Real democracy is rising on the horizon at Occupy London

circles at the General Assembly of OccupyLSX, 18 Nov 2011

The temperature was cold yet the air was hot last Friday, at the General Assembly of Occupy London at St.Paul’s. It was hot of our enthusiasm, as we were listening,  with frequently “sparkling fingers,”  to Mark from the “state, real democracy and people’s assemblies” sub-group of the GA’s National Politics Working Group.

Mark presented a statement prepared by the sub-group for our consideration. It was not a proposal to vote on but a suggested amendment of the Initial Statement of OccupyLSX.  The introduction of suggested amendment felt to me as if we reached a milestone in our collective mind about envisioning real democracy. It was very appropriate and appreciated that group didn’t dropped it on us for vote, because the depth and portent of the amendment needed and deserved the thoughtful group dialogues that followed. The Assembly broke into groups of 10 where we explored, how we felt about the statement (see below), what it meant to each of us.

Following point 1* of the Occupy LSX Statement we propose the following insertion:

“What is needed is a democratic alternative to the political-state system. This alternative must be built by people’s assemblies across the country, to facilitate (a new constitution guaranteeing):

(a) full social and political participation (b) a new and popular democratic sovereignty (c) a common, structured political economy that delivers social equality and wellbeing for all”

It is proposed this insertion be linked to a call for the formation of people’s assemblies in neighbourhoods, workplaces and education establishments across teh country, and for a day of action in  support. * 1. The current system is unsustainable. It is undemocratic and unjust. We need alternatives; this is where we work towards them.

In a time of such radical transition as our world is going through, the new institutions cannot be designed in a top down way; they can emerge only from the collective practice of the multitudes. Sitting next to me in one of the Assembly’s circles of 10, on the stairs of St.Paul, somebody called “Tina” talked about how our practices of direct democracy can and should scale up, and become a model of governance. Her words created a resonant field.

They also reminded me how much we still need to discover to make that happen, how much is still ahead of us on the learning journey. Of course, we are not starting from scratch and we’re not alone on that journey.  Occupy sites around the world are constantly discovering/inventing new practices, and my hunch says that better sharing of them will happen soon. Real democracy starts within our heart and quality of attention to each other and what wants to come into being through our Movement.

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Categories: General Assemblies, UK


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