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Strange Famous Forum > Social stuff. Political stuff. KNOWMORE

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Raoul DeGroot



Joined: 30 Apr 2009
Posts: 2437
Location: Son Quest
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Well, lemme tell ya - There's lies, damn lies, and statistics.

I just made that up right now.
Post Fri Apr 08, 2011 9:42 pm
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firefly



Joined: 27 Sep 2002
Posts: 3990
Location: Montreal
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Self Conscious wrote:
firefly wrote:
I think the only way to an open and free society is by direct participation of the people.


only problem is how do you have direct participation in country as large as the US. its just not possible and a lot of people don't vote now so even if it were that way then it would work just like now. the reason we have representatives are most people have other, sometimes more important in their mind, things to do in their lives. Not everybody can be an expert on everything, not to say that the people we choose to represent us are experts, most are not but that's the problem, not he system of representative democracy.


I disagree that it's not possible. If you look at Porto Alegre in Brazil, they have participatory budgeting with a population of close to 1.5 million. Every month there are communal council meetings where the whole population is invited (they often have thousands of people attend). There they can express their opinions about how their tax money should be spent (shouldn't it be a right to have a say on how OUR tax money is spend?) and they vote in representatives (from their peers) to hear them out and who are accountable for their decisions. This structure has helped bring about a lot of positive programs for the community.

I already stated that this doens't mean that everybody has to be an expert on everything and as you said it, politicians usually don't have the skills or knowledge themselves.

And you're right that it is tough to do this in a country as large as the US or Canada which is why I think that governing should be done on a smaller scale. For instance where I live (montreal, quebec) is way different then the rest of canada. Narrow down the neighborhood that I live in and it's even more different then the rest of Canada. So why should there be a governing body that represents such a large area? It's just not reasonable. For instance, there is a Federal historic site in my neighborhood that is under attack from foreign corporations (a building from the 1800's was almost demolished) and the politians keep passing the buck (the municipal politician says that it's a Federal problem, the Feds say it's municipal). Nothing gets done unless the people themselves make it happen. And this battle wasn't won by protests but direct action (court cases, tactics to delay construction).

It sounds difficult because most people work hard at jobs they don't like, then they want to go home and zone out infront of a screen but the only way to have a free society is by direct participation. We can't rely on a few rich politicians (most of which live in gated communities, have no real connection to the way of life of the masses) to run our country/province/city/ect in our interest. We have to make it happen.
Post Sat Apr 09, 2011 10:31 am
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Bob_ptmfus



Joined: 11 Jan 2007
Posts: 743
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Raoul DeGroot wrote:
Well, lemme tell ya - There's lies, damn lies, and statistics.

I just made that up right now.


I think there's a 74% chance that your claim is bs.
Post Sat Apr 09, 2011 3:51 pm
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Self Conscious



Joined: 01 Apr 2009
Posts: 322
Location: Sleeping in a box car dreaming of lost starts
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firefly wrote:
Self Conscious wrote:
firefly wrote:
I think the only way to an open and free society is by direct participation of the people.


only problem is how do you have direct participation in country as large as the US. its just not possible and a lot of people don't vote now so even if it were that way then it would work just like now. the reason we have representatives are most people have other, sometimes more important in their mind, things to do in their lives. Not everybody can be an expert on everything, not to say that the people we choose to represent us are experts, most are not but that's the problem, not he system of representative democracy.


a population of close to 1.5 million. Every month there are communal council meetings where the whole population is invited (they often have thousands of people attend)


that doesn't sound like the whole country is participating. out of 1.5 million, thousands participate. not exactly a direct democracy
Post Sat Apr 09, 2011 5:47 pm
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Confidential



Joined: 23 Jan 2004
Posts: 2040
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Alan Hague wrote:


I've never been more convinced that unless wealth ownership and capitalism are challenged, then things will not change. And this challenge will require active work & organizing on the part of all concerned people.

