Sunday, February 10, 2008

US 08 consultation - Send us documents, ideas, and proposals for a people's written election platform

(Our apologies for possible duplicate messages)

Dear fellow citizen,

We are a non-profit, non-partisan network founded by individuals who believe that the voice of each American should count in the national decision-making process, and that several means are available for making this possible, from right now.

For this reason, we want to propose you to participate in the forthcoming presidential election in a new and really different way than just to vote. We invite you to contribute, with others, to a PEOPLE'S WRITTEN ELECTION PLATFORM that should contain key solutions to common problems like employment, housing, poverty, education, foreign policy, human rights, environment, minority rights and others. Later, you will be invited to vote for removing those other's proposals that you disagree with, and for choosing one among the pairs of proposals that would have been considered as opposed among them.

Finally we shall wage a campaign in which we will ask participants TO SIGN, AND LATER TO VOTE for the party or parties that will have accepted, in their election platform, to include both of the following:

1. The final version of this list of proposals, drawn up from the citizen consultation
2. An AUTOMATIC REPEAL mechanism to guarantee their application *

If you are interested, please SUBMIT YOUR IDEAS, PROPOSALS, DOCUMENTS… on the issues that matters you. You can send it by all means and formats, including links to Web pages. You can sign your message as an individual, an organisation or anonymously, and you can also collect proposals from others.

If you are interested, please SUBMIT YOUR IDEAS, PROPOSALS, DOCUMENTS… on the issues that matters you. You can send it by all means and formats, including links to Web pages. You can sign your message as an individual, an organisation or anonymously, and you can also collect proposals from others.

Please reply to this message below or by writing to:

A draft version will be ready at the middle of April. And a final version is expected to be available at the end of that month, after that the proposal's selection process will took place. Then, the collection of signatures will start.

Don't hesitate to ask us for more information about this project.

Please feel free to resend this message to others.

The more we will be, the more they will hear us, as they want our votes.
Help us restore democracy and make of this nation and the world a worth place for living.

Best regards

Germa Pelayo
Citizen Initiative for Responsibility in Politics (Respolis)


See also:

* The Automatic Repeal :

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Respolis Campaigns "Politicians: Job Done or You're Gone! " in Catalonia.

"Keep your promises or clear out!" As plain as day, this is the no-nonsense message Respolis sends to politicians who plan to represent us after having won a majority of our votes. In other words, no waiting till the next elections to sanction political responsibility.

Sound like political fiction? Wrong! The campaign has begun to take roots in the real world, in Catalonia.

Respolis (Platform for Responsibility in Politics) launched a campaign in Catalonia for the parliamentary elections in November 2006 and a second one for municipal elections in two large Catalan cities in May 2007. The campaigns demanded that political parties keep their election promises once in power (as well as take up a set of proposals resulting from an open consultation) or to quit office at the mid-term of their mandate and call for new elections.

From the parliamentary to the municipal elections: a big step forward

By parliamentary-election day, 550 people had endorsed the campaign with their signature and consequently committed their vote for any party that would have accepted the above-mentioned conditions. This was not enough to draw the parties’ attention, but it was a first step.

For the municipal elections, a debate was organized in Sabadell, and the candidates of four political parties signed a document containing Respolis’s conditions. None of the four won the elections, but Respolis Sabadell committed to monitor and evaluate, with the support of other organizations, whether the winner keeps his promises in his next four years of government.

The Respolis proposals did not have to be screened in terms of the so-called "realism" prism through which most political parties, especially the major ones, view the world. They therefore reflect real needs in the form of in-depth-change proposals to match them, as expressed by the participants themselves, with the contribution of social movements.

Participatory democracy being practiced on the field

The "Polítics: compliu o marxeu!" (Politicians: job done or you’re gone!) campaign is an initiative of the Platform for Responsibility in Politics (Respolis). Its goals are:

- the mid-term revocation or repeal of representatives who have broken their election promises;
- to organize a series of consultations and discussions with and among citizens with a view to drawing up a list of proposals as if they were election platforms;
- that those who endorse the platform with their signature commit to vote for any of the parties that will have accepted both of the above conditions (the campaign proposals resulting from the consultations and the principle of repeal) by calling a referendum, once in power, for the introduction of this innovation into the electoral system.

