Sunday, 3 August 2014

How will Operation Restore Democracy work?

What good will this do?  What is it you're going to do?

The first stage of organising is mapping.  It's a process of holding one to one conversations (in this case thru canvassing people on their doorsteps) to find out what the local issues are (not what you think they are).  In the organising model you identify if an issue is widely felt and deeply felt.  You want to know if it is visible, and if it is winnable.  If the issue is "George Osborne's cuts" that might be both widely felt and deeply felt, but one wee scheme in Glasgow is not going to bring down the British Government or make it change course, however much that might be desireable.  However if the issue is that The Housing is subcontracting the local grass cutting to a firm who are spivving it up and not doing their job, then it may be possible to get The Housing to spend the hundred grand on employing three locals from the scheme to do this.  The core question has to be will people take action, and will enough people be prepared to take action for there to be progress on this.

The widely respected community organiser Saul Alinsky argued that neighbourhood associations should have a programme for change.  They should have a number of issues they aim to change.  This sense of a plan, a direction, a manifesto is what knits people who want the bins sorted out to the neighbours who are concerned about the lack of council nursery provision. Typically between five and seven issues at once makes sense.  There are various theories about how to get people to take action, but all the theorists agree - you're not organising if you do it for people: the role of an organiser is as a leader who gets others to do things, and gets THEM to take the credit.  In the language of the trade, the organiser is staff for a 'people power' institution.  Those who take public action are the leaders.

Elite Scotland's campaign against democracy has no shame. 
Here at the sight of their 1979 pauchle Lamont poses for the
resonance of the image, an image of a Parliament that she voted
against.

So how does this relate to Lamont and democracy?  Elites like Lamont clearly fear the organised people in revolt.  Their power rests on a static society, where people like her and her husband (senior Glasgow Councillor Archie Graham) take the key decisions, and ordinary people like us either see that as to our benefit, or we don't and there's nothing we can do about it.  The preservation of this kind of static, unequal society, as it administers £4billion more austerity, and starves 72,000 Scots, while making the UK's 1000 richest people 15% richer a year, is in essence the mission of the NO campaign.  Little wonder they sneer at and try to prevent people taking public and civic action.


We won then.  Organising works.
Here is the plan.  It's a doable plan.  It has SMART objectives.  Our task is to make it widely felt and deeply felt, where it matters - among Lamont's constituents.  This is what we will do.  We will canvass Johann Lamont's constituency extensively.  We will ask people what five things they want to change locally, and we will get them active in changing these things.  We will essentially talent scout on an epic scale.  We will find people who want to become leaders, and we will push them and encourage them to plot, to map, to take programmatic public action.  Who knows what skeletons this process may uncover for Lamont.  Either way it is unlikely to be comfortable for the titular leader of Unionism at Holyrood, who seems happy to inertly preside over the fourth poorest constituency in Scotland, while talking about 'something for nothing,' without a thought to the bitterly ironic hypocrisy of the statement.  And if she doesn't do a good job in facilitating the people in changing their neighbourhoods and their lives, it's hard to imagine all these organised citizens will be such great fans of her come election day in 2016.  Scottish society is changing.  It's time we Judoed the forces that are smoorin oot democracy.  And remember folks - they said we couldn't win an investigation into Glasgow Labour presiding over corruption - we won a police investigation.  They said we couldn't win a different tariff for combined heat and power low energy users in the Wyndford.  We did.  Consistency, people power, and organisation are the only things that ever changed society, the only things that ever gave a corrupt establishment Scotland the dry boke.  And that's precisely the feeling we intend to engender in the leader of the anti-democracy forces at Holyrood.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Sponsor Our Operation Restore Democracy Organiser

Sponsor a community organiser.
Funded, per month
 
Help fund a community organiser.


We are fundraising for a paid community organiser to join our team, and help us punch out.

Introducing Operation Restore Democracy


Scotland has a severe problem.  We are currently discussing our nation's future against a backdrop of a deliberate establishment campaign to pauchle the vote.

These things cannot and should not be said lightly.  So let's spell out what has been going on.

