Democracy Action Working Group (DAWG) notes, 8.5.14
1) Strategy Meeting
We agreed that the idea (raised by email by John and Maria) of holding a strategy weekend at the end of May or early June was a good one and we would like to take up the offer of having it at Maria & George’s if that’s practical.
We felt that it was critical that the meeting was well facilitated as our campaign is about democracy – so we should be employing best practice in our decision making process as much as possible. It is also important that this meeting is productive and successful. Jamie X & Janie Mac were mentioned as possible facilitators we could approach.
We felt that while we probably need to expand beyond our group into a coalition at some point, that this might best be done after our strategy meeting.
Things that the strategy meeting could usefully clear up:
- What process should we use to draft a new People’s Charter? Should this be drafted in advance of the action? Who should be involved? Would it be possible to facilitate a people’s assembly in Parliament Square sufficiently well to agree one then?
- What documents do we need in advance in order to mobilise people? What is our strategy for mobilisation?
- Further work on key demands for a new People’s Charter?
- Who would be in the coalition? How would that relationship work?
A written summary of the outcome of our strategy meeting should be summarised and presented to the next General Assembly.
2) Right of citizens to force a referendum
Chris said he would write up his idea about the right of citizens to force a referendum on a policy issue (a variant of the Swedish idea http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Referendums_in_Sweden) as being one of the changes he thought most effective for improving our democracy.
We were interested in reviving the idea of a speakathon as part of the action outside parliament – so that as many disaffected constituencies as possible could raise their grievances with the current state of our democracy and show their support for the reform campaign.
4) June 15th Chartists Anniversary
June 15th is the anniversary of the day that the Chartists presented their petition of 1.3 million names to Parliament. We thought that it could still be good for some people to make the symbolic walk from Runnymede [although this has more of an association with the signing of the Magna Carta so might be symbolically confusing?] along the Thames to present either a draft new People’s Charter or more likely a statement of intent e.g. “We hereby give notice that a broad alliance of people intend to write a new People’s Charter and campaign for a genuine democracy free from corporate influence.” Steve suggested a dramatic element with 19th century dress http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tricorne Do we have the capacity to organise this?
5) Possible groups
We did some more brainstorming around this:
We felt it was important to make it mainstream, encompassing as many sections of society as possible not just a fringe campaign by a few activist groups.
Faith groups (Giles Fraser, Rowan Williams, Quakers, Buddhists, Muslims, Sikhs…)
Save the NHS
Unions (important to make early link with TUC march)
Green Party (Jenny Jones, Caroline Lucas), People’s Assembly, Left Unity, Donnachadh McCarthy (outspoken disaffected Lib Dem now campaigning for democratic reform).
Anti-austerity groups (UK Uncut, DPAC, housing)
Anti-fracking conservatives from Balcombe
Environment groups (possible link with international Reclaim Power month of action http://pusheurope.org/reclaimpower/)
Newly unemployed former Barclays staff?