – Until you can get into Office to be the controlling Govt -You cannot make any change - you are playing to the crowd my friend

Unless you have complete civil unrest to actual civil war with the police/military your words are empty.

Even if you could rest power from those in power by force – you leave everything open to another power mad group at the other extreme

There is a need to get a cross politics group – to get to power and change the complete political operation decentralise the decision making make it easier to have more parties and have decisions made more diverse and for the good of
the people.

Why do you think that you can export “Your democracy Globally” - we can hardly say that at present we are a shining example suggest it will take 50 years to get UK Honesty and Integrity back.

But it is like the Lottery if you do not have a ticket it is certain you will not win. If you do not have an acceptable Political Vehicle to get some control -influence you will simply be radicals peeing into the wind.

You also need to find out what the vast majority want – by the fact the 40 mill do not vote – a lot of scope

Al Scott

Sent from Mail ( https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=550986 ) for Windows

PG

Phil Green Fri 10 Dec 2021 1:11PM

Hi @Simon Heath , & @Jason Farthing /Jay, trying to interest the international hackathon community, and something parallel sounds good to me.

Also anything which enables ordinary citizens and community groups to make better use of open data sounds a good thing in and of itself, eg carbon monitoring data for local communities. And it sounds sensible to me to see it as a long term project, ideally by 2024, but at least by 2029.

The fragmentation challenge applies not only to democracy projects but also to our response to climate and ecological emergency for example.

Have you had any involvement with the A/UK co-creators network? https://www.thealternative.org.uk/

If our paths have crossed before you may know a lot of this stuff already, but some of CASwiki's pages might be of interest eg: https://www.appropedia.org/Community_involvement

https://www.appropedia.org/Community_involvement_UK

A presentational point: I'd suggest trying to come up with a better word than 'consultation' (too much baggage for too many people!) Ideally something suggesting agency, (empowerment even?), involvement, engagement, active citizenship, etc.

Simon your "... democracy OS to become ...hopefully more like wiki..." lifts my heart. Best wishes for your Flatpack democracy initiative. And thanks Jason for the video link.

SH

Simon Heath Fri 10 Dec 2021 2:34PM

This thread is getting actrive and very interesting. To address points in no particular order

@Phil Green yes I've heard of Alternative UK - it's how I came on to this loomio page. Had a chat with Maria and Indra on Moday introducing myself and what I'm trying to do. Update on that in a sec.

@Jason Farthing

Regarding creating a party - I have played with the idea myself but then came to the conclusion that it wasn't neccessary. For example, if a party were to win government with say 71 Mps, but our bloc of independants numbered 300, then the government couldn't implement their policies anyway. They would be defeated at every non-supported decision and would be forced to resign. Unless I am missing something?

Yes -the think you are missing is that hte controlling party gets to decide the timetable for parliament. I'd like to see independents thrash that out, in week 1/2 of a new parliament. you could do a somile put the ideas around the room on post its and you've got 10 sticy dots to pick your favourites would be a simplle example of how to do it. But it should really be the public setting goals - more on that in a mo ;)

What is interesting is the fact that the elecotral roll is given to registed parties. I was unaware. Does that mean we would have access to all voter data? What data is given? And couldn't one just spam each voter with that data?

Yes - I was that bothered about Brexit I put myself forwards as a candindate for Tamworth, didn't get it - but a young lad George who had studied politics at Westmister uni did, and he had previously been a Tory member, Learned a lot from him as I took on the roll of Agent/Campaign Manager. Did a few larger canvassing campaigns too like the Peterborough bye-election to learn. Before you get the electroal data you have to attend an induction at the council to understand the data protiecction issues - incorrect use can land you a 10 year jail term! PS - I don't like Nigel Farage, not a groupy, his views on climate and immigration are the opposite of mine, but Brexit was a once in a life time chance, and the party also promised a Direct Democracy platform - which never turned up. I chased down the project team who were based 20 miles from me so volunteered to help - but was never taken up.

SH

Simon Heath Fri 10 Dec 2021 2:55PM

So now the update... .I've spent the last 2 weeks tracking down open source software so as to be able to host an online digital democracy platform that follows an "Agile Democracy" process.

Generate Ideas > Refine > Debate > Vote > Implement.

If you know agile development you'll see that dev and test have been replaced by Debate & Vote. MY back ground is as a system test engineer, basically taking different applications from various dev teams or off the shelf and integration testing them. The biggest one I've done to date is Sky+ back end while working for Cisco. I was asked to QA the Install docs which meant setting up 40+ application services across 5 physical servers. Took 3 momths but got there in the end - and wrote a quick setup guide on the back of it!

My plan is to convince my Local XR group to recruit members of the public to stand as independent candidates and use this platform to engage with voters.

I came across an index of software tools earlier this week that we written up by mySociety after the UK's first Climate Assembly. Bingo. I've just posted this on my linked in @Jason Farthing this may interest you as it's the last pice of the puzzle - identify and access control , single sign on. the bit that scares me most as it's security / data protection etc:

Any of my tech buddies know about open source Identity and access tools?I'm building a local direct democracy experiment (my own inititive, not paid, non partisan) which involves a few different open source tools to do idea generation, debate, people selection (sortition), voting with proxy capability, document sharing etc. The actual process is Generate Ideas -> Refine -> Debate -> Vote -> Implement. Sort of Agile Democracy ;)I need a security wrapper round it to limit to people who been able to prove they are local residents. So something that can take proof of id docs, add a gateway round the servers (in cloud) and then grant people access into groups and sub groups, 1 for town, 1 for ward, others for specific projects and then pass those credential to other apps in the suite. I've been checking they have login APIs that take GUIDs.Thinking ahead, it should scale to allow it to repeat in other constituencies.I'm looking for a tool your typical volunteer activist could manage from a web interface, not something you run from shell and config files or posting json to a url ;)

So waiting for replies but will do some digging myself. Tools I've selected so far:

Allourideas.org to manage initial public input and non argumentative refinement.

https://citizenos.com/ to handle voting, proxy voting, debate, participatory budgeting.

https://github.com/sortitionfoundation for randomly selecting citizens assembly members but meeting diversity quotas.

I haven't yet put focus on how to make the Citizens Assembly stuff visible to others or allow others to input but I'm need to sort securty first. Google docs /Youtube / Facebook would do as a minimum for outputs.

The idea is to prototype this, then once its working turn it into a full deployable package for anyone to use using something like Ansible scripts (my nexus - used it a bit last year and still don't know what I did as i was really there in a test role but did learn powershell at last!).

I've been in touch with the folks at Citizens OS and offered my services as a tester as it's open source - specifically in UAT type role, but also as system tester on internal builds if they need it. Got a meeting with the dev team on Monday.

I've gone from thinking is this even possible - to thinking it could be up and running in 2022! Blocker may be funds to run cloud services - but I know how / where to apply for grants. ;)

The bits that need gluing as nice to haves - are robots to scrape local FB groups for input ideas using AI sentiment analysis, and the as yet public input section to assemblies, though did read an article on how that might be a bad idea, and you should have a front end filter so that all members or no members get to see what's been submitted.

Having to register as a legal entiity to hold Personal data (I've run ltd since 2008 as a contractor so not beyond my capabilty, and also helped incorporate a credit union). However - this is where you all come in...

I need volunteers to take part in the prototyping. I'm not going to limit it to local constituency members. We'l get everyones input on "stuff that bothers them". See if we can turn it into a policy. And of course any tech help will be appreciated.

Lunch over so bye for now.

JF

Jason Farthing Fri 10 Dec 2021 5:58PM

@C.A.Scott You make a good case. I would be inclined to agree. The decentralisation of decision making is paramount. And political clout is neccessary. Without it, we are indeed radicals peeing in the wind. But I don't see how establishing a traditional political party (with pre-agreed upon policies) will be effective. All it will do is add to the orgy of competing groups. It surely must be non-political. Non partisan. Something that appeals to all. What are your thoughts?

@Phil Green Thanks for your links. Unfortunately, they have slightly dampened my spirit. I see yet another organisation fighting for positive change. One to add to the many. Joining Alternatives Loomio and I see a dead forum. I apoligise for the pessimism.

@Simon Heath

1. Do we need a new platform? There are countless out there, including the one we are using now.

  1. Is sortition neccessary? I thought it was only neccesary for in-person governance. In the digital domain everyone can & should be able to participate. Unless again I am mistaken?

