A Revolution Against Annihilation.
A unified global civil resistance strategy for systemic political-economic and social change. (Autumn 2022 - 2025)
Global People Power in a Nutshell
Building a Movement of Movements
Maintain a Living Document and Conversation
Interconnectedness - An Inspiring Grand Narrative
Campaigning Against The Unacceptable
Fostering Diverse Popular Participation
Moving Beyond Identity Politics
The single-issue Divide-and-Rule trap
Harnessing Prefigurative Politics
Quantitative Easing for Democracy (#QE4D)
Action Plan: A Diversity of Tactics
Tactic 1 - Non-Violent Direct Action
Tactic 2 - Build Momentum Incrementally
Tactic 3 - Foster International Solidarity
Tactic 5 - Utilise Strikes (Pause 4 Peace)
Tactic 6 - Find ways to Circumvent Smart Repression.
Tactic 8 - Voting Strategy/Hacking Democracies
Earth Citizens United (Team Human) demonstrations, Women's World Cup 2023, New Zealand.
On the street People’s Assemblies Film Vox pops
Appendix 1 - Earth Citizens’ Assemblies Strategy
Our Earth Citizens’ Assemblies Demands
Earth Citizens’ Assemblies Phases
Local Earth Citizen’s/Peoples’ Assemblies
National Level Example Policy - Sovereign Money.
Appendix 2: Earth Citizens Accountability Agreement - Becoming a Movement of Movements
We are living in an increasingly authoritarian, less safe, and less ecologically and financially stable world since Covid-19 changed everything. How can we reignite and unite the revolutions that were kicking off in every continent in 2019? How can we connect the causes of the various issues being fought against and find common ground on solutions being fought for?
How can we build bridges across diverse cultural and worldview perspectives to usher in a global paradigm in the form of a more participative and compassionate ecological civilisation?
Humanity is leaning over a precipice of nuclear, ecological, and economic annihilation. This strategy proposes that the root cause of these interconnected threats is the corrupting, divisive, and dictatorial power that oligarchs exert over national governments, political parties, and our lives. We call this phenomenon International Divide and Rule (IDR).
We firmly believe there is a need for citizens and movement organisations to urgently commit to a new collective vision that challenges these root causes with novel strategies if we are to have any chance of reaching the mass support necessary to breach the tipping point for success in our efforts. We propose that this can best be achieved by focusing our energy on democratising global power - practical systemic democratic change to undo the democratic deficit by enabling more participatory systems. People will only accept dramatic structural changes to their lives to tackle ecological, economic, and global conflict challenges if they have a genuine say in those changes and how they impact their lives.
The global justice movement has won important concessions, but the threat of annihilation is more present than it has ever been. In that regard, our collective efforts have failed. We, Global People Power think this is because we have been utilising the same theory of change, a theory which prioritises demand-making of corrupt political-economic systems rather than putting equal, if not more energy into assuming collective power and responsibility. We have lacked maturity and ambition.
To tackle threats to all life on earth we need new (local to global) systems change achieved in a way that avoids alienating large sections of society. This requires a culture and tactics that are inclusive of a broad set of values and identities. If we are to achieve transformation of the present corrupt political-economic system we will need to win defections from its pillars of support. To achieve this, it is vital that our movement is demographically diverse. Expressed determination to reclaim national democratic sovereignty will, we believe, engender such broad appeal.
We seek to give a unified voice to an existing fragmented global movement towards global participative democracy by squarely addressing the broadest of issues with the most narrow of conflict root cause targets. We believe the ultimate root cause with the broadest public support across the political spectrum globally is the battle against “systematised globalised corruption” and to “Overthrow Oligarchy”. However, this challenge also requires us to seed a new vision and grand narrative around what a world beyond oligarchy and global coordination failure would look like. The Global People Power Strategy 2022 seeks to catalyse this movement by seeding this new ‘grand narrative’ and roadmap to achieving a more democratic and participatory global community made up of sovereign nations and empowered citizens.
Global People Power in a Nutshell
Global People Power’s vision is for ‘Earth Citizens’ to assume democratic power and responsibility as a diverse human family united in tackling the systemic root cause of threats to all life on earth, oligarchic power over national governments. We seek to establish ‘Earth Citizens’ Assemblies’ that create rules without rulers; global policies to solve global challenges such as war, climate, and ecological breakdown, and economic and social collapse. Earth Citizens are encouraged and facilitated to take Non-Violent Direct Action (NVDA) to pressure all nations to allow national citizens to vote on the implementation of those policies (immediately and unilaterally or synchronised and multilaterally) via national ‘preferendums’.
We are claiming our Earth citizenship alongside our national citizenship because we, humanity, have a dual responsibility. Tackling problems at home means taking care of the whole world too. We are taking global responsibility because those who are meant to be, aren't.
Together we can overcome systems that are dividing us and killing us by creating new systems that enable us to unite and thrive.
NOTE: “Earth” in Earth Citizenship is about connection to physical place, the soil, to home. It’s about belonging, whilst simultaneously belonging to the whole living planet. It is not associated with any affiliation to a global government or global jurisdiction. We oppose such initiatives.
The primary goal of this proposal is to posit some answers to these questions in order to elicit constructive feedback and criticism from activists and change-making organisations.
We seek to catalyze an ongoing conversation around a mutually agreed strategy for civil resistance that models the end goals and collaborative ways of working together that we hope to inspire the rest of humanity to adopt. Namely, we hope to inspire citizens to work collectively to tackle the root causes of threats to all life on earth, not just the symptoms.
Building a Movement of Movements
To achieve this, we propose there is a need for a movement of movements, or a coalition of changemakers to find sufficient agreement upon a common strategic framework (action plan, democratic process, and philosophy) for establishing true Global People Power, or something similar. We seek to support all civil resistance organisations to find what it will take for us to unite behind a new narrative grounded in participative democracy as a solution to oligarchy. In short, we need democracy to decide how to fix democracy.
We don’t need to agree on absolutely everything but if we can unite together as a movement and at least begin the process of finding that agreement then more than half of the battle will be won. We will encourage the rest of the world to join in.
Democratise Global Power
This strategy proposes there is an urgent need to work towards implementing a universally agreed ‘nested’ citizen-led democracy framework made up of multiple scales from local, to national and global Citizens Assemblies. We aim to collaborate with Citizens' Assemblies (citizensassemblies.org) and other aligned organisations in the participative democracy space to support their efforts to achieve this end. The whole democratic process and action plan to drive it to happen should, we believe, be grounded in voluntary Citizen Action Networks.
Inspire a New Grand Narrative
The goal of systemic democratic change ultimately requires building a new and more inspiring Grand Narrative for humanity. This requires a narrative with firm foundations built upon rigorous, peer-reviewed science in relation to who and what we really are as a species. This new narrative must appeal to our innate sense of fairness and the universally held values of a preference for cooperation over conflict, and participation and self-determination over oppression and dominance.
Co-create a Global Strategy
The Global People Power Strategy 2023-25 attempts to outline the theoretical and practical elements that we believe are needed to achieve this ambitious goal of inspiring a broad-based mass movement towards participative democracy as a means of overthrowing oligarchy.
This strategy is not intended to detract energy or attention from existing organisations and movements taking to the streets, but to be complementary and supportive. We will be with you. But we believe it is essential that we work better together as a meta-movement to ensure we are working towards the same, or similar ends, and are following well-researched steps for success.
This proposal is informed by the historic evidence of successful strategies as set out by Dr. Erica Chenoweth in Civil Resistance, and also the prescriptions of Chris Rose’s How to Win Campaigns. However, Chenowth herself admits that her book is NOT a ‘recipe’ for Civil Resistance, but rather an evidence of what has worked in the past.
Civil Resistance is emergent, as is the global political and cultural landscape, so a strategy must be ‘living’ and adaptable to account for changing external conditions, new lessons learned about what works best, and the tactics of groups who would seek to frustrate and suppress our movement.
Maintain a Living Document and Conversation
We have published a basic Strategy containing a sequence of small, simple, movement and diversity-building, scalable actions that support the end goals of increasing truly participatory democratic action on a local, national and global scale.
However, we also seek to catalyse an ongoing participatory conversation around this campaign strategy and democracy framework. This will be done through real-world gatherings and by using Pol.is - a tool designed for mass online participation on policy issues. Pol.is was used with success to create a ‘shadow parliament’ in Taiwan during anti-government protests and subsequently became a tool used for civic input on Government policy. We will seed the Pol.is conversation with the below strategy elements, and we invite further submissions and voting on each suggestion via the tool.
We are in the process of programming a Same Page application (an idea developed by Paul Inskip of the UK’s Democracy Network Independent Constitutionalists UK) whereby organisations can ‘Come Together’ in ‘the innate, natural and right response to crisis.’
Built as a custom application for the UK Progressive Movement but applicable to global movements too.
- Reduce time and energy - increase real-world results
- Create connection
- Leadership of Progressive groups, Politicians, Unions, and Media
- Effortless exchange of priority information - Progressive ‘Reuters’ for all activists
- Big Picture Clarity - easy, immediate access to key information - Reading the Terrain - Pattern Recognition
- A clear picture develops over time. Accurate Cognitive Map. Shared Narrative.
