Tag Archives: manifesto

#365daysofpolitics day 26: transcending the situation

Today is day 26, which means I’ve had two days of doing nothing (pretty much). Spending the weekend with my little man was far more important, of course.

But in general I’m finding it hard to keep up every single day. My hope was that it’d be fairly straight-forward to do something, at least small, every day but as well as having a life it’s actually quite hard to have something to show everyday.

Most days I’ll be chipping in on the Manifesto, or with Something New discussions, but that’s not very interesting so I try to do something reasonably significant, but it feels more like a chore than I’m actually doing something.

So, from now on #365daysofpolitics isn’t going to be about doing something every single day. It’s going to be about me spending a year dedicating a significant portion of my life to politics, to the Manifesto, to Something New and to trying to use politics to build the progressive world I want to see.

Situation transcended.

#365daysofpolitics day 11: the missing day

You may have noticed day 10 went missing. My excuse is a camping trip with friends, although we did chat a bit about politics so it wasn’t a completely politics-free day.

That brings me nicely on to something I’ve been thinking about. I feel guilty if I don’t have much to show for a day. But maybe that’s okay, and maybe a little bit each day is what I should be aiming for rather than big strides.

On to today… Some debate on the Manifesto, followed by some tech work for Something New while watching a terrible film.

#365daysofpolitics day 3: Officialdom

Today I recommitted to the political party that sprang out of the OpenPolitics Manifesto project. While I got involved a while ago my participation in the last six months has been almost non-existent due to the other pressing issues in my life.

That changed today when I agreed to be Something New’s technology officer. I’ll be a party official, combining my love of technology with my love of politics.

I’m very, very excited to get my teeth back into Something New and help grow the party from the relative success achieved in the general election.

The Communist Manifesto

Years after buying a copy, along with some other political philosophy books, I finally got around to reading Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto.

My understanding of it is that it postulates two things;

  1. Society is split into two factions; the working class, and the ruling class, with the latter exploiting the former for it’s benefit.
  2. In order for the working class to break out of this exploitation permanently it must rise up, take over the state and use that power to bring all property into state ownership and use it for the good of the working class.

At a basic level, I accept the first of those.

Income inequality, housing crises, too-big-to-fail banks etc are all signs of a society split between the haves and have nots, the rich and poor, the 1% and the 99%. That’s today, so I think the first point resonates and is reasonable.

I understand the thinking process behind the second. If this is a struggle between the haves and have nots and the power of exploitation that owning property supposedly confers, then presumably the essential ban on property ownership would take away that power.

What this point misses, I feel, is that it is inevitable that if the working class does rise up, seize the state and the means of production, there will be a class of people who are ruling the country. There will have to be a group, who represent a tiny minority of the population, who make decisions based on power granted to them to do so. Without that, the state, and therefore society will cease to function adequately. If I’ve misunderstood please correct me.

Thus, it is inevitable that if communism was to succeed in it’s aims it would not stop their being a ruling and working class. It may initially put those two classes on a more level footing but there would still be antagonisms (the manifesto talks about antagonism a lot) which would likely increase as time went on. The new ruling class, fervent in it’s belief that it is acting in the best interests of society would continue to do so, face opposition from the working class and there would eventually be another revolution.

So communism is not for me.

Next philosophy to read is that of Friederich Nietzsche. Bit worried about the Hitler connection with that one!

The joy of collaboration… and politics

As an open source developer I collaborate with other developers on projects. More so now I’m working with Code For The People (best WordPress agency in the world, obvs).

Thanks to James Smith starting the OpenPolitics Manifesto I’ve thoroughly enjoyed applying that same collaborative spirit to a political endeavour. When you have something you want to add to the manifesto (anyone can) a pull request is created.

Collaborators, and anyone else, can then comment on that pull request – thus starts the debate. And that’s the big enjoyment for me.

We offer our views on a topic, but there’s never a sense of argument. It’s good, intellectual debate with everybody considering the merits of their own and others’ opinions at once. Changes of opinion are not uncommon as a result, such as Paul’s abstination-turned-shock at Royal immunity, and often there is a fantastic effort to reach consensus, such as this one on MPs remuneration.

Another great aspect to the collaboration is the use of evidence. Although plenty was being offered, I added a note to remind folks to ask for evidence in support of any claims made. Admittedly, I’m guilty of breaking that rule a few times myself, and sometimes evidence is scarce. As I type, Tim has posted a fantastic example of using evidence to look at a proposal.

I’m doubtful as to whether this would ever translate to the manifesto of an official political party (if it does, it already has a name) but the effort in itself is a great way to put a mirror up to your own political beliefs and challenge them in a constructive, collaborative way.

Do join in.