I apoligise for the pessism but I fear that we are all - as the founder of Loomio Ben Knight calls it - 'Accidental dictators'. @Simon Heath has his ideas, @John Bunzl has his, I have mine. I am not sure how we can move pass this impass without finding common ground somewhere.

SH

Simon Heath Sun 12 Dec 2021 6:46PM

I need to explain by what I mean as a platform. Not just a forum, a full suite of appications integrated to work with each other from a single sign on. All installed in a single place. If you are familiaur with Linux - think of it as a distrubution that installs all the necessary parts and is a ready made democracy system that handles :

1) ID and verification, with apps hidden behind a secure gateway.

2) Crowd sourcing of ideas without friction.

3) Identifying and managing people selected for taking part in cistizens assemblies

4) Refining ideas through a defined process with public input and visibility.

5) Appoiting debate teams for for and against motions that get past refinement.

6) Appointing expert witnesses that the debate teams can call in.

7) Allowiwng debate teams sunning up to become public training before being allowed to vote.

8 )A Voting system that allows fluid democracy - you can vote yourself if you are willing to watch the summing up videos and take a small test to show you have digested the material - or assign you vote to a pre-approved Organisation that will review the summing up and vote accordingly (Political party, union, lobby group, etc etc)

9) A media management system that can put data out for journalists to report on and also post key points to social media platforms.

All you need is your choice of cloud platform to install it on.

That's the IT side but it needs a process around it too. The people part to get bums on seats in a room. Following the flat pack democracy approach to get local independent candidates elected to councils, create citizens assemblies, prove it can work at local level, then to select a new independent candidate to go off to westminster who could be an existing councillor or someone totally new. Their selection process is more rigouros than most parties who go "Please will someone nominte themselves", LOL. Its will be harder to get a westmninser take over until many towns have copied the model and judging by flat pack - that could take a while!

As to your fragmentation point - I'm fully in support of PR and on the Make Votes Matter mailing list. But the only way to get that currently is to convince the Labour party to support it. I don't think it's a big enough issue for most voters to get support as a party, like Brexit.

I've written to my Tory MP when there are debates about PR going through, but he pulls out the standard party tempalte letter that says "There was a vote on AV in 2011 and the public rejected it". But AV is not PR!. It's worse. It was a hack that best suited the lib dems as they would gain seats by being 2nd preference for a lot of people. If you vote Tory you are unlikely to put Labour 2nd and vice versa.

Regarding dead forrm - that's what I saw - but repleied to an old thread and here we are debating ;) For me - I should really start my own thread on digital democracy - as I've kind of gone way off thread.

FYI There's a new approach by Althernative UK to use Discord I've signed up but not many on yet. I followed link in the latest email and signed up. Instant notifications and saves you having to get logged into loomio.

J

Jay Sun 19 Dec 2021 9:57PM

Will you be developing and programming the idea yourself?

regarding the fragmentation, I wasn't referring to proportional representation specifically

SH

Simon Heath Mon 20 Dec 2021 10:46PM

Not a chance on writing new code, I've been contacting existing open source software providers. Getting on their radar. What im looking to do is setup what Id call an integrated deployment. There's been a change in how software is deployed now. You can script the installs so as your organisation grows you just add more servers with the same software running. So the plan is to get a full suite of apps, get them talking to each other, then any organisation can come along, rent some cloud space and click the install.

I've been talking to someone else in Mexico and his ideas go quite a bit beyond mine, but 1 step at a time. I'm planning to do some vlogs over xmas explaining how it would work. Hoping to get the civic hacking community interested to accelerate the idea.

J

Jake Sat 18 Dec 2021 8:42AM

Excelent discusion. Thanks to all posters I would like to see what you think of https://newvote.org

It looks promising to me - although I’ve not logged in yet

SH

Simon Heath Mon 20 Dec 2021 10:56PM

Are you involved in itscreation or just come across it? Its covering aboit 1/3rd of the "system" I've drawn up as a concept and need to map software onto it. One thing that worries me is giving people voting power without first getting rid of bias and ignorance, so that seems missing. It seems to go from ideas into citizen assemblies, which is good, but think there's more stuff needed before a vote. Not necesarily political parties.

J

Jay Tue 21 Dec 2021 5:34AM

bias and ignorance is something I've thought about trying to reduce but I've come to the conclusion that it is my own inner dictator trying to impose my own will and beliefs upon others. people must be left to make their own decisions. if those decisions are bad, so be it. they will learn. but imposition is dangerous.

SH

Simon Heath Tue 21 Dec 2021 12:37PM

The way i tackled it was to put in a process, where after youve done Idea Generation from crowd (a pargraph or two) and get it upvoted, you take it to Refinement, where a citizens assembly wil convene to call in experts, and work collaboratively to create a draft bill. But then you move to Debate. Here you appoint two opposing teams, for and against. The opposition have to dig up the faults and highlight unintended consequences. This is an area where the party machines currently dominate, and could still participate as the for and against teams can take in public and lobbying comments with the public again participating by upvoting stuff that they think is important. The for and against teams aren't isolated. Once they've got through 1st 2nd and 3rd readings you can still have an upper house... i don't want to be prescriptive here, but I would be looking to see a group of people who understand the law, and are nominated in by the public based on experience. And then voted for. With say 10% of seats being replaced each year. You want a nice consistent group that are reviewers.

So here's the point im trying to get to.. to eliminate bias and ignorance, after all the debating is over, you let the public vote, but first they have to watch the summing up from for and against maybe a 30 minute max video (but many would be <5 minutes), or a written text if they prefer. With a multiple choice test to ensure they have understood. That's not a large burden. The whole debates would be available and cross referenced if they feel they need more info. AI tech can already do the speech to text in realtime. If someone doesn't want to undertake the briefing before voting, they have the choice to transfer their vote to a proxy, for example a political party, campaign group or maybe a new type of independent scrutiny group that the new system would facilitate. They would need to be vetted and register with electoral commission first.

SH

Simon Heath Tue 21 Dec 2021 12:46PM

The final piece of the puzzle... how do you get peope to take part. I posted this on the AUK discord (but its quieter than loomio).

To stimulate a bit of discussion, here's a question to fill in something I've been wondering about and researching if it's possible...

If you really value someone's opinion shouldn't you pay them for it?

I was looking at an MSc in Data Science and Machine learning, with crypto thrown in, but have decided to self study and pick up what i need.

I'd come up with a thesis idea already... "Can public participation in democracy be improved by paying the public to get involved?".

Now you might jump in and think,it would be too expensive. But I wasn't thinking of conventional currency. It was thinking of a digital token (not necessarily crypto but is a good fit) that can then be "spent" in further votes. Its a change from 1 person 1 vote to spend what you want if you really want something, bearing in mind saving for future votes. All citizens would be automatically minted tokens to participate, but to be able to cast them directly, they need to review the pros and cons. This is to eliminate bias and ignorance. If they dont have time the coins (aka votes) can be transferred to a registered party, campaign group or as yet unseen type of organisation who would scrutinise the proposals.

Thailand recently ran the first real election using blockchain/crypti. It was only to select a party leader, but 120,000 people were involved. Anyone can see and count the votes cast, but they are anonymous and it needs the combined keys from electoral comission, candidates and local groups to see who it was that cast them. Put another way... that's more than you need for a nuclear sub launch code.

My thoughts are if you have a process to generate ideas and refine, using something like pol.is, then you could reward people for reviewing ideas that other people have contributed. Even adding bonuses if your own ideas gain popularity through upvoting. It becomes a distibuted power sharing system. It would need some experimentation to define limits, so 1 person doesn't get too much power.

J

Jay Tue 21 Dec 2021 2:35PM

A problem I notice is that there are an infinite number of ways the system (and in fact any system) can be designed. This means we will always have differing ideas and conflicts about how it should be. This perhaps is what causes us to fragment. For example I am not a fan of any sort of bias or ignorance filter. The 30 min video idea raises concerns for example: what is stopping the video from having bias? Does it not just come from the belief that the populace are too stupid to learn or think for themselves. Plus, it is impossible to know whether people even watched it?

A solution to this problem of infinite differing ideas is basically : keep the app as simple as possible. A simple liquid democratic system. 1st 2nd 3rd readings seem unnecessary and overly complicated - relics of the past. Creating heirarchies such as having to vote for special judges is exactly what we don't want. And I Plies that just by learning the law one can make better decisions than another.

