Session 20 on Tuesday 20th May 2014

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 (25min)

2. Structural violence  (60 mins)

3. Legal framework and systems thinking - Chris (30 mins)

4. Planning for next week (5 mins)

Session 20 on Tuesday 20th May 2014 – notes.

1. TV distribution x-border – TTIP implications and application to small enterprise. In the FT – CDOs – MBS. Defaults on commercial property in the US. Thailand martial law – people demand open civil participatory government. Turkey?

2. Structural violence – unifying theme? Instinctive understanding prompts desire to think through the processes which cause. Affects everyone but in different ways. Explains the summer riots in 2012. Chinese movie – Structured Violence – Touch of Sin recommended (Curzon Soho). Contrast between physical violence and other types of violence. Highlights that this idea of structured violence goes way beyond groups like ours. All the problems are consequences of structural violence. As an SME, subject to commercial and regulatory violence. Violence comes from the structure of society. Who creates the structure? What defines the structure? Who created the system? Faulty structure produces undesirable effects on people within the structure. Three flaws are structural and are violent in their effects. Machine which maims people – we have to live with it because it is too expensive to make iot safe. Jobs going to China while we are reduced to a service economy – pushed through behind the scenes (like TTIP). Run down a part of the system to allow them to substitute what they want in its place. Invisible. Everything is built on lies and can't trust anything. 100 scientists have looked at this research etc. What food is good for you? Organic labels? Structure wasn't built for me. It wasn't built for my interests but for someone else's. The interests of many are ignored or suppressed. Saving money to protect it from inflation. Can't trust the health system. Anxiety, trauma. Benefits system oppresses the vulnerable. Legal system favours the few. Can't interact with the police. Origins of trauma. See-saw tilted to those in power.

Why does the system not work for you? Because you've no power in shaping it. Extended working years to 66+ for women. Change in working age is because of the flaw / belief that human labour is essential. Even if not deliberate, it is part of the structure. No mechanism for feedback. “They.” Ideal machine but for the wrong purpose. Countries are properties of big families. One can play the system rise to the top. Origins – dispossession of the land. Can no longer opt out of society. Grapes of wrath – John Steinbeck. Structural violence against dirt farmers driven into debt. Turned owner dirt farmers into share-croppers. Driven off the land which the banks took. Migrated to California driving down wages. People got worried, even large landowners. Law acted for the owners and merchants, not for the people. Took advantage of their labour. Some formed communities. Stark illustration of state against those with no power. If people are empowered. Zimbabwe – repatriation of the land. People given land without the knowledge, experience to cultivate it. Kept the representative system of democracy. John Ruskin – "put out the eyes of the poor and blame them for their blindness." Zimbabwe couldn't distribute land not because of domestic law but because of international structures and restrictions. UK reneged on the deal to provide the money and so then land was confiscated but kept for ruling party and their friends. Corrupt system. Everyone is exploiting everyone else. Children are similarly dis-empowered in the family. In Grapes of Wrath – the whole family (extended) had to move. Farming communities for mutual support. Discussing where and when to go but the children have no voice other than through protest. Activists (Occupy) are as children in system. When you realise you have the power, typically with economic independence. If you have money, you have relative freedom and independence. Need the power to sustain oneself – Citizens Income. People within the power structure are polarised in the same direction (like magnets). Governments cause disarray among people to maintain control over every aspect our lives. Blocked from self improvement or improving the life of others but can't identify the obstacles. Educating black boys in school? – emphasis on sport and arts to prevent them becoming a political force. Brian Clough introduced black footballers. One parent families – absent fathers – mothers having to work long hours, not enough parenting time. Lack of community. Structural tools designed as ideology. Blaming differences on the obvious exceptions – visible – like gypsies in Bulgaria. Target everyone visible. London multi-cultural environment blurs differences. “Handouts” ideology. Poor people – children – girls restricted to home but boys tend to hang out on street corners. Small accommodation not conducive to study or convivial living. Long standing problem led to dog eat dog mentality. Authorities happy to let them kill each other. Continuation of the Roman Empire – non Romans could join if they conformed and were useful. Slaves (boxers, dancers few rise). Like an animal in the field, you're dependent. If you don't play ball, you starve. Mo Farah. Gladiators. East enders moving out alongside the landed gentry. System is not designed for me. I don't participate in the design. Drip feed success to entice others. Move beyond blaming the system. Roman empire in Africa. Should have looked to sovereignty closer to home. Could we do the same. Unions undermined and the Co-op. Lack of contact with community, mutual organisations and its power. Rediscover how to help ourselves in the modern world. TTIP is an issue to be discussed. Don't know who to vote for? Vote for yourself. Only valid vote is for radical political change. Party politics is not politics. 

