Crises of Legitimacy : The Transparency Party

Here we are – riots in Turkey and Sweden and Brazil all at pretty much the same time over pretty much the same thing: The increasing gulf between the government and the governed. We’ve got incontinent American institutions leaking daylight all over the place, embarrassing the shit out of their allies who are turning out to be almost as bad as they are… witch-hunts for whistle-blowers, even though everyone in the entire fucking world knows that this is wrong wrong wrong.

Every single day, something new. The New Zealand Govt’s approach to scandals is “Denial, Amnesia, Apology, Fall-Guy-Resignation (temporary)”… in that order. This process usually unfolds over a period of weeks, seldom getting to “apology” because a new scandal will have blown up and the breathless advertising-dollar-chasing lackeys in the media will be talking about that instead. They treat politics as celebrity gossip. The 4th Estate is fucked.

It seems that anything worthwhile that happens, happens in spite of the government, not because of it. And this is OUR government. This is how we organise ourselves to get things done and to control power. It should not be “them”… it should be us. But it isn’t. Our government is now well and truly “them”. And it’s the same, pretty much anywhere on the planet.

Government without the consent of The Governed is illegitimate.

Any government that lies to its people is illegitimate.
Any that government lies to us, keeps secrets from us, spies on us… is illegitimate.

The governments we have right now are not legitimate – but we don’t need a revolution, we absolutely do not need a power-vacuum that revolutions tend to create – we need to decontaminate and sublimate what we have… we need new parties.

Although this blog was originally a kind of “ooh-shiny” fascination with gadgets and art… the information wars (which have been going for at least the last 500 years) have moved up a notch, and there doesn’t seem to be a lot of point talking about anything else.

Here in NZ things aren’t so bad – if you’re well-off… if you have enough thermal-mass built up by previous (socialist) generations to weather the cold that is being created by “Policy By Rentiers For Rentiers”. The worst depression since the 1930s. So far. New Zealanders are apathetic… those huge protests you seen in Turkey? I feel a kind of envy. In NZ you’d be lucky to get 3 people and a dog. I blame television – it creates an insular, trivial and self-congratulatory culture. TV talks to people as though they’re stupid, and it gets stupid back.

But even here, I have total contempt for our ruling institutions – the leadership in NZ is indistinguishable from the grown-up public-schoolboys in the UK. You could swap the heads and no one would be any the wiser. They take care of the wealthy, and fob the rest of us off with as little as can be got away with. Tens of trillions of dollars are sitting in tax-havens. This isn’t a depression, it’s the aftermath of a burglary… and our governments are (still) primarily concerned with looking after the interests of the burglars.

Exhibit 1: Bankers joking about the bailout “picked number out of arse”
Exhibit 2: Protestor facing 13 years in prison for writing in chalk on pavement outside bank. Banned from mentioning “freedom of speech” in court.

Countries apart, but representative of everything, everywhere. Who goes to prison?

I’m thinking of starting a new political party – though I’m not sure how… given that I hate being in rooms with more than about 5 people in them. I collected anti-privatisation signatures for the Green Party last weekend… 3 hours which I found so shattering I spent the rest of the day in bed. I’m not a political animal.

Still… I like the idea of Liquid Democracy

I think that there’s room for a “party” (in NZ, which has proportional representation) that operates purely on this principle.

We act as permanent whistle-blowers – a permanent open-window onto power. There are no secrets kept from the population. There are no back-room deals. There are no secret trade-deals. All we do is report back.

We don’t make any decisions, at all. The population does.

We set up a Liquid Democracy system that allows anyone in the country to vote on every issue.
If they don’t care or don’t have the expertise… they can delegate their vote to someone else.
We also use this system to create policy.

This will create a policy counter-weight to the corporate-funded think-tanks, and the corporate-political revolving door that is the source of so much corruption. A party that operates on these lines does not need to be big and powerful… because it is an information conduit. It can work its way like a sunlight-facilitating virus into our government, and all of our institutions. It’s a simple set of principles rather than a traditional “party”… but it mimics the form of a traditional party to move within the political environment.

To start with, this is (and maybe always will be/should be) an experiment. We don’t aim to be the entire government… we just act as a window into it… and a way for people to make their voices heard…

…because right now, the only people that matter are corporations, and although we all need soap, that is not a reason to give soap-manufacturers the right to buy policy for their short-term benefit, at our long-term loss… and “changing the world through individual consumer choices” is bullshit. This is about the management of power, not the feeble influence of atomised victims at the periphery.

So there you go. That’s my thought for the day.

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  1. […] to replace the people in power, with a system in which there IS no power. Personally, I think an organisational virus built upon Liquid Democracy has a lot of […]

  2. […] civil-disobedience, because the laws are wrong, and they won’t be changed very easily because our governments are no longer legitimate. Not only do we NOT have a moral duty to obey the laws they pass (for the 1%), we actually have a […]