I am not deliberately trying to criticize your ideas. I am just trying to show how easy it is to get bogged down in the relatively unnecessary tit for tat. The only solution I see is basically to create a platform that enhances and simplifies the democratic process. I as a voter want my 'political capital' to do as I wish with. I don't want someone telling me what I must do before spending it. I want to be able to give it all to a single youtuber who hasnt got any professional credentials but I like his views. I want to be able to take them away from the youtuber at a seconds notice. I basically want ultimate democratic freedom. Shouldn't that be the platform we want to design?

J

Jake Tue 21 Dec 2021 12:43AM

Hi Simon,

Thanks thats useful. No im not involved with it. What i am seeing as useful, is that if the ecological movement could get itself onto an application like this first and learn the ropes - it has applicability at the level of self-governance of the movement internally, going for local council seats, as well as for getting Mps elected. It seems like many different people with a given area could create accounts as a 'leader' and yet with one login i could vote and interact with all of them. In other words it strikes me as a low risk/potentially high gain strategy. Just the experience of getting a couple of thousand people on their would be huge - and give us great learning on what works and doesn't - putting us a step ahead of the dinosaurs out there.

I agree that you would want more than just the online process - my thought s that this platform lends a seriousness to existing organising efforts that could help outreach to the less radical segments of the population.

SH

Simon Heath Tue 21 Dec 2021 1:02PM

Took the words out of my mouth. Exactly the strategy im following. Create the digital bit, recruit local candiates following flat pack route. Take a town. Get a seat in Westminster. Repeat. If you can get circa 40% of seats, you get to change the whole system and get rid of parties. I'm looking for people who get this and want to do same/very similar in their own areas.

And we haven't talked crypto payments to get public taking part yet. Digging on that at the mo, but I think Ouroboros/Cardano makes it possible. I couldn't ethically recommend using a proof of work system as the energy costs are too great. But they have worked out how to make proof of stake work... its uses 4 million times less power to complete a transaction than bitcoin.

What I've not linked / understood yet is can you run a private blockchain using it, or do you need to put cash in from elsewhere. Only found it this morning so more reading to come.

SH

Simon Heath Tue 21 Dec 2021 1:05PM

One question to ask though... who holds power? Is it just government? I can think of 2 or 3 groups but won't name them as i want to see what comes back. If you click, it unlocks the next step from taking power back from government into the hands of the people ;)

SH

Simon Heath Tue 21 Dec 2021 1:15PM

Regrding "leader" you dont need them. The XR SoS shows you how its done.

https://extinctionrebellion.uk/act-now/resources/sos/

Talking to my local group last week, one of the chaps was explaining they bought in social scientists to help set it up and make XR not have a leader. They asked them what do we do next.. and their resonse was, we dont know, you're breaking new ground now as no one got this far before. We're now observing and watching you make history.

J

Jay Tue 21 Dec 2021 2:45PM

Ahh cardano. my first crypto love. I would be wary for falling for the marketing in crypto. 'Proof of work' being environmentally destructive is a non sequester in my opinion. It's non destructive if the energy source used is from renewables. Proof of stake on the other hand is more environmental friendly however the system is plutocratic. I wrote about if last week: https://link.medium.com/tPoIt1TDamb

What we definitely could do is use their funding mechanisms (project catalyst for cardano but each crypto protocol has their own funding projects) for our own idea.

SH

Simon Heath Tue 21 Dec 2021 7:57PM

I still think the energy usage is so high the PoW is eating renewable energy that could be used for other things. When the whole global grid is renewable its a different story, but you still have cost. Regarding a PoS aporoach... say you were running a private Blockchain where you just wanted a public ledger to show the voting history, would that be a viable approach. I'm new to crypto but making it my first learning. (Watching the MIT opencourseqare 24 episodes on it at the mo and doing the associated reading ) . I'm not looking to revolutionsise currency, but to give every participant rewards for taking part in the democratic process, not for the crypto staking. Ie if you contrubite ideas and review others ideas you earn more. However there has to be some mechanism to stop people just ckicking +1 on every comment, or posting nonsense. So tying it into a "if fhis gets upvoted by lots of people and becomes policy" you all get a bit. Still isn't solving it... because everyone could upvote everything using a bot. I like the approach, "assume everyone is corruptible, even if they start with good intentions", which i saw in a talk with Charles Hoskinson earlier.

J

Jay Tue 21 Dec 2021 11:07PM

So it seems you are diving deep which is great. So the main and imo strongest argument to the energy dilemma is that the energy that is used for mining is essentially waste energy anyway. For example, let us suppose I set up a BTC mining farm in the middle of some far flung desert. I utilise solar energy to mine and beam internet in via satellite. What I am then effectively doing is monetizing waste energy. The energy was never going to be used in the first place but what I am doing is taking that 'waste' energy and turning it into money / value. Most BTC mining occurs from these cheaper sources of energy.

Regarding your 2nd point: The mechanism that prevents people from just clicking upvote ok everything would be that the number of upvotes is limited.

I am not anti proof of stake by the way. We could model certain ideas from proof of stake into the system itself. For example: let us suppose that I upvote a comment you make. The upvote would go to a digital wallet representing the comment itself. You as the creator of the comment would then receive a dividend from that upvote (in much the same way that staking in a proof of stake system grants rewards in the form of more tokens). This will have the added effect of promoting your profile (as it will be next to the comment itself). This should translate into more upvotes being directly delegated to you. Again, you receive the dividends from those upvotes.

Essentially, rewards are given not for politically participating, but for adding value. By recieivng upvotes from your valued contributions, not from the act of upvoting itself.

J

Jake Tue 21 Dec 2021 2:26PM

Cool …we are on the same page :)

I worked in xr sos and conflict team full time for a while. I studied the systems in painful detail. The system was great on paper but never really worked as it was intended - from what I saw.

I have developed a theory of change (ToC) for offline movement building (the structure based organising side [as opposed to whirlwind mass demos])

The fundamental core has to be grounded in rational dialogue - I follow habermas on this . It’s the essence of democracy. It needs to be baked in at an interpersonal/relational/cultural level . Then that ethic can be expressed through ‘instrumental/objective systems ‘ .

Otherwise it will become another dead bureaucratic system.

“culture eats strategy for breakfast”

I’d be interested to talk through our respective zones of interest !

J

Jay Tue 21 Dec 2021 2:55PM

Could you elaborate on your theory of change please?

SH

Simon Heath Tue 21 Dec 2021 7:47PM

Me too. Sounds interesting. Im not set in my ways on anything. Open to persuasion.

J

Jake Tue 21 Dec 2021 10:15PM

Hi Jay,

Thanks for asking. I will give it a go, but id like to say in advance that I'm really not sure i can do it justice. I know everyone's got their own ideas and own language around these things. but at this point it needs to come out of my desk drawer.... so here goes...

Firstly i should say that the course of action that i see as most important will not be for everyone - in fact by design it would be possible for a small number of people who felt called to it to enact it.

Second point is that i am assuming that major trends of actions and strategies created by others will continue happening - what i am offering doesn't expect or require those already committed to other ToCs to change - the opposite, I am assuming what has begun will continue. The move i am proposing would increase linkages between elements of the ecological activist space and equally with other movements - it is deeper and more long term - a strategy to put a foundation in place that would support diversity and coordination between actors.

Essentially i see an implementation gap between the political decision-making space discussed above - and the NVDA actions space that XR and IB are occupying. Its a gap around building the actual relationships that constitute a real social movement; solidarity, an awakened sense of ecological justice, political awareness and engagement . In This Is and Uprising ( https://book4you.org/book/2859457/bb8e41 ) they talk about moments of whirlwind + structure based organising = strategic nonviolence. My ToC is focused on a particular form of Structure Based Organising. It would deliver on building solidarity, increasing our movements situational awareness of the political landscape and emergent out of that produce opportunities for whirlwind moments by coordinating the use of NVDA at multiple scales, local, regional, national, and international - to directly influence both movement size and the formal political space.

The way i'd like to frame what a nonviolent movement is, is that as group we are attempting to make a Conflict, that is currently under the radar of the general population come to the surface - we do this by making ourselves a Protagonist in the Play. In other words nonviolence is all about Conflict. The creative engagement with conflict. Even transformative engagement with Conflict.

Essentially there is the Conflict we want to become protagonists in, between the movement and government or other organisations - I'll call that the Macro. Second there are the Conflicts inside the movement between different parties/regionsa/ideologies etc - i'll call that the Meso(scopic). Third there is 'disconnect' or conflict space that lies between those in Active Support of the Cause and those in Passive Support. This is a hidden Conflict that must be won in which Active supporters Win Passive Supporters over into action. I'll call that the Micro.