Theory of Change
This strategy addresses what we believe are the core problems we face as a global planetary community. In most cases, solutions to these complex global problems already exist. Where solutions don’t exist, for example with climate breakdown, mitigation and adaptation options founded in ‘climate justice’ do already exist. However, in order to drive them to be implemented, we need a clear and compelling Theory of Change addressing the root causes and barriers to change.
Achieving impact requires us to:
- Define the change we seek to achieve
- Define the core problems we face
- Define the systemic root causes of the problems
- Define and Name the barriers put up against that change.
- Create a clear strategy to overcome those barriers.
- The Change We Seek
A peaceful, equitable, and stable global society of truly sovereign nations and self-governing local communities operating within the limits of our planetary boundaries.
- Problems We Face
In summary, humans are at the precipice of nuclear, ecological, and economic annihilation. This problem can ultimately be reduced to ‘global coordination failure’ or a failure to properly manage the global commons (the common resources of humanity). Instead, we have a situation in which all nations are competing with each other in a zero-sum game, an insane economic and geo-political race to planetary destruction. This global coordination failure results in the many globally interconnected problems we face including:
- Rampant global warming reaching catastrophic levels creating migration flows that are driving racist migration policies.
- A rapidly degrading ecosystem and a biodiversity crisis threatening all life on earth.
- A sharp decrease in democratisation and an increase in autocratisation.
- Widespread international conflict including conflict for resources and higher than ever before risk of global nuclear conflict.
- Food and energy insecurity globally.
- A lack of universal access to core basic needs for citizens globally (particularly in the Global South).
- Systemic Root Causes
“Many activists believe that what’s more important than having a single goal is having a goal that is clear and specific. For instance, ‘Mubarak must go’ is a clearer and more concrete slogan than ‘We are the 99%’. Ousting a dictator is a concrete goal whilst general objections to economic inequality are not.” Erica Chenoweth. Civil Resistance.
Our strategy is based on the fact that the ultimate root cause of these interconnected crises is the absence of sovereign national democracy due to systematised corruption caused by global oligarchic influence. We propose that all governments globally are influenced far more by the divisive and dictatorial power that transnational corporations (TNCs), globally mobile oligarchs, and autocrats hold over them than by the majority of their citizens.
We need a narrow focus and singular terminology to describe the root cause of our problems. The term ‘Oligarchy’ is both expedient and pertinent. By ‘Global’ Oligarchy we mean people who are globally mobile. They can move their profits (or the money of their “fellow” citizens) to offshore tax-free secret jurisdictions. Globally mobile oligarchs have the capacity to reside in many countries and avoid paying tax in those countries.
The majority of Transnational Corporations (TNCs) are predominantly owned by a small number of and highly connected people. Corporate influence over national governments (corporatocracy) is an important systemic root cause because the most successful political parties and politicians are usually those funded by TNCs and by oligarchs. The recent surge in autocratisation of national governments would have been far harder to establish and maintain without the support of powerful oligarchs, or of TNCs. In this document, these are the phenomenon referred to by the use of the term ‘Oligarchy.’
Some of the systemic elements of this democratic deficit created by oligarchy include:
- Governments lack accountability to citizens and are instead accountable to unelected oligarchs and corporations.
- Governments are mostly unwilling or perceive themselves to be unable to pass policies that will benefit their citizens or natural environment.
- Unequal ability to influence political and economic systems globally is the norm.
- Extractive economic systems and land and resource use contrary to local peoples’ interests are the norm globally.
- Lack of focus on regenerative and community-led approaches to economic activity and land use.
NOTE: We are not moving into conspiracy theory territory here, only conspiracy fact. As we explain in more detail below, the political-economic system we have inherited has a strong tendency to reward anti-social, pathological behaviour. This coincides with extreme hierarchies of decision-making inequality all of which lead to poor outcomes for the majority in the long term.
Just as the illegal activities of “too big to fail” banks caused the 2008 financial crash, extreme concentrations of networks of wealth, corporate ownership and political decision-making power make the global economic system inherently more prone to collapse.
Even the money each nation uses (usually about 97% of it) is privately created, out of thin air, as debt, with interest by high street banks. The kind of initiatives this debt money is allocated to (mostly housing and financial speculation which pushes up house prices and makes financial crises more likely) is decided upon by a handful of Banks and a few dozen board members. This is why the global economic system is inherently boom-and-bust cyclical.
Every economic crash period always has a catastrophic impact on the majority of humanity whilst the ultra-rich are not only far more immune, they often benefit from them. Millions starve and lose their homes. The corporations that cause those shocks in the first place get bailed out by the taxpayer, by the vast majority of people who don’t have offshore tax-haven accounts. It’s a system of socialism for the rich and capitalism and austerity for the poor.
The systems we have inherited are emergent, naturally occurring and complex, but that does not mean that they are not also purposefully acted upon by individuals within it, especially by those with the most means to do so. It’s not an either-or situation but a both-and one, both emergent and deliberately acted upon. Although there is no single all-powerful oligarchic group controlling the world, the ultra-rich do have one major thing in common. We can use the language of systems science and complexity theory to describe it most effectively.
Systems exist within systems. Cells are systems within an organ (another system), within a living human body, within a local-national-global social, political, economic, biological and ecological system, on planet earth within the solar system etc.
We are all nodes (bumps of information) within the systems within which we operate. The stronger the network of nodes within the social, political, and economic systems, the more assured the survival of those nodes. As networks become more concentrated by people with similar interests they can be described as “hubs.” People with the most resources tend strongly to network with other people with the most resources thus supporting and enabling each other to centralise their role within those hubs to become ‘superhubs.’
In her book“Superhubs. How the Financial Elite and Their Networks Rule the World” Sandra Navidi describes how superhubs network with each other to consolidate their power by centralising their role within the most centralised and multi-dimensional spheres of influence, especially financial, corporate and political systems. From here they tend to exert their influence to dismantle corrective measures to their power - the regulations of governments required to protect the natural world, society and the economy. They also act to dismantle popular support for such regulation. (See International Divide-and-Rule below). Superhub oligarchs effectively preside over our political, economic and corporate systems thus making our entire global system oligarchic, corrupt and prone to total collapse, to annihilation.
Where cells within an organ no longer cooperate with their surrounding cells they can become carcinogenic tumours. This usually ends up killing the living system within which they exist thus, ironically, causing those carcinogenic cells to die too. Non-cooperation within global social, political and economic systems in a world of global problems is collective suicide.
Superhubs can be therefore described as “Supertumours” that have metastasized (a lymph node metaphor is appropriate here) to infect all other systems on planet earth. Corrupting and divisive concentrated oligarchic power is a cancer that threatens all life on earth. Nothing less than a globally holistic approach can nurture us back from a terminal prognosis to a healthy one. But how?
Just as unions of workers vote to use their collective bargaining power to attain worker’s rights, decent pay and pensions from large corporations (whose sole purpose is to maximise profits), the logical solution to overcome the dangerous and extremely unwarranted influence of globally mobile superhubs is to unite locally, nationally to globally to regulate them. It is to democratise all systems of global power and to end systematised corruption so that oligarchic superhubs become normal voting, participating nodes and hubs just like the rest of us. Nothing less is acceptable in a mature, enlightened and progressive society.
NOTE: It is vital that we ward against the obsession of prescribing mythical power upon any person or group of people. To do so is hugely disempowering. It is an expression of victimhood and an excuse for inaction. Systems of power are not monolithic. They are made up of people. The foundations of concentrated power are too made up of groups of people (pillars of support) who can be encouraged or compelled to defect to the cause of dismantling corrupt political-economic-corporate systems.
It's so much easier to waste time and energy apportioning blame than to accept collective responsibility. It is our collective responsibility as a species to overcome the problem of concentrated power by increasing our network capabilities, the source of our power, for the long-term good of the whole - to become a highly decentralised and therefore, a far more stable complex system. We now have the technology to do so globally. We are, in other words, far more powerful than we realise.
We do not seek retribution nor brutalise anyone. Non-violence is the most potent method to achieve long-term change. That said, we have a responsibility to call out bad-faith actors and to describe a sick system.
- Define and Name the Barriers to Change
In order to successfully drive change, we need to go beyond understanding what the systemic root causes of the problems are. In the face of seemingly intractable issues like the ones we face, we also need to consider the barriers or blockers preventing us from changing them. We then need to give these blockers a memorable and provocative name.
This strategy proposes that the most powerful barrier to nations tackling global problems is a deliberate strategy exercised by the powerful forces of oligarchy that we name as International Divide and Rule (IDR). IDR is a manifestation of the corrupting, divisive and dictatorial power that transnational corporations and globally mobile oligarchs hold over national governments. We suggest this name will have wide appeal across political and cultural divides and clearly encapsulates the root causes we are working to overcome.
