[EM] Free Association / Delegable Proxy FAQ - BeyondPolitics.org

Abd ul-Rahman Lomax abd at lomaxdesign.com
Sat Mar 4 06:47:40 PST 2006

At 07:12 AM 3/2/2006, Jan Kok wrote:
>What would the [BeyondPolitics] organization _do_?  Would it just be 
>a discussion group, about how to convert this or that organization 
>to FA/DP?  What is the benefit of having the BP organization, as 
>separate from EM? Would there ever be enough members and volume of 
>discussion that the proxy or delegable proxy mechanisms would be used?

BeyondPolitics.org is not yet confined to a specific agenda. My 
intention in founding it was to take the first step toward my vision 
of a transformed political world. Part of that first step is, yes, 
discussion about the various aspects of this vision (and of similar 
visions of others), and, hopefully, the development of some kind of 
consensus about how other FAs and DP organizations would be founded. 
BP is itself an FA/DP organization. (This makes it quite unlike other 
political reform organizations which do not exemplify what they promote.)

Now, as long as I am the major writer for BP.org (other contributions 
have been very small to date), that the organization is FA/DP is 
largely moot. However, it *is* FA/DP to the extent that anyone who 
registers on the wiki has the same rights as I do; until there are a 
significant number of members, I would remain moderator, just to 
ensure that the initial vision is not lost by the quirks of who 
happens to join, but I would not use my position as moderator to 
favor my own views over others. I'd be delighted if someone would 
join and argue against FA/DP principles on the wiki.

EM is not an organization, except in the same sense that any informal 
association will resemble an FA. Further, the focus of EM is election 
methods, and FA is not an election method. DP can be used in 
elections, but also has many other effects and applications. So there 
is overlap but not identity. I'd expect EM "members" (what is that?) 
to join BP, if they realize the significance of it, for one of the 
obvious applications of FA/DP principles is the development of 
coherent political action, but I would not expect the large majority 
of BP members to join EM, only those who had a particular interest in 
election methods (which become almost irrelevant in an FA/DP world, 
that is, if large FA/DP organizations form, they can "drive" just 
about any election method toward desired results. Simple plurality 
works just fine if you have a pre-election consensus (or even a large 
organized minority).

As to how large BP becomes, it is almost irrelevant. If there are two 
or three people who join and actively participate, BP, which is 
already moving up in search engine ranking, will be a thousand times 
more successful. This is because the principle obstacle to FA/DP 
right now is an appearance that this combination is unique to me, and 
thus suspect as wacky. (If it is wacky in reality, please, someone 
make this clear by participating in working it out. I'd rather spend 
time with my children instead of tilting at windmills.)

A peer organization of two or three people will already be, 
informally, FA/DP. This should be understood: FA/DP is merely a 
formalization of what already happens in very small, fully democratic 
organizations. It is only in the growth phase that organizations lose 
these characteristics. FA is common in twelve-step programs modelled 
after Alcoholics Anonymous, as well as being similar in some ways to 
the ideas of anarchists and libertarians; but, unfortunately, with 
the latter, the critical aspect that the organization itself does not 
take positions on controversial issues has not been understood. This 
aspect of FA is what makes it possible for an organization to grow 
beyond the limitations of its original bias.

And DP makes it possible for the organization to remain fully 
democratic even if it grows without limit. Yes, an FA/DP organization 
could quite practically incorporate the entire population of the 
earth, while remaining fully democratic. And, in fact, it might be 
able to do this quite quickly. If two or three people become active, 
it might only take a few years, because there are no natural 
obstacles to the growth of it except sheer inertia, and the FA 
characteristics reduce that inertia to a minimum. Growth could be 
exponential is what I'm saying.

Once an FA/DP organization demonstrates success in a field, I believe 
that it will quickly dominate that field, if "dominate" is the 
correct word. It will probably have an effective bias due to the 
peculiarities of how it formed, and probably a liberal bias. But it 
will either attract opponents of that bias, or, possibly more likely, 
those opponents will recognize the success and will form their own 
organization on similar lines. Which, of course, would mean that the 
battle would be almost over, since FA/DP organizations effectively 
merge through cross-membership, even if they remain formally 
independent. And if they are FA, they will permit cross-membership.

More information about the Election-Methods mailing list