Tom Paine – next week. 

How do we get involved in designing the system.

Structural violence – legal context. 

Party politics. 

Session 19 on Tuesday 13th May 2014

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 (25min)

2. Who designed the system – common sense from Tom Paine. Fit for purpose? - Janos  (30 mins)

3. People's Assembly charter for discussion - Arvind (30 mins)

4. Legal framework and systems thinking - Chris (30 mins)

5. Planning for next week (5 mins)

Session 18 on Tuesday 6th May 2014 - notes

Please note change of time and venue just for this week:

We're meeting the launch of A Precariat Charter: From Denizens to Citizens.

at Brunei Gallery SOASThornhaugh St. Russell Square, WC1H 0XG

Tuesday, 6 May 2014 from 18:00 to 20:00  followed by Critical Thinking discussion of Basic Income and the New Model Charter. If there's time we will also be discussing on Tom Paine and who designed the system? Finishing at 9pm.

1. A Precariat Charter - Guy Standing

The Magna Carta was a class charter (feudal barons demanding rights) - important articles 38, 39 40.  The Chartists movement represented different class, many of whom were murder or deported.The Precariat is the emerging (only) class which can precipitate change. Weakening of rights has turned citizens into denizens - supplicants with no rights. Last year some 474,000 people in the UK lost benefits though bureaucratic errors. Denizens lack five assets: security, time, quality space, education and financial capital. They have no occupational identity and relay on payday loans to survive. The plutocracy reigns supported the salariat while the proletariat shrinks and morphs into the precariat. Even the professions operate under license.

The Precariat has a consciousness of deprivation and falls into three components:

a. Those failed by the education system who's parents were traditionally working class in a trade and part of a union (steel workers, miners etc.). These people have no past (in the sense of a collective identity associated with the workplace) and are likely to be seduced by the fascist narrative that they don't have income or decent housing because of pressure on services/resources from immigrants - nonsense of course.

b. Immigrants (nostalgics) are largely disassociated from the political process and have no present (in the sense of belonging).

c. Over qualified graduates and professional people for whom there is no security of income (and much more) - they have no future.

The challenge is to unite these three disparate groups into a single precariat which wields sufficient power to overturn the system. The precariat is the emergent class which will foment change - many of us are already part of it.

To effect a Polanyian transformation requires a new emerging class and new forms of collective action plus recognition, representation and redistribution ( but structures are important). Percy Bysshe Shelley - The Mask of Anarchy:

Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number -
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you -
Ye are many - they are few.'

To make a challenge requires agency or power. Through shared experience, globally there is a collective energy manifest in days of rage. The neo-liberal state has commodified politics. Need to reinvent Liberty, Fraternity and Equality through (in part) basic income .

