Weekly Summary 9 (January 22 - 30 2003)
Internal and External Organization of a WP
[2nd summary, Topic 3]
Organizing a WP like a tree. A WP's primary function is to empower the people. Building on existing foundations : using organizations to create a WP. More on funding a WP. Remaining questions regarding local and regional assemblies and an idea for a First Principle.
Looking at a tree
One of the criticisms encountered by the forum has been the propensity of the discussion to meander into highly theoretical philosophical debates and to come up with complicated answers to some of the basic questions laid out at the beginning of the discussion. Sometimes, a simple image can give meaning to an array of complex notions. Let us step back to see more clearly perhaps what it is we are trying to do here.
If the World Parliament should become a * tree of palaver * as one participant so aptly described it a few weeks ago, then what should this tree look like? What should the trunk consist of? And the branches and the leaves? What should its foundations lie on? Through this image lies one of the essential questions surrounding the organization of a World Parliament, namely whether it should be built around local and regional assemblies or around a world assembly. The metaphor of the tree might help us here see more clearly how one might envisage a WP. The roots might lie on the local assemblies whereas the trunk might be built around a world assembly. At the top of the tree, the branches and the leaves providing us with the shade necessary to get together and discuss things - and maybe cool us down enough to think clearly - might consist of the continental assemblies and their networks. In any case, the organization of a world parliament would definitely go beyond and transcend national boundaries, a fundamental principle that should be reflected in its structure and organization. In essence, the world assembly would lie on the shoulders of the local assemblies and would in turn support the continental assemblies.
Empowerment of the people
If one looks at the various solutions destined to govern democratically, the more truly democratic is what we could call * sovereign collective citizenship *. Here, each citizen is declared apt to behave himself or herself as a sovereign with regards to public affairs so that, in essence, he or she has the right to be its beneficiary but also has the duty to devote his/her time to it. From there, it is the citizens who make the decisions and the laws and public * managers * who are commissioned to execute them.
With this in mind, it is logical that if our elected officials today performed the will of their people a WP would not be necessary. Thus, the focus of a WP should be to empower, or re-empower, people, which goes back to the whole issue of democracy, which starts at the grass-roots level. One of the problems of today's democracies is accountability (of elected officials).One way to empower people at the local level would be to start developing an * impeachment * process on a global scale. A WP could be instrumental in collecting the NGO's as well as local support to get that done. The WP could then be the true voice of the people throughout the world. Thus, a WP should have some method to give the local people of the world a way to hold their elected officials accountable. A WP would be :
a) a place where global issues can be presented and discussed and debated; b) where those participating can work towards reaching consensus on presented issues; c) where proposals or recommendations of meaningful solutions based on research can be brought to the attention of the people, media, and governments d) a place that has the systems in place to work towards impeachment of any elected official at the local level of any nation that does not hear the will of its people. e) as these messages work there way up the elected officials to their unique seat of government, then to the UN, and last back to where it started, they are then made binding and enforceable legislation, based on the will of the people in control of their governments for the good of all.
Building on existing foundations
As every one on this forum knows, creating a World Parliament is no easy task. One way to go about it might be to use existing organizations as a foundational structure. Activist organizations for instance could play an important role in the establishment and workings of the WP and they could be formally included in the organizing process. A delegates council could be created that would provide a means to provide feedback and input from local and regional assemblies and participating organizations to the World Parliament.
There are many within activist organizations, with broad membership bases, that are supportive of the idea of creating a world parliament. These people have excellent organizing skills, knowledge about politics and global issues, and many of the resources needed to build support for the WP. Thus it makes sense to a growing number of those who have actively supported the development of a WP to formally include the participation of such leaders and organizations in the world parliament
For instance, those that have been active in the Global Peoples Assembly Network (GPAN) have developed a plan for a delegates council which would include representatives from all of the local and regional assemblies around the world, along with participating NGOs, and which would have the ultimate governing authority for the world parliament. Though we would also require ratification of such measures by all those that are registered to vote in the World Parliament and / or participate in the relevant plenary sessions of the parliament. However, the discussions and decisions of the delegates council would not be made primarily by those sitting on the council. These representatives would instead act as liaisons and be required to take all primary decisions back to their assemblies for discussion and consideration. Formal processes would be established for doing so and for removal of delegates that failed to follow the procedures. Thus decisions by the delegates council would be based on discussions held around the world with feedback and input coming from local and regional assemblies.
Again on the topic of funding (a World Parliament), one participant suggested that it would be possible to draw up practical plans to abolish poverty in all low income countries and raise the profitability of all the leading corporations several fold. Both might, apart from generating great funds, directly serve the aims of the WP by raising the level of prosperity in the rich nations so that equality of income will be more real, raising the minimum educational levels of the developed countries inconceivably high and finding fund resources for that will be a real source of WP's income. Two things would be ensured: 1) WP can have a recurring independent income on a part with UN. 2) Total independence of action from those who pay.
Several questions remain, however, regarding local and regional assemblies. For instance, what is the official platform of a World Parliament? what is its manifesto? what does a World Parliament officially stand for so that we can go to the people and say, this is what we represent?
Another more general question relates to the idea that a WP should be based on a guiding principle. In a thought provoking message, one participant suggested that the First Principle might be the following: * Each and every human being has an equal right by birth to the land and resources of the earth. * Could this become the First Principle around which to build a World Parliament? I will leave you to ponder this question.