Citizens' Social Democratic Faction - Draft Charter

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Patroklus Murakami
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Citizens' Social Democratic Faction - Draft Charter

Post by Patroklus Murakami »

To the Forum Mods: please move this post to the CSDF forum when this is established please :)

Jon, Moon, Gwyn and I met yesterday at the Biergarten to establish a new political faction in Neualtenburg. Moon will be posting a minute of the meeting and transcript later. This post is a draft charter for the new group that I have put together on the basis of our discussions yesterday. It's a first stab so feel free to pile in, pull apart and suggest amendments and alterations!

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Citizens’ Social Democratic Faction – Draft Charter

1. Preamble and Principles

The Citizen’s Social Democratic Faction is a Neualtenburg political grouping open to citizens who support our principles.

These are Freedom, Justice, Solidarity, Democracy and Human Rights.

We believe the resources of our virtual world (land, prims) should be allocated according to the principle of ‘from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs’ as opposed the current ethos of ‘to each according to their ability to pay’.

2. Membership

Membership is open to all Neualtenburg citizens. Prospective members must be ratified by a majority of existing members at a General Meeting of the Faction before they are allowed to vote.

Membership can only be withdrawn from a member of the Faction by majority vote at a General Meeting.

3. Officers

The Faction will hold an election for Secretary-General (Faction Leader) at least once every six months.

4. Meetings

The Faction will hold a fortnightly General Meeting open to all members and weekly meetings in the run up to Neualtenburg elections.

An Extraordinary Meeting of the Faction can be called using the SL Group voting tools. The EM will take place if 10% [5%? Something else?] or more of the eligible voting members vote in favour.

5. Neualtenburg Elections

The General Meeting will appoint a group to write the election manifesto and then ratify it or amend it at a subsequent meeting.

The Faction will select its candidates in accordance with the rules of the Neualtenburg Constitution.
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Post by admin »

...moved :)

(Gwyn)
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Principles and Economies

Post by Jon Seattle »

Hi Patroklus,

I very much like much of your proposal, but I have some comments on
the principles section. (Perhaps this this go in the manifesto?)

1. I would like to mention the responsibility for society to support
the transformation of the self that comes from labor and learning.
This is a very real theme in social-democratic and socialist
literature (including the socialist international manifesto) and is
especially relevant to the situation in second life.

2. I would include something about exploitation of the commons. People
will often try to exploit common resources if they can get away
without paying the costs. This includes exploiting the natural
environment and resources in RL, but also exploiting our shared visual
and aural space in second life. So it makes sense to put such shared
resources under democratic control. Thus Neualtenberg.

3. A strict interpretation of "To each according to their needs" has
always seemed problematic to me. This is a very complex issue. I know
of no functioning economic system that does not provide at least some
economic rewards for work and innovation.

Many successful development projects have depended on preserving some
elements of competitive capitalism, for example microcredits provide
very small entrepreneurs with credit that they would have had in a
fully functioning capitalist system. Without these credits the economy
is distorted and ceases to function as well. This shows that the
actual economy does not closely approximate the capitalist ideal.
Actual capitalists are often competitive capitalism's worst enemy.

Since capitalism is unlikely to fade away in second life, Habermas'
and Rawls' thinking might provide a rationale for supporting an
unequal distribution of resources when this provides more value to the
have-nots. Since we are talking about the distribution of artist's
media (prims) at least "To each according to their ability" (with
sufficient prims for others to develop their abilities, see comment 1)
might also make some kind of sense. I am not sure what we can say on
this one.

Why are prims scarce in the first place? What kind of weird economy is this?!

LOL

Thanks,

Jonathan
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Post by Patroklus Murakami »

Jon

Thanks for your comments. You have reminded me of some points from the meeting that I neglected in putting together the first draft and identified some areas where work was needed. Thanks for that!

