Community Activists Network
A World To Win have started a process to draft a new democratic constitution for Britain.
They hope to complete the work within six months and to then launch a campaign to win mass support and create a movement to fight for it.
Perhaps the first step for NatCAN members would be to take a look at this proposal and then discuss its implications?
Here's the link http://bit.ly/XJqnvH
P.S. See the attached draft agreement and invite
Attached are three of the four documents produced by working groups:
You can get the other, or all of them, from here http://bit.ly/T4feOn
As I live in Croydon North, I face a predicament about voting in tomorrow's by-election. There is no political party I wish to give my vote to.
But, nonetheless,Croydon North and Rotherham could provide an insight on the degree of disaffection with the political system. One of the big issues - being exploited by UKIP of course - is Britain's membership of the European Union. That obviously raises constitutional issues. So, the question of a democratic constitution is gaining importance.
Working a such a proposition could help people make a transition from today's extremely limited democracy to a deeper, more meaningful one.
What do others think?
Joe, I have just read the documents related to this discussion. There is a lot to take in and digest. It will need a great deal of thought, discussion and review to get this off the ground. I have put down my initial thoughts for what they are worth.
There are many people hurting all over the world, who would benefit from such change, thus I think it has to be a global movement. We also need allies in the fight. The abuse we are dealing with is global but we are not now hampered by poor communication channels as they were historically. One of the problems with the first attempt to establish a general trade union (The GNCTU) was the difficulty of getting their message across to all who wanted change at that time. We have instant communication. However you are right that the powers that be will want to take control. We see this now with the proposed invasion of privacy in the shape of the 'Snoopers Charter'. This has nothing to do with national security, it is about controlling the communication channels and suppressing any opposition.
It is clear that democracy has been undermined by the state's alliance with corporate and financial powers. There will need to be broad support both here and abroad to change this situation.
People do not feel that they have any involvement in the political process and any movement has to bring people together. As you have said, the present situation and the solution have to be explained in simple terms to reach all who want something better. That is not say that people are not bright enough to understand, but it needs to be put in everyday, man/woman in the street, language to reach the greatest number of the population. Any movement has to give all people a real sense of involvement.
Political education cannot be viewed in the shadow of the old Communist system, whereby the individual was brought under the yoke of the state. That of course will be how our critics will want to portray any such movement. The protection of the individual is paramount. As we have also discussed it has to be a grass-roots movement and engage the youth culture. Many young people don't see a future of any worth at the moment. They have to see that this gives them hope for the future.
I think it was George Washington who was not in favour of political parties. He was obviously on to something, because he saw that they only serve their own kind and are not concerned with the masses. Remember Romney's 47 % comment.
Any new political process/organisation has to awaken a large number of people from their state induced stupor. Many people today have been so crushed and exhausted by the actions of this coalition that all their energies go into surviving from day to day. As Owen Jones said, '... the anger is there, now we need the hope..' I would add to that, the energy as well and the light at the end of the tunnel.
One word of caution, along with the others; the issue of no private ownership will sound like the old Communist mantra and will put some potential supporters off and be seized upon by those who will want to rubbish any attempted change. Most people just want an opportunity to buy a home of their own. Real affordable housing has to be a main aim of any movement.
I think exercises like this can be useful for setting out demands around which we can mobilise. But as practical governing tools, constitutions are only as good as the institutions that implement them. Meanings are easily captured and subverted - the US Constitution is a case in point. So, in a different sense, is international law. It is enforced by the very people that should be subject to it, so it is always enmeshed in the political processes it is supposed to govern. Still, we need to do something and the manifesto is a good basis for discussion and action.
The issues you have raised can be addressed in direct democracy, at least what will transpire will be reflective of collective will. The hope is that humanitarian concerns will be addressed through collective empathy. This may not occur, but direct democracy gives us the means to activate independent justice systems, credit systems, to kick out corporates that violate said agreement, then hand over the building/land to the workers for them to run as a co-operative. As long as it is respectful and beneficial for all. I expect we will see a return to local craftmanship and skill sharing. With regards to ownership, not everybody wishes to live in the manner that we are restricted to. The Levellers 2012 give valid reasoning that people should in principal have the right to live off the land where it is not utilized and build their own shelters, and grow their own food. Hopefully we will be supportive of all in accessing the fundamentals of life.
The first steering group meeting to get this thing going was held Wednesday 5th of December
Twelve people were present in London, another seven were connected through Skype plus 11 sent apologies.
They agreed to:
· set up a temporary space for the work of the Steering Group on A World to Win’s Network platform. Please join the network here so that we can get things going.
· form two working groups on the Network to a) develop the agreement b) win more support for the project. They will bring their proposals to the next steering group in January
· create a Facebook community (any Steering Group member can be admins).
The proposed call-out appeal is below.
An Agreement of the People for the 21st century (draft call out)
We are asking you to support the campaign to develop a democratic constitution that will embody new political, social, economic, legal and environmental rights. The aim is to extend democracy and to transfer power firmly into the hands of the majority.
We have called the new constitution an Agreement of the People to link up with the Levellers, who fought for democracy during the English Revolution. The advances in democracy the Levellers pioneered have all but vanished today.
Increasing numbers of people are disillusioned and alienated by the political process. They do not see a role for themselves within the present system. They believe that democracy is limited to having a vote for parties that claim that there is no alternative to the market economy.
We need to challenge the forces that press down upon us and to fight for self-determination as workers, students, trade unionists, activists, older people, as communities and neighbourhoods. We invite you to:
· support this initiative which was launched at an assembly on November 17, 2012
· send us your points, comments and proposals about the draft Agreement
· spread the word and, if you can, help us with resources.
Our aim is to launch the Agreement in early summer 2013 and to call an Assembly to discuss how we will achieve its objectives.
That's good. Will do the job. Where do people send their suggestions? If you want can endeavour to make a video shout out. Have made people who are quite radical and politically aware of this initiative. I think we need to produce audio, visual and reading materials for the necessity of such an agreement. Also people who are prepared to do presentations, with multi media and without. I will spend a day mind mapping soon. I reckon start at the grass roots. Get delegates from all the various voluntary campaign groups to take away an agreement work it bring it back. Collate it. Have a number of their contacts. Get us to vote on the changes using the instant democracy software that is only a concept. Then economically deprived areas and unions be systematic about it. Universities etc. No one working on the project is allowed to receive any financial gain accept enough for shelter food and transport where necessary. Obviously we all have to agree first. But I can visualize how this might work.
Paul Feldman has blogged on this topic - including:
"In Britain, although there is no codified constitution unlike the US, a variety of laws and conventions give rise to the same situation. Power, real decision making power, is held by a set of state institutions that exist to serve not the people but the so-called corporate masters of the universe."
If you like what he says, consider using your social media to put the word out please
If you scroll back up the page to the original blurb, you'll see I've attached the latest draft of An Agreement of the People for C21 and the invite, which you can forward to your contacts, if you so choose.