Maybe this should be an entire discussion unto itself? I'm definitely down for that, but then again I'm the kind of nerd who never tires of talking politics. : )


I'm into the politics too. The past few years I've been pretty deep into the anti-capitalism/autonomous-marxism/zapatismo/anarchy. Wish i had the time to get more in depth about it. But for now, let me just say that for me, being of the anti-authoritarian, pro-indigenous sort, I don't want to be a part of any state, hierarchical relationship, and I've sort of moved past the socialist idols that first attracted me to the left (Che Guevara, etc.,). Some of the worst environmental crimes and human rights abuses occurred under socialist states, and you could argue that these cases were betrayals of socialism, but for me, it is corruption embedded in coercive, authoritarian social relations that comes with any state.

I think the revolution has to move beyond looking to the state as the main site of struggle, and toward constructing our own autonomous spaces, however temporary they may be for now. Not to say that we shouldn't confront the state for its brutality, or that it isn't necessary to take over the streets every now and then in order to manifest our dissent, but in some ways this helps the state congratulate itself on its liberalism. "Aren't we so free that we can have free speech , now lets get on with our bombing and structural adjustments."

Also, I think its important to note that capitalism and representative democracy aren't just systems of government and economics, but ideologies and paradigms. This de-colonizing of the mind is a process, and I have to admit that I personally haven't totally abandoned the ideals of the American Dream despite the overwhelming evidence that it is a huge fucking nightmare for just about everyone. And of course there is no where on earth that hasn't been enclosed by the forces of capital. Its a long walk ahead and no one has THE Answer - there is no one answer, just a lot of people who are not buying the capitalist western democratic line that "there is no alternative."

Sorry about my long winded response. i'm obviously nerding out on some john holloway and some Massimo de Angelis, and probably some Negri.

The EZLN is the military wing and the most recognized part of the Zapatista rebellion, but I've argued that the left has criminally overlooked the civilian part of the Zapatista movement. That is the Zapatista autonomous communities which have shown lessons in autonomous governance that is radically democratic, horizontal, anti-capitalist, interconnected to the alter-globalization movement; and they've done without compromising their distinct Mayan cultural autonomy. "Another world is possible" as they say.
Post Sat Apr 09, 2011 6:05 pm
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firefly



Joined: 27 Sep 2002
Posts: 3990
Location: Montreal
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Self Conscious wrote:
that doesn't sound like the whole country is participating. out of 1.5 million, thousands participate. not exactly a direct democracy


Come on dude, are you seriously criticizing this? I find it pretty amazing what they have accomplished. There's a great documentary about this that you can watch on youtube if your'e interested.



Here's the description:

How can ordinary people hold elected governments and public officials accountable for decisions and actions? Periodically changing governments is necessary, but not sufficient. In a complex world, new models are needed.

One approach is Participatory Democracy or Social Accountability.
This is a relatively new kind of people power involving the use of information, participation, transparency and accountability to demonstrate how democracy and good governance can work for the common good. In this film, we go to four continents in search of groups already practising it.

In Rajasthan, India, activist group MKSS fought long for the right to information. Now they are making use of this newly-won right to ensure clean candidates stand for election, and public funds are properly spent.

In Malawi, local people assess rural health clinics by through a community score card scheme. The village committee then meets healthcare providers to find ways to improve the service.

In Porto Alegre, Brazil, community members annually join meetings to decide on the City Budget. When this is presented to Parliament, law makers cant refuse because so many people have been involved in its making.

In Ireland, the Government is partnering with trade unions, employers, training institutions and community groups to deal with unemployment and other problems affecting youth.
Post Sun Apr 10, 2011 8:52 am
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Joshua Kane



Joined: 14 Jul 2008
Posts: 670
Location: Carlsbad, CA
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Raoul DeGroot wrote:
Well, lemme tell ya - There's lies, damn lies, and statistics.

I just made that up right now.




classic!!
Post Thu Jun 09, 2011 6:13 am
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