IDR operates in the following ways to block change to the status quo. All nations are held to ransom by multinational corporations and globally mobile oligarchs - fossil fuel, media, arms manufacturing, and sales, banking, etc. Under the threat of relocating their jobs and finance to other more “business-friendly” and so-called “competitive nations”, they demand subsidisation, lower corporation tax, weaker employment, and environmental protection rules. In short, they demand fewer regulations whilst providing more funding to the most compliant, and subsequently the most successful political parties. (This is a loose description of the kind of oligarchy that activist and journalist George Monbiot calls ‘House trained Capitalists’)
This strategy proposes that our so-called “world leaders” are merely pretending to be in control, and have in reality ceded real power and responsibility to entities that work beyond national borders. The democratic power vacuum this creates is being swiftly filled by oligarchs, demagogues, and aspiring autocrats which Monbiot calls “War Lord Capitalists”. The strategy used by this group is to scapegoat other nations, cultures, and ethnicities for being the cause of problems that they or their House Trained Capitalist counterparts exacerbate.
By sowing the seeds of chaos and shock, the oligarchy increase its power over national governments, hide their profits in offshore tax havens, and manipulate civic sentiment further toward a narrative of past nationalistic “greatness.” Their mission is global unity through connecting border walls of ignorance, fear, and hate.
Authoritarian leaders require the threat of conflict (often with historic precedence) to maintain their power and influence. Similarly, the world’s largest military-industrial complexes need the threat of authoritarian leaders to maintain theirs.
It is the extreme inequality of access to decision-making power that is the cause of the world’s problems. All highly unequal, hierarchical systems require the constant threat of conflict (real or imagined), in order to keep the general populace in a state of stress and therefore far more willing to have their rights and freedoms reduced in return for “strong leadership” and “military security.”
International laws, climate summits, trade agreements, and peace processes are conducted behind closed doors by powerful vested interest lobby groups alongside politicians of political parties funded by powerful vested interest lobby groups with neither public scrutiny nor democratic legitimacy. The United Nations is a product of competing national governments wherein the most powerful nations attempt to concede as little existing power as possible for the global good. Since 2019 the UN has entered into an undemocratic and therefore dangerously dictatorial “stakeholder governance” agreement with the World Economic Forum. We need another way.
As it necessitates interdependence, international trade brings with it the benefits of peace and therefore increased prosperity. But in a world of global markets, transnational corporations and globally mobile oligarchy, we need global rules without global rulers, we need transnational regulations to ensure that global trade and global traders can function within a fair, level, and ethical global playing field.
We also need to drive national governments to take immediate unilateral action to tackle the causes and impacts of global problems where they can, (which as we shall explain, is far more than they care to admit to.)
- Overcoming The Barriers
We propose that economic competition and geo-political conflict between nations is not a purely emergent phenomenon, but is weaponised and gamed by powerful oligarchy. If international competition was purely emergent and not weaponised then a top-down conventional political approach would suffice to bring about change. There would be little pushback by the “rational powers-that-be” who would then see their own survival as inherently interconnected with the rest of humanity and the planet.
However, as we have seen through repeated prophetic historical precedence, and more recently through psychological studies, the wealthier and more powerful individuals become, the more conditioned they can become to be less compassionate and empathetic. The extreme concentration of power is not a rationalising force - it causes disconnection and cynicism.
For these reasons, top-down political strategies for international cooperation will be co-opted, undermined, and ultimately fail to serve humanity as a whole, whilst continuing to benefit the few.
How do we achieve this seemingly impossible task? We need to harness the power of a new grand narrative that is more compelling and will motivate a wide range of people to take part. We can achieve this by a strategy that is founded on a solid understanding of who we really are as a species.
Interconnectedness - An Inspiring Grand Narrative
The dominant, divisive, reductionist worldview which underpins the current power structure reduces the world to its’ constituent parts rather than seeing it as the totality of interconnected relationships between those parts. This worldview has brought a great many benefits to humanity but has increasingly become imbalanced, extreme, and pathological in its expression. In turn, this has alienated us from the natural world and from each other, and has become therefore highly stress-inducing. This has led to reactionary short-termism, cultural and psychological sickness, and ultimately allows the IDR system to perpetuate. We desperately need to redress the imbalance between reductionist and systemic thinking, and in doing so, incapacitate yet another form of division.
If we, as activists want people to tune in and take part in a plan ambitious enough to save the world from nuclear and ecological annihilation, we need a hugely positive vision for what that future looks like. We need a new Narrative for humanity, which must clearly assert and continue to point out the destructive imbalance of the current worldview and the lack of legitimacy of the political and economic arrangements globally, whilst also pointing to an alternative.
The new Grand Narrative favoured by this strategy is found in the re-emergence of a worldview that is as old as humanity itself, systems thinking, or seeing the relationships between all things. Humanity evolved as social beings, intrinsically interdependent and interconnected (with each other and our environment), possessed of agency (i.e. the capacity to decide and to do), deeply collaborative with a strong sense of fairness, and yet capable of highly competitive behaviour especially in circumstances of extreme inequality, when we lack political agency and when we are actively pitted against each other.
For the vast majority of our history, community sizes were small enough to morally sanction against narcissism and short-term destructive self-interest. But we have now become major agents in shaping the circumstances of our existence. If we are to survive as a species we must find new ways to regulate such damaging and narcissistic behaviour at the local, national and global political levels. We must learn to live according to our long-term common interest in survival as a species by restoring our symbiotic equilibrium with the natural world.
We can take heart in the knowledge that nature is driving us towards this destiny of global cooperation. Interconnected global problems force humanity to acknowledge our interconnectedness, and to unite to address them fast if we are to avoid killing our life support system. Thankfully, we have evolved as a species to be ‘super-cooperators’. As a widely read and cited Editorial in Nature Journal titled The Cooperative Human summarises it well:
“Some of the seemingly most intractable cooperation problems in the world today are the conflicts between rival nations and different political, religious, or ethnic groups. However, Fotouhi et al. show that a strong barrier to cooperation is a simple lack of communication and suggest that promoting even sparse interconnections between previously segregated societies can support the evolution of cooperation globally. Even in difficult situations, the desire for cooperation would appear to often be nascent and the evidence suggests that we are naturals at it, given the opportunity.”
The good news is that cooperation remains the best long-term strategy to create a win-win-win (non-zero sum game) situation for all concerned. The bad news is that we tend to cooperate best with people we identify with, people most like us. However, once we have rubbed shoulders with others who may on the surface seem worlds apart from us, we realise how much we truly have in common. We discover that we have very similar fundamental needs.
The upshot is that well-coordinated contact and communication between rivals, be they nations, political, religious, or ethnic groups can improve the scope for cooperation to address the most wicked of global problems. If we are provided with the tools to make connections with each other, not via platforms such as Facebook and Twitter which monetise conflict, we are able to look beyond our differences and solve seemingly incurable complex problems. The added bonus is that today we also have the technology and global networking at our fingertips to scale this cooperation up to the global level and make it truly inclusive.
We believe this movement towards building a new narrative is already being led by people in the global south majority world. The South is where people are increasingly seeing themselves as cosmopolitan earth citizens, as opposed to industrialised Western nations where the trend is in reverse with a retreat to political isolationism and nationalism. As International Extinction Rebellion Activist Kofi Mawuli Klu puts it so clearly:
“The global south has for centuries been in rebellion against empire. There is no other way it has lived. - ‘Glocal’ action, thinking globally and acting locally needs to be done in an interconnected way. Global Citizens’ Assemblies will come into being as a unified voice of communities of resistance of both the global north and the global south. And it is only then that we will win.”
Out of the present crisis, the neo-liberal end phase comes the greatest opportunity for whoever captures the zeitgeist. Global People Power is about laying the foundations for a paradigm shift. A politics of belonging that is in realignment with that which gave us our evolutionary success in the first place - cooperation and a strong sense of fairness - but whilst acknowledging, honouring, and integrating our need for individual expression, healthy competition, and cultural diversity. We merely seek to redress the imbalance of ten thousand years of unhealthy competitive conditioning with the right amount of cooperation.
Competition can continue to exist where people find it necessary to motivate them but, like the most popular competition of all, football, it needs to be conducted within a fair and level (global) playing field.
Despite challenging immediate circumstances affecting our mood and our ability to reason, our cultural conditioning since birth, and despite our genetic coding going back millions of years, we are highly capable of change.
The Medium is the Message
The dominant reductionist worldview functions as a feedback loop perpetuating and excusing further short-term self-interest, scapegoating, and us-and-them thinking. This in turn feeds back into global political-economic-social-structural systems which in turn impact the natural world and our psychology.
Our systems are built in the image of a complex personality disorder, one that is narcissistic, sociopathic, and Machiavellian. A breakdown of these personality traits reads like a success manual for obscene mountains of wealth and nuclear warhead codes.
If the way we organise ourselves is set up as though we, humanity, are essentially sensible, compassionate, sociable beings capable of compromise then that is how we will all be encouraged to live. If we are told we are essentially selfish, lazy, and conniving and we set up our political-economic systems as though that were true then not only will that be how we are encouraged to conduct ourselves, we will be more accepting of being ruled by people who exhibit these qualities. The former, kindness, is the placebo effect, and the latter, selfishness, is the nocebo effect. What we expect from people is what we will get.
