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Some communications with FVC people on aspects of democracy beyond voting system reform

I am cleaning up some old files and coming across some stuff that really could have been put on the blog. Here is something I corresponded to people on that FVC ginger list I do. It was just before I went off to Montreal, about a conference on participatory democracy which SPT held.

Part one;

Tomorrow here will be a presentation about participatory budgeting put on by social planning Toronto. I will try to get materials from it that I can send on to this list. I have also noticed that FVC had a talk from someone about participatory democracy at their AGM. The description of it makes it sound like the presentation does not quite get the point of participatory democracy. It is not about getting people more "active" between elections. In large part, real participation replaces representative democracy and election cycles.

Yes, the public really does need to take a fair amount of time participating in government. Not everyone will want to but those who do and are able to add something must be able to do so. That gets me to another topic and another event which ties into the idea of participatory democracy; Basic Income.

I have been working on the Basic Income Earth Network that will be held in Montreal next week. I will also be informing people on this list about what is of interest at the SPT meeting. I no longer believe that simple voting reform will change anything, based on the way democracy has been preempted in many European countries. What is really needed is to go to serious participatory government. I will be writing further about that.

But to make participation work, we need Basic Income. The economic gun needs to be moved away from people's heads so they have some control over their own lives and their own time. At present about 80% of what people do to "make a living" is make work. "Technological unemployment" makes the work ethic ridiculous.

It would also be good if somebody who was at the FVC general meeting could give us a report on it. ( Nope. Nobody ever did.)

Soon I think I will have a new platform for my web project. I have found a server in Switzerland, where the laws regarding internet copyright and libel are sensible. ( Actually it is taking me longer to come up with the cash to start, with everything else going on. ) They have a very innovative new system which will finally allow me to do what I have wanted to do. It will allow me to run mail lists again but also to create wikis with a lot less hassle and greater security.

Part two;

Tomorrow I am going to Montreal for the Basic Income conference. We are going to plot the overthrow of the welfare state and the rise of the post modern Income security state. Voting reform people should get somewhat interested in this.

No real democracy is going to work unless people have the economic gun taken away from their heads. They have to have time to participate in government. For the first time in history we have the technological ability to make this a reality but it will collapse the present social order.

Of course, the preset order needs to collapse. This is why it has gone beyond just changing the voting system. We need to start moving to participatory democracy. I do not know what you were fed about Participatory budgeting/ democracy at the FVC general meeting.

The meeting I attended in Toronto last week had nothing new for me. I have been hearing about this for ten years now. It never goes anywhere. Even in the Mecca of citizen participation, Porto Allegre, Brazil, it never goes beyond a public partnership with the local government, and only over about 20% of the budget.

In the famous "Arnstein's ladder" of participation, this is maybe up to the level of "partnership." It never gets to real control. And nobody talks about the other side of direct democracy, deliberation. Everyone is hung up on referendums, without any idea of how a referendum is properly done.

I could write a lot about this, and will once I have the kind of web platform I want. But I have already told FVC people that I am no longer interested in just voting reform as a solution for the problems currently facing democracy in Canada. I have said even more about the ineffectiveness of FVC as a vehicle for even promoting the idea of voting reform.

So, soon I will be making good on my promise to start a new web discussion on the idea of real democratic reforms. It will include a discussion format of some type, as well as an announcements list for people involved in voting reform, whether they want it or not. You need to listen, because FVC as it is right now is not only useless, it is harmful.

Spam between the ears

This brings me to this new anti spam law. I think it is a pretty good law although spam filters have largely solved the problem of spam. It is a bit pathetic how most of the e-mail lists I am on have been asking me to confirm that I want to keep receiving their stuff. In most cases it is yes.

Like typical little middle Canadians, they probably think the swat team will be smashing their door down if somebody gets an e-mail from them they did not want after July 1st. This law actually changes nothing in this regard. And I am sure a few of the yo-yos on this list will think they are going to get me shut down if I continue sending my stuff to them.

It takes more than bogus complaints to stop me. I made a mistake by moving my web project back to Canada, but as I think I have said, I will soon have a much better system set up in Switzerland. And as for the takedown which lead to me having to communicate by "hot list' like this, I can't talk about any legal settlements with local web servers or mention any "gag" orders. Zip. Lip.

When I get back from Montreal, I will be focused on trying to get an event of some kind going to follow up on the BIEN congress, a kind of "debrief". But then I also want to do something about local government reform.

local and direct

You know I am disgusted by FVCs continuing failure to step up to the outrageous behavior of the RaBIT group and to answer this attempt to ram through changes in local government without real public input. I have communicated with Dennis Pilon. He does not want to attack the Meslinoids directly, but he likes my idea of challenging the process.

The biggest thing Toronto needs right now is a citizen's movement for more direct democracy in government. Of course that is in direct opposition to the hyperpartisan behavior which messes up local politics so much in Toronto. But nothing much is going to change until these "activist" types are taken on and told to shut up and let the public speak for themselves.

People need to listen to some new ideas. I will do what I can to get these new ideas listened to. So, keep reading this blog.