WARNING: May contain opinions
None of the above.
Not an auxiliary, not a substitute, not the makings of a political party, certainly a phenomenon but not as you describe.
Every once in a while something truly new happens in history. The Occupy movement has been a global, ongoing, highly visible response to grievances which are global, ongoing and highly visible. It is only within the last few decades that the worlds population has been technologically and culturally capable of uniting in opposition to problems that effect everyone. Until recently there were no problems which effect everyone such as global warming, financial meltdown, universal corruption.
This is not going to become a political party, because no political party could possibly represent it. What we are discovering is that we can only represent ourselves and each other, on the basis of equality.
Same, i used to believe in the political system, till i learned how the monetary system owns polotics. now i just believe in the movement.
"..a new political party in the making .." if that's the case I'm outta here.
My opinion is that we have to work with, around (i.e. setting up our own health clinics, etc.), and against the present system. Working with those individual politicians (i.e. Bernie Sanders) who agree with Occupy on important causes is important. And there are some Democrats who agree with what OWS is fighting for and there are even some Republicans that do in elected office. I don't think endorsing candidates or parties as a whole is a great idea. Of course individuals can. Now if we were to start our own party, that's another story. A voice at the table through local elections would be beautiful (with the elected only free to carry out the wishes of the GA or something, I don't know).
As far as national office goes, there's too much money right now and it's too far gone to try to get anything done electorally. But, like I said, we need to work with those who agree with us on an issue-by-issue basis without letting them co-opt us.
We are reinventing the way in which we engage ourselves in political debate every day. Occupy is part of the spectrum of politics now, and we can learn from others as they learn from us.
Even the government and organisations that fail us have their own idealistic models on how democracy and consensus should be reached, most countries though, rarely implement or adhere to fair and well represented collective democratic processes. Here is an interesting highlight of an article from The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) a Canadian Crown and UN backed organisation.
is Lecturer in international development at the University of Bath and Education Officer at the Human Development and Capability Association.
and Lila Shahani is Editor for the Special Unit for South-South Cooperation at the United Nations Development Programme.
AN INTRODUCTION TO THE HUMAN DEVELOPMENT AND CAPABILITY APPROACH
Freedom and Agency
8. Democracy and Political Participation
Aims of the chapter
• To analyse various mechanisms through which people exercise their agency in the public space.
• To examine the complexity of democratic decision-making and its consequences for development outcomes.
• To understand the intricate relationship between economic, social and political processes.
• An effective democracy requires more than free and fair elections and majority rule. It also requires key political institutions and basic political and civil rights, such as freedom of speech, association and information.
• Democracy has intrinsic, instrumental and constructive value.
• Economic and social rights, on the one hand, and political and civil rights, on the other, are intimately related.
• Political equality is a basic requirement for democracy. Economic, social and political inequality tend to reinforce one another.
• Careful attention must be paid to the quality of the democratic process, particularly with respect to the inclusion of all voices in the exercise of public reasoning.
A mechanism for exercising agency in the public sphere
Democracy literally means ‘rule by the people’ (from the Ancient Greek demos, people, and kratos, rule). Essentially, democracy is nothing more than a mechanism that people have designed to rule themselves. In a small book entitled Democracy, which summarizes his substantial scholarship on the issue, the American political scientist Robert Dahl defines democratic decision-making by five criteria (2000, pp37–38). First, democracy requires effective participation. Before a policy is adopted, all members must have equal and effective opportunities for making their views known to others as to what the policy should be. Second, it is based on voting equality. When the moment arrives for the final policy decision to be made, every member should have an equal and effective opportunity to vote, and all votes should be counted as equal. Third, it rests on ‘enlightened understanding’. Within reasonable limits, each member should have equal and effective opportunities for learning about alternative policies and their likely consequences. Fourth, each member should have control of the agenda, that is, members should have the exclusive opportunity to decide upon the agenda and change it. Fifth, democratic decision-making should include all adults. All (or at least most) adult permanent residents should have the full rights of citizens that are implied by the first four criteria.
The idea of political equality lies at the core of democratic decision-making. A violation of one of the above criteria leads to political inequality between people, and hence disrupts the democratic process. A democratic government is one which strives to meet as many of these criteria as possible. These criteria do not however exist in an institutional vacuum. Dahl outlines the following institutions necessary for a well-functioning democracy (2000, p86):
- Elected officials: control over government decisions about policy is constitutionally vested in elected officials.
- Free and fair elections: elected officials are chosen in frequent and fairly-conducted elections in which coercion is comparatively uncommon.
- Inclusive suffrage: practically all adults have the right to vote in the election of officials.
- Right to run for office: practically all adults have the right to run for elective offices in the government, though age limits may be higher for holding office than for the suffrage.
- Freedom of expression: citizens have a right to express themselves without the danger of severe punishment on political matters broadly defined, including criticism of officials, the government, the regime, the socio-economic order and the prevailing ideology.
- Alternative information: citizens have a right to seek out alternative sources of information. Moreover, alternative sources of information (should) exist that are not under the control of the government or any other single political group attempting to influence public political beliefs and attitudes, and these alternative sources are effectively protected by law.