Through the medium of local to globally networked Citizens Assemblies founded upon principles of long-term sustainability, cooperation, systems thinking and unity-in-diversity, new feedback loops will be created within our culture. These feedback loops will begin to permiate our values and world-views to become the new normal and in doing so redress and rebalance the excesses of short-termism, unregulated competition, reductionist atomisation and imperialism.
In short, we need to remember what we as hunter-gatherers understood for two hundred thousand years, that narcissism within social groups kills those groups.
Campaigning Against The Unacceptable
How do we achieve long-term results to address devastatingly urgent problems in the quickest time frame possible? The good news is that with just 3.5% of the population participating in nonviolent civil resistance, the odds are that no government can resist its demands and remain in power. (With 3.5% of the population involved in such a movement it is highly likely that it has majority support however, to become truly democratically legitimate, we need decision-making power to tackle global problems to be equally dispersed to every person on the planet. As of 2017, just 8 men own the same wealth as half of the world, and with that comes immense political power.
To achieve broad support for our campaigns, Chris Rose states that we need to“Campaign Against The Unacceptable”. This involves “broadening the issues but narrowing the focus of what is unacceptable to the largest number of people. This means that the campaign may be 'about an issue but to engage people it will need to have a much more specific 'battlefront'. Choosing that battlefront is a crucial task.”
“A campaign strongly supported by a tiny part of the population may sustain a vigorous organisation. It may survive for decades - for as long as its supporters have the energy. But to succeed, most campaigns need to attract much broader support - and to do that, you often need to narrow the focus.”(Chris Rose).
Citing Doug MacAdam, Chenoweth says, movements are more likely to set off “cognitive liberation” when they frame their claims in a way that appeals to people from every walk of life. To do this it is important to focus on the most physically obvious, immediate, and palpable issues which have historically mobilised the most people. This includes issues such as oppression, war, economic hardship, racial and socioeconomic inequality, misogyny, corruption, and more recently, the climate and ecological emergency. “But” we want to tackle what we believe to be the singular systemic root cause of those issues so we can redress them in a structural and lasting way
As the majority of these global challenges are interrelated, they have a common systematised cause (the power that TNCs, oligarchs, and autocrats hold over national governments) and are perpetuated by a common barrier, IDR). This fact helps our task by presenting us with a battlefront, the necessary focus of conflict required in any just struggle for power. This also points squarely to the solution, unified global grassroots cooperative action pressuring national governments to become truly sovereign and democratic by establishing participative democratic practices through Citizens Assemblies.
We believe that most civil resistance movements, and ultimately most humans share a common end goal - peace, justice, equality, sustainability, and prosperity. (The more people have their fundamental needs met, the easier it is to live according to their values. Cooperation and fairness were the key ingredients that led to human evolutionary success). We propose to start from this point by aiming to achieve these ends through the cessation of corruption and an increase in personal, communal, national, and global agency.
Both the groups traditionally categorised as ‘left’ and ‘right-wing include a majority of people who are concerned with the same issue of eroding national and democratic sovereignty. The left predominantly seeks freedom from the unwarranted influence of transnational corporations, CEOs, and oligarch-supported autocrats. The right seek freedom from the unwarranted influence of non-democratic supranational organisarions (‘The Globalists’) such as the IMF, Bilderberg Group, Trilateral Commission, the World Bank, and the WEF and their highly controversial ‘Great Reset’. Most people across the political spectrum have little trust in institutions, politicians, or the media to act in their best interests. People are seeking freedom from two sides of the same phenomenon - the oligarchy that controls and subverts our National governments and international institutions. These are both entirely understandable manifestations of citizens demanding more agency over their lives.
Fostering Diverse Popular Participation
“The singular most important influence on a civil resistance campaign's success is the scale and range of popular participation. The larger and more diverse the campaign’s base of participants, the more likely it is to succeed. Mass participation seriously disrupts the status quo, makes continued repression impossible to sustain, prompts defections from its opponent’s institutions and supporters, including often the security forces, and constrains the power holder’s options. Ignoring a large-scale campaign becomes politically impossible.” - Dr. Erica Chenweth, Civil Resistance
Chenoweth states that Civil Resistance campaigns fail because:
- “Small groups of activists who are demographically similar can’t motivate opponents to defect.”
- “They never move beyond a tactic that seriously manages to disrupt the regime's workings.”
- “They collapse in the face of repression.”
To avoid this common trap, and to create a more resilient movement, our campaign proposes to support a large scale and diverse range of popular participation, and foster diversity. To this end, we propose that the strategy will commit to:
- An achievable initial phase - making participation safe, inclusive, and non-alienating especially for those with the most to lose from challenging their government.
- Using tactics that make us hard to typecast, to dehumanise, and to be disregarded or discredited by opponents and the media as clichéd or just another elitist liberal movement.
- Focusing both messaging and action more on what we are for, rather than what we are against - this requires a strategy that creates an inspiring new narrative and vision of the world and seeks to put it into practice.
Moving Beyond Identity Politics
“If you are comfortable with everyone in your coalition then you are not in a coalition.” Song leader, composer, scholar, and social activist, Bernice Johnson Reagon
We believe that to truly achieve a broad coalition of citizens united in overcoming oligarchy it is essential to avoid the trap of identity politics, in order to create a greater sense of belonging for all participants in the movement. True diversity will require building bridges across the cultural and political landscape that is currently being intentionally divided by IDR to atomise concerned citizens on all sides to prevent the emergence of a mass movement for change.
At present, the differences between these identity and value groups are being weaponised by the oligarchy through ‘Smart Repression’. (Discussed below in the Action Plan.) For example, we will increasingly see climate and ecosystem activists and working-class dissenters at odds over the issue because decision-makers refuse to make the hard choices needed to ensure the interests of both are met. If the environmental activist movement forces governments to take climate action that impacts the lives of the working class, then they will take to the streets too. We envisage that the establishment will not hesitate to shift the blame onto activists by pitting the groups against each other to avoid making change and to remove the pressure on them. This will frustrate efforts to bring about systemic change and create a broad support base for environmental activism campaigns.
We recognise there is a very real need to bring both types of movement and activists together in a way that is inclusive of their mutual needs and demands. A notable example of the faultlines that are emerging to frustrate global climate action is the current farmer protest movement disrupting the Netherlands. As Stavroula Pabst writes for The GrayZone the Dutch farmers’ protests offer a preview of the resistance to come as transnational “green” billionaires advance a “reset” of the global food system:
“The farmers were not only angry with the sweeping emissions mandates, but with the less-than-democratic process through which the policy was handed down.”
People will ultimately reject changes to their lives unless they have been genuinely involved in making the decisions and their concerns have been heard. Opening up opportunities for people to be heard through genuine participative democracy is the way to do this and ensure we focus primarily on the common ground that unites us.
We believe the target of overcoming oligarchy through more participatory government is a highly effective message. This message will mobilise people on all corners of the political quadrant as it is rooted in common values shared by most people such as freedom, and the desire to have sovereignty and control over their lives and nations. For this reason, a core aspect of the Global People Power Strategy is to ensure that future decisions on such measures are more genuinely inclusive and recognise the very real impacts they have on all citizens.
The explicit use of systemic thinking in all our communications is the key to bridging cultural differences. Through this practice, whilst supporting each other to shine a light on and to overcome cognitive biases and cognitive dissonance, the same or highly similar conclusions will eventually be reached. This practice is especially important whilst speaking with people in person who we are inviting to become active members of the movement.
By outmoding the paradigm of “International Divide-and-Rule” no longer will person be pitted against person and nation against nation. We can begin to live how most of us really want to live – with kindness, care, and empathy - not only extending this regard to ourselves, our families, communities, nations, and with those whom we identify with culturally, but to the whole of humanity and for the natural world.
The Single-issue Divide-and-Rule trap
The problem with organisations fighting single issues or demanding governments set up Citizens’ Assemblies to deliberate on these issues is that they have cornered themselves into a Divide-and-Rule trap. It’s far easier to cynically pit interest groups against each other (just as it is with government departments) in relation to single issues, but almost impossible if the campaigns focus on tackling the systemic root cause of those issues.
As the root cause of the most urgent issues impacting people's lives is systematised corruption due to the power of globally mobile oligarchs and their weapon IDR, the campaign focusing on that root cause will be all the more powerful. Such a campaign would bring into its fold a broader range of people and their concerns thus helping to bring down pillars of support of the corrupt global political-economic system.
The other problem with activists campaigning on single issues, or of conferences setting out to tackle single issues such as UN Climate Conferences, is that there is never a single-issue solution. To tackle climate breakdown and mass extinction it is vital that marco-economic, corporate law, international law, and global geo-political solutions form part of the package.
Democratising Global Power
The core of this strategy is advocating a coherent unified framework for genuine democracy or distributed ‘People Power,’ on a global scale and a means to achieve it. We believe this is what sets the Global People Power strategy apart from many other fragmented attempts to address the many interconnected causes of the problems we face.
Some of the key elements of the participative democracy strategy that we propose as being most effective for our movement for Global People Power to focus on are outlined below.
