Review session on 9th December 2014 - notes

Time: 7pm to 9pm

Venue: Friends House, 173-177 Euston Road NW1 2BJ - on the ground floor in the corridor outside the cafe


1. Round up of news and events (30 minutes)

2. 2015 Constitutionalists UK - Ray

3. Public eye - Corruption - Chris/Arvind (focus group)

4. Critical thinking, analysis and the role of art - Eddie

5. Agenda for 7th January 2015 at the new venue.

Review Session 9th December 2014 – notes

1. Torture report confirms our worst suspicions about the institutionalised brutality of the war on terror. The only people to be indicted over torture are those who sought to expose the truth. The stratospheric rise of Podemos in Spain (30% of the vote gained after six months of existence). The Latin American conference showed how Bolivia, Venezuela and Ecudor are lifting people out of poverty and providing free education while the developed world is driving in the opposite direction. Need to develop wider participation in the political economy - Bolivia and Venezuela have created models for wider participation. Post on Ukraine/Israel - what is the agenda? Guest on Radio4's Woman's hour (Greenham Common veteran) remarked on that one shouldn't underestimate the damage Thatcher/Reagan inflicted on the world - cut off by the interviewer who later referred to the good they did, huh? Is this what balanced reporting looks like? Greece is on the edge – presidential election – Syrza may win. Sell-off of Greek bonds. Crisis institutional level – and for people. Student on hunger strike – students on the streets. Europe is on the edge. UK is beyond the edge. What is the story behind the Elgin marbles being lent to Russia against the backdrop of the geopolitical climate - probably had been arranged before the escalation of hostilities. Autumn statement - Spending back to the 1930s level. Infrastructure inadequate - traffic, transport etc. Adequate reward for work is disappearing. Need: to share the value of land and resources, Citizens Income, elimination of Interest, Debt for equity swap - possible transition mechanism. Guardian article OECD confirms trickle down doesn't work - d'oh!

