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

Juho juho4880 at yahoo.co.uk
Fri Mar 23 14:08:08 PDT 2007

Ok, I think I'm pretty much on the same track with you - including  
the fact that I don't have any detailed proposal available. Let's see  
what the different concepts are good for and in under what conditions  
they can be used.


On Mar 23, 2007, at 21:02 , Dave Ketchum wrote:

> I started the Trees by Proxy thread March 18, in response to  
> thoughts YOU had expressed:
>      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   
>>> responsibilities.
>> 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.
>> Juho
>>> 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.
>>> DWK
>>> 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.

To help you stay safe and secure online, we've developed the all new Yahoo! Security Centre. http://uk.security.yahoo.com

More information about the Election-Methods mailing list