Harnessing Prefigurative Politics
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” – Buckminster Fuller
This strategy recognises that making demands of corrupt political and economic systems will fail unless equal effort is put into creating new systems which outmode existing systems. This is known as “prefigurative politics” - creating the world in which we want to live in parallel with existing systems in order to outmode them.
We expect existing power bases to use every weapon available to them to quash our movement. The systems we operate in are designed to resist meaningful change. That does not mean that we cannot force regimes to submit to our demands or that we cannot force regime change. In fact, as Chenotheth says, Civil Resistance movements are successful around 50% of the time (compared to around 25% for violent revolution). Regimes are not monoliths, their power is not immutable, nor cast in stone, they are only made up of people, and however, it may just be the best use of our time to create new systems which outmode existing systems.
Creating parallel democratic systems is something that is within our control. We do not need to ask permission to fund it or to implement it. As more people support the new participative democratic process, the more legitimate it will become whilst highlighting the illegitimacy of existing systems of governance.
“Power comes from legitimacy, not coercion.” - Dr Erica Chenoweth
We propose that the most promising emergent institution we have at our disposal for building a parallel alternative to the current corrupted systems of government is Citizens’ Assemblies. Citizens Assemblies are a proven democratic and legitimate way of finding solutions to break the political deadlock over highly complex issues with many competing interests. We don’t need new political administrations, but rather new political systems.
Citizens Assemblies are an ideal method for decommissioning divide-and-rule by transcending the political divides that are exacerbated through left/right party politics. Local, national to globally networked Citizens’ Assemblies (using Sortition) will invite a rich diversity of ethnic, cultural, and experiential wisdom from across the world generating a broad set of novel ideas.
Citizens’ Assemblies of the appropriate scale of complexity e.g. local, national and global will procure policies to tackle issues at the relevant scale of complexity and achieve greater legitimacy than centralised government policies. Single-issue Global Citizens Assemblies have already been trialed successfully, though as yet with little real-world impact. We suggest that permanently standing Multi-issue Citizens’ Assemblies can be set up immediately and relatively cheaply (in comparison to say global military spending).
Global People Power’s Earth Citizens Assemblies framework is outlined at the end of this document. It sets out a strategic framework for a movement to establish Citizens’ Assemblies to deliberate on the best course of action to solve the crises we face across scales from local to global.
This Citizens Assemblies model will work through ‘Sortitive Democracy’ - the process of involving randomly selected individuals reflective of the social makeup of the local, national or global citizenry in the lawmaking process. Just like politicians, Citizens don’t need to be experts on any issue they preside over but, during the Citizens’ Assembly process, they will become experts - experts making decisions whilst being free of party political influence, career aspirations,, and funding corruption.
This is how the Sortition Foundation introduces Citizens’ Assemblies.
“Many people don't trust politicians and the political class. They are disillusioned with politics, and believe that powerful vested and factional interests have too much influence on political decisions. Fortunately, there is a better way to make political decisions. By selecting representative groups of everyday people by lottery, and bringing them together in Citizens' Assemblies, we can break the hold of career politicians on decisions and bypass the powerful vested interests. Let's create a real democracy of the people, by the people, and for the people.”
A precedent for the demand that Citizens’ Assemblies be established can be found in “the subsidiarity principle.” This principle requires that power and decision-making sovereignty and autonomy is devolved to the most local level as far as practically possible. This strategy proposes a demand that subsidiarity is adopted by all governments globally.
Quantitative Easing for Democracy (#QE4D)
The Global People Power Strategy proposes that citizens demand that every nation adopts a Quantitative Easing for Democracy policy. This entails debt-free money creation through their central bank to pay a Universal Basic Income (set at the average national income) to every citizen of working age to have one free, non-working day each week on the proviso that one of those days each month is spent learning political literacy.
Ensuring that decision-makers have access to a plurality of information and media is a vital requirement for informed democratic consent - and Citizens’ Assemblies (and preferendums) are no exception. We propose that civic literacy will be achieved through offering education on systems and critical thinking, non-adversarial debating tools and following Earth Citizens’ Assembly deliberations at a hub hosted by Citizens’ Action Network local hubs or online.
The Global People Power strategy could easily create seriously catastrophic unintended consequences if it didn’t coincide with QE4D. A politically illiterate populace is far easier to manipulate and undermine than a literate one. Oligarchs use political ignorance to their advantage. Democratic states have descended into authoritarianism on account of political ignorance. Conversely, political literacy is another tool in the Global People Power Strategy that will overthrow oligarchy.
Based on the concept of Quantitative Easing for the People, this strategy will alleviate poverty, boost economies through increased citizen spending power, and reduce CO2 by reducing the working week, whilst empowering humanity to make informed democratic choices. It will also tackle one of the root causes of the destruction of the planet as debt-free nationally issued currency reduces the need for GDP growth.
How much time does a citizen need to engage their responsibility in self-governance? To answer that question requires attention to a hierarchy of other questions.
What does it take to ensure a good life for a given citizen and their responsibilities?
- Is there a deficit or deficiency between what is essential for sustainable living and present life circumstances?
- If there are deficiencies, what is required to address them?
- How much discretionary time is available to attend to voter-citizen responsibilities?
- How much time is needed to be a responsible citizen?
- What is necessary to sustain or improve skill, knowledge, and proficiency deficiencies and needs?
Earth Citizen’s Tax
We don't need to wait, nor ask permission to transform our world. We can start funding Citizens’ Assemblies ourselves by way of an optional Earth Citizens’ Assembly Tax.
Citizens’ Action Networks (Local Peoples’ Assemblies. Self-Organising Local Groups)
In order to foster a sense of active belonging that bridges worldviews and ideologies, Earth Citizenship will need to be embedded in local communities. SLGs, or Peoples’ Assemblies (self-selecting) can be networked globally. Local groups will provide the tools needed to think about and therefore take action on problems of scale through practicing systemic local-to-global thinking, critical thinking, and by using non-adversarial debating techniques. This will also help to forge strong, resilient, cooperative communities.
Action Plan: A Diversity of Tactics
Using a Diversity of Novel Tactics is a core aspect of the Global People Power Strategy. Utilising a toolkit of tactics that is constantly evolving will avoid predictability and lead to more impact on the public consciousness. Chenoweth states that “Over-reliance on any one tool makes a non-violent uprising predictable and predictability means vulnerability whether on the battlefield or on the streets.”
This requires our strategy to focus on going beyond protest. Other tactics include non-cooperation actions like strikes, and the creation of new alternatives, such as those outlined in the prefigurative politics and participative democracy sections discussed above. We have set out some examples of core strategies and tactics below.
Tactic 1 - Non-Violent Direct Action
Erica Chenoweth lists the following reasons why Civil Resistance strategies are more successful than violent protest or armed conflict:
- Far more effective than armed resistance at effecting major social and political change.
- Grounded in community action and enables citizens to resist and erode power structures using alternatives that are more inclusive than violence.
- Is more successful at creating defections in the support base of the opposing forces.
- Goes beyond protest. It involves non-compliance actions such as strikes and the creation of new alternatives (prefigurative politics.) This approach is effective as it models what life will be like under a new system.
- Works much more than its detractors and governments want you to know, which demonstrates the fear it invokes.
Tactic 2 - Build Momentum Incrementally
“It is essential to build momentum through a sequence of tactics that increasingly build pressure on people that uphold the status quo whilst protecting the participants as much as possible. This often means starting from safer actions that bring in more and more supporters and then once large and diverse constituencies have become involved. That approach makes movements more resilient in the face of government repression while consistently disrupting the opponent's rule.” - Dr. Erica Chenoweth Civil Resistance
A coherent plan and sequence of tactics and actions is most effective. Movement building can start from safer actions that increasingly build pressure on the status quo, and build over time to engaging in riskier and more impactful actions As Dr. Chenoweth observes, “The opposite approach - starting big and then reducing the size of the constituents involved seldom leads to long-term victory. Tactics that alienate the population at large are the least effective.”
One of the most consistent issues that motivate citizens to engage in resistance is oppression. The more oppressive the system becomes, the more fragile it is. Once scale and diversity of support has been gained, Civil Disobedience tactics can force governments to take more drastic measures to maintain the status quo or to remain in power. This provides evidence to the general populace of the violence inherent within those systems and of their illegitimacy, thus making such governments easier to shift or topple as more people, upon witnessing such evidence, feel compelled to force those governments to change.
Tactic 3 - Foster International Solidarity.
As outlined above, International Divide-and-Rule is a primary tactic used by the global elite to prevent change. International Divide-and-Rule is the key driver of the international competitive race to planetary destruction. It is also the key barrier to addressing them, which requires a globally coordinated and networked campaign strategy.
Through our global grassroots cooperative action, we will decommission the oligarchic weapon of International Divide-and-Rule, the systematised barrier to tackling threats to all life on earth. By mobilising from within our communities and across borders we will enable the whole of humanity to assume democratic power and responsibility for peace, justice, sustainability, and prosperity for all. We can learn a lot from the anti-colonial campaigns of indigenous-led movements and others in the Global South that have fostered extensive networks of solidarity and collaboration.
