[EM] Free Associations (was: Trees and single-winner methods)
davek at clarityconnect.com
Fri Mar 23 12:02:32 PDT 2007
I started the Trees by Proxy thread March 18, in response to thoughts YOU
Abd has a new concept he calls Free Associations.
Responding to YOUR thoughts, I propose keeping traditional
legislature structures and responsibilities, doing the elections via proxy.
I do not pretend to have all the details sorted out - it has been less
than a week since your post inspired me.
On Fri, 23 Mar 2007 19:33:24 +0200 Juho wrote:
> On Mar 23, 2007, at 7:56 , Dave Ketchum wrote:
>> 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
> I agree that the "traditional powers and responsibilities" can not be
> replaced overnight. And even if it was possible I wouldn't recommend to
> do so (often such ideological experiments have failed). The FAs could
> however be a useful tool at the edge of the political system. I don't
> expect the difference to traditional political ways of working to be
> very big, but reminding of the need to keep the system flexible/
> responsive/open/discussing is a good thing to do.
> Maybe it would be good to discuss separately about each of the proposed
> ideas (FAs, proxies, continuous elections, permanent representatives,
> use of tree structures etc.) to keep the discussion clear.
>> 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
>>>> 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".)
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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