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[ba-unrev-talk] [Fwd: World Wide Democracy Network Newsletter 02]

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
Network,    (01)

www.wwdemocracy.org    (02)

On first sight, the organization appears to be non-partisan - otherwise
I wouldn't even consider bringing this up. I do believe it a good thing
for small, grassroot organizations to team up.    (03)

How well are the principals of this organization known in the U.K. and
internationally, etc.    (04)

You may be interested that from the Fleabyte end we are in touch with an
organization called Global Agoras,    (05)

http://www.globalagoras.org/    (06)

The development is slow here because of "understaffing." Might some
people on this forum be interested in forming a committee to look at the
issue of locating, evaluating and co-operating with like-minded
organizations in a way that they become complementary. Etc.    (07)

Henry    (08)
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  1. Introduction
  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 2003).


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 currently have:

OF      - the people
BY      - interchangeable sets of political professionals
FOR    - the pursuit of economic growth through transnational corporate capitalism


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


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 .

Network Associate
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.


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 approach.

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 from you.

John Turnbull (jt@wwdemocracy.org )


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: 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  Co-operative1974.)  

To read the complete proposal, please visit www.wwdemocracy.org (the '2002 Programme' section).

We are sending you this edition of the WWDN newsletter either because you have had contact with the WWDN in the past, or because we believe you would be interested in the WWDN's work.

If you wish to be removed from the WWDN mailing list, please reply to this message with 'STOP' in the subject field.

We apologise if you have received multiple copies of this newsletter. Please let us know if this happens.
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