previous previous: Workshop: Powers

Life Despite Capitalism - Workshops

« Democracies »

Democracies workshop (D209) 4.30 pm - 6.30 pm 16 Oct. 2004


Notes: Andrwe Wood

Facilitors: David and co-facilitator (man)

Word democracies has many meanings. What are ours?

What would you like to get out of this workshop?

Workshop should come up with one question we would like to put to Sunday morning plenary.

Chris Marsh: Like to question, is voting symonius with democracy? Spent time with quakeers and at their meetings. It works well. Any view point is put to meeting just once. Collect view points; avoids contentions. Don't like votes, likes creative listening

Uri: Concerned about use of democracy in movement. I doubt democracy is what we're talking about. Think htat emergent forms of democracy are 'Kracous'. Don't think movement is about more democracy.


Tim: My question is how when you start to apply to large scale decision making then how can it work effectively. Gives example of assembly at ESF yesterday where there was disagreement

Woman (Germany): Concerned consensous favours the strong - mostly men, how can the oppressed be heard? When trying alternative democrcies how avoid exclusion.


Woman: How can strong disagreements be resolved, strongly held views e.g. Hindu nationalist

Man: Is democracy people having equal say in decision making. Perhaps say in proportion to extent that it affects them.

Man: Conflict management - is there a way where it's not a demonic practice.


Hannah: I'm hear to listen

Glin: I work on participatory democracy - interested in best practice

Woman: How do work with language and democratic practice

woman: Interested in refugees and british system, education

Man (Demark): Two questions: democracy is precious - is this the only fair institution or are there others; secondly, in Demark - can one have democracy and non-capitalism.

Man: How can people take control and empower themselves. How can groups promote equality and inclusiveness and participation, avoiding elites within them

Man: I work in collectives and have questions about decision making and participation

Woman: My questions - Is the ESF a democrtic space, and alternative ways of thinking about democracy that address power relations - material resources, emotional and cultural resources - feelings of inclusion. Discourse this morning will that help me analyse relations.


Anna: Studied democracy in schools; promoting democracy to kids; democracy is deliberative processes rather than voting - giving power-over. What is democracy

Woman (French):

Simon(Norway): I'm here to meet people with similar ways of working in direct democratic fashion. How do we struggle for real democracy.

John Cloak(ATTAC UK): I refuse to recognise democracy as it is here. I like networked society; want to look at participaroty funding ideas; empower, participatory discussion, denied to date, make more use of technology and tools; credited sites online and 24-hour discussions

Antonie: Can choose representatives through random selection, rotation; education is a duty

Erik: work with Antonie - how can humans be governed but self creation.

Hector: Living more democracy - in managable groups, federal ways, recallable delegates. Having lived with that kind of democracy how do I get this into the mainstream

Ben: Work on project Open Organisations - avoid word democracy; want to document decision making processes and organisations and what works to offer choices and experiences

David: Anthropologist; found from american movements; democracy is nice word because no ones against it! In American movement consensus is coming out - decision making is a way of managing diversity. Way we're told of history of democracy, i.e. from Greece; but voting is not democracy; there are communities around world managing resource but don't involve voting but work and are democracy. Why? Because in situation with no overarching state better to avoid conflict and use processes that avoid it. Doesnn't assume everybody should think same thing. How manage profound conflict or just unreasonableness? Principle of democracy is about action, how to bring about. Another questions: beyond small affinity groups how do you do democracy? Recallable delegates. Example of selecting five people and then random selection between them - great idea!

Woman: What I want from meeting? I want inspiration from meeting!

Uri: Co-ertion is not on agenda and this sets us apart from democracy. Democracy is about binding decision making and what is enforced. How make conditions for people able to have voice without co-ertion. What we're talking about is not democracy but what I'd say is anarchy. We have simple decisions, short term decisions so that's why consensu works - the cost of being wrong is low. If applied to society to a whole what would that mean - cost of leaving community is quite low; the amount of resources should be low. Because of limited conditions in movement we have special conditions. E.g. Abortion issue; it's unlikely if fundamentalist then unlikely entering into debate in good faith.

Man: Agenda? How demcracies work or don't work. How manage profound conflict; second, see democracy not as just decision making but culture - should explore, thirdly, how use technologies which could mediate, fourthly, how democray be empowering, relations change

David: I'm an anarchist too; Trying to make something new when don't have democracy, within current framework; how to build enclaves that migh displace larger institional structure which is oppessive

Man: We can plan protests in radical way but how do we do at home - gender relations, doing the dishes and applying to workplace and friendships. Do examples in everyday life like sharing bag of chips; my frustation is that not culture of life

Man: ESF centralised groups in classes; in my own life, teacher, avoid, book Deep Democracy - about India, Momby, grit of everyday life, identites - in touch with other groups e.g. through internet - perhaps more representative of their identity; example of Everquest a Multi-user game where people started trading virtual identites and resources for cash

Man: People want to see, how concensous could work; we've got many where democracy taken to local, e.g. workplaces withoug bosses (self managed) - co-ordinating workplaces; need to get to know people who work this way; then get the word out; main issue democracy despite democray - easy to do - little constraint

Woman: Assumed definitions of democracy from dominate culture. Lip service applied to use of word. Example of mis-use of word: propagation of 'what is democracy' discussion

Man: Let's break into groups and write up

David: Notice that open forum, here, lead to five white males dominating.

David: Let's discuss in smaller groups and consider the following questions:

1) How democratic systems can work in reality (coersion, consensus, etc)
How to handle entrenched or inreconcible differences/conflict management

2) Democracy not as instrument but as culture of life (in movement, in insitutions, etc)
Question of 'representation'?, How can democracy be empowering?, How can democratic practice challenge capitalism? Possible roles of technologies

Each group will consider one of these questions, so how many people in each group - five or six people


Notes from first group: how democratic systems can work in practice.

voting as the last resort, after not getting to a consensus.
there must be a captain in a boat
there will be issues where you need a mecanism/process.
if you could be allowed to navigate your multiple identities.
what happens in a crisis: who decides?
not all profound differences can be solved by taking apart groups.
some kind of coercion is needed?
the environment is for everyone.
decisions are local.
think from small to big. from neighbours in the same
building to buildings in a street.
concentrate on easy issues




Created by: Andrew Wood last modification: Sunday 17 of October, 2004 [14:08:53 UTC] by BenjaminGeer

next next: Workshop: Moments of Excess

esf london | wsf | (archives) |

valid xhtml 1.0