The press is almost wholly London owned, and with the exception of one Sunday newspaper with a small circulation of centre left readers, is entirely against independence.  In Britain the press regulates itself.  Printing scurrilous nonsense and prurient drama and generally being right wing and miserable about everything is what the press largely exists to do.  It has excelled itself during this campaign, and has basically served as a platform for leading the news agenda with NO campaign press releases regurgitated.  So far so banal.

More information on this graphic here
What has really been chilling has been the role of the state broadcaster.  We are now into what is termed the regulated period of the campaign, so the state broadcaster is supposed to be neutral, and provide equal airtime and spokespeople for both campaigns.  This graphic below - and its subsequent edit - published last week during the regulated period *here* by the BBC, summarises the problem.  Remember this is the state broadcaster.  What you are witnessing is deliberate propaganda on behalf of the Unionist Government's state broadcaster to lie about Scottish economics.  Notwithstanding the edit to assert a stronger lie, their figures were already completely bonkers.

Scott Minto unpicks how the BBC may have arrived at these bonkers figure here: "it appears that the export figures have also been massaged to imply that Scotland exports vastly less than it does in reality..."

Scottish exports are not a matter of interpretation.  They are a matter of public record.  The data is published annually.  It has been widely reported, as in this graphic from the Financial times in February.

This is not happening at random: a mistake by some daft hack.  There is a pattern.

John Boothman is BBC head of news in Scotland.  He is a former Labour party activist, who has given media training to the Labour Party.  His relationship to Paul Sinclair - the man who writes Johann Lamont's speeches and scripts most of her questions in Parliament; her chief spin doctor - has been exposed by former BBC journalists.

The fact that the state broadcaster is effectively being bossed by Labour into becoming a mouthpiece for the NO campaign, explains much of the broadcaster's biased Scottish output.  Who knows who ordered the changes and lies about Scotland's exports on the UK section of the BBC website, but clearly somebody did - why edit something to make it more inaccurate?

Are we having a fair poll?  When the news agenda is so heavily biased, and the state broadcaster is pumping out literal propaganda, and the YES movement is only really able to put across its message on the unmediated doorsteps and in social media, the odds are certainly uneven, and the mainstream media is essentially united against democracy for Scotland.  Nonetheless this isn't the only aspect of democracy that is being undermined by establishment figures.

We are currently experiencing high ranking political figures lashing out at the organised people protesting in demand of a fair poll and for the Unionist state broadcaster to stop trying to subvert democracy.

Senior Scottish Labour MP Jim Murphy has described the anti-BBC bias demos - reflections of grassroots anger, which have drawn thousands of participants into the BBC's neuk of Govan - as, "The nationalists' attempts to bully broadcasters and boycott businesses." 


There are real tensions being exposed by senior figures in the Establishment's apparent desire to control all discourse, and lock down the debate, and the actual fragility of democracy in Scotland.  To put that another way, the role of citizens in the public discourse, and our very ability to be able to shape debate, beyond a narrow group of elite voices is contested within official Scotland, and there is a powerful lobby arrayed against us.  And we now know without a shadow of a doubt that the official purveyors of truth are lying to us, in the service of the state and their establishment interests.

The puerile and pointless bitterness of the NO
campaign is an attempt to obscure the issues
and to poison the discourse to shut down debte.
It is time for citizens to assert our power, to secure the position of ordinary citizens and our right to a voice, to ensure it is widely heard and above all that we never again experience the paranoid and authoritarian present of an establishment united as one against the ordinary people in revolt.  That is Operation Restore Democracy.

To that end the fightback against these corrupt elites begins in earnest on the Monday morning after the referendum.

A paid organiser will set to work on uniting the people of Johann Lamont's constituency into the biggest headache she has ever experienced.  Let's make the leader of the establishment in Holyrood, and her spin doctor Paul Sinclair (the man with the ear of Robert Boothman at the BBC), very acutely aware of our presence.  We need to strengthen the role of citizens in public life.  At the moment 22,000 children in Scotland are reliant on food aid - where are the voices of their friends and neighbours?  One man, Paul Sinclair, can effect a pro-Union propaganda position - that ignores these 10s of 1000s of Scots very existence - is the leading news item on the national radio station, the leading headline of a television news bulletin, but hundreds of thousands have no say at all in public life in Scotland.  That is a problem.  Let's fix it.  Together.

You can help sponsor a community organiser and make this happen here and now. 

