I continue to be amazed at how rapidly things are unfolding. Last Thursday, only four days ago, I went to a ‘truth conference’ in Cork, about 9/11, the NWO, the GMO disaster, the warming scam, etc. I got to meet William Engdahl, Jim Corr, and Christopher Monckton in person. I was primarily there to observe the audience and their responses. Rather than a ‘gathering of the choir’, it was people who were curious, listened, and evaluated for themselves. Encouraging, as regards the potential for public conversation.
Then the next day, Friday, a local meeting was held here in Wexford where the two leaders of CPPC ( http://www.cppc.ie/ ) presented their agenda. They have a very enlightened political analysis, and a transformative political vision. Both are very simple and obvious, like the nakedness of the emperor, once someone articulates them.
A TD is the equivalent of a Congressman, except in Ireland the equivalent of the Senate plays very little role. So a TD is our one-and-only local representative in government. CPPC points out that the primary loyalty of a TD is to the agenda of his or her party. So we get internal party politics, non-cooperation among parties, cronyism, sell-outs to special interests, all the sins of politics that have plagued us since ancient Rome.
CPPC’s vision is that we elect TDs who give their loyalty to their community, and represent the interests of their community on a non-partisan basis in the Dáil (legislature). If this vision were fulfilled, then we’d have a Dáil full of non-partisan representatives, working together to solve the problems of the country, and balancing the interests of the regions and communities. National policy would be a creative, collaborative affair, instead of a dysfunctional affair among parties who blame one another for problems that none of them faced up to.
Also, CPPC recognizes that this binding between TD and community can only occur if there is a local public conversation that identifies the interests, concerns, and priorities of the community, and develops a ‘sense of the community’. There needs to be a will of the people, before anyone can represent it.
Of course I was thrilled to hear this presentation, and meet the two leaders, as these ideas are so in harmony with my own ideas about self-governance. I had, however, one major reservation about their strategy. They propose that these locally-bound TDs register as candidates of the CPPC party, a party that promises to not really be a party, but just an umbrella for independents.
I can see how they evolved to this strategy, and at the same time it is a non-starter. You cannot promote non-partisanship under the banner of a party. I brought this up at the meeting, and I don’t know whether it will have any effect on their thinking or not.
So there I was the next morning, Saturday, thinking about CPPC, and thinking that what we really need is an independent candidate, with the same local-orientation as CPPC suggests, and who is eager to facilitate public conversation here in Wexford. Then my doorbell rings. It’s a very close, respected friend, who to my total surprise announces he wants to run for TD as an independent, and he wants to get discussion going in the community around bailing out of the bailout debts — let the banks take care of their own.
We start talking, and the more we talk the more impressed I am with this guy’s democratic orientation, understanding of the big picture, good campaign sense, and existing support network. We start completing one another’s sentences as we talk about what needs to be done. Before I know it I’m signed up and fully committed to the campaign.
This is a bit ironic, as I’ve given out often about the futility of electoral politics. But Ireland is a special case, where the prospects for a ‘community voice’ emerging are promising, and where the society is small enough that a TD can’t hide from his constituency in Dublin, quite the same way a Congressman can hide away in remote Washington DC. In any case, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
The turnout for the CPPC meeting was good, and I know the woman who organized it, let’s call her M. I started thinking about how we need M to organize a follow-up meeting, with even better promotion, and get the public discussion started. The candidate, let’s call him E, can state his views and intentions there, as part of the open discussion.
This brings us up to the next day, Sunday. I took the morning and afternoon off, playing music and quaffing pints, as usual on my beloved Sundays. Then that evening E rings my doorbell again, and we launch into figuring out how facebook fits into the picture. We decide that I’ll set up a personal network, and he will get help to set up a campaign ‘group’.
Monday morning is then spent sending out friend invites, harvesting from friends of friends, and limiting my friends to people I know fairly well here in Wexford. In the process, I find all kinds of promising, energy-filled statements about the Irish situation. In the local facebook world, I can already see the seed energy of a heart-felt public conversation. Besides the potential for online conversation, facebook will be brilliant for getting people to public meetings.
Meanwhile I’ve put in calls to M, re/ follow-up meeting, and to a fellow named Joe, who can tell me about the process of registering as a candidate, rules of elections, etc. Neither has called back, so I go into town to get groceries. Who do I run into on the street? Why Joe of course. I walk with him for a few minutes, and find out what I needed to know.
Then I turn around to head for the supermarket, and someone calls out, “Richard!”. It is — who else? — M. We sit down for coffee and I talk about a follow-up meeting, and ask her to guess who the mystery candidate is. She guesses correctly the second guess, and eagerly announces she is ‘on board’ the campaign, and will (with help of course) organize the meeting for next week.
That night, last night, E and I met at a mutual friend’s house and we worked on setting up the campaign group on facebook. It’s there now, with a photo, a brief statement of purpose, a great little hard-hitting video on the banks, and I posted an initial discussion thread, calling for Irish sovereignty — a Nation Once Again. We agreed that the campaign has now officially been launched, in a sense, although next week’s meeting will be the launch in a bigger sense.
All of that in in just four serendipity-filled days. And last night the government announced the elections will most likely be on Feb 25, exactly one month from now.
The media will be full of campaign rhetoric, and everyone’s frustration and disgust are already aroused. No one’s buying the rhetoric from any of the major parties, so frustration will get more intense during the campaign. Everyone seems to be thinking in terms of ‘clean sweep needed’, ‘get rid of all the bastards’, and folks in the audience are even saying as much on mainstream TV panel shows. I think people will welcome a chance to express themselves and discuss with one another in a non-paritsan environment.
I can’t help feeling that this is the time and this is the place, that ‘our chance has come’, to make a difference. Our chance, as ordinary people in a community, to help create a new kind of political process. A process rooted in community conversation, and carried to the capital by representatives who have been part of that conversation, and who are beholden to no one but their friends and neighbors and larger community.
If E wins, which we all know is a long shot, we enter level 2 of the engagement game, which will be a welcome challenge to face. But winning isn’t the main point of the exercise. The main point is to ride the wave of the intense energy and frustration of the brief campaign period, and channel that into facilitating an awakening of community political consciousness. The Shock Doctrine can work for us too: a time of crisis provides an opportunity to do what usually can’t be done.
to be continued, when time permits,
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