2. Legal approaches. Malcolm Ramsey response to Legal road to a new political economy needs a reply. Tom Paine wrote of the oppression and nonsense of monarchy - look to the Irish republic model - rotating head of state with no political power. But so much of our law and legislature is tied up with the crown - will require careful unpicking. Malcolm's submission to the laws commission could be useful. Iceland's framework for the constitution is exemplary.  People's Assembly in Walthamstow. Chris's campaigns to resist illegal taxes on the grounds of funding terrorism and war crimes. Fought for a high court injunction against Tony Blair. Laws underpinning the road to war. Interested in our systems thinking work (long experience working with Peter Checkland and others) and fiduciary responsibility. Civil obedience campaign to make elected representatives comply with the law. Legal challenge against payment of taxes - illegal under the Terrorism Act 2000, sections 1, 15 and 17. Rome Statue of the International Criminal Court cites six offences: genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes plus actions ancillary to genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes - 235 taxes are illegal. It is a crime to pay tax - we must open the legal cracks in the system. The Magna Carta was prompted by the tax rebellion in 1215. Concept of eminent domain?


When is it a crime to pay tax?

1970 UN Declaration on principles

Next week:

Tom Paine - who designed the system? - Janos

People's Assembly charter for discussion - Arvind

Legal framework and systems thinking - Chris

Session 17 on Tuesday 29th April 2014 - notes

Session 17 on Tuesday 29th April 2014 – notes

1. MH370. Netanyahu's Israel similar plane found. Amber pathway – once in hospital, managed decline to death. Victims, not just the elderly – people in their 40s and 50s. Andrew Marr's program on the unaffordability of caring for the elderly – it's all about money, funding and target setting. Targeting Hindus because cremation within 24 hours excludes the possibility of  post mortem. Friend of a nurse says it's done routinely – eugenics. Patients network – phone calls on a daily basis – burden on the state being targeted. Northfield Park in Harrow. UCH implicated. Kings College – Guys and St Thomas – Amber pathway originators. Royal Free – elderly falling in the street, ambulanced then medicated – decline, death. Vigorous objection results in psychiatric intervention. Mental Health Act – power to take liberty and assets – controlled by the state. Sectioning people to avoid discovery. Daily Mail - Steve Doughty article – court of protection in secret – woman tried to free a vulnerable relative was caught and imprisoned for three months. Ian Dale, LBC broadcaster – mother was taken – under Liverpool Pathway – bonuses based on the body count. Statins – killers. Patients first network – signs: stopping mediation; nil by mouth; drip? Amount of work to investigate deeply. Abuse of elderly people at the Royal Free. Mother in the mortuary 4 months – pressured to complete. Was scared of nurses. Giving excess diuretics drugs; result dehydrated – then  death through excess water. If you have medical knowledge, you can discover. Ideological message: sell drugs – social disease eg. obesity. Statins? Training doctors to be pharmaceutical salesman. NHS – damage on a social level. Structured violence – gap between doctors and everyone else (including patients). Excessive rewards inculcates a feeling of superiority. Hospitals are businesses – paid by results. Target setting – perverse incentives. Remuneration based on shareholder value. Increasingly short term focus. Bonuses for consultants and senior staff. Systemic incentives.

Abuse in care homes:

2. Common sense – Tom Paine. Stand up to British. Infidelity law in Pakistan – what is driving it? What system split India in two? The system prevails. Political system – government is self-designed. Money creation to grant the power to control government. No feedback in the system – lack of reciprocation. Systemic consequences. Not based on individuals – create the incentives. Blair - king maker for a new Labour leadership? He's a valuable tool. Talented communicator. Presentable person. Dealing with the devil – corralled down pathway/funnel. Conflict between being pope and the man. Crimes committed in the name of the people – excludes individual guilty. Court readings are in the name of Crown – ideology. Cannot fight a fiction.

3. Law doesn't work – within the political economy framework. How is the law the created? – circular input – politicians/lawyers create laws to serve their interests. Individuals won't come up with the answers. Law commission document – circulate. Iraqi dissidents in the UK dissatisfaction with living conditions while colluding in regime change.

4. UK seems democratic – PR. New Model Charter. We're all human beings. Pushing out the message any which way. Systematic approach while holding those responsible to account. Michael Lewis – Banker author – the big short. Boomerang – European (PIIGS).

Next week: Tom Paine

Basic Income – book launch at SOAS