2. 2015 Constitutionalists UK. Registered on 4th Nov. 251 parties registered already for the next election. 800th anniversary Magna Carta  next year – PR leverage. 6000 coming from around the world to celebrate this anniversary with politicians and media in the UK parading their "democratic" credentials - 2015 Constitutionalists UK (2015CUK) can capitalise on the constitutional debate which is gathering momentum. The party was launched at Runnymede on 5th November and reported in local press. Website is under development. Manifesto, Charter and Glossary are written, video of launch now available. There are many campaign groups for constitutional reform – the challenge is to unify them under one banner. Alliance with all the other groups to achieve the change – need weight and momentum. The objective is to make a mark in the 2015. There are likely to be three general elections in succession. May 2015 election will be inconclusive and the resulting minority government will be fragile. Likely to be short-lived and another election in September 2015. 2015CUK would field more candidates. This second election is likely to result in another weak coalition. Parties will break up. A May 2016 election would see 2015CUK candidates standing in every constituency. How is the manifesto compiled? Focusing on institutional reform – institutions are not working for the people - BBC, parliament, media, etc. Reference to many examples of broken institutions but reference to people led initiatives which have been successful. Institutions need to be restructured with active involvement of the people. What are possible alternative scenarios? Politics in Westminster are unstable. eg. Alex Salmond standing for Westminster. Green party manifesto is like labour 30 years ago. Greens/2015CUK relationship? 2015CUK candidates must be independent. Need institutions with boundaries and functionality to provide for life. Alternative models for business eg. Scott Bader Trust – Business trusts. The solutions aren't new but they are not talked about. People have to reform themselves? Chicken and egg. Democratic institutions are possible. With enough momentum and drawing people into a new way. Structural incentives to behave competitively and selfishly need to be removed. How to change the way we think. We've been programmed over decades. Remove the bad systems- one can change the system immediately, attitudinal change will follow. Plans can be perfect but in practice things work differently. Need Citizens Income. Reinforce change by law enforcement - holding the rich and powerful to account for their crimes. There is an assumption that people are dumb and not interested in politics - recent poll showed only 40% interested in voting? Russell Brand highlighting that votes don't make any difference. Recent Oxford presentation - Peoples solidarity network. 30 people (organisations) climate, war, DPAC, etc. gearing up for action, the day after the election - what are they likely to achieve? Reaction to 2015CUK was "you're wasting your time – power will corrupt you". Campaigning on the Charter means committing to constitutional change and if successful 2015CUK candidates will form a constitutional convention, replacing the House of Lords. Candidates will be independent and self funding and less easy to corrupt than the conventional party system. If the party is successful. What next? Safeguard the power issues within 2015CUK. Solution is in the independents. Need candidates – speakers. Debate among the people is vital. Help the idea to go viral.
3. Public Eye – to hold our leaders to account. Start with local MP and local papers. Sandy SteelUsing the system to become the system to change the system. Lobbying institution on behalf of the people to counteract well funded corporate lobbying. Open media – crowdsourced agenda for change. California copywrite changes 56,000 participating. Simplicity of open media. Crowdsourcing the Charter. Incorporating these principles into an agenda – making public which candidates sign up to these - which is how the 2015CUK Charter has been developed as a living document. Example for inclusion, a new war powers act to make it more difficult to take the country to war. Simpol – adopt a similar process. John Bunzl – simultaneous policy implementation. Holding MPs to account for their policies. Campaign on one issue – legal requirement to be accountable for lying. Examples: Blair, Cameron, Clegg etc. Candidates pledge to introduce legislation to hold all politicians to account. Peoples Parliament - John McDonnell – similiarity. Need to change the system. Lobby with crowd funding using professional lobbyists. Lying too populistic? Is it the system or people? RC find ways to implement their plans and have the power to make people lie. Need something focused, specific and simple. Need to educate people to demand a change to the way the system works. Deception detection mechanisms. Populist (pressure on lying) not a bad thing.
4. Evolution to online media for political art. Drawings – Russian revolution – Catlin. Books of messages on squashed boxes. Messages of junk mail seen in different form and context . In painted form placed in public spaces. Financial deficit paintings. Bauhaus building – narrative – Reedfelt chair – people could make themselves but turned to a collectors' icon. Escaping the gallery – Taking control of pricing. Jackson Pollock - painting by dancing on the floor - when displayed thus, people objected (paintings belong on the wall). Screen printing - industrial process made art by Warhol. Banksey subtleties - need art to make people reflect on themselves rather than admiring the technical skill or aesthetics of a particular piece. Lack of interaction – power to the people. Not make special objects. Sandpaper books. Guardian killing of NHS and Gulf War. Whatever you print or write has no impact – Chomsky believes if you keep telling people they will learn - experience suggests not. Combatting the Radio4 narrative: Boiling frogs, Corbett Report, Global Research, Critical Thinking, progressive radio newshour, Atmen, blacklisted news. Online media more interesting. Withdrawing from narrative to make people think about themselves. Spiral jetty, land art. Historic imagery. Abstractive images bring more people in. Working on a cellular governance structure video with Ray. Charter. More is over! to lyrics of the John/Yoko song - handing out leaflets dress up as the pair.

Agenda for Wednesday 7th January 2015

  • Lying – holding MPs accountable
  • Governance structures
  • Action section?

Review session on 11th November 2014 - notes

Please note the weekly sessions for 2014 have finished but we will meet on Tuesday 9th December to finalise plans for next year's sessions

Time: 7pm to 9pm

Venue: Friends House, 173-177 Euston Road NW1 2BJ - on the ground floor in the corridor outside the cafe


