2009/01/05

Meeting in Sweden

A meeting was held in Sweden on December 30, 2008 when Democrazia Federale from Italy met mr. Jiri Polak, editor of the Direct Democracy Newsletter and a leading person in the international Direct Democracy movement.
In the following a summarized report about the issues discussed in course of the meeting.

Sandby, Dec 30 2008

Meeting between Democrazia Federale and Mr Jiri Polak

The meeting was called for the purpose of organizing steps and events required for starting the project of a European Confederation of DD Movements.
The following issues have been discussed :

1 – DD Movements

All European Movements approving our DD Charter as published in our Blog are entitled to take part into the Confederation.
The above is the only necessary condition to enter the Confederation, while the practical steps of organization and methods to reach the common objective can be different from one country to another.

2 – Newsletter

The Newsletter published in Prag by Jiri Polak is a precious resource for our projects.
It has been agreed that, starting with the next March issue, the following changes will be implemented

The Newsletter will be organized into a European section, serving as official journal for the Confederation, and an International section reporting news from DD movements around the world outside Europe.
The newsletter will be translated into the main European languages to reach a satisfactory diffusion over the whole territory of the Union.

3 – Conference in Prag

The date has been restricted to the choice between March 14 and March 21.
The main purpose of the Conference shall be the founding of the European DD Confederation, organized by the national Movements taking part.
Other Movements from countries outside Europe, or individuals not representing a Movement are invited to attend as observers.


Federico Tonini

1 comment:

Giorgos Kokkas said...

Dear DD colleagues!

I congratulate you both for the initial successful implementation of our thoughts and dreams in the New Year 2009, as pointed out below after your meeting in Sweden!

My comments are the following:

1)I like the name "European Confederation of (Direct) Democratic Movements" if we accept that in our structure there should exist Federations of DD initiatives or generally Networks of NGOs that accept Direct Democracy, as a tool of decision - making, otherwise we can not use legally the term "Confederation". This means that our Organisations ( Democrazia Federale, European Sympoliteia etc.) should be shaped in second degree DD Organisations, as Networks of National DD Initiatives or they can not be simple members of the Confederation, but only of a "Federation".
We begun last summer such a Network in Greece , according to our DD principles called "Social Defense", that tries to implement an Alternative PARLIAMENT OF GREEK CITIZENS, with local Branches, monitoring the oligarchic Institutions of our country and this tool could participate in a Confederation of similar second degree Networks.

2) We should pay attention on the use of "EUROVISION", that is a brand name of EBU ( European Broadcasting Union), organising the well known European Song and Dance Contest etc., using this term "VISION" as spectacle. On the other hand we use the same term as (our DD) Dream, therefore we have to refer to it otherwise and always as "DEMOCRATIC EURO - VISION" in order to avoid confusion and legal problems.

We also have to know that the term "DEMOCRACY" can be only the so-called "Direct Democracy", therefore the odd adjective "Direct" should be put in all our documents in parenthesis, as the Oligarchies that govern us now should not use anymore the term "Democracy" , but only "REPUBLIC", because they do not use the tools of (Direct) Democracy fairly. I propose that this point has to be added as our thesis in our Charter.

3) I think that our logo has to use the two "Ds" meaning Direct or Deliberative or Debate DEMOCRACY.

We propose to use the attached symbolic logo, that includes the two "Ds" in a shape of an ancient amphitheater, that is the place of debate and Delberation, having inside the "Klepsydra", the ancient clock for speakers, having all equal time of democratic speech, as much as the sand or the liquid inside. (this klepsydra in the proposed logo has also the Greek "A.Δ" initials for DD,so thete is no reason to be sorry Fred).
This logo has also been accepted by the WDDM (Worldwide Direct Democracy Movement, site: www.world-wide-democracy.net, you can see it when you open it and press-click on it) that has been established also by Jiri Polak , me and 10 other DD colleagues (year 2000), shares the same DD ideas with our European Branch Democratic Euro-Vision ( so, we can give a paradigm of a symbolic continental use of the same ideas in Asia, America, Australia or Africa) and can be easily used for European elections.