The Catalan campaign was launched on two occasions: first, for the Catalan autonomous elections (November 1, 2006) and then, for the May 27, 2007 municipal elections in Barcelona and in Sabadell. The following stages were totally or partially achieved on both occasions:

1) compilation of citizens’ proposals
2) discussions for selection among the proposals and drafting of the final list
3) endorsement through signature collection
4) call to candidates and invitation to the media
5) communication to the signatories of the parties’ response a few days before elections
6) monitoring whether elections promises are honored throughout the legislature, with the support of other organizations

Respolis and the elections to the Parliament of Catalonia (November 2006)

To prepare these elections, Respolis sent all citizens, in June 2006, an open e-mail invitation to participate in writing up a list of proposals, which resulted in 25 participants’ sending in 340 demands, which were then classified under 11 topics. During the summer, the document was improved by adding other proposals offered by civil-society organizations whose issues were under-represented in the first list. In September, Respolis launched a second invitation, this time to vote for the removal of proposals that participants did not wish to see in the definitive "platform". Thirty-five persons participated and four proposals were removed.

Once the final list was ready, Respolis sent out another call to citizens and civil society, this time to endorse the platform with their signature, which also entailed that they commit their vote to any party having accepted to incorporate into its platform the list of proposals and the repeal mechanism.

The platform was finally signed by 572 people (about 550 by election day, and the rest after election day). The whole process took place on the Internet.

Respolis in the Sabadell municipal elections (May 2007)

Sabadell is an industrial city in the Barcelona suburbs. It is the third most populated Catalan city with 200,000 inhabitants.

To prepare the municipal elections, the Respolis Sabadell team collected, between February and April 2007, with the contribution of 40 participants, a list of proposals. Two deliberation sessions were then organized, and their main result was a final list with 48 proposals classified under 14 topics.

Then signature collection began. By the end of the campaign, 160 persons had signed and the local media had published a few articles on the campaign.

Meanwhile, the Respolis Sabadell team invited the candidates to a debate, during which they were requested to either sign or to state their position in relation to the proposals collected by Respolis, as well as to commit to resigning at the mid-term of their mandate if they had ignored the proposals and/or broken part of their own promises for the period. The exercise also consisted in inviting the parties to give a relative value to these proposals (so they could be easily measured when compared to one another). This is to allow a possible citizens’ jury, or "Commitment Monitoring Council," to base its conclusions on these calculations when measuring the degree of fulfillment.

Four political parties signed and though none of these won, Respolis Sabadell will supervise the fulfillment of the promises

Five candidates attended this meeting and four of them signed the document including the proposals (having partially rewritten some of them) and the repeal procedure. This is probably the first time that several political parties (left-wing and right-wing, Pro-Catalan and Pro-Spanish ones) have signed a document where they commit to resign if they do not fulfill a multi-thematic list of proposals.

Two days before the elections - on eve of "Reflection Day" - Respolis Sabadell informed the 160 signatories, through several means, of how the parties had responded so that they could vote accordingly.

Municipal elections in Catalonia are one-round elections authorizing post-electoral coalitions. The PSC (Catalan Socialist Party), which had not signed the Respolis document, won in Sabadell but did not get a majority of seats. It will thus rule as a minority government.

Now that elections are over, Respolis Sabadell is preparing the next stage: reporting on the fulfillment of the promises contained in the PSC election platform. Respolis will invite other organizations to report, in the coming years, on the progress of their demands in relation to the fulfillment of the socialist platform. Respolis will collect, organize, and distribute this information among the organizations themselves, and send it to the media and to the city council.

This information will be used to give the municipal government "a grade" every year. The whole process and its possible popularization through the media will help to lobby in favor of the fulfillment of election promises.

Respolis in the municipal elections of Barcelona (May 2007)

The other Respolis campaign in municipal elections took place in Barcelona and was characterized by: 1) the absence of a citizens’ consultation and consequently of a list of proposals (signatories were required to vote for the party or parties that would accept to resign after two years only if they broke their own promises); 2) a request that parties wishing to form a post-electoral coalition do so only with partners who would previously accept the same conditions; 3) a request that the mid-term resignation be followed by an unofficial consultation in view of forming a new government until the end of the mandate, in order to respect the common and compulsory calendar for Spanish municipal elections.

This less well-prepared Barcelonese campaign was signed by 107 people, but it was impossible to invite the political parties to a debate, and none of them signed the campaign.

Respolis will launch new campaigns of this kind, as well as other initiatives on citizen and political responsibility.

