Weekly Summary 10 (March 10-24, 2003)
Creating a movement for global democracy and a WP
[1st summary, Topic V]
We moved to the Fifth month of discussion with the following question : How can we create a movement for global democracy and a world parliament and invite everyone to participate? Before going into this matter, a number of participants voiced some criticism about the forum and questioned the possibility of creating a viable WP. At this latest stage in the debate, previously discussed topics came back to the fore : the need for a common language, direct and true democracy. Finally, one participant underlined the importance of creating an art committee in a future WP.
As we head towards the 5th month of our six month discussion on a World Parliament, we are asking the following question that constitutes the 5th topic of discussion of the forum : How can we create a movement for global democracy and a world parliament and invite everyone to participate?
This is a very practical question which relates to what we might actually be the next step towards building a world parliament. It includes such questions a how we might do some local organizing; host exciting events; make a place for everyone to participate; create a structure and strategy plan for the development of the World Parliament; raise the funds needed to make it a success; reach agreement on what the WP will be and how it will operate, etc?
To recapitulate where we stand at this juncture, we are starting with the development of a Working Group to guide the process and to take some of the first steps. This may develop into some type of a Coordinating Committee that could represent all of the different people and organizations that are participating in the organizing process. In time we might also want to create an actual Delegates Council with representatives or liaisons from local and regional assemblies and participating organizations.
Criticism of forum
A number of participants voiced some criticism about the forum, arguing that the discussion is too homogeneous with a majority of contributors having similar backgrounds, for instance with organizations active in global governance. There was also some criticism regarding the length of some of the messages, including those of the WP21 team, and concerning the tendency to use complicated terms and complex concepts, thus rendering the discussion unattractive for a majority of participants. In the opinion of some, these trends tended to show that the forum might be heading towards the construction of an organization altogether not so different than the ones that already exist - such as the U.N. - and that fall short of enacting a truly global and diverse participatory process favoring the emergence of a * third way *. *Too much talk and too little action * said one participant, adding that * I fear that a WP will become in the future a place for absolute, dictatorial power, controlled by a few individuals. This is a major risk and personally, I want none of it.*
Another participant may have summed up what many might feel at this point : * I would like to go a little slower, be less in a hurry and go into more specific details on the matters that we have not still agreed on. *
A common language
Communication and transmission of knowledge is a basic need for any type of organization. When we started the general discussion a few months ago on the * common values * for a WP, language was one of the first topics brought to the table. As we now move towards practical matters, language remains one of the key foundations for the construction of a WP. Ideally, the WP would be linguistically neutral (which English, the prime candidate, would not be). Esperanto or its derivative, the Ido, were designed to meet such a purpose. They would fit the bill in terms of values but would it be feasible to ask all participants in a WP to learn one of these languages? Leo Tolstoy learned Esperanto in four days. The Ido can be learned in 12 days to three months, making it a viable option. One could thus propose the systematic teaching of the Ido as a secondary language in the schools, allowing youngsters of all cultures to communicate among themselves without problem. An added benefit would be greater communication (and less mis-communication) at the World parliament and a lesser need of burdensome (and costly) translation services.
One of the challenges of future governments and international organizations, including a World Parliament, will be to make individual citizens truly participate in decision making processes. For this, modern technology should be exploited as a tool that will enable us to create new forms of social organizations whereby direct citizen participation in the political process at the local community level can lead to the empowerment of state, federal and finally a world parliament. It is one of the challenges that a World parliament will have to undertake given that not every body on earth has access to information technology.
In light of this, one must be careful to avoid what one could call a tyranny or dictatorship of the coordinators, representatives or carriers. We should not, as one intervener said * set ourselves up to be a structure of control but a structure of reason. We need to establish methods of control over the elected officials that do not fulfill the will of their people. We need to be the conscience of the world within what already exists. *
While direct democracy may be an ideal that one should strive to attain, true democracy is another goal that should be upheld by a world parliament. Is true democracy possible? One participant suggested that developing true democracy would be possible :
1. * Without the principle of majority * in the decision-making process to prevent the tyranny of the majority.
The system would be based on * the principle of consensus * and on the right of veto for all deputies.
2. * Without the elections * of representatives.
One would install *well-trained professional politicians * like we do it with our judges. Whom ever will become professional political representative, will have to declare that he or she is absolutely consensus-willing and common welfare has priority to all particular interests.
This approach was corroborated by another participant who suggested that * We have to set up a * structure of reason * in all the existing democratic institutions on local, regional, national, continental and world level. We do not need elected officials but * well-trained professional deputies * who will have * the necessary time, background and experience * to do the very dense intellectual work of finding consensus coordinating the matters of the different will of people all over the world*
Art often has more power than all the discourses in the world. In the end, Shakespeare or Van Gogh touch more people than any political theoretician or political figure. Art knows no boundaries and its language is universal. Thus, it is imperative that the World parliament create an art committee whe re members could publish their comments on world art activities; exchange their art experiences; make decision for world art activities and express their ideas on world affairs from the perspective of the artist.