[EM] Free Associations (was: Trees and single-winner methods)

Dave Ketchum davek at clarityconnect.com
Thu Mar 22 22:56:24 PDT 2007

I suggest you look at Trees by Proxy as a better base for your thoughts.

It provides for electing legislatures, such as boards of trustees or 
elders, via continuous elections (proxies).

Unlike Free Associations, these have traditional powers and responsibilities.

I said nothing of parties, but said nothing against parties.  I suspect 
they would have less power than with traditional elections.

The actual "electing" of someone wishing to be a legislator has little 
formality.  The attracting of enough proxies to make one a legislator with 
muscle could get involved.


On Thu, 22 Mar 2007 21:50:47 +0200 Juho wrote:

> On Mar 21, 2007, at 21:02 , Abd ul-Rahman Lomax wrote:
>>>"Free Association"
>>>Is it still "free" if it is part of the "official machinery"?
>>If it is part of the official machinery, it is not free, most  
>>likely. Free Association is a technical term I coined to refer to  
>>an association with a certain set of characteristics. It's free in  
>>a number of respects. It is free in that it is not coerced.  
>>Membership in a free association is solely at the choice of the  
>>member. You can't be expelled from a Free Association. Again,  
>>necessity allows what may otherwise be forbidden. The Association  
>>is a Free Association in other ways: freedom of association  
>>includes the freedom *not* to associate. FA meetings can set their  
>>own rules; these are the rules of the meeting, not of the Association.
>>It is free in that there are "no dues or fees."
>>FAs are actually the default organization of peers; but peer  
>>organizations very often devolve rapidly into something else,  
>>particularly if they see some success. Power structures appear, etc.
>>Another important aspect of the FA is that it is "free" from bias.  
>>The FA does not take positions of controversy. You can join an FA  
>>without thereby endorsing *anything.* Except possibly the simple  
>>idea of association itself, of free discussion and voluntary  
>>coordination. So you can join the Range Voting Free Association and  
>>be totally opposed to Range Voting. Indeed, we'd invite you to do so!
> I'm trying to analyse the difference between parties and Free  
> Associations. The formal machinery calls established political  
> groupings of people "parties". They are clearly part of the  
> machinery. In most countries people are free to form new parties.  
> (Depending on the current political system they may have different  
> chances of becoming really influential parties.)
> The Free associations that you described seem to differ from parties  
> roughly in that they have a very limited set of rules and are  
> therefore more "free" than the traditional parties. I noted at least  
> the following possible differences.
> - one can't be expelled
> - no permanent rules (only per meeting)
> - no fees
> - no power structure
> - does not take positions of controversy
> - members don't endorse anything (except the existence of the  
> association itself)
> - members may be against the basic targets of the FA
> A party with very relaxed rules could be a Free Association. Maybe  
> people are also free to choose whether to influence via FAs of more  
> formal parties and the system could support a mixture of these two.  
> (In this case FAs could be part of the "official machinery" (but only  
> lightly regulated if at all).)
>>But I'm pointing out that if enough people belonged to a political  
>>FA (which means an FA that is interested in politics, not one that  
>>is partisan, in itself), and if this FA was DP, the people could  
>>control the government, without breaking a sweat. It would not be  
>>the FA controlling the government; the FA merely provides the  
>>communications, it would be the people.
> Hmm, maybe I'm trying to point out that the formality of the groups  
> (FA vs. party) is a flexible concept, and that some people might feel  
> that "controlling the government" is possible also by having rather  
> rigid parties that the voters can choose from (and trust that hey  
> will efficiently drive the policy that is written in their program).
>>Indeed, the people already control the government, only they are  
>>asleep, so they act in accordance with their dreams, those of their  
>>own, or those induced by the dream masters.
>>I'm suggesting that the people awaken, not in the sense of Awaken  
>>and Throw Off Your Chains, but in the sense of simply allowing  
>>group intelligence to arise. I'm not attempting to prejudge what  
>>that intelligence will decide, and I would certainly advise caution!
>>Instead of waking up and thrashing about, which in the stupor of  
>>recent sleep can do a lot of damage, just wake up and look around.  
>>Smell the coffee. And start to talk about it.
> It seems that what we are looking for is a political system that  
> allows people to influence and not get e.g. the feeling that whatever  
> way they vote, the professional politicians (and potentially also  
> lobbyists) will promote their own goals, never mind the voters, and  
> will never give anything more back to the voters/citizens than  
> promises. I'd call that a "working democracy". Free Associations  
> (="very free and informal parties") could be one tool in achieving  
> that but I think also formal parties, different political systems,  
> voting methods etc. can be used to achieve that. (Same with proxies  
> and "continuous elections".)
> Juho

  davek at clarityconnect.com    people.clarityconnect.com/webpages3/davek
  Dave Ketchum   108 Halstead Ave, Owego, NY  13827-1708   607-687-5026
            Do to no one what you would not want done to you.
                  If you want peace, work for justice.

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