4) For the same reasons I think tat we have to make additions in our Charter, borrowed from te WDDM Charter,as follows:

We members of the Democratic Euro-Vision dedicate ourselves to work toward the introduction of Direct Democracy (DD) into the representative systems, through Citizens Initiatives, Referendums and other forms of Deliberative Democracy,until ultimately, transform them peacefully to true democracies of the people. We pledge ourselves to remain faithful to genuine democratic principles as expressed in our Mission Statement. We aim to inspire others to join us and help to develop principles and methods leading to direct democracy (DD) of the people. We have been and will remain dedicated members of Democratic Euro-Vision and share our ideals and proposals with all participants in this Confederation, its Networks, self-determined Communities , individuals, and families.


MISSION STATEMENT

We, members of the Democratic Euro-Vision , believe that all citizens have the right to directly perform lawmaking and other governmental functions in any polity in which they live. Therefore we seek to develop and promote any participatory processes which allow people to exercise their rights to make their own laws and/or manage their own governance.

1. WE BELIEVE IN THE FOLLOWING PRINCIPLES

1.1 People are sovereign, and they are the only legitimate authority to govern their society.

1.2 The power to formulate laws and policies must be vested directly in the People without representatives at all levels of societal life.

1.3 Every person have equal right and opportunity to participate in public affairs.

1.4 The people shall define major societal issues and policy alternatives when they are based on well-informed choices.

1.4.1 Public opinion can be easily influenced by vested interests and money. Therefore, we oppose such manipulations. Public debates must be factual, balanced, impersonal and non-manipulative.

1.4.2 Each issue must be presented and considered independently and its best alternative be selected strictly on its own merit.

1.5 Peoples Initiatives, backed by sufficient number of signatures, should mandate a binding Referendum and/or recall of unworthy representatives (I&R+R) decided by public vote.

1.6 Individuals and families must be made acquainted, from 'bottom up', with sensible educational tools to understand social morality, the common needs and interests of all, thereby, enable them to make knowledge-based societal policies.

1.7 We as 'Facilitators' shall endeavor to help citizens to setup Planning Cells, Citizen Juries, and Citizens Forums, as local bodies to supervise municipal and local administrations and public administrations. These 'Forums' will hear and attempt to settle issues, and if they cannot, then refer them either to the courts or to Citizens Parliaments.

1.8 We believe in and advocate peaceful and gradual transformation of society into genuine democracy.

1.9 We are against any form of aggression and violence, but we believe that the people must defend themselves, if and when, they are attacked.

1.10 We advocate respectful dialogue and constructive proposals.

1.11 Voting and gathering signatures can take place by secure electronic methods, therefore, we endeavor to have them legally established.

1.12 The results of public decisions will constitute the body of the law.




2. RULES OF MEMBERSHIP AND CONDUCT

2.0 PREAMBLE

2.1 Democratic Euro-Vision is a voluntary movement of dedicated volunteers whose aim is to facilitate European people to govern their own societies. Members are acting independently in the country in which they live. Our Rules of Membership and Conduct (Rules) govern members only internally, and are offered as a guide for international audience.

2.2 Democratic Euro-Vision is an international movement whose members rely mostly on the Internet for communication and decision-making by vote.

Most of us, being members of WDDM we revive the Continuing Congress on Direct Democracy (CICDD)and we will try to have common conferences concurrently with them.

2.3 We the Founding Members, established a Coordinating Committee (CC) consisting of 3 persons. Based on democratic principles, the role of the CC is to lead the Democratic Euro-Vision by overwhelming majority vote. The Membership of the CC remains permanent until the size of our membership will permit the rotation of its members.

2.4 The Coordinating Committee established the following 'Facilitating Roles':

Federico Tonini, Secretary;

Jiri Polak, Vice-Spokesperson and Editor-in-Chief of the Newsletter of Worldwide Direct Democracy and Democratic Euro-Vision ;

George Kokkas, Spokesperson.

It is desirable to rotate all Facilitating Functions.

2.5 Proposals for a change and new proposals can be posted any time by any member. Detailed methods of executing these measures are given in the Rules of Conduct.