1. Round up of news and events (30 minutes)

2. Corruption (30 minutes)

3. Critical Thinking and Occupy (30 minutes)

4. Thoughts/plans for 2015 (30 minutes)

Review session on 11th November 2014 – notes

1. Workshop – discussion in pub after expanded on the 2015 Constitutionalists UK. Many independent candidates –  Occupy democracy. Why the need for the constitution? Makes government accountable to higher body. Irrespective of the constitution – people will not get power without taking over the system. It will be a living constitution. We need to discuss governance - planned focus for next year. December meeting 2014 we'll discuss the 2015 Constitutionalists UK. Webster Tarpley on ISIS/McCain links. RT has very good documentaries and today's Kaiser Report features Artist Taxi Driver, Chunky Mark on Westmonster– corruption at Westminster and the City of London. and the paedophilia in parliament cover up. Connections between oil, gold and Africa. US needs gold and there's lots in Africa, hence the US military incursion? China lent America large amount of gold and reputedly an interest payment was due just before 9/11. Teaching critical thinking in primary schools - in South East London - future discussion on systemic approach to education.
2. Politicians get elected but they are always corrupted . Guru, head of the largest Ashram (spiritual, community and medicine) from India came to Mauritius. Involved in building Ashram in Mauritius with the guru/teacher – yoga. When asked, "Why do we have corrupt politicians?" Response: "People get the politicians they deserve [vote for]." Thinking about Blair – "did some good things and was seduced for a while but the lies about Iraq made me angry." What to politicians do?  Build a barrier between them and the people. They lie to get power and then renege on promises. Cameron – "not going to dismantle the NHS". Lied about everything and fragmented the country under the lie of the big society. Chris has done a lot of work on a report corruption (2002) but it's not been promoted. It explains why/how corruption occurs. See extracts from Chris's report. The report is now out of date - needs updating. Develop materials and a campaign for the election to keep lying out of politics. Leverage is lying (The Dueling Loops of the Political Powerplace) – stop lying will stop their power. Lying to stay in their job. Why do they have to lie? It is structural issue. Need effective language for the campaign. Engaging people on lying works – corruption makes people angry. Even the intelligent find it hard to engage on issues but corruption is a "hot button". Issues seem too big and frightening. People feel powerless. Talk about lying and corruption is a bridge to talk about structures and the wider issues. Rather than attacking individuals we need to create a golden bridge for the politicians and powerful to retreat across. Don't alienate them. Gilad Atzmon - Cognitive Elites. Everyone lies – not genetic. Skewed to minority group - nexus of scholarship and money. British created their cognitive elite through the House of Lords - peerages for the clever and unscrupulous. Royal family inter-marry - leads to lower cognitive ability - Kate Middleton refreshing the gene pool. Effecting the means will have influence. Britain's troops can't be sent overseas without Queen's signature (17 times since 1953). Not until you prove it is lawful. How to implement that process – need more systemic strategy. We should be in control. War powers act. Ideological terminology – going to war. What is war? Why are we going there in the first place? Conflict of interest in other ways than war – failure of politics. Wrong structure – political system. Corruption – 1. to come out with something by March specifically on political corruption. 2. More general corruption report by September. Corruption in politics and how to overcome it. Misconduct in public office and fraud act. Pick out key lies – public prosecution. Tackle lies through application of the law. There is a danger of scapegoating individuals – need to pick an issue. All MPs voting for bombing Iraq, contravened the Terrorism Act - many breaches over the last 4 years. Why they lie? Motivation for lying – difficult to identify. Tony Blair, not a sitting MP. Jack Straw guilty of genocide in closing the Iraq war debate in the 2003. Recent Patrick Cockburn article on Sarkozy and Cameron Libya. Cameron's speech in Benghazi. Politicians can be charger under five laws agianst: murder, war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and crimes against peace. Need template for people to report a war crime report.  As per last action. Develop Public Eye (like Private Eye).
3. Response to some in Occupy London demanding the removal of the OL logo and weblink from the Critical Thinking website: Change Occupy London logo on Critical Thinking website to Occupy Your Mind logo to identify with the ethos and ambitions of wider Occupy movement. London perceived, by some outside London, as parochial. Run a Daily Pickings article explaining why and the problems of hierarchical structures, a few active, dominant players acting as gatekeepers for ideas and discussion - co-option in the style of Stalin and Lenin. Complexity of issues: James Corbett – amount of things going on like a three dimensional chess set (Star Trek). Visual representation for the Critical Thinking website. We resist. Like RSA animate but do it yourself, viral. Memes in the digital age. Absence of interest in diversity of online material online in the UK. Critical Thinking was part of Occupy at the School of Ideas. Natural that people within a family group, sometimes differ. Much in common with Occupy and we are together. It is not a break from Occupy London but there needs to be room for discussion. Opening Critical Thinking to Occupy globally - we have a  diverse audience. Need a explanation on website. People hungry for video of Critical Thinking discussions. Do we need focus groups? We need structures for governance. The challenge is scale – method - how to scale up Critical Thinking? Structural process – use meet up groups? Joomla module for meetups? Concentrated Power and Consequences workshop. Meeting with 30 people including people with direct experience of education brought relevant insights into the discussion.
4. New meeting venue from January 2015. Function Room upstairs at The Cock Tavern, 23 Phoenix Road, London NW1 1HB. The more pub is patronised the more likely to survive. Anthony Auerbach, an artist runs it - currently no wifi but a good space. Next year we'll focus on Governance, War, Corruption and Food in the context of systems thinking. Bringing issues together, turning diagrams into performance, film, channel, audio? No need to be perfect - but try to do something. Collective creation - don't try to create an individual picture. Protest is masturbation (Gilad Atzmon). Get people together – like Critical Thinking. Developed knowledge and understanding among a small group. Promote the distributive model. Let people introduce something in their own time and speed - cannot be forced. What are people's skills and abilities? A page resume? We knew nothing about each others skills. There is no formal/management structure to this group but we've achieved a lot. Be alert to the pitfalls of using conventional methods. Memetics. Need to consider systems which affect human behaviour. Psychology.