Tactic 4. Maintain Momentum
It is crucial we find ways for resistance to continue even when ‘more urgent’ issues shift focus. Problems such as war, economic collapse, and pandemics are always portrayed as more immediate concerns and can divert attention away from the environmental movement’s attempts to force governments to take immediate action to end ecological destruction. War has many times in history been a conveniently useful way to increase the popularity of failing political leaders. This is particularly relevant given the current macroeconomic outlook suggesting we are entering a period of global recession and probable depression, and the risk of war between nuclear-armed nations appears to be increasing.
Research on public opinion on Climate Change shows that public concern over global warming often corresponds with economic downturns and national crises such as 9/11, as Americans prioritise the economy and national security over environmental concerns at these times. However, the drop in concern over climate issues in 2008 is uniquely large even when compared to other environmental issues. The economy and environmental issues are commonly seen by the public as mutually opposed or a ‘zero-sum game’ and thus requiring a trade-off.
A core task for this strategy is to change the narrative of zero-sum and trade-offs and allow citizens to see that a better future can in fact be more ecologically and economically thriving. We propose that ongoing real-world action to build enduring parallel democracy systems is a powerful way to get around this issue of waning momentum as well as to model a thriving future. This approach can be particularly powerful in times of war and economic strife and pandemic, and can even continue through remote and online action in times of pandemic restrictions.
Tactic 5 - Utilise Strikes (Pause 4 Peace)
Strikes are regarded by Chenoweth and many others as the most powerful tool of civil resistance as they ‘threaten the status quo by shutting down the normal operation of its functions and demonstrate the agency and power held by the people.’
The Global People Power Strategy is about movement building, starting in a small, accessible yet highly visible way by hosting daily, one-minute-long silent global strikes pertaining to the most immediate threat to all life on earth nuclear war between Russia, China and NATO. - Pause 4 Peace Daily to Overthrow Oligarchy. By starting small we can gain a broad base of mass participation against the most focused of issues and then build progressively from this base towards national general strikes twinned with targetted mass civil disobedience culminating in a global general strike to force global systems to change.
By taking action in silence, those taking part will be much harder to typecast as being part of a specific demographic and therefore harder to be dismissed by the coopted media as clichéd. This helps to build a broad-based movement capable of gaining defections from the pillars of support of ‘the establishment.’
Daily Pause 4 Peace action will help to build and sustain momentum, the essential ingredient for success. It is also a remedy to boom-and-bust actions, actions that start big and then when repeated, get smaller.
We have avoided setting a date to escalate the action in case that date passes before we have gained a sufficiently broad-based movement for it to force change. If such a date were to pass then, as has happened with other campaigns, the movement can be deemed to have failed. Instead, we have set the call to escalate action once each nation is deemed to have gained the active support of 3.5% of the population.
Pause 4 Peace daily to Overthrow Oligarchy - the global mobile elites of multinational- oil, media, banking, weaponry. In the face of impending nuclear, ecological, and economic annihilation. Reclaim democratic sovereignty. Through citizens’ assemblies. For peace, justice, sustainability and shared prosperity. 11 am. Local time. Globally. In front of your home. At work. In school. For one potent minute. Stand in silent solemnity. As we begin to sense our collective power. We will escalate our action in scope and intensity. So please, join us. Join me. You are far more powerful than you realise. You are the remedy.
Begins (date to be arranged). . Once 3.5% of the population is striking, we will call a General Strike & targeted Mass Civil Disobedience to force each nation to implement our demands. www.globapeoplepower.org
- All nations fund and support the convening of Rapid Response Citizens’ Assemblies to replace "peace talks" to resolve the conflict between Ukraine & Russia, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia, Palestine & Israel, and all warring nations. National preferenda (non-binary referenda) on the RRCA’s peace proposals.
- All nations fund and support the convening of Global Citizens’ Assemblies (CAs) to propose ‘rules without rulers’ - networked global policy solutions to networked global problems - war, climate breakdown, inequality, etc. National CAs approve, reject or recommend amendments. National Preferenda are to be held in all sovereign nations to vote on Global CA’s policy proposals.
- Quantitative Easing for Democracy (#QE4D). Nations fund a four-day working week Universal Basic Income (UBI) to every adult to spend one day a month learning political literacy at community centers.
We don't need to wait, nor ask permission to transform our world. Let’s start funding Citizens’ Assemblies and make corrupt political systems obsolete.
Due to the proxy war in Ukraine, the threat of nuclear war has never been more heightened, added to that its impact on global financial markets, global inflation, food shortages, and renewed global reuptake in fossil fuel extraction to overcome national energy crises causing the cost of living crises thus creating “carbon bombs” locking in climate breakdown, this could be the best focus of the Strike Daily to Overthrow Oligarchy. It would also be a potent way to bring global attention to the power of Citizens’ Assemblies to tackle interrelated global threats.
A peaceful solution to the war in Ukraine already exists (as they do to conflicts everywhere), a solution that the vast majority of people impacted by the war would agree to. That solution can be discovered swiftly and democratically by people we can truly trust using deliberative processes we can trust. We need people who do not fear any loss of wealth or status by changing their opinion or by compromising.
Tactic 6 - Find ways to Circumvent Smart Repression.
“My sense is that regimes have basically caught up to whatever advantage there was to the internet for activists… The internet provides lots of opportunity for more narrow, discriminating repression that’s more effective than the blunt, brute force that would take place in the streets.” - Dr. Erica Chenoweth
Chenoweth says success requires thinking beyond social media, particularly for young activists who are accustomed to instant and easy mass communication. Social media can organise large numbers of people in a short time, but authoritarians have also learned how to use it to their own advantage, to the point where, she says, the world is now in an “age of smart repression.”
As changemakers, we need to be highly aware and critical of how we are being pitted against each other by the oligarchy and governments. Smart repression is being used to divide us - and it will be increasingly hinged on the so-called ‘culture war’. We need to anticipate the ways this culture war will be weaponised in the future by being critical about what divides us and honest about what unites us.
Part of the solution to Smart Repression is to expressly and overtly model Citizens’ Assembly processes in our every communication, especially through the use of systems thinking in media interviews, at on-the-street Peoples’ Assemblies and whilst debating with our friends, families, colleagues etc. This process narrows inexorably in on the systemic root causes of global problems impacting our lives, that of a lack of true national sovereignty, oligarchic power over national governments and International Divide-and-Rule. In this way we can appeal to virtually all sides of the cultural spectrum by modelling a better alternative through the democratising global power strategy.
Tactic 7 - Target Defections
Erica Chenoweth. “Most revolutions end - not when the government capitulates - but when the pillars of support, for the status quo, defect to join the ranks of the protesters.” These core pillars of support should therefore be among the targets for the movement:
- The Media
- The Security State
- Public Consent
Part of our main strategy to gain Defections to this cause is through the viral spread of Earth Citizenship in support of Earth Citizens Assemblies, (Citizens’ Assemblies with participants from all over the world). Media pundits, police, army and all security staff, CEO’s, teachers, doctors, everyone can become an Earth Citizen. See below for examples of the potential for its cultural attractiveness and its capacity to both bring down and make obsolete existing corrupt political economic-systems.
A recognised highly effective means of gaining defections to a movement is through modelling a truly democratic and participatory voting strategy. The participative democracy consensus voting system developed by the Occupy Wall Street protests was a recent example of the power of this tool.
Tactic 8 - Voting Strategy/Hacking Democracies
We can use the system to change the system. We will encourage citizens to tell their political representatives or candidates (except those that promote hate) that they will only vote for them if they become an Earth Citizen Politician. Earth Citizen Politicians sign an Accountability Agreement to fund and organise Earth Citizens’ Assemblies, National Citizens’ Assemblies, and to empower their citizens to vote via preferendum on the implementation of proposals made by those assemblies.
This will work to pressure elected representatives and candidates to defect to the cause. It will prioritise votes for political candidates who have become fellow Earth Citizens thus helping them to win elections. Politicians who sign the Earth Citizens’ Accountability Agreement agree, if elected, to fund Earth Citizens’ and National Citizens’ Assemblies. They also agree to set up a national double Preferendum to enable national citizens to vote via preferendums on vitally important policies. This can increase competition for votes of an increasing number of Earth Citizens, especially those running in closely fought elections and constituencies. It can also be a way to gain soft defections from politicians from establishment political parties which will increase in potency as more politicians sign-up. We have provided a template invitation for political representatives along with an Accountability Agreement.
(CAVEAT: Winning the right to vote was never won through voting, but through Non-violent Direct Action. This strategy, if used alone without NVDA strategies, would be a dangerous distraction and potential long-term get-out-clause for politicians instead of taking immediate action. Also, due to a universal distrust of politicians, it will fail to energise a committed and sufficiently large and diverse supporter base.)
In alignment with the concept of Cosmolocalism, Earth Citizenship is about connection to place, to wherever one calls home, whilst acknowledging our interconnection with all life on earth. It is not about affiliation or submission to any centralised, monolithic global government; we strongly oppose any such initiative.
Through the uplifting, affinity-building process of claiming one's Earth Citizenship, by honouring and celebrating our individuality, cultural diversity, and our common humanity, by decentralising and distributing power we can begin to reconnect with each other, heal our wounds and those of the natural world.