The Game is to operate upon the 3 sites of conflict in order to increase our political power. So there are necessary linkages between those 3 sites of Conflict plus the External site of Conflict in the House of Lords/Commons and Board rooms etc where the Conflict is being generated by the decisions being made(or not!). Winning more people into the movement, especially increasing diversity of viewpoint = increase risk of Mesoscopic Conflict which can cripple a movement. Entering into action and counter action with the Gov at Macro also puts pressure into the Meso and on the individuals who are imprisoned plus their families/friends at the micro. Only by having genuinely strong relationships is a movement going to endure and succeed. No formal 'system' can provide this. Its personal, relational, familial, tribal. It is about building deep resilience. its about more people giving more of a shit...at more of each of those levels recognising that they are all essential.

ok... thats the preamble...

We have been lucky enough to be gifted a clear methodology for Building Conflict systems by dominic Barter . This involves co-creating transformative interpersonal agreements between combatants (those in the movement) that concretise the conditions for and quality and type of 'mutual aid' (read help) that is required in order to be able to fight and struggle. This builds real solidarity....as in actual relationships between you and the people around you.

Sometimes its hard for those not experienced in Conflict at the interpersonal level to understand that Conflict and decision-making are not fundamentally different. Both are built on a foundation of dialogue about actions, cause and effect, intention etc. The only difference is that decision-making tends to be about the future, Conflict tends to be about the past.

I have made the case that this work is foundational for building a movement internally - for integration of diverse perspective and for sustaining the strength of the movement under pressure

What blew me away is the realisation that this methodology can also be used Offensively. I will try to outline a simple example.

Imagine 50 people in your local area, networked via real interpersonal agreements on how to respond to Conflict and recognising at least the 4 types of conflict ive outlined.

Now lets say a local government representative tries to makes something happen that is enacting Ecocidal consequences. Could be anything.

They would receive a letter from the group, inviting them to participate in the communities restorative justice system. This is a letter from 50 local residents.

The group has already cultivated Members of the community who can represent members of the future generations - ie speak from their perspective say from 2100 and or representing a River or piece of land. This tactic offset the human bias towards privileging human needs now, over future needs or non human needs.

If the Minister rejects or does not respond to the Dialogue request, the group can go to local papers and use this to stir up support - raise the pressure. "Local restorative justice group vs politician" Councillor refuses comment on ecological issues, local residents furious.

The Community is also stating that it has lost faith in the Judicial system and has set up its own (Gandhian constructive program = removing a pillar of support from existing regime)

Lets say the minister attends. It is a facilitated process where their political power does not give them the right to control the dialogue.

Best case agreements are made

Worst case they either try to avoid making commitments or they make them and do not follow through. In this case the group uses this to stir up more support and threaten NVDA. It is held up as a clear objective failure of democracy. They now have a clear cut rationale for an Action and have published the letters and invitations to dialogue with the Politician. They raise the tension and profile in the media, plan an appropriate disruption and look to get more people involved until the Politician changes their mind or is sufficiently discredited to have to step back - leaving a space for an ecological candidate to step in (voted and campaigned for via the same local network).

This is where you would use the direct democracy platform and switch into the political campaign mode. you have the dirt on the opposition so its a winnable victory. Probably a separate group people focused on it. You could think of the political mode as the Head, the intellect. The community justice mode as the Heart and the Actions as the Body. All three are needed working together.

The Community Justice process is all about engagement, depth and strength of the movement. Its about the community agreeing that it, locally will take responsibility for its own Conflicts, including things like financial support of costs activist may incur for legal support/fines. This provides many more roles for normal people to fill. Building the relationships, monitoring local decisions relative to national, providing funds or space.

The learning - about how to stoke up a meaningful Conflict, how to trigger a reaction, how to unseat a bullshit artist from their seat is critical learning. Its basically about starting an argument in a productive way, that gets the group recognised as a power player that has to be reckoned with.

The whole time, we can be giving the whisper that there's going to be a mass/national level civil disobedience coming, when one of the groups who does this locally sets off a drama that can be escalated into the reason for a full scale rebellion.

I know for some people 2-3 year timelines are 'too long' . For me 2-3 years is nothing when we are talking about the kind of political change that has only happened every 600 years or so.

The conceptual foundation for all the above is Habermas which Vinthagen has used to understand nonviolent social movements. https://book4you.org/book/5830983/890d4e

The proposal i am making would move us from 'instrumental action' ie Sharpian attempts to coerce through material and economic disruption - to - 'Communicative action' where actions are seen as a form of communication first and foremost - actions that really do speak louder than words - not in blind rage, but in pointed specifics that touch nerves. Actions that communicate the essence of the issue in a way that leads to an increase of numbers of supporters, increase of internal cohesion of the movement, and yield increased knowledge of and purchase on the system of power we are dealing with.

Communicative action is understood by Habermas as the very essence of democracy itself. The use of Actions to both Speak clearly (like Gandhi's salt march) and as a means to force Dialogue would ensure that public perception of the movement would be that the movement is enacting and asking for the essence of democracy in a thorough going way - ie in clear and total integrity to the core principles of democracy. This would open the door to police repression on this kind of movement being perceived as unjust - as it was with Gandhi and King.

End of the day you could have the Local Judge being invited to a restorative justice space for the sentences he has handed out to local activists. By his own children most likely.

The thing i want to highlight here is that a social movement needs a looser more basic but more resilient agreement structure that supports diversity and disagreement between a large number of people. Only a relatively small number of people need to be involved on a daily and weekly basis with some decision-making structure. That's for fulltime activists. The vast majority who can only do part time would be better building the common feeling of connection in the group, talking, thinking creatively, mapping the systems, bringing new people in, finding out who knows who and who really holds the power, strengthening for the long term in a way that is truly Regenerative. Regenerative of the essence of democracy, regenerative of social solidarity, regenerative of community and regenerative personally.

I believe that the above is possible with 6-7 committed people who take the time to go that bit deeper in their own work together and embody the core ethos. what i am proposing is relatively slow and would require people who have patience, commitment and consistency.

As i said those who feel the call to throw their bodies on the line now should do so. im not here trying to dissuade anyone. I simply feel that the investment in this kind of structure would yield 3 years of intrinsically valuable work and provide foundations for increasingly lost younger generations to build on. And that there are many different types of people out there for whom the above work would be a good fit. The key tactic is to know the lie of the land and be ready for the opposition to screw up - and have a well honed plan for when they do.

That is what a defensive and offensive conflict system would be designed to do.

Ok - there we go. there's pages more i could say. im sure lots is not clear ... hit me with any questions and ill do my best

the summary is this

with a single methodology you build the relationships at the Micro and regenerate at that level, at the Meso create deep resilience between core players/factions of a diverse movement, and have a shared language and approach to Macro strategy formation that is consistent at all levels of application - thus removing unnecessary hierarchy.

In ancient times skillful warriors first made themselves invincible, and then watched for vulnerability in their opponents.

sun tzu

SH

Simon Heath Wed 22 Dec 2021 1:04AM

Well with that you win the internet not for today, but December. As a minimum. I was not aware of what you call meso scale. But now i am. I don't consider myself an "arrestable" , i do government contracts that need a clean criminal record. But as a supporter I'll be there. Where the disconnect is, and this isn't just between members of XR, its the wider issue from external view vs internal view is that XR looks like a bunch of jobless crusties blocking roads, till you investigate and go ... oh bugger, this is what I've been looking for. Its actually a group of people who consider the climate crisis an existential threat and are trying to wrestle power from the establishment so that the people who's future prosperity depends on "giving a fuck about everybody, not just self" can try and get an action plan in place thats legally binding and funded by government. The reason I got involved with XR locally is I envisage a flat pack take over locally. And have started poking and prodding various groups and individuals to one day make this happen. XR however are non political and would stay out of the policy making, but would support the creation of independent candidates who consult with their constituents instead of taking a free reign to "vote with a consciousness" (aka follow party group think).

J

Jay Tue 21 Dec 2021 11:53PM

Amazing. Love it. Ok, so before I chime in with some ideas, I have a few questions just so I am sure the idea is understood:

The idea essentially starts with dialogue as a first step, and then action as a second rather than action as a first step? If I have that correct, would the forms of NVA that are then deployed be those similar to deployed by XR?

What I also understood is that you propose to 'profesionalise' the movement. In other words, rather than people coming out in force disrupting things on a national scale, it works in a more coordinated and efficient way (Ie Army Vs special forces [to use a poor analogy])?

