Big Society ~ 'People power'� perhaps not?
marknbarrett at googlemail.com
Tue Nov 9 12:19:45 GMT 2010
>democracy under a dictatorship.
Well yes, but that means it's not really democracy at all! The BS Agenda is
really meaningless without a huge shift in political and economic power
relations. Here are some ideas on Peoples Assemblies and Real Democracy in
the run up to the event on Dec 11th www.peoplesassemblies.org and other
linked initiatives. Hope some of you can make it.
*About Peoples Assemblies:*
In addition to the CJA (Climate Justice Action) spontaneous international
call out in 2009 at Copenhagen:
One Brit-based and economic cuts related take on Peoples Assemblies can be
found at A World to Win's site, here:
And another, on the idea of Real Democracy (and its link to Peoples
Assemblies), with its obvious link to a localisation of our means of
production, may also be of interest, short statement of principle, here
thing this statement neglects to cover is the importance of getting the
nation states to work together but this will be amended soon. One the key
aspects of PA thinking is that if done right, ie well mobilised with clear
politics for change attached it can address both ends of the political and
economic spectrum, localisation and globalisation, aswell as transforming
each relevant national story at the same time. Hence reference in the
statement to the Real Third International (3rd being people power, after 1st
global capital and, increasingly (rich country - ie G20/NATO etc) 2nd global
state. Also, a lot of work has been done on exactly "how" we might go about
decentralising public services, from banking to unemployment and other
benefits to governance (and they must be all of a piece) as well as the kind
of taxation system that would best suit such a radically empowering
reorganisation of our systems of governance. Some of this can be found at
the experimental article written (again specifically in Brit / David
Cameron's "Big Society" context at: http://www.newsov.org/?page_id=59
(lots here about Democracy a how to make it a reality, but especially
see point five, about green jobs which should be liberating, not forced /
authoritarian as per the latest BS proposals. )
And, finally, again (sorry for overload) in terms of the Brit constitution,
ie the national story a statement some of us put together back in 2006,
which also refers to the need for PAs, is here:
On 8 November 2010 23:52, Mr Zouk <mrzouk8 at yahoo.com> wrote:
> sorry mate don't mean to be rude, but it's still democracy under a
> do you know what the word citizen / citizen ship means?
> DO you ever get letters addresses to Dear Occupier.
> Well we all know what an OCCUPIER is in the middle east no?
> Are they implying people are at war perhaps by using the address, and we
> just don't know it perhaps?
> Is the Address actually part of the property or is it owned by the council
> and is part of an easement which has little to do with the actual property
> but is infact near the property.
> Is it true that no one owns any land in the U.K.? and that most are just
> glorified tenants?
> find out who ultimately owns all the land with allodial title.
> No one can own land or property we can just use it as peaceful inhabitants.
> also regarding the Debate, they ask you to register a name, yet the crown
> owns all names check your birth certificate it's Crown Copyright.
> We can use the name, but do not own it, any claims made in the name make us
> unknowingly liable, as the names are "legal fictions".
> why does anyone need to regis ster anything to make a point or share a
> Is it not a democracy not to have to regis ter to make any points?
> Or I take it it is not a democracy to begin with and has never been?
> worth thinking about hey?
> --- On *Tue, 11/9/10, IandRgb <mm at iniref.org>* wrote:
> From: IandRgb <mm at iniref.org>
> Subject: [Political_Science] Re: [londonsocialforum2003] Referendum
> Politics & the hollowness of Cameron's BS // Civitas: Passing the buck? Big
> Society ~ ‘People power’… perhaps not?'
> To: londonsocialforum2003 at yahoogroups.com, redpepperdebate at yahoogroups.com,
> "UKCPN" <ukcpn at yahoogroups.com>, directactionagainstwar at yahoogroups.com,
> "diggers" <diggers350 at yahoogroups.com>, Envlist at yahoogroups.com,
> esfdemocracy_eurodebate at lists.riseup.net, "democracy forum" <
> democracy-forum at yahoogroups.com>, Political_Science at yahoogroups.com
> Date: Tuesday, November 9, 2010, 8:42 AM
> For those who value democracy as rule-by-the-people, rather than by a
> small, mainly well-heeled, elite + big biz, the recent Tory and coalition
> statements are at least worth looking at:
> Season for change in Britain? Citizen-led democracy<http://iniref.wordpress.com/2010/08/28/season-for-change-in-britain-citizen-led-democracy/> August
> 28, 2010 by iniref
> *Season for change in Britain? Citizen-led democracy
> by Michael Macpherson <http://www.iniref.org/bios.html>
> About the author, see http://www.iniref.org/bios.html
> Amazingly, the Tory party and Con-Libdems in coalition have opened up a
> debate about improving democracy-by-the-people, providing a range of
> opportunities for those who may wish to kindle public, professional and
> private reform-debate.
