Category: In Civic Life

Applying the principles and practices of  sociocratic democracy in civic life is where it may be most comfortable. Democracy is probably valued even when not practiced very well. Majority vote means majority rule, and it promotes competition rather than cooperation. It is in our neighborhood associations, community services, and local governments that we most need to use the sociocratic principles and practices that deepen our democracy.

Who Stole the American Dream

Crushing Middle-Class  Prosperity

The American Dream is of obtaining middle-class prosperity and socio-economic mobility. Hedrick Smith analyzes how it was lost in America.

The American middle class in the 1960s was the largest and most prosperous in the world. Now, the disparity between top and bottom is huge. Even the wealthiest 5% are falling behind the super-rich 1% that controls 2/3 of the nation’s wealth—trillions of dollars. The remaining 99% earn the remaining 1/3. America … Read more “Who Stole the American Dream”

Preferential Voting and a Sociocratic Democracy

Instant Runoff Ballot

Because our Council Member, Muriel Bowser, was elected mayor, Ward 4 in Washington DC is having an election to replace her. There are so many candidates, eight at last count?, that knowing who would be the best representative is very hard. My neighbors are speaking on behalf of almost all  of them. With so many votes splintered, unless some drop out in the remaining 3 days, there is likely to be a run-off election with … Read more “Preferential Voting and a Sociocratic Democracy”

Elizabeth Warren on the Social Contract

Elizabeth Warren, American Harvard Law School professor and United States Senator from Massachusetts

There is nobody in this country who got rich on their own. Nobody. … You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; you were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory,

Read more “Elizabeth Warren on the Social Contract”

Transparency International

Movie poster for Living on One Dollar

How can people participate in decision-making if they don’t have access to information? Can those denied both education and knowledge  of governance in any form be held responsible when they elect corrupt leaders?

Transparency is fundamental to accountability and an inclusive society.

Reading an article in the New York Times this morning on the lives of two women in Angola, Two Women, Opposite Fortunes, I discovered Transparency International. Transparency International was started in … Read more “Transparency International”

People’s Rights Amendment

Today, the Court has enthroned corporations, permitting them not only all kinds of special economic rights but now, amazingly, moving to grant them the same political rights as the people.

Constitutional law expert,

The movement to reserve the rights ensured by the US Constitution to citizens and stop them from being awarded to corporations is rapidly gaining steam. The legal standing of corporations as people began in 1886, in the famous case Santa Clara Read more “People’s Rights Amendment”

Encouraging Self-Organization

Logo for Interaction Institute for Social Change

Logo for Interaction Institute for Social ChangeIn a workshop I conducted last Sunday, one of the participants asked, “How do you encourage self-organization?” By some miracle, probably related to my being on every mailing list on anything related to sociocracy and governance, I received in my mailbox a link to an article on the  Interaction Institute for Social Change. You guessed it on  Tips for Encouraging Self-Organization by Curtis Ogden.

After some editing and additions, here are some ideas:

Encouraging

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Outside Experts on the Board of Directors

Image from the Getty Museum of a Council of war from the 19th century.Residential communities customarily do not have board of directors members from outside the organization. Corporations normally do, but they may not be chosen by their ability to balance expertise. Non-profit organizations and independent schools often choose board members based on their ability to raise money or influence government or foundation decision-makers.

Balanced Expertise

Balanced expertise on the board of directors steers the organization from multiple perspectives. Balance can be achieved with experts on larger community … Read more “Outside Experts on the Board of Directors”

In the early twentieth century, education was believed to be the best way to ensure a democratic society. Protecting a democratic society, even one controlled by the majority, requires an education policy that ensures access to the information and critical thinking skills sufficient to understand how to participate intelligently in local and national government and civic affairs. The freedom to choose is limited by the ability to understand.

Similarly, we need a democratic transportation policy. … Read more “”

Is Voting Meaningless?

Multiple lines of people waiting to vote.

This post is not intended to discourage voting. It only addresses the fact that our votes are not as powerful as they are often portrayed by political parties.

The peer-to-peer election process is not about voting. It is designed to identify the best available person to do the job. Those with the most reliable information about the job and about the people qualified to do it are responsible for nominating and electing the best person. … Read more “Is Voting Meaningless?”