3. MEMBERSHIP CRITERIA

3.1 Any individual living in Europe with sound mind and without a criminal record,

European Direct Democratic Initiatives or Movements,

Networks of them on national level of Member-States of the European Union,

can join our Movement Democratic Euro-Vision by accepting our Founding Documents, Mission Statement, and the Membership Rules and Conduct.

3.2 Initially, there is no membership fee, however, in the future, the members may vote for a membership fee.

3.3 Each member shall be a subscriber of the 'Newsletter'. A minimum € 20.00 donation is recommended for its upkeep.

3.4 An application for membership shall be posted by the Secretary for 2 weeks for discussion. If none of the members oppose the application for membership, then the applicant shall be automatically adopted to be a member of Democratic Euro-Vision .

3.5 When opposed during the two week discussion period, the Secretary shall 'post' the membership for voting for another 2-weeks. At the end of the voting period, the Secretary shall calculate and post the results.

3.6 If the majority decides that a Member violated our principles, contained in these 'Founding Documents', such person shall be expelled from our movement, and also, suffer legal consequences.


4. RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE MEMBERS OF THE COORDINATING COMMITTEE (CC)

4.1 The Coordinating Committee is responsible for the overall management of Democratic Euro-Vision . Its members, individually in each country, and when required by joint action, strive to be the driving force to initiate practical activities to make progress toward Direct Democracy.

4.2 Each member of an Organizing Committee, consisted of all membrs of the Democratic Euro-Vision Confederation, shall support and carry out the decisions adopted by majority votes of the Committee and/or the by the membership.

4.3 'Coordinating roles' within the CC, assigned to individuals, to officially conduct our affairs shall be open to any Member at any time. When proposed by any member and approved by the majority of voters, the roles will be assigned as well as new additional roles will be established.

4.4 Each member of the CC and Democratic Euro-Vision shall keep records of moneys received and expended. The financial records shall be sent to the Secretary for tabulating financial records of Democratic Euro-Vision .


5. MAKING DECISIONS and CHANGES

5.1 Amendments and new proposals shall be specific, clear and concise. Amendments shall refer to the clause to be changed, when 'Posted' for discussions.

5.1.1 The Secretary requested to write e-mails in plain text.

Headings can be in CAPITAL LETTERS.

Furthermore, when you are replying to a topic, do not copy the entire long text, but only the part you are responding to. In discussions, in your Reference (RE:) heading, write clearly whose input and topic you are responding to.

5.2 New proposals and amendments should address one topic at a time and should go through

5.2.1 POSTING the request for discussions.

5.2.2 DISCUSSION period for a minimum of 2-weeks if a member requests a vote or if nobody calls for votes, discussions could continue as long as the initiator of the proposal wants it.

5.2.3 VOTING shall have a 2-weeks period.

5.3 An application is approved or rejected if at least 2/3 of all cast votes are for or against. Otherwise, no decision is made.

5.3.1 It is our moral duty to vote on proposals. Sometimes, some members may not be able to cast a vote. That is why the 2/3 fraction refers to all votes cast.

5.4 All decisions within our Movement shall be shown by open 'manifested vote�. This norm is recommended for the people in deciding societal policies and laws by secret ballots.

5.5 Voting results shall be announced to the Members, and to the Applicant by the Spokesperson.

Announcements to Parlamens, Governments and to European people and their NGOs and others not in our movements will be made by the Secretary.

5.6 After approval, all decisions must be accepted and/or carried out conscientiously by all members .


6. FACILITATING ROLES

6.0 SECRETARY

6.1 The secretary shall be the Webmaster of Democratic Euro-Vision and mainly responsible for the appearance of the site: www.theeuropeandemocrat.blogspot.com. He is authorized to appoint helpers, if necessary, to accomplish this task.

6.2 Any cost arising to fulfill this role and responsibility shall be paid by the funds of Democratic Euro-Vision or donations.

6.3 The Secretary shall communicate with applicants for membership and advise them of the procedures.

6.4 He/she shall maintain and bring up to date the Democratic Euro-Vision members list.

6.5 The Secretary shall 'post' requests for 'Discussion', 'post' requests for 'Votes", and as stated in Section 5, for 'Making Decisions and Changes'.