This strategy proposes that we invite humanity to claim their Earth Citizenship on the street, at public demonstrations of Earth Citizens’ Assemblies, at Non-Violent Direct Action events which target corrupt institutions, at Local Peoples’ Assemblies, and online. The message will be along the lines of: “Claim your Earth Citizenship. Overthrow Oligarchy.”
Whilst seeking to avoid the trap of identity politics, we want to create a strong sense of belonging to the movement. We want to do this in order to build bridges across the cultural and political landscape.
Citizens will be encouraged to claim their Earth Citizenship by signing the Earth Citizens’ Accountability Agreement. Claiming one’s Earth Citizenship will, we hope, capture the zeitgeist by evidencing highly inclusive, cosmopolitan local-to-global systems thinking values honouring and celebrating difference. It's about recognising our own cognitive biases, meeting others where they are, and taking action to include them, no matter how much their values or worldviews may clash.
Becoming a Heuristic
As part of our long-term strategic plan, by understanding our key target audience, appealing to their values, and encouraging them to become active within the movement, Earth Citizenship can become a ‘heuristic’, learning by doing, wherein participants will take on new more inclusive, systems thinking values and become determined to make change happen for our long-term mutual survival.
Young active people holding conventional patriotic values but who are also open to emerging, leading-edge values such as those who support national team footballers challenging racism, injustice, and colonialism by ‘taking the knee’ on the pitch should be our initial target audience. Playing and supporting football is the most popular pastime in the world.
Earth Citizens United (Team Human) demonstrations, World Cup 2022, Qatar.
In the manner of ‘taking-the-knee’ pitch demonstrations in unity with Black Lives Matter, we aim to catalyse a movement of players at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar proclaiming their Earth Citizenship and inviting the world to claim theirs in order to #ExerciseYourGlobalPower and to #OverthrowGlobalOligarchy. Players could be encouraged to explain their decision by demanding global peace, economic, social, and environmental justice, especially of oppressive authoritarian regimes such as Qatar and their western weapons suppliers. A Potential slogan could be – “We need global rules without global rulers implemented on a fair and level playing field”.
On the street People’s Assemblies Film Vox pops
Ask the public Earth Citizens’ Assembly questions:
- “What sort of world do you want to live in?”
- “What issues concern you most?”
- “How do they make you feel?”
- “Would you like to use a tool to help you to go upstream to find the source, the systemic root cause of the problem that concerns you so that you can find a way to resolve that issue for good?”
- “What could and should nations agree to act on together”?
- “What's holding them back from working together?”
- “What’s holding nations back from taking the lead on these issues?”
A good tactic for street campaigning would be to go to town high streets and invite communities to participate in Peoples’ Assemblies (self-selecting as opposed to Citizens’ Assemblies which are randomly selected) in-person interviews with the general public to apply using systems thinking, critical thinking and a non-adversarial debating approach to the real-world problems they face. This enables campaigners to employ this thinking to the personal level and allows the citizens’ concerns and desires to be more fully heard and acknowledged.
Such compassionate, non-judgemental acknowledgment (cognitive biases checked) opens people up to new ways of thinking. It can also help people get to the root causes of their concerns, which inexorably leads them to a better understanding of how the systems of oligarchy work to affect their personal situation. This process will be an aid in recruiting new people to the movement. This approach would also significantly diminish scapegoating of other nations, ethnic groups, and cultures as being the cause of problems experienced at home. Such assembly meetings could be conducted as part of the services provided by Citizen Action Networks.
Appendix 1 - Earth Citizens’ Assemblies Strategy
Why Earth Citizens’ Assemblies?
To overcome IDR, we need to empower citizens of every sovereign nation to decide what policies their nation could and should implement immediately and unilaterally (Policies A) and also what policies require global cooperative action (Policies B).
As no issue exists in isolation, no single policy solution can effectively solve any single issue. For this reason, both Policies A and Policies B should be constituted of a range of measures in the form of policy packages. In this way, citizens will see that the vast bulk of issues impacting their lives could be solved or mitigated nationally if combined with other policies, especially macroeconomic reforms (see below). With regard to global policy packages, where a nation might suffer a disadvantage (economic or geo-political) in one area of a policy measure, National Citizens’ Assemblies of different nations could negotiate trade-offs between them.
This is yet another measure that forms part of the integrated solution to tackling oligarchic power over national governments and their weapon - IDR. (See below in Outcomes for an explanation.)
(Policies A) Policy packages that nations can implement unilaterally without suffering an economic or geopolitical disadvantage.
(Policies B) Policy packages that, if implemented unilaterally by nations, would lead the nation to suffer a dangerous economic or geopolitical disadvantage and therefore require synchronised global cooperative implementation. These are policies to tackle problems that are broader and more complex in scope than nations can tackle alone.
Theory of Change
Our Earth Citizens Assemblies strategy is based on the theory of change that in reality, the vast majority of policies proposed to tackle national or global problems will fall into the (Policies A) category, however, most nations fail to act on them because they are able to plausibly fall back on the excuse of “needing to maintain economic and geopolitical competitiveness in a globally competitive world.” Such excuses coincide with transnational corporations or oligarchic “think tanks” making threats of capital flight to other more “competitive nations”. This strategy is based on the premise that the use of such competitiveness as an excuse is simply a case of International Divide-and-Rule being used as a weapon to maintain the status quo.
No More Excuses
This Global People Power Strategy seeks to increase understanding of the fact that there is far more that governments can implement unilaterally than they like to admit (for example, see Outcomes below). It will attempt to expose and dismantle the excuses governments make to avoid taking action to keep us and future generations safe. Armed with this knowledge, citizens will be mobilised to compel their national governments to take immediate, unilateral action where possible. We are inspired by and support the Act Now! message of Extinction Rebellion.
Where National Citizens Assemblies have decided which policies for them as a nation would truly fall under the (Policies B) category, citizens can use Non-Violent Direct Action to drive governments to take immediate action to set a date to enable citizens to vote on those policies via national Preferendum.
By separating policies into two sections we can break free from the constraint of immediate challenges which keep us in a constant state of emergency, challenges such as war, pandemics, and economic crashes which suck up vast reserves of our attention and resources. In this way, we can focus on tackling the root causes of our problems through long-term solutions.
Once this process was underway with Citizens’ Assemblies being followed by people the world over, global political literacy could, within a short period of time be at levels far in excess of that found within the best-educated populations in the oldest democratic nations.
This is how we can decommission the weapon of International Divide-and-Rule. This is how we can democratise the globally mobile dictatorial power held over political parties, national governments, and our lives.
Our Earth Citizens’ Assemblies Demands
The Global People Power Strategy proposes the following core demands be made by Citizens of their national leaders:
- Rapid Response Citizens’ Assemblies
Nations at war convene Earth Citizens’ Rapid Response Assemblies. Randomly selected citizens of warring nations propose provisional peace agreements between those nations. National Preferendums allow all citizens to vote on those agreements.
- Global Policy Packages
All governments fund the immediate convening of Earth Citizens' Assemblies tasked with proposing a global policy package, a set of multi-issue proposals to tackle the immediate threat of interrelated global challenges.
- National Citizens’ Assemblies
All governments fund the immediate convening of National Citizens’ Assemblies. National Citizens’ Assemblies deliberate upon the findings of the Earth Citizens’ Assembly as to which of those policies their nation could and should implement immediately and unilaterally to tackle global problems (Policies A), and which policies need global cooperative and synchronised implementation (Policies B).
- National Preferendums
Binary, Yes/No votes are yet another form of division in a complex and nuanced world. Governments should set up a national Preferendum, a more nuanced, non-binary, and less divisive referendum, to allow citizens to vote on the implementation of A and B Policy proposals.
- Quantitative Easing For Democracy
All national central banks issue Quantitative Easing for Democracy (#QE4D) to pay a Universal Basic Income (set at the average national income) to every citizen of working age to have one a day off work every week on the proviso that they spend one day a month following Earth and National Citizens’ Assembly deliberations, learn political literacy, systems, and critical thinking and non-adversarial debating tools.
Earth Citizens’ Assemblies Phases
We propose that Earth Citizens’ Assemblies can be achieved by the following phases:
- Establishment Phase
The convening of Citizens’ Assemblies at local, national, and global scales.
- Parallel Government Phase
Cooperation of these Assemblies across scales to create rules without rulers, and widely acceptable global policies to solve the most urgent national and global challenges.
With Citizens’ Assemblies, we can effectively build ‘shadow governments’ to deliberate on the same policy issues that governments are considering. We can also deliberate as citizens on the important issues that governments are not discussing at all, but that we believe need urgent consideration. We propose that this parallel government phase would be the first step towards achieving legitimacy, a comprehensive local-to-Global Citizens’ Assembly framework to eventually be adopted by all governments in an integration phase.
