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 – Syriza 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?