Weekly Summary 12 (April 12- 20, 2003)
The next step
[1st summary, Topic VI]
This month's topic focuses on the next steps that we could take for actually creating the WP and it drew an unusually high number of messages.. There were again many favorable echoes for the art committee idea. The thorny issue of what to do with politicians was raised this week with an array of solutions to the problem. The issue of language also came up with regards to the next step of the process. Several timelines were proposed with regards to the creation of a WP. We ended this summary with a proposal for the next steps.
We have now arrived at the last month of this first phase of the e-Forum on creating a World Parliament and strengthening and democratizing global governance. This month's topic focuses on the next steps that we could take for actually creating the WP. The wp21 process can include, during the coming year, the interconnected areas of research, promotion, collective deliberation and self-development of this idea. The aim of this multiple approach is to reach and involve the different strata and sensibilities of the whole world society. We want to do this, on one hand, by informing people about the need for world democracy and a WP at both the scientific and popular levels, and on the other, by starting to put it in practice through participatory and deliberative processes which might include research activities, preparing promotional material and common tools, organizing promotional activities and setting up deliberative processes. This month's debate focuses essentially on the future of this initiative. Of course, it is also a time to reflect on topics previously discussed.
High number of messages
This first week of this final e-discussion generated an impressive amount of messages. Due to this high participation, I will not attempt to include a summary of everything that was said. Therefore, some important interventions will only get a cursory review here. I have tried instead to give a sample of this week's discussion. In any case, the high number of responses at this crucial moment of the forum indicates a strong willingness to pursue this project further.
Art committee draws many responses
The idea forwarded a few weeks ago by one participant regarding the creation of an art committee in a WP has gotten many echoes and numerous positive responses. Probably because this idea is very concrete and because it underlines the need to create cultural bridges that transcend national, cultural and regional frontiers. On a related note, the idea of making a logo seemed to strike several people's fancy. One participant suggested a student of youth draw the logo.
What to do about politicians
Much debated has been the issue of * politicians *. For a majority of contributors, the natural corruption of elected officials, which seems to affect a number of politicians that is too high to be tolerated, is something that needs to be imperatively avoided in a parliament that claims to * really * represent the will of the people. There aren't fifty thousand ways in which to deal with this issue. In fact, there are basically three. The first one is to eliminate politicians altogether within the WP and to replace them by * technicians * elected or appointed to do a certain task rather than to fill a position. The second option is to better train and prepare politicians for public life, something that could be done through special * political academies * specially designed to this effect. The third option is to create a system that will control the elected official under a direct threat to remove him or her when he/she starts to do something against the constituency that placed that person in office. This latter solution is one way to curb traditional representation, the latter all too often leading to elected officials making decisions that run against public opinion (for instance Blair and Aznar during the Irak crisis).
Are we ready now for a WP? There seems to be a consensus that now is a pivotal moment in our history where the need to reform global governance is imperative. How realistic is it in our minds that a WP will actually see the light of day? One optimistic contributor is confident that a WP could be set up within two years and surely within eight years. Another participant suggests that instead of going through a preparatory process, we should adopt a * let's do it now * approach that would really be an extension of this forum : * This way, we would set up a WP of self- selected individuals on the internet, invite everybody to join and to participate in a democratic process and address all the problems inside this forum. If something goes in the wrong direction, one can submit petitions to change this.* A third contributor offered a detailed guideline for a five-year plan that goes like this : Year 1, Polls to determine the communities of ideas; Year 2, Publication of the official communities of ideas and call to the local candidates; Year 3, Local elections; Year 4, Setting up the regional and national structures; Year 5, Formation of the World Parliament and setting up of the national *embassies *. Someone else suggested that we continue with a virtual assembly, knowing that it is not the same as an actual parliament, but at the same time developing a future legislative parliament.
The language issue has been prominent thoughout this forum, both philosophically and practically (with the translations). Language and communication will be a central issue again as we move on to the * post-forum * era. One participant summarized the problem in this fashion : * As much as the present communication process has served us, it is clear that we cannot expand our work along these lines. The discussions would become too hard to follow and we would each suffer from information overload if all were to continue to post to the same list. * Language * segregation * would not, however, be an option. Better perhaps to let groups form themselves around ideas, tasks or functions. This would be compatible with the existing proposals for teams and would give each group the freedom to deal with the language issue in however manner it wishes to, including translations if deemed necessary or through the help of the facilitation team.
One manner by which to deal with this thorny issue might be to develop a new language using symbols similar to Chinese and Japanese ones, which represent ideas or objects (rather than sounds) and that might be better suited to our work since we speak through the written medium. Thus, it might make more sense to have a set of universal symbols to communicate.
There were many ideas proposed this week for the future of the forum. Here is one such example a proposal made by a participant (which I have left in full rather than try to summarize) :
I. Personal and area transparency of the WP21 participants. 1. We should strengthen the direct cooperation between the participants to enable them to get in personal contact to each other in their nearest surrounding region. 2. We should offer the lists of the participants in villages, cities, provinces, countries and continents. 3. We should offer the lists of the English-, Spanish-, French- and any other language-speaking participants. 4. In all these lists we should include the places (cities) and telephone numbers as far as the participants agree.
II. Efficiency of discussions: 1. We should elaborate a list of priorities the participants propose for WP21. 2. We should try to come along with a ranking of these priorities. 3. We should work out the advantages and disadvantages of the most preferred priorities. 4. We should concentrate discussions on the accorded most preferred priorities. 5. The participants of all regions should try to send their consented results to the lists of the next levels.