December review meeting agenda:

  • 2015 Constitutionalists UK - Ray?
  • Public eye - corruption - Chris/Arvind (focus group)
  • Critical thinking, analysis and the role of art - Eddie

For the future: opportunities in education – propagating critical thinking among the young

Concentrated Power and Consequences - Report

Some 30+ people attended the workshop to explore Concentrated Power and its Consequences, using Critical Thinking's model of the Political Economy as a framework for discussion:


Click here for the Report

Session 40 on Tuesday 7th October 2014 - notes

* Note this is the last weekly session for this year but there will be two review sessions (see below)

Time: 7pm to 9pm

Venue: Friends House, 173-177 Euston Road NW1 2BJ - on the ground floor in the corridor outside the cafe


1. General discussion - current news in context (30 mins)

2. Upcoming events -  (30 mins)

TTIP - pan-Europe day of action

Putney Debates

2015 Constitutionalists UK

3. Progress review (30 mins)

New Model Charter

Political Economy - Systems Thinking

Governance - structures

Legality of wars

4. Next year (30 mins)

Proposed monthly review dates:

Tuesday 11th November 2014

Tuesday 9th December 2014

Weekly sessions restart on Tuesday 6th January 2015

Session 40 on Tuesday 7th October 2014 – notes

1. Seema Malhotra Labour MP voted with the government on bombing Iraq - claimed to be the wishes of her constituency. Corruption: Cost of Portcullis House - £750,000 per MP's office. Internal trees, £150,000 pa 5year contract. Garden centre quoted 8 X £1,000, one off cost. Better than HoC as venue for meetings. Lobbying activity. Lack of access to MPs - insulated form those they serve - panoply of security. Parliament won't accept letters outside certain hours. Corruption report, revolving door between companies and government and regulators. US financial regulators under control of banks, GMO regulation controlled by Monsanto. LibDem conference – Vince Cable talked about land tax. Party has links with Henry George Institute. LibDem Minister responsible for introducing water charges – admits it's now a mess. Bringing corruption report to date. What to do with it? Possible traction in the election – candidates to sign up to anti-corruption? People will engage on corruption. Cumulative account of corruption cases and associate named individuals with it to make them toxic. Associate deaths with individuals. January to list MPs achievements and consequences. Money corruption – war consequences. Persons in public office agrees to do things which are against the law. Elected on the basis of lies. More corruption overseas than here? "I don't want these people to represent me." - 2015 Constitutionalists UK?
2. Upcoming events: TTIP day of action (pan-Europe) 11th October 2014. Putney Debates coming together. 2015 Constitutionalists UK (2CU) – House of Windsor, permanent role/privilege? Structure for permanent living constitutional convention?
3. Progress review – Banking and finance valued most – in the context of collapse. Awareness of problems. Contradictions within the system -  Food important – needs to continue. Climate – more difficult – part of the corruption. Energy and environment. Climate too complex for many. Improved critical thinking skills. Achieved a lot education. Analysing the economy. Food, GM. Developed links with other groups. Janos challenging our thinking. Never fallen out – differences of opinion – but remain cohesive as a group. Proof of group working feasibility. Critical thinking. Psychology needs more emphasis (individual) - we've looked at mass manipulation but not the individual. Systems thinking has been very useful. Needs to developed. Website – big presence on the web. We've learned a lot. Climate – improved