Article Index

Using and developing power

Let’s use the framework of managed change at the initiation stage to see what sort of things we need to do to develop an alternative source of power that is capable of replacing exiting power structures.

  • Political Activity and Mobilisation
  • Ideas and Policy Formation
  • Democratic Practice and Institutions
  • Economic Change and Business Development

This section is all about what has to happen, I’ll get to some very specific proposals about how in Tactics

Political Activity and mobilisation

In order to get political activity moving and mobilise people activity needs to focus on three areas

  • Developing the supportive culture
  • Getting organised
  • Walking the walk

Developing a supportive culture

Political work does not go on in a vacuum, the industrial revolution which created mass society and the industrial working class who mobilised through trade unions and created the Labour Party has gone.

To combat the divide and rule that follows from individualism and the hegemony of “there is no alternative” new approaches are needed to build solidarity and confidence. Although we are starting from scratch with the arguments the same technology that supports precarious ad hoc work can also be used to link people together. This  can be the start for a change of the ruling paradigms in the current culture. We need to start creating the infrastructure within our culture (as a counter culture) that helps bring out, as new emergent properties, the behaviours we seek as civic virtues – collaboration, cooperation, the quest for good governance and commonwealth creation

This cultural infrastructure is needed to bring about the paradigm shift that unlocks change.

Get organised

An organisation will be needed but will not be a political party. It will be an association of like-minded people, it will be open to anyone who accepts the aims and values of holistic political economy. The reason it will not be a political party is that party politics is part of the problem and cross-party co-operation is a step towards the solution,

  • Because the HoPE Association will be dedicated to persuasion rather than getting elected it will stick to its own framing of the critical issues and insist on the use of this framing in all debates with people who have yet to be convinced and the media
  • It will be a campaigning organisation that mobilises people in support of things not in opposition to them. The politics we have now is the result of a long process that had to be fought for, it will be no different in the future, until the new ideas have enough support and rhetorical power to command a majority
  • The association might choose to support independent candidates for election, this is a tactic which may have a place in breaking the strangle hold of the whips – I discuss this in Tactics - Organisation

This supports principle 3 – balancing ends and means

Walk the walk

The strategic choices on the use of power and personal behaviour mean that practitioners must walk the walk, not just talk the talk

  • The use of power will be guided by the need to disperse it and use it with circumspection. It will deal with opposed power through the use of approaches designed to encourage reciprocal cooperation and the careful matching of ends and means
  • The individual practitioner should strive to be a facilitator, guide or mentor. The the achievement of a position of power is an opportunity for reform by opening up decision making, decentralising or even abolishing the post acquired to do it.

This is supports principle 4 – adopting the golden rule

Ideas and Policy Formation

Two areas need to be progressed, the nitty gritty policy details of

  • How to extend democracy and distribute power
  • How to reform and revise the political economy

Extending democracy and distributing power.

Ou current, limited representative democracy has to be supplemented. As we have seen competition for control of the state attracts power seekers, it may not be possible to overcome this human trait, power is seductive, but it surely can be moderated.

Sortition (selection by lot) will be part of the solution. The tribe can rein in the silverbacks, we can widen democracy and open up all areas (the executive, business externalities) to public scrutiny

  • We have selection by lots (sortition) already, it is the principle behind jury service. We have used it since the middle ages. The Ancient Greeks, from where many of our ideas of democracy came, recognised that a lot of oversight and governance work is just a chore. Not all work could be subject to meetings and voting. The use of sortition, alongside elections and voting, was a practical response, recognising that citizenship has obligations, to get things done.
  • The Ancient Greeks also though that without some drawing by lots elections were too open to manipulation and would result in plutocracy (rule by the powerful)
  • We have seen that the bonfire of the quangos has led to a proliferation of agencies and arms-length management organisations which create opportunities for cronyism, patronage, lack oversight and don’t deliver good governance. We need to supplement the currently lamentable oversight of the executive, which is failing and get all these areas under control.

This supports principle 2 – equality of citizenship

Reform of the political economy.

Make it sustainable and value adding, create responsible ownership and deal with externalities. This will be achieved by encouraging the responsible and alternative sectors of the economy at the same time as withdrawing favoured treatment from aggressive rent seeking corporations

  • Setting clear guidelines, standards and enforceable regulations for sustainability
  • The overhaul of corporate governance and accounting practices. The inclusion of the workforce, suppliers, customers and wider society where business activity has implications for it – just because you own it does not mean you have a free hand if it impacts the rest of us
  • Creating a level playing field where it is as easy (and thinkable) to create co-operatives, not for profit or social enterprise as it is to create a plc. Encouraging small and medium sized enterprises that have responsible ownership, specifying deal breaking standards, investment and service requirements and fully open contracts with citizen oversight where ever the state outsources services

This supports principle 1 – freedom limited by impact and principle 2 equality of citizenship

Democratic practice and institutions

Economic change and business development

These activities represent changes taking place in society at large that bring holistic economy closer. They may have nothing to do with any organisation set up to promote it but they should all be loosely coupled (see Tactics - Information - HoPEdia). My case is that political and economic activity are indivisible, that is why I use the term political economy.

Loose coupling and solidarity

The supportive culture that provides the environment in which holistic political economy grows will put people in touch – being one co-operative is laudable, worthy and lonely, being one of thousands is encouraging, inspiring and supportive.

Both of these areas are ones that will build up in subsequent stages – build up in the sense that formation rates will increase and numbers will grow, but the point is that they are already going on even in the hostile environment we are saddled with. Those I have been able to find are in Examples of What Good Looks Like 

  • In the area of democratic practice and institutions there are experiments taking place around the world in the use of sortition and wider forms of public participation
  • In the area of economic change and business development there are many existing co-operatives, mutual organisations, credit unions, not for profits and well run private businesses