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

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.