Proposals rooted in the need for deep change but lacking ways of popularization

In the two cases where lists of proposals resulted from citizens’ consultations (in the parliamentary elections and in the Sabadell elections), these helped the demands for deep changes to gain popularity. Some of these demands were longstanding demands by social movements, while others were recent proposals from new perspectives. However, none of them have met with sufficient success. They will probably be reinforced thanks to this new way of voting and using politics to benefit of the people. Without making light of any of the other proposals, some can be seen as very audacious and at the same time very necessary. This is the case some of the proposals resulting for the parliamentary elections regarding economic rights, the environment, participation and democracy, institutions and the public sector. In the Sabadell elections, there are also original proposals to be found in the area of transportation, road networks, health, sustainability, and institutions.


The campaigns "Job Done or You're Gone!"
The proposals for the Elections to the Parliament (Catalan) (Spanish)
The Respolis Sabadell campaign (Catalan)
The "Documents of Commitment" signed by the candidates (Catalan)
The follow-up of the promises made for the period 2007-2011 (Catalan)
The Election promises wiki "Lo prometido is deuda" (Spanish)

Respolis was developed in Catalonia in a context of a rising abstention, especially in the last elections. Yet, in spite of the importance given by the media to this false problem (the real problem being in the causes of this abstention), the emerging character of this initiative made it impossible for it to take advantage of this public media debate to underscore the importance of the social and political structural reasons of the high current abstention rates and lead the debate toward possible alternatives.

On the other hand, other new initiatives for transparency and responsibility in politics are coming to light, especially on the Internet. For example, in Spain, a collaborative Web site in wiki format is listing the promises of all the candidates in the municipal, autonomic, and state elections.

Nevertheless, citizen deliberative practices on the one hand, and now control over the fulfillment of promises on the other, are gradually showing their potential for mobilizing and wielding influence, but also for generating greater mutual understanding and dialog. They can be seen as breakthroughs, or first steps to a future larger and diversified range of solutions for facing the crisis of representative democracy and its social and political origins.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Features of the "Job Done or You're Gone" Campaigns

The common main feature of these campaigns consists on signing first and voting later, in a given constituency, for the party or candidate that will have accepted, in their election platform, these two conditions as a whole:

1. a list of proposals that arose from a open participatory-based process or consultation. Campaigners will expect then, the proposals to be added to the party's election platform. See some exemples:

Elections to the Catalan Parliament '06 (Catalan) (Spanish)
Election to the Municipal Government in Sabadell '07 (Catalan)

2. an automatic repeal mechanism to guarantee their application.

The campaigns "Politicians: Job Done or You're Gone" are an initiative of RESPOLIS. They can change from the common points above mentioned. This page is about the international presentation of these campaigns, in English. For more information on a given country or constituency, please look for it in the main page, in the left menu.

Thursday, July 5, 2007


Building a just, equitable and participatory society from person to planet.
(Draft version 2.2, February 2008)

The purpose of this text is to be a pretext for an international process for discussion and awareness raising around the question on how the political organization of societies, from local to global, could be improved in order to help building a fair, responsible and truly democratic world. Such discussion, as well as other similar collective dynamics, could contribute in the future to more consolidate actions and movements in favour of implementing new models of political organization.

You are invited, as individual or organisation, to do one of these things:
- support the current version of this text by signing it.
- participate in the discussion that will follow the text's diffusion.

For any of these purposes please write to


1. Politics can be defined as the art of governing and taking decisions. It is the sphere of human organization concerning administration of communal or collective affairs.

2. A responsible form of government of a community is that in which the main purpose is to serve the community members' necessities.

3. The main forms of government of the modern societies, like the Liberal Representative Democracies, or the Communist States, it only have build, along the last two centuries, a superficial, social cohesion, as its response to the disordered technological and economic development. However, they have been unable to instate the responsibility in politics, that is to say, to achieve a real efficiency in the common affairs management, from the perspective of fulfilling human needs and reaching sustainability.

4. In other words, the modern governments has been unable to solve the main social problems like misery, injustice, wars, environmental destruction, rights violations, excess of consumption and competitiveness.

5. The last-200-years political history shows us that Representative Democracy, as well as Communist and Military States, have developed inner limits that impeded the exercise of a full political responsibility. These limits are inherent to the imperfect organizational structure of these forms of government, beyond of the inability and the lack of will of the representatives, the governments or the parties, and beyond of the context of a given country or its economic dependence on the global market.