How would we bridge the divide between passive and active supporters? Why does it even need to be bridged?

Cheers

J

Jake Wed 22 Dec 2021 3:48PM

Hi jay,

Yes , so the dialogue step comes before action, but Id like to stress that first there is building coherence and capacity in the group to get sufficient (50) people on board. Second there’s investigation of potential conflicts that could be addressed, followed by planning how to approach the particular situation .

who will make the invitation to dialogue ? How close is our nearest member to to person we are wanting to invite?

then yes dialogue

In terms of Actons , they’d be similar in that they would be categorised as nvda, however I think that they would also be really quite distinct because the aim is different. Xr /ib have been focused on hitting headlines and material and economic disruption.

if the aim is to force dialogue and raise the political stakes the actions will need to reflect those aims …. I think, without being harsh it’s like the difference between stamping on someone’s toe, vs touching a nerve .

On the question you termed professionalisation I’d say that my ToC reflects the need for a clear strategy to get to significant numbers who could then mobilise nationally. so it’s not either or. I’m talking about a deepened level of organising between some, who can then support the mobilisation of many more.

Serious rebelion would probably require hundreds of thousands of people if not millions .

I’m looking at how the most committed active supporters can become most effective in order to encourage more passive supporters to become active.

Local initiatives would serve this dual function - to get into local politics but also awaken and recruit more people to the national cause by first showing them a more tangible snd community oriented issue locally

I think whole deal is about how a small group of committed people can best organise to get millions active and engaged

SH

Simon Heath Wed 22 Dec 2021 1:13AM

Just to add, this is a 10 year+ project for me. Don't expect payment for my effort. Just results. We NEED to move to Democracy 2.0. There's no such thing as a perfect system, but we could have something better than Westminster by 2024 elections if enough people get on board. I've been looking at how Macron started up En Marche and came to power rapidly by uniting the left and right. Ok. Not the best example as he totally ignored the first citizens assembly, but shows a new idea can gain credibility quickly.

But first you need the infrastructure.

J

Jay Wed 22 Dec 2021 2:18PM

Check out this article abut the Italian five star movements rise to power in Italy. It also provides a great case study about what works and what doesn't.

SH

Simon Heath Wed 22 Dec 2021 1:10PM

In summary Jake you have put into detail what I had as a couple of bullet points in my head:

  • Work out the components of a system that are needed to run Democracy 2.0

  • Build open API platform to allow people to select the bits they need to organise ideas into policy and allocate resources. (multiple competing app modules could offer the same functionality. Using Xero accounting as an example https://apps.xero.com/uk ).

  • Work at national level to see if you can recruit hacktivists and get a movement

  • Work at international level to open up the build and implementation to anyone anywhere.

Alongside all of this be considering a strategy on how to replace “The Existing System” of representative democracy with this Deliberative Digital Democracy.

  • Recruit local people for a flat pack style take over of local council.

  • Get proof the deliberative process works better.

  • Get a national non party party started - the hardest bit *1

  • Get them poking the existing system.

  • Get lots of seats and replace the system of democracy.

  • Next up the fiat banking system and corporations to reallocate power into the hands of people. ;)

*1 hardest as I think the public want to see what you will promise to do, not be told - whatever you ask us to do. But it’s only needed until the parliametary system of biggest party wins no 10 is taken away. Then the party can disband everyone can go back to being independents, and for example whoever wants to be PM or Chancellor will have to be selected by public vote. The ideas on legislation change can be suggested by anyone - including parties, but will need public support to become legislation. I’d suggest we turn downing street and westminster into museums. To unlink from the past.

I have to be honest - I’m struggling to find a Hacktivist community who would build the base platform. It may be better to start a crowd funded/civic philanthropist grant project where some contract devs are hired to build the base system which integrates with everything else.

As an example - the stuff we’ve been discussing on incentivisation through digital currency isn’t essential, but a basic ledger of who contributed what could be opened up via an API so if you want to reward people, you can do that after the fact, or in real time if the system operates a public and subscribe or queue driven model. You don’t have to manage that in the core system. Likewise you don’t need to define the system to crowd gathering of ideas, but the mechanism of what you want to take to the next stage need to pop out message so you can ask it “Whats the most popular idea at the moment” or “where is there financial pain in the budgets”. Just to add - i used the term ledger, that doesn’t automatically mean I’m thinking blockchain.

The organisations stuff of strategy to get it live is what the likes of us in here can try and thrash out. Part of my (not yet done) background reading is to understand what’s been tried before and why it failed.

SH

Simon Heath Wed 22 Dec 2021 3:17PM

Regarding Italy’s Five star movement - you might want to have a read of this too… https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/may/21/brexit-party-nigel-farage-italy-digital-populists-five-star-movement

I became a campaign manage for my local Brexit Party after reading this as I thought a big chunk of my goals overlapped, despite some key reservations. I think it was meant to be a hatchet job by the Guardian, but the mention of digital democracy had me sucked in. But the digital democracy platform never happened. I did trace down the project team who were working 20 miles away from me in Ashby in Leicestershire, and offered to work as a tester, but nothing came of it. The closest to members setting policy that was ever undertaken was a series of emails asking “Do you agree with this?” or “Which of the following things do you think?” Basically it was giving you restrictive options on what to pick and only on issues those above wanted to discuss. That wasn’t what had been suggested would come but it did confirm the Guardians piece in that it was more about manipulating peoples opinion than giving them true democracy. Given I don’t like Farage or his constant focus on immigration and not much else I stopped my involvement after the general election. I still get mails from The Reform Party as it’s called now, but I think it will wither and die now Brexit is history.

SH

Simon Heath Wed 22 Dec 2021 3:35PM

Just wanted to add… I had read the Wired article previously… and it got me excited but also cautious. Be careful you what you build, and make sure it’s an idea to get people’s opinions and not to make them follow your ideas. Could do with an update on what’s been going on with 5SM.

vTaiwan has the closest to what I’d like to do. https://info.vtaiwan.tw/

J

Jay Wed 22 Dec 2021 10:02PM

I agree entirely. Our aim should be to enhance and expand democratic power for voters, not to dictate policy.

SH

Simon Heath Wed 22 Dec 2021 4:21PM

Jake took your description and turned it to a diagram, adding a couple of bits of my own. Red lines are where you describe the conflicts happen. Or engagements. I'd prefer to engage the passive members and public instead of conflict with them (even though as you identified it is a conflict). Likewise the internal conflicts between groups, be they geographical areas or utility functions, its getting everyone to see eye to eye and have that common shared vision.

J

Jake Wed 22 Dec 2021 5:38PM

Wow thanks Simon ,

I appreciate you taking the time to do that.

I made this video spontaneously a couple of weeks ago.

It’s about ‘polarisation’ which is a concept in nvda strategy.

It looks at the relationship between active and passive support on two sides of an issue using a ‘power law curve’

When I reference ‘roger’ I mean roger Hallam. He wrote about this in hi first book/pamphlet ‘how to win’

SH

Simon Heath Wed 22 Dec 2021 8:04PM

It’s a very good example and reflect my view accurately. Before I got involved with XR I would say “Why are they just disrupting stuff and not trying to be part of the solution, all those people having fun blocking the bridges and yet, they could go out and plant 2000 acres of forest instead. etc.

If you take your graph and apply it to Represenative Democracy, it’s pretty clear that everyone sits on the left except those who are elected by the system and gain financially from it. That’s quite an easy polarisation to make and you’ll find in many studies peoples opinions on democracy as a process are very poor.

Its therefore a sensible approach to tackle the democratic process which is what’s blocking progress on climate action as elected MPs are worried about not getting reelected and / or looking for future careers in industry so work with lobbyists. In some of my reading the other day proper acedemic research had shown the opnion of the average voter is totally ignored. yet a lobbyist with a decent budget can achieve pretty much anything they want.

That’s why fossils are still being sucked out the ground.

I think XR should as you say - focus actions on the seats of power, and draw attention to the fact the democratic process doesn’t produce the results people want.

J

Jay Fri 24 Dec 2021 4:47AM

@Simon Heath @Jake thought I would add with a video also

J

Jay Fri 24 Dec 2021 11:40PM

I should add as well, I'm not saying PR is the issue we SHOULD focus on. I just cannot think of s better way or a more appropriate issue that will enable us to get our foot in the door of parliament in perhaps the next election. with the movement becoming more powerful work each successive election.

Also, Merry Christmas to all!