> What are we talking about? For instance:
> 1) For the âlocalâ� level there is a proposal to introduce the citizensâ
> proposition (âinitiativeâ�) and referendum, which can be started by a minimum
> of one in twenty voters.
> 2) The coalition states, “We will give residents the power to veto
> excessive council tax increases.â�
> 3) The new government has announced a referendum plan for village housing
> schemes with a ‘Community Right to Build’. Overwhelming support for a
> housing scheme must be shown in the referendum, with a hurdle of 80 or 90
> percent approval.
> Proposals “2″ and “3″ have already evoked heated comment by local authority
> representatives and interest groups, reported in news media, including BBC.
> 4) There is a clear commitment to âThe Recallâ�, albeit in a watered down
> form. Coalition: “We will bring forward early legislation to introduce a
> power of recall, allowing voters to force a by-election where an MP is found
> to have engaged in serious wrongdoing and having had a petition calling for
> a by-election signed by l0% of his or her constituents.â�
> 5) There is the promised referendum about electoral system with which the
> right of the electorate to decide constitutional matters is implicitly
> acknowledged. Coalition: “We will bring forward a Referendum Bill on
> electoral reform, which includes provision for the introduction of the
> Alternative Vote in the event of a positive result in the referendum, â¦â�
> 6) Obligatory referendum promised on Europe (no such guarantee in sight for
> constitutional change at home): Coalition: “We will amend the 1972 European
> Communities Act so that any proposed future treaty that transferred areas of
> power, or competences, would be subject to a referendum on that treaty – a
> âreferendum lockâ.â�
> 7) Even at the national-level there’s a hint of direct democracy.
> Coalition: “We will ensure that any petition that secures 100,000 signatures
> will be eligible for formal debate in Parliament. The petition with the most
> signatures will enable members of the public to table a bill eligible to be
> voted on in Parliament.â�
> Separately all of these proposals are weak and mainly unsatisfactory for
> democrats. Together they show a small but seismic shift in reform potential.
> This is a moment of great opportunity for supporters of citizen-led
> democracy. Campaigning must be stepped up in order to mobilise articulate
> opinion for improvements rather than token gesture changes in our democracy.
> The Campaign needs more active people, across the countries. Contact
> INIREF <http://www.iniref.org/> via http://www.iniref.org/
> DISCUSS THIS AT
> Democr at cy Forum <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/democracy-forum>
> Open Democracy<http://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/john-jackson/why-referendum-is-%E2%80%9Cgood-thing%E2%80%9D>
> INIREF blog at WordPress <http://iniref.wordpress.com/>
> Mark Barrett wrote:
> From article below:
> "Referendum politics through public initiatives, as practised widely in
> California, sees voters deciding yes or no on questions of policy, the scope
> to propose policy measures is limited to those with the money and power to
> lead an initiative."
> "it is difficult to see how this exercise, for the majority of the
> population, will remain anything other than reactive."
> "I’m sure that both David Cameron and the British public both realise this,
> so let’s stop kidding ourselves otherwise."
> 'People power'… perhaps not « Civitas<http://www.google.com/url?sa=X&q=http://www.civitas.org.uk/wordpress/2010/11/08/%25E2%2580%2598people-power%25E2%2580%2599%25E2%2580%25A6-perhaps-not/&ct=ga&cad=:s7:f1:v0:d1:i2:lt:e2:p2:t1289244728:&cd=h5lcsXkS5bo&usg=AFQjCNGF8CSzCZicZokEmQ70DUhLzriW2Q>
> By Stephen Clarke
> The move fits in with Cameron's wider '*Big Society*' project, a project
> that is beginning to take shape with the Government's plans to devolve power
> to GPs in health care commissioning, parents in setting up schools and most
> recently in *...*
> Civitas -
> ‘People power’… perhaps not
> Today David Cameron promised to end the era of ‘bureaucratic
> accountability’ and usher in the era of ‘democratic accountability’<http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/8116820/David-Cameron-promises-to-transfer-power-away-from-Whitehall.html>.