6. There are many signs accusing this fundamental crisis of Politics, which should be considered as consequences, rather than causes, of the crisis itself. Among them there are corruption and favouritism; the end of the mediation role that the political parties played among the society and the State; "partitocracy"; permanent unfulfillment of promises; lack of citizen control over the government activities; abstentionism; administrative paralysis; banalities, lies and intertwined accusations in speeches and discourses; electoralism; abuse of power; partisan use of public money; lobbyism and in-depth conflict of interests; prevarication; legal or consented impunity; party and party system's hierarchization; connivance with economic elites; control over media, civil society and citizenship… the causes of such a crisis should be found further on, in the fact that our civilisation lacks of a citizen (democratic, ethical) cultural basis, and the consequence of such absence is a hierarchical organization of the whole society, in which the chain of command and the conflict are the norm, while the dialogue and cooperation among equals, the exception.

7. On the other hand the shaking rhythm of globalization has accelerated the imbalances between people, between societies, and between human race and the nature, It has also modified the way of communicating. In such a new and worst scenario, many conventional assumptions are no valid any more and new responses are urgently required.

8. although more and more people are better qualified that in the past, overalls thanks to the universalization of the education, to negotiate the social problems, the humanity is among the sword of the urgency to solve more critical situations that affect larger populations, and the wall of not having an appropriate political model to exercise all her potentiality.

9. For this reason the political rules of the game, from local to global, needs to be reinvented, by giving a major role to responsibility. In other words, politics should change in order to become efficient from the perspective of contributing to the human development goals and those of life in general.

According to all these points, the following principles have been elaborated:


Common Principles for Responsibility in Politics.

1. The international citizen community should promote the right of a plural human citizenship, not related to a given national identity, and guaranteed to all the human beings without distinction of any kind.

2. The territorial management should run under a common ethics concerning political responsibility. Its values should stem from the contribution of the different cultural and social traditions.

3. Politics should set the conditions and the fields of implementation of economy. The current and inverse situation, in which the rules and the evolution of the market define the political agendas, should be reverted.

4. Politics will set up common rules defining how the relationship between humanity and the biosphere should be, in benefit of the proper development of the both of them. The reconstruction of the global environment that has been broken by the industrial development, requires coordination and cooperation among may actors, and overcoming the blind force of the competitiveness.

5.Planning and implementation of the public policies should aim to satisfy short term needs, and to guarantee the survival of the future generations.

Principles of Responsibility concerning the forms of government.

6. It should belong to all the citizens, rather than to some few experts, the so-called politicians, to decide on political management, form of government' planning, and responsibility in politics. The laws, the education, the media, should be prepared in order that such a change of paradigm concerning the political culture of the society shall take effect.

7. Citizens know, better than leaders and experts, which are their own problems and needs, and often, through activating its collective intelligence, they can find better solutions. For this reason the forms of government where citizen involvement is more regular, intense, mandatory, multi-thematic, and in the spotlight, should be promoted in preference, regarding other decision-making processes.

8. In this sense, we need to invent and to draw on a transition process from the current forms of government (representative democracy and others) towards more participatory, fully participatory, or direct models, independently of the differences among these models depending on each culture, society, country, etc. (see the following section about the proposal for managing the transition).

9. Political representation is a service for the represented community, ant not a privilege in favour of any particular interest. The laws, the education, the media, should be also prepared in order that such a change of paradigm concerning the political culture of the society shall take effect.

10. The political activities and the relationship between the actors and the receivers of the public management should be developed according to the essential principles of accountability, honesty and coherence. The discourses, the information circulation, the services, the way these services are offered, the working methods, the technologies, etc. most be coherent with the pursued objectives, realist, and of public knowledge.

11. All the current and future forms of democracy (representative, participative or direct democracy, among others) should develop citizen control mechanisms on accountability, control, evaluation and political, even economic sanction, to be applied to all the political activities and to the responsible persons according to law.

12. The territorial administration (including sovereign states, regional and global levels) should adopt the principle of "active subsidiarity" according to which:

a) Decisions are taken bottom-up, whether the information is disseminated in all directions, including top down.

b) The conception and the operation of these institutions should be managed through an interacting system that should regularly connect the people's sovereign decisions to its execution. This way, a regular process of citizen re-appropriation of politics is guaranteed.

c) All the public organizations' activities should be developed in accordance with the principle of mutual cooperation and cooperation with the citizens. They should establish a state of regular co-responsibility among the different levels and thematic sectors of the public administration, so that all the public institutions from the local to the global level put the work in network among them.

13. The territorial public organizations, especially the sovereign states and the economic and military blocks, should promote reciprocal loyalties and imbricate identities with all the others, regarding the principle of unity and diversity at all levels. They should officially renounce, as well as abandon the practice of working according to the Raison d'État, to the exclusive interpretations of the cultural and religious identities, and to competitive and warlike attitudes