I've put together a second draft which I hope answers some or all of your points. Most of the changes are to the Principles section. (I also trimmed a couple of redundant words from the final section too.)

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Citizens’ Social Democratic Faction – Draft Charter

1. Preamble and Principles

The Citizen’s Social Democratic Faction is a Neualtenburg political grouping open to citizens who support our principles.

These are Freedom, Justice, Solidarity, Democracy and Human Rights.

We believe in the potential for the transformation of the self that comes from labour and learning and believe that virtual worlds (such as Second Life) can enable that transformation.

We believe that the workers, by hand or by brain, deserve the full fruits of their labour and that economic rewards for work and innovation are compatible with a democratic socialist society.

We would like to experiment with novel forms of social ownership both to prevent ‘the tragedy of the commons’ and to moderate the worst excesses of unregulated capitalism. We support the provision of high quality public spaces and builds in Neualtenburg under the democratic control of the citizens through their government institutions.

We would like to experiment with applying the principle of ‘from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs’ in the context of Second Life’s 3D virtual world.

2. Membership

Membership is open to all Neualtenburg citizens. Prospective members must be ratified by a majority of existing members at a General Meeting of the Faction before they are allowed to vote.

Membership can only be withdrawn from a member of the Faction by majority vote at a General Meeting.

3. Officers

The Faction will hold an election for Secretary-General (Faction Leader) at least once every six months.

4. Meetings

The Faction will hold a fortnightly General Meeting open to all members and weekly meetings in the run up to Neualtenburg elections.

An Extraordinary Meeting of the Faction can be called using the SL Group voting tools. The EM will take place if 10% [5%? Something else?] or more of the eligible voting members vote in favour.

5. Neualtenburg Elections

The General Meeting will appoint a group to write the election manifesto and then ratify it or amend it at a subsequent meeting.

The Faction will select its candidates in accordance with the Neualtenburg Constitution.
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Thanks!

Post by Jon Seattle »

I do like the new version very much.
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Post by Moon Adamant »

In the first place, great work! :D

Some thoughts:

- I think it would be a good idea to have a short definition of all our principles - not just let them *dry* as they are now.
(Paragraphs 3 to 6 in Principles are extremely good, btw) :D

- Same way, the Charter - I think - should mention the fundamental texts we are drawing upon (Bill of Human Rights, Principles of Socialist International, SL's ToS). These are our binding documents, and would clarify (as in the case of the SI Principles) our ideology.

As for the structure of the CSDF, I think it would be advisable:

- To define what the quorum is for the General Meetings. Issue here is possible challenging of GM decisions if one GM has just a few members in it. It could be 50% of members+1 - or any other formula we decide upon, if we agree that this point is relevant indeed.

- To make provisions for future revisions of Charter. This is very important, I feel. What would be needed to call for a Charter revision, how should the revision be approved in GM (simple majority too?), etc.

I would like very much to hear your opinions on these matters. :)
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Post by Patroklus Murakami »

Here is the latest draft. I tried to incorporate Moon's comments (below) and the discussion at our second meeting.

Happy to discuss!

Pat

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[b:1re599h3]Citizens’ Social Democratic Faction – Draft Charter[/b:1re599h3]

[i:1re599h3][b:1re599h3]1. Preamble and Principles[/b:1re599h3]
[/i:1re599h3]
The Citizen’s Social Democratic Faction is a Neufreistadt political grouping open to citizens who support our principles.

Our founding documents are the Neufreistadt Constitution, the Neufreistadt Code of Laws, Linden Labs Terms of Service, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Principles of the Socialist International.

We believe in Freedom, Justice, Equality, Solidarity, Democracy and Human Rights.

Freedom has both individual and collective aspects. Each person has the right to be free to realise their potential. But that is only possible if we collectively succeed in the fight to ensure that no person, class, sex, religion or race becomes the servant of another.

Justice means the end of all discrimination against individuals, and the equality of rights and opportunities. It demands compensation for physical, mental and social inequalities, and freedom from dependence on either the owners of the means of production or the holders of political power.