> From an era with a bureaucracy held to account by the government for meeting
> targets to an era where the bureaucracy is held to account by ‘the people’
> who monitor its progress in moving towards ‘milestones’.
> The move fits in with Cameron’s wider ‘Big Society’ project, a project that
> is beginning to take shape with the Government’s plans to devolve power to
> GPs in health care commissioning, parents in setting up schools and most
> recently in proposals to force the unemployed serve their communities in
> return for benefits. These policies have fleshed out a concept which before,
> and indeed after, the general election had been criticized for being woolly
> and vague. However the recent initiative, which involves the setting up of a ‘Transparency
> website’ <http://transparency.number10.gov.uk/>could in itself reflect
> some of the inconsistencies in the Big Society project.
> The rhetoric behind Cameron’s proposal is grandiose: “We are going to take
> power from government and hand it to people, families and communitiesâ� and
> “In one of the biggest blows for people power, we’re shining a bright light
> of transparency on everything government doesâ�. If an individual wants to
> test out their new-found people power they can go to the website, look up
> the government department they are interested in, and see if they are doing
> what they promised.
> I decided to do this for the Department for Business, Innovation and
> Skills<http://transparency.number10.gov.uk/transparency/srp/view-srp/44/99> and
> found out that so far the department is overdue in developing ‘guidance to
> impose ‘sunset clauses’ on new regulations so that they automatically expire
> unless positive action is taken by government to renew them’. So far, so
> transparent, but it is difficult to find out why this action is overdue or
> indeed when and how the situation will be rectified. After spending thirty
> minutes searching the Transparency and BIS websites I was still unable to
> find the information. No doubt I could contact someone at BIS and maybe they
> could answer my question but I am sceptical that even the most empowered
> citizen would do this, unless the issue was of primary importance to them.
> Perhaps more importantly the Transparency website may tell the public what
> policies are completed and which are overdue but the website does not extend
> power to people to decide the policies themselves.
> This is where Cameron’s rhetoric clashes with reality. Government can be
> shrank, and undoubtedly in this country should be, but there are some areas
> where government will remain the only game in town. On substantive policy
> questions the involvement of the people will always be limited, and there
> are a number of reasons for this. Firstly, the majority of people do not
> have the time to devise their own solutions to political problems;
> government is a form of outsourcing that the populace engages in so that
> they can get on with other things. Second, people may not want to get
> involved in devising policy solutions or may lack the expertise to. The
> Labour MP Douglas Alexander may have been particularly prescient when he
> stated (concerning the general public): “they feel they have a pretty good
> accountability mechanism, it’s called a general election<http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-11708375>â�.
> Third, the logistics of wider political involvement appears too unwieldy,
> or in essence ineffective. Referendum politics through public initiatives,
> as practised widely in California, sees voters deciding yes or no on
> questions of policy, the scope to propose policy measures is limited to
> those with the money and power to lead an initiative.
> This is not to say that Cameron’s moves to improve transparency are not
> welcome. Government needs to be held to account by the public, although it
> is often the media and those paid to do so who do the job. However it is
> difficult to see how this exercise, for the majority of the population, will
> remain anything other than reactive. Government, along with interest groups,
> advisors and academics will continue to create policy that the electorate
> reacts to on Election Day. David Cameron has rightly championed many
> policies that will reduce the influence of central government on policy *
> implementation* (GP commissioning, more freedom for teachers with free
> schools) but in terms of policy *creation* it is hard to see how the same
> degree of power could be devolved. I’m sure that both David Cameron and the
> British public both realise this, so let’s stop kidding ourselves otherwise.
> big society <http://www.civitas.org.uk/wordpress/tag/big-society/>, David
> Cameron <http://www.civitas.org.uk/wordpress/tag/david-cameron/>, Department
> for <http://www.civitas.org.uk/wordpress/tag/department-for-business/>
> "We hear men speaking for us of new laws strong and sweet /Yet is there no
> man speaketh as we speak in the street.â�
"We hear men speaking for us of new laws strong and sweet /Yet is there no
man speaketh as we speak in the street.â�
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