This is what we will do:-

"We will canvass Johann Lamont's constituency extensively.  We will ask people what five things they want to change locally, and we will get them active in changing these things.  We will essentially talent scout on an epic scale.  We will find people who want to become leaders, and we will push them and encourage them to plot, to map, to take programmatic public action.  Who knows what skeletons this process may uncover for Lamont.  Either way it is unlikely to be comfortable for the titular leader of Unionism at Holyrood, who seems happy to inertly preside over the fourth poorest constituency in Scotland, while talking about 'something for nothing,' without a thought to the bitterly ironic hypocrisy of the statement.  And if she doesn't do a good job in facilitating the people in changing their neighbourhoods and their lives, it's hard to imagine all these organised citizens will be such great fans of her come election day in 2016.  Scottish society is changing.  It's time we Judoed the forces that are smoorin oot democracy.  And remember folks - they said we couldn't win an investigation into Glasgow Labour presiding over corruption - we won a police investigation.  They said we couldn't win a different tariff for combined heat and power low energy users in the Wyndford.  We did.  Consistency, people power, and organisation are the only things that ever changed society, the only things that ever gave a corrupt establishment Scotland the dry boke.  And that's precisely the feeling we intend to engender in the leader of the anti-democracy forces at Holyrood."

Sponsor a community organiser.
Funded, per month
Help fund a community organiser.


If you can't help financially, but you can help with canvassing in Johann's Lamont's constituency, we'd also like you get in touch.  

Facebook
Twitter: @PowerCIC
Email: nick.durie[AT]googlemail.com

Friday, 6 June 2014

We are taking a gamble for more community power

[By Nick Durie]

Today we have launched a job application for our first paid community organiser.  I have led our organising efforts since we were first established in 2011 on a volunteer basis, and I want to continue volunteering for the organisation as we take this next step to building this institution.  This institution exists to build and restructure working class community institutions in our communities, and to grasp the mantle of a fairer Scotland with more employment that our reindustrialisation offers.  To date our work has centred on surmounting the challenges posed by the corrupt elite of the old Scotland.  We've done this by building a democratic community based opposition to those undermining reindustrialisation in Glasgow, and we've focussed on helping organised residents gain a negotiated settlement on their combined heat and power, and we are seeking to expand on both of those fronts, and elsewhere.

Our reach, without mainstream press, at the moment, is regularly in the order of 22,000 people. We have a support base of several thousand people.  We have facilitated a significant community victory when the movement we helped build won an inquiry into corruption at Glasgow City Council.

Now it is time to put down roots.  We're taking a bit of a gamble in putting out our fundraising target in public: we need to be grossing more than 70-80 pounds a week or so to make it happen, but we know that the support is out there, to put a paid organiser on the ground.  I regularly volunteer hours of my time to Power In Community, but it would be a mistake to say that I am giving of my time the kind of hours I would work when I did that job for a living.  I meet people when I can (and organising is all about meeting people), but I don't typically do the wall to wall meeting people that really making big impact with organising requires.  I am regularly canvassing people for the YES campaign.  There's lots of people out there in the YES movement who can relate to that, and the kind of conversations you have.  In any campaign those kinds of conversations are the conversations you are constantly having as an organiser.  Imagine being employed to canvass all day, every week.  You could get to know an entire scheme inside out in three months with that approach, whatever you were up to.  That capacity is a deadly weapon, put to work in organising people.  This is why we must build it.

I hope you support these aims.  If you do, I'd ask you to give a fiver a month to this NGO of ours, and to consider joining the advisory board.  This country needs people of talent taking a keen interest in community power, community solidarity, and driving the equality of the new Scotland.

The first advisory board meeting of our new board, following our AGM this August, is on the 22nd of September.  Up to you.

You can donate here.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Nick Durie explains why the 100 Promises Campaign has focussed on corruption at Glasgow City Council

Community Organiser Andy Bowden reflects on the police investigation into Glasgow City Council corruption

#Bingate and the NO Campaign: A reflection

Yesterday I had a bizarre experience.  A Daily Mail journalist interviewed me at an action I had helped to organise, about something that didn't happen.  Better Together Director Rob Shorthouse had, unbeknownst to me, summoned the Daily Mail, because there were people outside in Blythswood Square, and there were a crowd of them.