PW

Perry Walker Thu 30 Dec 2021 3:10PM

Thanks, especially Jason and Simon, for such a sustained and interesting thread. A few thoughts, in case useful.

I'm instinctively for concentrating on making the vision of a future democracy as beautiful as possible. I'm with Antoine de Saint-Exupery, "If you want to build a ship, don’t call together some men just to gather wood, prepare tools and distribute tasks. Instead, teach them the longing for the endless sea."

Related to that, I think we have to acknowledge that representative democracy, with all its failings, was such a vision when it began. It answered the widespread demand for consent, put so fabulously by Colonel Thomas Rainsborough at the Putney Debates in 1647:

For really I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live as the greatest he; and therefore truly, sir, I think it’s clear that every man that is to live under a government ought first by his own consent to put himself under that government; and I do think that the poorest man in England is not bound in a strict sense to that government that he hath not had a voice to put himself under…”

That's why one 18th century French writer described representation as “democracy rendered practicable over a great extent of territory”. In 1822 John Stuart Mill called it “the grand discovery of modern times”.

What's our magnetic big idea, the equivalent of consent? My small organisation, Talk Shop, punts for an approach based on outcomes: win-win democracy. That's a response to polarisation, so very much of its time. I reckon that's part of the story. But what's the rest?

To pinch a line from a friend, stay positive and test negative

Perry

RZ

Rosa Zubizarreta Thu 30 Dec 2021 7:08PM

Oooh Perry, I love this...
I'm instinctively for concentrating on making the vision of a future
democracy as beautiful as possible. I'm with Antoine de Saint-Exupery, "If
you want to build a ship, don’t call together some men just to gather
wood, prepare tools and distribute tasks. Instead, teach them the
longing for the endless sea."

indeed, it seems to me that the various forms of representative democracy that exist today, were created as the best compromises that people back then could arrive at, in response to such a vision... and while we clearly need to generate new and more workable solutions, I fully agree that the vision itself also needs to be honored by re-invigorated.

Along those lines, I love the meme, "win-win democracy" , and look forward to reading more of what's on your website. .. and, I think that a lot of what Jake wrote above, goes a long way to reinvigorating the vision:

The thing i want to highlight here is that a social movement needs a
looser more basic but more resilient agreement structure that supports
diversity and disagreement. between a large number of people. Only a
relatively small number of people need to be involved on a daily and
weekly basis with some decion-making structure. That's for fulltime
activists. The vast majority who can only do part time would be better
building the common feeling of connection in the group, talking,
thinking creatively, mapping the systems, bringing new people in,
finding out who knows who and who really holds the power, strengthening
for the long term in a way that is truely Regenerative. Regenerative
of the essence of democracy, regenerative of social solidarity,
regenerative of community and regenerative personally.

Jake offers a lot more intriguing detail about how to implement all this, which I won't respond to right away, as my focus for now is staying with the big-picture vision.

It seems to me we need a "rainbow of democracy" -- regenerative, win-win relationships, at ALL levels --including family, community organizations, workplaces, neighborhoods... AS WELL AS, larger regional bodies. Btw, this may be a good time to remember that the concept of "win-win" was first created by Mary Parker Follett, who was also the originator of the distinction between "power-with" and "power-over"... her classic "The New State: Group Organization, the Solution of Popular Government", written in 1918,

is still ahead of OUR time, and is resonant with much of what Jake has written above...

To shift a bit from vision to practical strategies... seems to me that vTaiwan is such a relevant example of gorgeous synergy between activism, deliberative democracy, and representative democracy... as well as, high tech AND high touch...

vTaiwan as a global exemplar of regenerative democracy has been in the news a bit lately... will include some links below... yet what most of these recent links don't mention, is that is that non-violent direct action played a crucial role in the success of vTaiwan. As some of you may know, during the world-wide wave of Occupy-style movements, Taiwan's peaceful Sunflower Revolution included an unarmedoccupation of the legislative buildings, after the legislators had all gone home.During the occupation, there was a highly organized, many-days-long deliberation that took place among the occupiers, and, was live-streamed out to the larger public via a cable hookup to the public TV channel. This sparked the emergence of vTaiwan, a highly-sophisticated deliberative democracy movement which is currently thriving, in full partnership with representative democracy. That origin story is documented in several older, longer, and more in-depth articles by Liz Barry, by Claudina Sarahe & Darshina Narayanan, and others, that are linked to this overview blog post ( https://thelisteningarts.org/2018/06/19/vtaiwan-activism-deliberative-democracy-social-change/ ) I wrote a while back...

Here's a compilation of some more recent links, along with some great quotes by and about Audrey.... (yes, i'm a total fan... :-)

1) Taiwan Is A Lesson For The West, Not Just China ( https://www.noemamag.com/taiwan-is-a-lesson-for-the-west-not-just-china/ )
Participation through digital connectivity can build a governing consensus.

2) From an earlier Noema article, The Frontiers Of Digital Democracy: Taiwan is reinventing the consent of the governed ( https://www.noemamag.com/the-frontiers-of-digital-democracy/ )

Audrey Tang: “First of all, I rarely use the words “deliberative democracy” because it has so many syllables to spill out of your mouth. I simply say that participation by citizens in such a process should be “fast, fun and fair.” Also, participation only works if there is a real effect on power [...] As a result of our practices of online deliberation, Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, has said: “Before, democracy was a showdown between two opposing values. Now, democracy is a conversation between many diverse values.”"

3) from a recent Taiwan News article ( https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/4365862#google_vignette ):

"Tang is a leading proponent of innovating democracy and has aimed to introduce new methods that enhance transparency and enable the public to participate throughout the political process. "All these ways are to increase the bandwidth of democracy so that the government can respond to people's needs in the here and now," she said. "And also, more importantly, new innovations can thrive instead of having to wait for four years, so to shorten the iteration, to make democracy more rapid,” Tang added."

4) And a fun one from a recent Reuters newswire ( https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/get-democratic-yourself-taiwan-minister-says-after-china-slams-summit-invite-2021-12-02/ ):

"Tang has taken inspiration from the "live long and prosper" greeting of the Vulcan Star Trek character Spock for the idea of promoting sustainability and development, a phrase she likes to use in public settings such as interviews."


l'll end this post, with the same quote I used to end that overview blog post ( https://thelisteningarts.org/2018/06/19/vtaiwan-activism-deliberative-democracy-social-change/ ) from some time ago...

...a poem/prayer that Audrey wrote, to balance out all the high-tech stuff by placing it within a broader human context ( https://medium.com/@audrey.tang/virtual-reality-for-civic-deliberation-e114234828fe ):

“When we see “internet of things”, let’s make it an internet of beings.When we see “virtual reality”, let’s make it a shared reality.When we see “machine learning”, let’s make it collaborative learning.When we see “user experience”, let’s make it about human experience.When we hear “the singularity is near”, let us remember: the Plurality is here.”

Thank you so much to each of you, for all of the great work you are doing,

toward a sane, effective, and inspiring transition

to a win-win, regenerative planetary culture...

may the New Year bring many blessings to each of us,
and may all beings fulfill their own true heart's desire...

with love,

Rosa

( http://diapraxis.com )
Rosa Zubizarreta

DiaPraxis: Awakening the Spirit of Creative Collaboration ( http://diapraxis.com )
coaching in participatory leadership
advanced group facilitation services & learning opportunities

J

Jay Thu 6 Jan 2022 3:18PM

@Perry Walker Hi Perry, Thanks for joining the discussion! And thanks for such an eloquent post.

I must agree with you here that representative democracy must be respected for what it gave us. Providing a way for people to actually talk and discuss their differences without violence (being just one of its many benefits) was truly revolutionary for its time. Allowing people the ability to discuss and communicate across vast differences is another.

However, whilst we must recognise what it gave us, I believe representative democracy was just the first step on the long road toward fully-fledged democracy. And many of the afflictions that representative democracy solved now do not apply. Today we have the power of instantaneous communication quite literally in our hands and we have a literate highly educated populace.

It was 281 years between Colonel Rainsboroughs words at the Putney Debates and the 1928 Representation of the Peoples Act. But it seems that since that momentous moment, democracy has stalled. Parliamentary democracy evolved from the days when the King was law and the serfs were his property yet we still have a house of Lords and a sovereign that approves our bills.

Parliamentary democracy is long past its sell-by date and it is high time that this archaic institution took its rightful place in history where it rightfully belongs.