- Integration Phase
Coordinated Non-violent Direct Action to pressure all nations to integrate the parallel Citizens' Assemblies with legitimacy by empowering citizens to vote on real policies. Citizens’ Assemblies can exist alongside truly accountable representative democracy (Participative Representative Democracy) locally, nationally, and continentally. The Independent Constitutionalists UK definition of genuine democracy includes a recognition of the importance of Participative-representative Democracy:
“Genuine democracy is about people being involved in, having control over and identifying with the decisions that affect their lives, at all stages of the governance process, from initial proposals through to design for action and follow-up monitoring for evaluation and effectiveness. We call this Participative-Representative Democracy or PRD. It becomes possible when direct citizen participation combines with accountable representation. The extent to which any community enables its members to be involved in these ways is the measure of how genuinely democratic the community is.”
CAVEAT: We do not support Participative Representative Democracy at the global scale due to the increased threat of co-option. A global representative democratic system, centralised by being held in one institution or building, could far more easily become co-opted and monolithic. If that were to happen, probably slowly and insidiously rather than overnight, then there would be nowhere left to escape to and there would be no jurisdiction left to challenge it. The world could descend into total totalitarianism, a far more oppressive kind than has ever come before it. A global government would also stifle healthy competition between nation-states, that is, nations seeking to increase their “national brand” by doing good both for their own citizens and for the wider world. With regard to global government, the precautionary principle should be applied.
National Citizens Assemblies
Each National Citizens’ Assembly will propose the most systemic set of multi-issue economic, social and structural policies to tackle the most urgent national and global challenges which they have ascertained their nation can implement unilaterally (Policies A).
For reasons explained below, we propose that most policies will fall into the (Policies A) category for immediate unilateral action. Earth Citizens’ Assemblies will propose policies most likely to require global cooperative implementation, policies to tackle issues such as war and WMD proliferation, AI, genome editing, cyber-crime, transhumanist totalitarianism, ecocide of the global commons and geo-engineering (Policies B). Relatively few policies will require global implementation which will hasten their agreement and subsequent implementation.
- National Citizens Assemblies propose multi-issue National Policy Packages.
- Nations set up a preferendum to allow citizens to vote on the National Policy Packages.
- Earth Citizens’ Assemblies propose multi-issue Global Policy Packages. These will be passed on to National Citizens Assemblies.
- National Citizens’ Assemblies will debate whether to accept, reject or renegotiate (between National Citizens Assemblies) all, or key aspects of the package.
- Once each national assembly has agreed to the Global Policy Package each nation will hold a national Preferendum, on whether to cooperate globally, reject or renegotiate key aspects of the Earth Citizens’ Global Policy Packages.
Questions for National Citizens’ Assemblies and Global Earth Citizens’ Assemblies
- What sort of community, nation, and world do you want to live in?
- What are the most urgent challenges impacting your life or the lives of the next generation?
- What are the systemic root causes of those challenges?
- What are the key barriers to tackling them?”
- At what scale do they exist and therefore require solutions?
- Within what timescale do they need to be implemented?
Local Earth Citizen’s/Peoples’ Assemblies
There are myriad successful local participative democratic processes happening all over the world. Networked local participative governance systems alone cannot resolve issues of global complexity but they do create the necessary communal foundation for national and global participative methods. They can be the hub for mass political literacy and by helping people come together to find common ground, they can help us to circumvent oligarchic-driven culture wars, another form of IDR. Some examples of these initiatives are:
- The Global Hub for Participatory Democracy
- Flatpack Democracy
- Participatory budgeting in Porto Alegre, Brazil or Lisbon, Portugal
Participatively driven, local-to-global and cooperative policy implementation will bring with it enormous social, economic, ecological and geo-political benefits for citizens of all communities and all nations involved. Positive action is infectious. Through our multi-faceted strategic action plan, common knowledge of the potential for such a future being so clearly up for grabs will create the upsurge of positivity so desperately needed to encourage enough people to want to join in and to make it happen, everywhere.
The colonialist geopolitics of “full-spectrum dominance” through International Divide-and-Rule will become outmoded via international democratic cooperation. No longer fearing threats to their sovereignty, many non-democratic governments will see the benefit in allowing fellow citizens to participate in Earth Citizens’ Assemblies and then subsequently cooperate in the implementation of their proposals. Conversely, with the threat of colonial interference removed, it will be much harder for autocratic leaders to use International Divide-and-Rule as a rationale to hold on to power. Their pillars of support would therefore melt away. Uprisings of citizens wanting to participate would increase in intensity and would likely become irrepressible.
Non-cooperating nations whose governments harm their own citizens or which threaten to harm citizens of cooperating nations could, if agreed via Earth Citizens’ Assemblies and national preferendums of cooperating nations, find pressure applied to them to change their actions.
Studies show that many people are happy living under authoritarian regimes if their needs are met. Apart from the overt corruption inherent within all authoritarian regimes, a major problem of their existence is due to the extreme concentration of power in the hands of so few men (it’s always men) and their capacity to make decisions that threaten all life on earth.
National Level Example Policy - Sovereign Money.
Sovereign Money is an example of a single-issue policy that could be implemented immediately and unilaterally by any nation. It can tackle multiple issues simultaneously whilst increasing that nation’s international competitiveness.
Sovereign Money is a policy proposed by, amongst others, the research and campaigning organisation Positive Money. This policy advocates for the creation of money directly by the state, (but separately from the government to avoid corruption). Instead of relying on private banks to create a nation's money (in most nations roughly 97% of it, is created out of thin air, as debt, with interest), national governments have the power to create the money they need to tackle problems at every scale through investments in infrastructure and entrepreneurialism. Private banks would continue to exist, lend money and have savings and provide investment accounts but would not be able to create money.
This policy is important with regard to national sovereignty because nations moving to implement stricter environmental regulations, corporate responsibility charters, stronger worker's rights, or social spending would, in all likelihood find themselves suffering oligarchic, transnational corporate or geo-political economic hits on their economy through threats of capital flight and currency devaluation in order to frustrate or repress democratic support for such initiatives. A Sovereign Money program could be used to buffer, diversify, and stabilise a nation’s economy should it be threatened with short-term losses against doing what is right for the long term. Sovereign Money would be counter-cyclical. During economic booms, money creation rates could be reduced to avoid inflation. During recessions, money creation rates can be increased to prevent prices from falling and to boost the economy.
With Sovereign Money, citizens could choose democratically which projects receive investment. This can happen through national elections and voting for a political party, a movement of independent politicians’ manifestos, or through participatory budgeting - a form of participative democracy that has already been used by many municipalities globally. By democratically choosing to use Sovereign Money to invest in infrastructure based on renewable energy technologies, nations would become international market leaders in this field thus gaining a huge international competitive advantage for doing good.
Global Level Policy Examples.
With humanity no longer dependent upon increasingly scarce resources of fossil fuels via a Global Renewable Energy Grid (GREG) the whole of humanity can attain a high standard of living without destroying the planet. Geo-political wars for resources or to increase religious divisions (IDR) will become a thing of the past.
World Peace Through Law (WPTL)
- Arms reductions including the abolition of nuclear weapons and all WMDs.
- A four-stage comprehensive system of compulsory alternative dispute resolution (compulsory negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and adjudication conducted by Earth Citizens’ Rapid Response Assemblies with peace agreements voted on by citizens of conflicting groups involved via preferendum).
- Various enforcement mechanisms, including an international peace force.
With just these three policies implemented, one which requires unilateral implementation only (Sovereign Money) and two which require multi-lateral implementation (GREG and WPTL), the whole world could become far safer, more sustainable, equitable, just, and prosperous than it is now. With just these three policies we could avert total collapse and descent into total authoritarianism.
Through the medium of local-to-global participative democratic governance shaping our worldviews we expect to see an increase in borders but less hard borders nor support for them.
Appendix 2: Earth Citizens Accountability Agreement - Becoming a Movement of Movements
We ask that any citizens or organisations who agree with this strategy and wish to participate in it, consider signing the following Accountability Agreement as a member of the human family residing on earth.
This agreement is an undertaking to partner with local groups to facilitate this process by inviting fellow community citizens to claim their Earth Citizenship and to take the power back.
Earth Citizens’ Accountability Agreement:
- I will be proactive to find common ground with people who I would normally find myself opposed to with regard to race, ethnicity, culture, religion, politics, worldview, and values.
- I will seek to find common ground with others by ascertaining their basic needs, and highest aspirations and by finding ways to provide for them.
- I will not use hate speech (as defined by the accepted International legal definition) nor attempt to dehumanise or scapegoat others.
- As part of a diverse human family, I will assume democratic power, and responsibility for peace, justice, equality, sustainability, and prosperity.
- I will not be a bystander. I will not free-ride by allowing others to take action on my behalf to tackle threats to all life on earth.
- I will proactively take steps to ensure that all other humans also have access to democratic power, and the ability to exercise their natural rights to peace, justice, equality, sustainability, prosperity, dignity, and self-actualisation
- I will proactively explore ways of working together more collaboratively to address core problems that threaten all life on earth and encourage organisations I am involved in to become more participatory.
- I commit to decommissioning International Divide-and-Rule through local-to-global cooperative action and solidarity.
Through our global grassroots cooperative action, we will decommission the weapon of International Divide-and-Rule, the systemic root cause of threats to all life on earth.
By mobilising from within our communities and across borders we will enable the whole of humanity to assume democratic power and responsibility for peace, justice, sustainability, and prosperity for all.