I wonder what this forum thinks about associating - and in what manner
-ourselves (i.e. Bootstrap AND/OR Fleabyte) with the newly formed,
London-based organization that calls itself the World Wide Democracy
On first sight, the organization appears to be non-partisan -
I wouldn't even consider bringing this up. I do believe it a good
for small, grassroot organizations to team up.
How well are the principals of this organization known in the U.K. and
You may be interested that from the Fleabyte end we are in touch with
organization called Global Agoras,
The development is slow here because of "understaffing." Might some
people on this forum be interested in forming a committee to look at
issue of locating, evaluating and co-operating with like-minded
organizations in a way that they become complementary. Etc.
Subject: World Wide Democracy Network Newsletter 02
Date: Fri, 13 Sep 2002 20:12:06 +0100
From: John Turnbull <email@example.com>
WORLD WIDE DEMOCRACY NETWORK NEWSLETTER No. 2, SUMMER 2003
2. WWDN news
3. Getting the WWDN up and running
4. WWDN?s WSF 2003 Proposal: a summary of the WWDN?s proposal to run
a series of workshops (entitled ?Liberating Democratic Systems?)
at the next World Social Forum (Porto Alegre, Brazil, January
The World Wide Democracy Network (WWDN, www.wwdemocracy.org ) has been
set up to link people in a process of mutual learning.
Many recognise that we are facing a set of complex and urgent global
problems, such as widespread inequality, environmental degradation and
societal breakdown. Such problems cannot be solved within the existing
?democratic? regimes because their design has evolved to achieve a
totally different purpose - that of unsustainable economic growth
coupled with high levels of inequality. It follows that we need to
rethink our ideas of democracy and citizenship; if we are to build a
just and sustainable future, we need a new paradigm of democracy.
To borrow from Abraham Lincoln, we need to advance from what we
OF - the people
BY - interchangeable sets of political professionals
FOR - the pursuit of economic growth through transnational
OF - the people
BY - thinking, acting and learning together
FOR - the co-creation of just and sustainable societies
Through the WWDN we will explore how to apply to political processes
the insights of soft-systems thinking and complexity theory developed
in other fields. These are of fundamental significance in bringing
about change. It is these insights that teach us that our task is
essentially one of mutual learning.
For more information on the history and purpose of the WWDN, please
see WWDN Newsletter No1, March 2002 .
To become a WWDN Co-learner and take part in our online discussions
(available soon) please contact us here , remembering to include your
name in the body of the message. (Other details, such as address,
occupation etc. would be welcome, but are not essential.)
Alternatively, visit our website at www.wwdemocracy.org
2. WWDN NEWS
55 people have signed up to become WWDN co-learners. The WWDN?s main
aim in 2002 is to establish contacts with people and organisations
interested in developing viable strategies for political change at all
levels from local to global. If you would like to join us please press
?reply? (making sure not to reply to all) and type ?co-learner? in the
subject line, or visit our website at www.wwdemocracy.org .
John Turnbull has been appointed Network Associate for the WWDN.
Formerly a researcher with a firm of management consultants, John will
be responsible for the day-to-day administration of the network,
including managing the contacts database, moderating the discussion
forum and editing the quarterly newsletter.
3. GETTING THE WWDN UP AND RUNNING
We have spent the last couple of months thinking about how we want the
Network to function, acting on advice about software and technical
issues, and learning what works for us and what doesn't. So far, we
have a new design for the website, and soon we will be unveiling the
WWDN discussion forum. We will also be migrating to the Linux
operating system, one of the inspirations for the WWDN?s open-source
The response to our request for participants has been very
encouraging. Our 55 co-learners are from a wide range of backgrounds,
including economics, systems thinking and consultancy. However, this
kind of background is by no means a requirement - the WWDN is open to
anybody who is interested in developing viable strategies for
political change and working towards a more just and sustainable
future. (See above for instructions on registering).
Our intention is to make the WWDN accessible to as many people as we
can. This means publishing our site and our newsletters in as many
languages as possible. If anybody is interested in undertaking
translation work (on a voluntary basis), I would be very keen to hear
John Turnbull (firstname.lastname@example.org )
4. A PROPOSAL FOR A 3-DAY PROGRAMME FOR THE WORLD SOCIAL FORUM -
?LIBERATING DEMOCRATIC SYSTEMS?
This is a summary of the proposal for a programme of events we are
hoping to have considered for the next World Social Forum. The
proposal is very ambitious and there is no guarantee that it will be
accepted in full; however, it gives a good indication of the direction
the WWDN is taking.
In his closing words to the second World Social Forum (WSF), held in
Porto Alegre, Brazil in February 2002, the Nobel prize-winning poet
Jose Saramago issued a challenge:
"Everything in this world is discussed, from literature to ecology,
from expanding galaxies to the greenhouse effect, from waste treatment
to traffic congestion. Yet the democratic system goes undiscussed, as
if it were a given, definitively acquired and untouchable by nature
until the end of time.
"Well, unless I am mistaken ... among so many other necessary or
indispensable discussions, there is an urgent need to foster worldwide
debate on democracy and the causes of its decline?"
The main blockages to radical change, he implied, stem from the
in-built systemic defects of our so-called democratic systems.
WWDN proposes that the third WSF, to be held again in Porto Alegre in
January 2003, responds to Saramago?s challenge through a programme of
co-learning designed to enable the participants to explore and define:
* precisely why it is that the current systems of democracy are
defective - what is wrong with their design and purposes; and
* what are the essential components of an alternative democratic
system capable of meeting the needs of human societies and of the
whole human family in the 21st Century? What, for example, is the
nature of the relationship between democratic leadership and
people power? And how, in practical terms, can such democracies
On the basis of a shared understanding on these and related issues,
WSF 2003 could launch a global dialogue with two interlocking
dimensions: a theoretical dimension concerned with the development of
coherent models of alternative systems of democracy; and a practical
dimension based on the experience of the Participative Budget
processes in over 100 cities in Brazil and South America, and
especially in the city of Porto Alegre itself.
To sum up: the intended outcome of the programme is to respond to Jose
Saramago's challenge by initiating a purposeful global dialogue aimed
at increasing our shared understanding of what needs to be done to
remedy the systemic defects of today's democracies.
"Democracy and democratic education are founded on faith in men, on
the belief that they not only can, but should, discuss the problems of
their country, their continent, their world, their work, the problems
of democracy itself."
(Paulo Freire, formerly Director of Education for the city of Sao
Paulo, Brazil, Education: the Practice of Freedom Writers and Readers
To read the complete proposal, please visit www.wwdemocracy.org (the
'2002 Programme' section).