Regarding your organisation talkshop. Had a look around the website and watched a few of your videos. I see you have also identified pol.is as being a useful tool. Would love to know what insights you have gained from conducting these workshops and whether you think these could work effectively in the online domain.

J

Jay Thu 6 Jan 2022 4:06PM

Thanks for the beautiful post. Spent the last few hours devouring the articles posted.

SH

Simon Heath Wed 5 Jan 2022 9:38AM

Hey great to see some new contributions from @Rosa Zubizarreta and @Perry Walker .

reading about vTaiwan a couple of years ago was what got me interested in digital democracy. Think it was around the 2019 GE i first bumped into it. Its kind of like a mind virus in that once you are exposed to the idea it keeps mutating and refining in your mind and ocassionally gets chance to spread when you come into contact with others on forums such as this. But a nice virus ;)

I'm going to have a good read up on Talkshop. It was alredy on my radar from a link on the XR site.

My own journey has taken a big fat deep dive diversion into Cardano. A new blockchain that has I believe massive potential to usurp representative democracy, fiat banking and corporations. All at once!

I'm still holding my breath on the downward leg, trying to make sense of it all. I've worked in tech for 30 years and its a bit like trying to learn 2 programming languages, operating system, database, design methodology and project mangement methodolgy all at once. Ouch.

I didn't want to think of technical architecture decisions yet, more a list of processes that a democracy needs to achieve to function, then find how best to implement them.

But bumping into Cardanonis like bumping into say, Sir Robert Peel if you were thinking about creating a police force. Or Abraham Lincoln if you were thinkimg of starting new country.

Bitcoin was a gen 1 crypto allowing money transfer (with huge energy cost)

Ethereum was gen 2 that allowed smart contracts and has ability to drop the energy demand.

Cardano is a gen 3 crypto, which is destined to be fully decetralised, uses 97% less energy and has its own buult in liquid democracy governance, which rewards people for scrutinising and voting on proposals on what features to add. I've spent a few weeks digging and I can't unsee the possibility to use this same approach in the real world.

The amazing part is you can get funding to run projects designed to expand the use of cardano. Many are obviously related to core tech, but others are to run outreach or training programmes. This funding round Fund 7 (F7 for short) has $8M in total 20% goes to reviewers and voters.

As an example 1 funding stream has the name Lobbying For Favourable Legislation and has $75,000 to allocate.

Fund 8 will double in size, due February.

Fund 9 will double again due April.

Treasury Funds are obtained from transaction fees, a bit like a flat rate tax on economic activity. The scary part... they are now sitting on circa $1.3billion in treasury funds. So if you can dream it, and convince others, you can get it built.

This supports my view, that expecting establishment governments to fund losing their power via digital democracy is wishful thinking. The community needs to build a parallel system thats better. And people will switch. Now there's a way to get funding!

Ps I've already got in touch with a couple of proposers working in the governance / democracy space. I'm not able to vote this time as you need to have staked 500ADA their currency) to participate (hopefully something they lower) as cureent exchange rate is about £0.99 to 1 ADA. Call it £500.

Think ill create a post later explaining what i learned and link it back here. Got to do some work now though ;)

I should state before you go off inviting people, you can get $80,000 as a referer who brings in an organisation to cardano! Trying to get my head round that one!

If you want to find out more...

https://cardano.org/

https://forum.cardano.org

Are the best place to start.

DS

Dan Scrimgeour Wed 5 Jan 2022 9:51AM

Hi Simon and all,

Happy New Year and wishing you every success for 2022 in this initiative – now is the time to make this work, and it would be an honor to get involved to offer what I can.

I’ve only just logged on and read through the thread comments from the last month fully, so my apologies for not replying sooner. So much to say that I’m not sure where to start!

Almost 20 years ago now, I focused my conflict resolution MA dissertation on the potentials for a new form of democratic governance and social organization, one based on collaborative problem-solving, consensus decision-making and cooperative policy formation, which forges agreement around solutions truly in the best interests of all concerned that are drawn from the collective intelligence available.

I’ve kept developing the building blocks in the background to my career ever since, though for some years now I’ve been stuck on exactly the same challenge that you are now facing – how to establish a working online platform and effective mobile interface.  

However, it’s coming from a slightly different approach – one that seeks to build support around common aims and causes, rather than generating conflict to spur change. It fosters constructive dialogue over combative debate. As such the core building block is a structured deliberative mechanism that channels discussion over topics and issues of common interest towards resolution and action.

Over the years this dialogue process was honed down using offline experimental workshops to a point where it was consistently producing results, allowing people the space to really listen and understand where others were coming from and gearing their energy towards agreement over solutions and actions.

It does this through using gamification methods applied to deliberation – time tokens for speaking, truth or agreement tokens for micro-voting, and trust tokens for building support and reputation beyond singular processes.

It has six key underlying principles, prerequisites needed to get the most out of the process, namely – a common aim or interest, tolerance of one another's views, acceptance of difference of opinion and belief, respect for others’ needs, responsibility for one’s own expressed views, and a commitment to understanding.

Without going into further detail on the process itself, with the challenge being to adapt this into an online dialogue tool, perhaps the principles and approach may be something that could be factored in to what you’re trying to develop.

I’d be happy to share more if interested, and as a plan emerges to help out in other ways besides.

Cheers, Dan

J

Jay Thu 6 Jan 2022 2:06PM

@Dan Scrimgeour great to have you on board Dan! love the ideas presented particularly about the time, vote and trust tokens. have you heard of conviction voting? it works as follows: A member can change their preference at any time, but the longer they keep their preference for the same proposal, the “stronger” their conviction gets. This added conviction gives long standing community members with consistent preferences more influence than short term participants merely trying to influence a vote. Here's an article about it: https://link.medium.com/XhEEG2x8Amb

it seems that a plan might be developing right now between simon and myself. feel free to join our discord if you are interested in getting involved. more minds are always better than 1 https://discord.gg/eFKJMCfY

PW

Perry Walker Wed 26 Jan 2022 6:47PM

Hi Rosa,

Thanks very much for so many resources. I am a great fan of Mary Parker Follett - how not? But I'd never read any of her books. Following your post I got hold of The New State. I've just finished it. Wow! I thought i was idealistic... But her analysis of an atomistic view of people versus a relational view is brilliant.

There's one question about vTaiwan that none of the links seemed to answer. One of the factors that undermined PB in Porto Alegre was the conflict between two views of legitimacy. There was the legitimacy of the direct democracy that came from all the PB participants. There was also the legitimacy of representative democracy that came from election. That's a really tough dilemma. Have you ever seen anything that tackled that?

Be well

Perry

PW

Perry Walker Wed 26 Jan 2022 6:50PM

Hi Dan,

I have an idea that we met about 15 years ago, when I was working for the New Economics Foundation and you, I think, were working for a local authority. Is that possible?

If you have a longer description of your process, and especially your trials, I'd love to see it.

forza

Perry

DS

Dan Scrimgeour Thu 27 Jan 2022 3:37AM

Hi Perry,

Very good to hear from you. Yes I remember, at a conference I was organizing at the time. I believe we'd met before then too as I was familiar with your work for NEF.

I'd be happy to share my latest with you, will email you now.

Dan

PW

Perry Walker Wed 26 Jan 2022 7:03PM

Hi Jay,

Sorry for taking a while to come back to you. I agree with everything you say.

On your question about what works online - pretty well everything that works in the flesh. I work with Marie-Pierre Leroux, an artist, to offer the Assembly of Humans and More Than Humans - online so far. If people can take on being a bat or a peatbog and negotiate with each other in cyberspace, they can take part in almost any participatory process online. (See voicingtheair.org for more on the Assembly.)

There are one or two exceptions. A method called Dynamic Facilitation - in which Rosa is an enormous expert - does have one big challenge. Its strength is in putting the contradictions between different views directly in front of people, so that they absorb that contradiction and start, almost subconsciously, to seek ways to resolve it. Face to face, that can be done using the usual large sheets of flipchart paper. It seems to me much harder to that online. Rosa might disagree.

In terms of encouraging people to seek common ground, I'm a great fan of preference voting. See next comment!

I admire your commitment to the cause you have taken on

Perry

PW

Perry Walker Wed 26 Jan 2022 7:07PM

Hello again everyone,

It is the near future. Britain has become a republic. There are six candidates to be the country’s first president. We invite you to help choose that president.

The reason for this exercise is to try out preference voting – you’ll be invited to put all the candidates in order of preference.

We also want to try out a particular app for doing so.

Send your email address to (perryw@talkshopuk.org) if you want to take part. You’ll then receive an invitation to take part, via the app, debordavote.org.