Equality is the expression of the equal value of all human beings and the precondition for the free development of the human personality. Basic economic, social and cultural equality is essential for individual diversity and social progress.

Freedom and equality are not contradictory. Equality is the condition for the development of individual personality. Equality and personal freedom are indivisible.

Solidarity is all-encompassing and global. It is the practical expression of common humanity and of the sense of compassion with the victims of injustice. Solidarity is rightly stressed and celebrated by all major humanist traditions. In the present era of unprecedented interdependence between individuals and nations, solidarity gains an enhanced significance since it is imperative for human survival.

Democratic socialists attach equal importance to these fundamental principles. They are interdependent. Each is a prerequisite of the other. As opposed to this position, Liberals and Conservatives have placed the main emphasis on individual liberty at the expense of justice and solidarity while Communists have claimed to achieve equality and solidarity, but at the expense of freedom.

We believe in the potential for the transformation of the self that comes from labour and learning and believe that virtual worlds (such as Second Life) can enable that transformation.

We believe that the workers, by hand or by brain, deserve the full fruits of their labour and that economic rewards for work and innovation are compatible with a democratic socialist society.

We would like to experiment with novel forms of social ownership both to prevent ‘the tragedy of the commons’ and to moderate the worst excesses of unregulated capitalism. We support the provision of high quality public spaces and builds in Neufreistadt under the democratic control of the citizens through their government institutions.

While we defend the right to individual property, we believe that common resources can and should be used to create high quality public spaces for the good of all.

We believe that government processes must be democratic and transparent and we begin by applying these beliefs to our own self-organisation.

[i:1re599h3][b:1re599h3]2. Duties of Government[/b:1re599h3][/i:1re599h3]

We are committed to self-governing communities in virtual worlds. We believe the duties of government are to:
a. Guarantee equal access to public, shared resources and to act as a guardian to prevent the exploitation of the same
b. Legislate in the interests of the community
c. Ensure that legislation is carried out by providing the necessary monitoring and funding
d. Demonstrate the worth of democratic collective action within virtual worlds

[i:1re599h3][b:1re599h3]3. Membership[/b:1re599h3][/i:1re599h3]

Membership is open to all Neufreistadt citizens. Prospective members must be ratified by a majority of existing members at a General Meeting of the Faction before they are allowed to vote.

Membership can only be withdrawn from a member of the Faction by majority vote at a General Meeting.

[i:1re599h3][b:1re599h3]4. Officers[/b:1re599h3][/i:1re599h3]

The Faction will hold an election for Secretary-General at least once every six months. The Secretary-General is responsible for setting an agenda for General Meetings, organising General Meetings and promoting the CSDF.

The Faction Leader is chosen at election time in line with the Constitution. The Faction Leader coordinates the work of the CSDF within the Representative Assembly.

[i:1re599h3][b:1re599h3]5. Meetings[/b:1re599h3][/i:1re599h3]

The Faction will hold a fortnightly General Meeting open to all members and weekly meetings in the run up to Neufreistadt elections.

An Extraordinary Meeting of the Faction can be called using the SL Group voting tools. The EM will take place if 10% or more of the eligible voting members vote in favour.

The Quorum for Meetings is an absolute majority of the current membership (i.e. 50% of the total membership plus one). Voting will be by simple majority (i.e. 50% of members present plus one)

[b:1re599h3][i:1re599h3]6. Amending the Charter[/b:1re599h3][/i:1re599h3]

[Need to include a procedure for proposing and voting on Charter amendments]

[b:1re599h3][i:1re599h3]7. Neufreistadt Elections[/b:1re599h3][/i:1re599h3]

The General Meeting will appoint a group to write the election manifesto and then ratify it or amend it at a subsequent meeting.

The Faction will select its candidates in accordance with the Neufreistadt Constitution.
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