Report by Filia den Hollander, September 20, 2005
I. 3rd International Conference on Direct Democracy in Prague
16-18 September 2005, conference
II. Hivos in ‘The Blue House’
19 September 2005, talk with organisation for (3rd world) development co-operation on the subject of funding EVERYONE’S A CITIZEN, BABY
I. Conference on DD in Prague
General, things discussed (fragmentary notes by me):
New laws should be developed by: minister + specialist groups + burgerforum
Education on the benefits of direct democracy (DD = initiative and referendum, sometimes also planning cells and participatory budgeting is included in the term DD)
Models for Future Democracies have been discussed (I will scan them and put them on the website www.blauwehuis.org/everyonesacitizenbaby)
Local citizen advisory committee (ref. Lee’s model) = detail + bottom-up complemented by national citizen advisory committee = grote lijnen / overview of projects which cover larger areas (remark I noted down but didn’t mention in discussion)
Leopoldo: we have 2 main topics at hand here: (1) to discuss new models), (2) to report actual political situation, i.e. education on un-democratic current situation
Brainstorm: what can we do to bring the actual (political) situation to the attention of the people?
Participative budgeting (= lower educated people / practical) and Referendum (= higher education / requires reading and theory before the vote)
Division of Power (ref. Model 4)
Question: is the model of the Division of Powers really still valuable (think of: recent conservative judge as appointed by Bush)?
Answer: Division of Powers is outdated as it works now
Leopoldo: the Constitution of Venezuela has a 4th and a 5th Power:
4th Power = controllers / audition general / moral power / inspector power (notes from Filia ;-)
5th Power = financial power
George: proposal for a 6th Power – media power ??
(NB this issue touches upon something mentioned by Ken Kostyo and me, when we discussed the possibility of a people’s EU Constitution, namely ‘Checks and balances’, the creation of new Chambers. View attachment)
Planning cells --> ad random selection of committee, small groups of people
Large scale discussions (Jiri)
Individual / household --> city level: there is a gap
Social Democrats = Capitalist Left (!!)
Proposal George / Greek organisation: to recognise all citizen entities (??)
-to form a Chamber of Civil Society – for making the pre-resolutions
(MORE LATER. I’m off to sleep now.)
Heiko at lunch – why politicians accept participative budgeting easier than binding referenda
Regarding EVERYONE’S A CITIZEN, BABY:
Basically what I’ve done was give a historical overview of how EVERYONE’S A CITIZEN, BABY came into being, explain why from a direct democratic background (= political context) I had chosen to develop this project in a cultural context, explain the function of ‘The Blue House’, and, inform on the current state of affairs, including 2 EU Cafés.
- George Kokkas (cc list) had urged us to work faster, for a deadline of 2,5 years might be too late in relation to the developments in the EU. Although I recognise his point of view as well as share his sense of urgency, I also pointed out that this is precisely the difference between the political reality and the cultural reality. George (as well as Lee and the other members of WDDM) offered his assistance/participation for he is also a lawyer.
- Jiri (who also was the organisor and initiator of the Conference) asked me what exactly was now in the alternative people’s EU Constitition. My answer was that we’re currently mostly developing the “bedding” (bed) for A People’s EU Constitution to grow in (Method Kit was mentioned, and Process Kit) and that one of the things in the new Constitution I’m most thrilled about, was the notion of a Charter of Open Source (= things which should not fall into the hands of commerce but which should stay available for all people, such as for example drinking-water). The concept of a Charter of Open Source came to birth at our EU Café of July 9th.
Agreements / decisions:
* WDDM (Worldwide Direct Democracy Movement) reserves a special section on its website for EVERYONE’S A CITIZEN, BABY,
* An EU Café will take place with members of WDDM on models for the EU Constitution (view above). Place can be Prague, Amsterdam, Siberia (Mirek), Las Vegas (Lee and his wife Fran)....
Leopoldo at lunch – matter of self-determitation (Friesland, Catalonia)
A successful Conference
Bottom line is that Hivos/Teyo van der Schoot understands how the improvement of democracy (thus the EVERYONE’S A CITIZEN, BABY project) is indirectly meaningful to the ‘Southern Countries’; by which he means all the countries where Hivos does development work. However, in this phase (i.e. as a result of my yesterday’s conversation with Teyo van der Schoot) EVERYONE’S A CITIZEN, BABY can only apply for financial support for sub-projects which have a direct connection with the ‘Southern Countries.’
Two details of the conversation:
- In a more or less private pre-conversation of Julien with Hivos representative Catherine van der Wees (they are both member of a network unrelated to Hivos), Miss Van der Wees had complained that applicants ‘only hold up their hands and say: give us the money’. I had referred to this remark to Teyo van der Schoot, and informed him that because of this remark we had specifically chosen the “network approach” and had sent him an invitation for the EU Café of July 9th. When leaving the Blue House building he let me know that he would very much like to receive future invitations.
I’ve introduced m7red (Mauricio and Pio) to Mr Van der Schoot. As m7red, because they are from Argentina, fits directly the “target group” of Hivos (Argentina being a ‘Southern Country’), as well as because they take care on an internet section of EVERYONE’S A CITIZEN, BABY (Hivos has a special IT section in its cultural program, he was very interested to receive more information of m7red. Today I have sent the info’s to Teyo van der Schoot / Hivos and proposed an actual meeting with m7red in October, when Mauricio and Pio will be inhabitants of ‘The Blue House’.
Result: slight feeling of disappointment however contact established.