We’ll send you the results. There will also be a one hour webinar to review the app and discuss preference voting in general. This will be on Wednesday February 9th at 11am. If you take part in the Presidential election, we’ll send you a link.

With my best wishes

Perry

PS A bit more about how preference voting works

How many candidates you vote for determines how much you affect the election. If you vote for all six, your first choice gets six points, your second five and so on. You have allocated 6+5+4+3+2+1 = 21 points. If you only vote for three, your first choice gets three etc. You have allocated 3+2+1 = 6 points.

PPS A bit more about the advantages of preference voting

Suppose that there are several candidates to choose from, several policy options or several solutions to a problem. In those circumstances we think that preference voting has magical properties.

First, it encourages civility. Take the 2016 Republic presidential primaries. Donald Trump might have been less rude to the other candidates if he had wanted the second or third preferences from  electors for whom he was not the first choice.

Second, its use in policy-  and decision-making leads to win-win solutions that suit all parties. That same incentive, to secure the second and third preferences, encourages people who support one policy to understand what others need and want, and then to adapt their proposal accordingly.

Also, preference voting has wide application. We’ve used it with: an NGO; a professional football club; a local authority; parish council clerks; and a Transition Town.

RZ

Rosa Zubizarreta Thu 27 Jan 2022 3:57PM

Hi @Perry Walker !

So glad you enjoyed The New State!

From all accounts, MPF was an awesome listener and a brilliant facilitator, and it seems to me she is describing the natural genius that emerges in groups, whenever we enter the zone of psychological safety...

About online Dynamic Facilitation... they've developed an app for it in Germany... no, it's not the same as the big sheets of paper :-) :-) :-) but it does seem to be working well.

Your question about the different forms of legitimacy....

my understanding about vTaiwan, is that there was tons of collaboration baked in at the outset, from the g0v folks who would create "forked" versions of gov web pages, improve them, then offer them back to the official government for their use?...Something like that... I'm not a techie so please forgive if it sounds like gibberish, i may have messed up on the details but the basic movement is accurate.

so then at some much later point Audrey became Minister without a portfolio (meaning something like "minister at large")... and she recruited volunteers from each gov department, to train in facilitation with her... so it's not an "either / or", but rather, how can we utilize "smart" forms of participation, to enhance what the government is doing...

at the same time, due to the Sunflower revolution, it's a new government, which is already more favorably inclined to collaborate... Erik Olin Wright, lefty sociologist and founder of the Real Utopias project, (documenting grass-roots changes on the ground) and Archon Fung (delib democracy theorist)

developed a lovely simple four-square that describes this (though to my knowledge they were not aware of vTaiwan, but were basing this on other examples) -- the vertical axis is "governance institutions", and is either top-down administration to participatory collaboration, while the horizontal axis is "presence of countervailing power" (think XR, or organized grassroots mobilization) and is either low or high.

So in their view, participatory collaboration processes only work well, in the presence of high countervailing power... (this is pg 270 of "Deepening democracy: Institutional Innovations in Empowered Participatory Governance, by Fung and Wright.) and in the case of vTaiwan, both were definitely present...

**

in contrast, the participatory Council processes in Vorarlberg, seem to have been an exception to this. (their website now has a lot of good material in English, though some pages are only in German.)

In their case, there has not been an organized movement ("countervailing power") that I know of. What there has been, is long, slow, patient work, (by a small technical office headed by dedicated people) who offered high-quality participatory processes as a "way forward" to address local challenges at town, municipal, and regional levels, until over time they had the skill and reputation to offer them at a state-wide level.

From the beginning, they were VERY careful about securing as much commitment as possible to follow-through, and their process includes a feature (the "responders' group") that is designed to monitor the movement of the Council recommendations as they pass through the often labyrinthine bureaucratic process afterward, and to report back on the implementation and uptake at the end of this cycle.

What I've heard anecdotally, is that at times this provoked an internal crisis of legitimacy among the official gov folks, whether elected or appointed -- if the people themselves are coming up with the policy directives, what is OUR function?? yet they eventually realized that implementation of policy is a valuable and legitimate role in itself, one that the people at large both appreciate and need.

So in this case, the collaboration between the participatory process (Citizen's Councils) and the elected government has also become one of synergy, as in vTaiwan, though as a result of a different path...

in both cases however, it seems to me that the commonality is seeing it as a "both-and" -- BOTH forms of legitimacy are legitimate!

and, they CAN (though not always do) enhance and support one another.

***

Some of what gets in the way of realizing this possibility in other places, as I see it -- one is, the collective trauma imprint of abuse of power by governments, which leads some people to the "wanting to do away with them altogether" extreme... and that tends to augment what I see as a natural human tendency with regard to any evolutionary advance, whether in tech or anything else, to want to emphasize the DIScontinuity with whatever came before, a "swinging to the other end of the pendulum" as it were, rather than seeking to augment, complement, build on... yet I do think that the long-run sustainable movement is "transcend and include", as in, the various structures of the brain, rather than imagining that the only path forward is to "create something new" that completely does away with the old...

(and yes, in some arenas "transcend and include" would not apply... as an old anti-nuclear activist, I don't see sustainable energy as only "part of a larger mix". Though even there, one must admit that our lovely star Sun, is a perfectly wonderful nuclear fusion reactor, at just the right safe distance from our living starship Terra... )

***

anyway, those are my thoughts on all this...

and preference voting sounds great!!! I've been a big fan of ranked choice voting, and this sounds like it may be an upgrade of that...

with much love,

Rosa

RZ

Rosa Zubizarreta Thu 27 Jan 2022 4:09PM

Hi @Simon Heath ... thanks so much for the heads up about Cardano... will share with friends who will find it super useful, in case they are not aware of it yet.

RZ

Rosa Zubizarreta Thu 27 Jan 2022 4:48PM

Hi @Dan Scrimgeour, I would love to learn more about your work...

Just to clarify though... my sense is that all of us here are seeking to "build support around common aims and causes", and to foster "constructive dialogue over combative debate", though we may have different ways of doing so....

It's great to learn about new and different ways of "allowing people the space to really listen and understand where others were coming from".... and here's to, "gearing their energy towards agreement over solutions and actions"!!!

At the same time, I'd like to take a closer look at the role of "generating conflict to spur change"... as I think it may actually turn out to be related to one of your "prerequisites"...

One question often asked is, are we generating the conflict, or are we surfacing the conflict that is already present? That's a great question imo, yet I'd like to ask a different one, one that is also quite common and basic... how do we get people to the table, in the first place??

in the field of mediation, conflict resolution, and conflict transformation, there is a long-standing concept called "BATNA", which is an acronym for "Best Alternative To Negotiated Agreement". It's used to understand the challenges involved, in "bringing people to the table"...

for example, if there is a rich corporation that is polluting and poisoning the community in which they are located, they might simply decline an invitation to "come to a space where people can really listen and understand each other, and come to agreement over solutions and actions". One might describe this situation, as, "their BATNA is too high"... meaning that higher-ups in the corporation believe they have other very good alternatives, like simply ignoring you, rather than coming to the table...

Point is, BATNA is not fixed -- but rather, something that can be changed... through organizing, through publicity, through a bunch of other things -- things that often are NOT exactly under the rubric of facilitation, or process design, or dialogue...

All of those wonderful "listening arts" we know and love, that awesome field where some of us are continuously exploring and innovating and wonderfully gamifying... as I see it, while completely essential to everything, these "listening arts" are only half of the "solution"...

And so I'm curious about, how do you build the "prerequisites"... one of which in my view, would be, "willingness to engage"... yet maybe that is already included in your six underlying principles, under "common aim or interest"?

Anyway, I don't think there's any single answer to this question, though of course I am a big fan of Gandhi and King and all of the NVDA they have inspired...

Looking at this question systemically, I thought @Jake 's proposal was brilliant, and I want to write more about it... yet at this point I must get on with the rest of my day... thank you all...

DS

Dan Scrimgeour Tue 8 Feb 2022 7:46AM

Hi Rosa, thank you so much for your warm reply and my apologies for the delay in mine (have been on the move the last 10 days).. I'd be happy to share more of my ideas with you and would love to continue the conversation.

In answer to your question on engagement, I think it comes down to having that common aim or interest to work with. That, and having a platform wherein it is as easy as possible to contribute meaningfully. It is here that I believe that there are still plenty of dots that need to be connected!

We're connected on LinkedIn, so will write to you shortly on there...