============================================================================ From: •••@••.••• Date: Sun, 5 Mar 2000 20:41:38 EST Subject: Re: cj#1068> THE NEW WORLD ORDER AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT To: •••@••.••• MIME-Version: 1.0 Richard, I have much appreciated receiving your postings over the last few years. I find them all, those you pen and those you forward, refreshing, stimulating and challenging for activists -- of which I am one. This is among your very best. While lengthy, it captures what has happened since the launch of the "New World Order" -- especially the military dimension which is often missing in most "globalization"/"corporatization" analysis. Maybe the most important feature of this piece, however, is your thinking about "democracy" -- an overused word even (or especially) among activists. I have been somewhat troubled by many accounts of the WTO festivities in Seattle (which I took part in myself and cherished many empowering experiences) that seemed to exclusively equate the street actions with "this is what democracy looks like." This is only a part of the truth. The other, more important, part of democracy is establishing a process that from the start is authentically inclusive and remains so through the entire process. By definition, this must involve some type of consensus. It is a principle affirming cooperation and that brings to the surface important ideas what in a "winner-take-all" approach to majority rule in a democracy is lost, crushed or belittled. I affirm your "ends and means" thinking. I believe Gandhi also said, "the means are the ends in the making." Your democracy model is actually quite in line with the thinking and actions ofJayaprakash Narayan who in India in the 1970's tried to organize "Lok Samitis" or "People's Committee's." Representatives of these committees convene to form larger groupings ("Village Committees") who send reps to even larger groups. Narayan Desai and his "Institute for Total Revolution" has written as well about such a model. I spent some time in the early 90's visiting a variety of Gandhian communities throughout India and learned about this sensible approach to democracy. Cuba is certainly a great example. Neighborhood people are actively engaged in their process of discussion and discussions. These and other examples are more what I associate with "what democracy looks like" over the long haul. The one part of your suggestion that I couldn't quite follow was about how this "bottom up" structure connects to the more formalized, constitutional structure -- elections and elected representatives. I have been associated for a few years with the Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy (POCLAD) in the US. Mary Zepernick (who speaks very highly of you) says that she and Richard Grossman met you awhile back. POCLAD has done an excellent job at the "corporation" side of their mission, but has more work to do on the "democracy" side. Your thinking and suggestions can serve an important role. The next meeting of the POCLAD "collective" begins on Wednesday -- I plan to share your piece with everyone there. Thanks for your posts and in sharing your written works. They are among my most valuable sources of ideas and inspirations. Greg Coleridge Director Economic Justice & Empowerment Program Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee (a Quaker social action organization) 513 W. Exchange St. Akron, Ohio 44302 Phone: 330-253-7151 Email: •••@••.••• ======================== Dear Greg, Many thanks for your note, and glad to be linking back with POCLAD. As regards constitutional structure and elections, permit me to clarify... First of all, where do these ideas come from? They come from looking at precedents in history and from considering scenarios in a systematic way. This process eliminates many superficially attractive alternatives - such as reform of the current system, electing a 'white knight' hero such as Nader, premature pursuit of stronger international agreements, and the creation of a new political party. In considering scenarios, whether inspired by history, by readers' comments, or by proposals put forward by others, one must take into account... 1) how the scenario can be brought about 2) how it would fare when the regime fights back 3) what would be likely to happen when it nears victory 4) where it goes in the long run - what are the inherent dynamics of the scenario's elements? As I currently see it - and I'm always open to new insights and observations - only a complete re-structuring of the political process and the economic framework can save humanity from a very bad historical period - unrestrained corporate power organized on a global scale and backed by elite-controlled hi-tech military forces and elite-designed media propaganda. And I can see no way to overcome such a well-organized and well-funded array of power without a majority mass movement on a global scale. Such a movement would need to keep its eye on the prize: (1) the establishment of a stable democratic process and (2) the use of that process to create a human, livable, sustainable world. If the movement focuses on anything less (such as the winning of a particular election) then history clearly shows that the movement will eventually fade away or be co-opted into the existing regime. Since any victorious movement is likely to become the de-facto interim policy-making body - a democratic outcome can only be assured if the movement itself is democratic. Thus I think it is critical - if the movements goals are to be achieved - that all activists insist that any orgnaizations they participate in are functioning democratically themselves, and are seeking collaborative democratic harmonization with other activist groups, NGO's, citizen groups, and other organizations. The latest issue of Toward Freedom magazine carries a useful article about Lessons From Seattle which discusses the non-violence training and other preparations for the demonstrations. I'd say these preparations and organizing are "what democracy looks like" - even more than the demonstrations themselves. I may well have missed some possibilities, but my 'scenario analysis' leads me to only a single viable scenario. That scenario leads us to a situation where global democratic mass movement has achieved victory and is intent on restructuring how the world works. Keep in mind that this movement has been working collaboratively for some time in the pursuit of its objectives. During this process, one of its primary objectives has been to build the size of its constituency to include most of society - otherwise victory could never be achieved. In order to bring everyone in, on a democratic basis, it would be necessary to harmonize the goals of the various constituencies. Thus 'policy formulation' would already be well under way long before victory was achieved. There would be policies, they would be harmonized, and there would be a process in place by which democratic problem-solving happened within the movement - locally and on larger scales. Thus we have a movement which is a _working movement - it establishes objectives on a democratic basis and then it pursues them collectively and in its various constituencies. When it reaches sufficient size and achieves sufficient internal consensus then it can field a slate of candidates at all levels of governemnt, and expect them to win their elections. If these candidates are pledged to implement movement policies, and if those policies have been determined democratically, as discussed above, then the consitutional governmental structures will be functioning as an administrative agency - carrying out democratically determined policies. I believe this scenario is an achievable one: for each of its steps, one can see real historical examples where such a step succeeded - often against seemingly overwhelming odds. If people can think of other viable scenarios I'd like to hear about them. If there are no other viable scenarios, then that can be a very empowering fact! That is to say, _if we all agree there's only one basic scenario that can lead to victory, _then we may be motivated to drop lesser objectives and get on with the show. I hope that clarifies things and feedback is invited. all the best, rkm ============================================================================ Richard K Moore Wexford, Irleand Citizens for a Democratic Renaissance email: •••@••.••• CDR website: http://cyberjournal.org cyberjournal archive: http://members.xoom.com/centrexnews/ book in progress: http://cyberjournal.org/cdr/gri/gri.html A community will evolve only when the people control their means of communication. -- Frantz Fanon Permission for non-commercial republishing hereby granted - BUT include and observe all restrictions, copyrights, credits, and notices - including this one. ============================================================================ .