- Associational autonomy: to achieve their various rights, including those listed above, citizens also have a right to form relatively independent associations or organizations, including independent political parties and interest groups.
Dahl uses the word ‘polyarchy’ (meaning ‘rule by the many’) to refer to a government that possesses all of the above institutions. Polyarchy is thus a modern representative democracy which rests on fundamental civil and political rights, such as the right to vote, the right of association and the right to freedom of expression.
As should be obvious from the above, democracy is much more than majority rule obtained at elections, a theme that runs throughout the literature on democracy found in the human development and capability approach:
We must not identify democracy with majority rule. Democracy has complex demands, which certainly include voting and respect for election results, but it also requires the protection of liberties and freedoms, respect for legal entitlements, and the guaranteeing of free discussion and uncensored distribution of news and fair comment. Even elections can be deeply defective if they occur without the different sides getting an adequate opportunity to present their respective cases, or without the electorate enjoying the freedom to obtain news and to consider the views of the competing protagonists. (Sen, 1999, p10)
Free and fair elections are fundamental, as Box 8.1 discusses, but they make a mockery of democracy if they are not accompanied by the other fundamental civil and political rights. This is echoed in Drèze and Sen (2002, p24), who list other elements that are essential to democratic decision-making beyond the existence of free and fair elections, such as a respect for legal entitlements; the right to free expression (and uncensored media); the right to associate freely and hold public discussions; and the right to organize political movements or protests.
Lol, just doing some google searches, found this awesome document :) Bring on the Grand Jury? ;0)
How to improve democracy in the UK:
▪ Allow citizens a right of referendum on constitutional issues
▪ Allow citizens to challenge any law passed by parliament by forcing a referendum using a petition of five per cent of the number of votes in the last election
▪ Allow citizens to initiate new legislation and put it to a vote in a referendum using a petition
▪ Give local communities the opportunity to create their own local charters through local initiative and referendum powers
▪ Allow constituents to recall their MP from parliament and hold a by‐election using a petition of 20 per cent of local electorate
▪ Re‐introduce a grand jury system to investigate and begin prosecutions of public officials
▪ Permit grand juries to be convened to decide on public prosecutions as an alternative to the Crown Prosecution Service
Though I am very definitely liberal and unapologetically so, I am so very frustrated with so much I see about Occupy. One of the very first things that I believed about Occupy is that it is not about Left v Right. Occupy is about right v wrong. If it changes, or forgets that, then I am out of the movement. The issues that we should be facing, are not about one's political orientation. These are truly about survival and sustainability. These are about ECONOMIC issues. Economic issues which have corrupted our politics so to that extent they are political as well.
I have already seen Occupy maturing. I defended it early on to old 60s activists who asked what did it stand for? What were the goals? Where are the leaders? I pointed out that it was a nascent movement, and that no such massive social movement sprang fully formed into being like Athena from Zeus' thigh. I then tried very carefully to enumerate for them the issues which I saw as being the core issues. Again, sustainability and survival. Economic inequality. I convinced one or two to give us a chance. I lost one or two.
But, I digress. You asked, "What is the occupy movement in relation to political parties?" The answer in my opinion should be that it is nothing in relation to the parties because it is above and beyond politics. It must use politics to achieve its goals, but it isn't about politics. It isn't about any of the things you listed because those things are all petty squabbles that come lower on Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Once we find and push the reset button, then we can resume our squabbles over those issues, if we need to, and chances are pretty good that we will need to, because we are, after all, petty humans and it is in our nature to squabble with each other.
Despite all our attempts to believe otherwise about ourselves. Very damn few of us, and I am not counting myself in that number, have risen far enough above that level yet.
Leave your ideology at the door and be human and agitate for full human rights for all.
rise up in love and cooperation and take control of our world back from the greedy few.
We are more powerful turning our back upon the broken system and acting outside of it.
We divorce ourselves from power sapping, divisive politics and put boots on the ground in resistance. Voting has never been enough.
personally I support labour but they have been stupid recently
The way this forum is presented/worded contains a number of substantial, unexamined assumptions. Has anyone considered what 'left' means? Does it mean anything at all? Do we want to exclude people from Occupying who don't favorably respond to or identify with this undefined word? Do we wish to disdain those who participate in electoral processes?
If this forum had the capacity for creating discussion threads focused on some of these questions, it might be feasible to pursue them. However, this does not appear to be the case. Too bad.
Republicans beat the drums for outright repression and enslavement of workers, the democrats protect the capitalist system by placating the workers, hiding the fact that they are slaves from them.
I see 'anarchy' mentioned. We must be very careful about this' Anarchy is freedom without protection, every man for himself, the wet dream of the theocratic republican slave makers who are mightily trying to achieve this now so they can just march in and establish strongman theocratic totalitarian government, unopposed, and make all of us slaves again. In anarchy, there is nothing to prevent the best organized, the strongest, the most evil and tyrannical to just overrun the disorganized rest of us, reestablishing the feudal slave society of old where the slaves were controlled by the terrors of religion.. Democratic government protects our freedoms and the biggest problem with it now is it's tolerance and support of the capitalist system. "Democracy" should be a synonym for 'socialism.'