knowledge - built on previous common sense judgement since joining the group. Nothing is a no-go area of exploration. Summarised everything in the Political Economy - Systems Thinking map. Recent war and law exploration and action. The major lever is corruption. Election promises reneged on. Scottish referendum is a prime example – "Yes" momentum undermined by lies from the establishment. Encapsulates the corruption and lying. Need to be exposing truth– can't spend to much time analysing. Once the sh*t hits the fan, chaos will ensue – the truth needs to be out there. The New Model Charter – step up outreach/education. Global warming is polarising. Concentrate on the important – telling the truth is a revolutionary act. Viable alternatives are dismissed or suppressed. Disseminating more information. Keep focused on a few things – people are beginning to take notice. We're in the middle of the web which is messing up the whole world. Relative truth is not valid. Moral relativity – negativity- seeks to undermine perception of what is. MoD know what's going to happen - planned and executed it. They're behind the indoctrination. Key to our success to date is the flat structure for collaboration – not funded – not hierarchical – changes and adapts – self-organising group. Current representative political system doesn't work. Proved that an alternative works. Achieved much - extremely efficient. In the absence of what we've done, there will be no working model. No compulsion to do what we do but we've continuted. Daily  Pickings effective tool. Biggest thing out there about this group. A good feel to the group. Participation/cooperative. Journey – better understand information and look at it critically. Discerning truth from untruth. Removing unneccesary complexity. But it's more worrying the more you learn. The level of misinformation revealed is mind-boggling. Systems thinking is key to understanding the world. Cooperative, participatory model has produced an infinite multiple of what could be achieved individually in terms of both collective and individual understanding in such a short time. New Model Charter and the Political Economy - Systems Thinking model are the major achievements. Need to expand the co-operative/collaborative model locally and globally.
4. Next year – Action needs to be targeted – education. What to say and where to say it. Give people the means to find the truth for themselves. Strong language can alienate. Interpret what we've achieved through collaboration. Give a man a fish rather than give him a kipper. Why criminal? Illustrative – need to explain. War crimes – give up the criminal purpose and commit not to repeat it. Sun Tzu's The Art of War: "Build your opponent a golden bridge to retreat across".They need to figure out their golden bridge. Food, corruption, wars. Identifying the pillars. Media.  Charity one of the pillars. Payment of tax with no accountability. Tax diversion to bring the system down. Structures of governance. Land fundamental source of wealth. Governance – ruling. Expand the domain. Governance – mask – need better understanding. Computer games as a medium for expanding cooperation and understanding Angry birds popularity. Simple games. Warcraft – opensource, possible basis for demonstrating the power of cooperation to solve world problems.

Priorities for next year:

Expanding and improving the collaborative model - using a range of tools



Food (Michael Pollan "eat real food, not too much, mainly plants")

Research on book making. Greece resistance to books when philosophy was "alive". Dialogue makes us alive but books come with massive weight - useful for reference but too much reliance on books. Flexible - plenty of tools available to translate verbiage into a meaningful book.