We are pleased to present our January, 2017 updated edition.
To read the full report, go to: https://www.afsc.org/sites/afsc.civicactions.net/files/documents/DemocraticInfrastructure.pdf
From the Introduction…
From the local to the global, the ability of people to govern themselves is under assault, which will intensify over the next four years. Some of the major sources of this attack are:
• Business corporations looking to make huge profits by converting what once had been “public” to “private” (“privatization,“ though a more descriptive term would be “corporatization”), including traditional public assets like water and sewer systems, roads, police and fire protection, airports, hospitals, and schools.
• Individuals looking to increase their power, status, and/or privileges by concentrating decision-making from many hands (We the People and government) to few (their own).
• A culture that reinforces notions that public policies are too complicated for ordinary people to understand (thus leaving policy making to experts); that distracts public attention away from self-determination toward the trivial and inane; that worships “the market” as the route to financial and economic salvation which is not to be regulated or controlled; that define certain arenas (economic in particular) as outside the scope of public input; that continues to erase memory of any/all historical examples of citizen control and definition of their lives; that equates anything that is “public” as being inefficient, wasteful, decrepit, and dangerous and anything “private” as efficient, modern and safe; and that keeps people separated to learn from one another and organize to (re)assert meaningful changes.
• Continual legal and constitutional definitions that further “enclose” and redefine “public” arenas as other “p” words: “private,” “property,” “proprietary,” “privileged” — and thus beyond the reach of public planning, public shaping, and public evaluation.
• A national government that under the guise of “terrorism” has given itself permission to stifle dissent, intimidate dissenters, and interrupt efforts of self-determination.
But there is another side to this – a democratic/self-determination culture or “infrastructure.” Alternatives to corporations, corporate governance and elite control exist in our communities and across the state.
Scores of documents, policies, institutions, structures and groups reflecting inclusiveness are in place – examples where those who are affected by decisions and policies have a legitimate role in the shaping and making of those decisions… or could if we made the effort. They are where We the People have a voice… or could have a real voice if we merely flexed our self-determination muscles…