6.5.1 The Secretary shall close discussions, scrutinize polls, record the official results of votes, announce the results to the Members, and matters of general DD concern to outsiders.

6.6 For internal records only for the benefit of the members of Democratic Euro-Vision , and of WDDM, but not for the general public, he/she shall maintain and bring up to date the archives of Democratic Euro-Vision discussions, proposals, and voting results.

6.7 Shall publicize approved matters for release to the informal CICDD, WDDM and other DD groups.

6.8 Shall fulfill his/her role as the legally responsible person for the technical and functional aspects of Democratic Euro-Vision . These include signing documents related to his function, protecting Democratic Euro-Vision .org registration, and implementing the decisions of the Coordinating Committee and/or of the membership. This includes tabulating the financial records of Democratic Euro-Vision .


6.9 SPOKESPERSON

6.10 The Spokesperson has two main functions.

6.10.1 To officially announce decisions passed by the Membership and/or the CC, to the members.

6.10.2 The other is to facilitate the conduct of internal affairs, such as drafting documentations in cooperation with the 'Vice-Spokesperson'.

6.11 The Spokesperson shall respond to the inquiries and proposals of the members. Also, on behalf of the CC, answer questions addressed to Democratic Euro-Vision by non-members and organizations.

6.12 Carry out the decisions of the (OC) and the membership.

6.13 Call for volunteers and/or seek the appointment of members to carry out decisions.

6.14 The Spokesperson shall demonstrate exemplary behavior and inspire the members of Democratic Euro-Vision to perform their commitments dutifully and faithfully, in compliance with all the Founding Documents.

6.15 With the support of the CC, he/she shall officially represent the Democratic Euro-Vision , transact and sign documents on behalf of its members.


6.16 VICE-SPOKESPERSON

6.17 The Vice Spokesperson shall assist the Spokesperson to carry out the function his/her duties, and also act on his/her behalf if and when needed.

6.18 The Vice-Spokesperson is also the Editor-in Chief (Editor) and the publisher of the Newsletter of Democratic Euro-Vision , as well as of Worldwide Democracy Movement.

6.18.1 The Vice-Spokesperson as 'Editor' shall gather and disseminate DD related information to the formal and informal members of Democratic Euro-Vision and to the public through the Newsletter.

6.19 The Vice-Spokesperson as Editor, will regularly print a brief description on how to become a member of Democratic Euro-Vision .



I also wish to add out of WDDM experiences the following excellent Bernard Clayson’s proposals :

Structure

Possible structural options that the WDDM members could consider � my view of their pro's and con's:


- Organisation �

If it is be an organisation, the implication is it would act on behalf of the members, that in turn implies �

a) empowering selected people to speak on behalf of the organisation and it�s members, which will require �

1. procedure to establish/confirm the opinion of the members.
2. rules which the selected would have to conform to.
3. strict penalties for failing to comply.


b) The need for funds to support the organisational structure (internally and externally)
1. Funds can be obtained from many sources, the real problem occurs when the source is removed, the organisation would collapse.
2. The easiest way to break any organisation, or industry, is to make available large sums of money (grants etc) which would then increase the infrastructure and overheads then cut off the money supply.

c) Voting/Consensus.
1. The members would leave/delegate the action to the organisation.
2. Individual initiative would be eliminated due to needing approval of the other members.
3. Theoretical objections would over-rule practical application due to the lack of practical experience.


- Association �

Implies/requires action by the members.
a) The core of the association needs nothing more than the members have now i.e. the means to communicate.
1. The structural requirements would/could be simple and least cost.

b) The power of WDDM would be in the individual members� willingness to act on their own initiative.
1. There is not, nor can be, one way to achieve democracy due to the historic, cultural and social differences that exist world-wide.
2. The existing power structures in different countries may/will need different solutions to resolve the situation.
3. Theoreticians can advise, but theory (by definition is untested) can only be a guide, the responsibility for the actions must be with the ones prepared to make the decision to act.
4. All WDDM members should support the actions of members that fit within the frame of the Mission Statement.



I am waiting your comments!!
Have a splendid, fruitful , Democratic New Year !!

Giorgos Kokkas
"European Sympoliteia -with Direct Democracy"