Friday, 4 July 2014

The Great Law of Peace -- The Right to a Traditional Form of Governance

We are the government – of all our nations. Those whom we see as occupying exalted positions of leadership, those who claim to have power over us, those we have traditionally invested with authority, are us. [Paradoxically] the minute we feel separate from them, we no longer exercise the autonomy that is rightfully ours. Externalisation of this power/control over our lives, no matter the reason given for it, amounts to a divestment of our responsibility for ourselves.

[Conversely – when we begin to feel part of and aligned 
with all there is,
 our creative power grows.]

  We the Guardians of Earth.. This just in.. Bolivia grants legal status to the earth!  

What this means is that an imbalance exists, and we ourselves actively participate in it – even through inaction we are giving consent for its continuance.

  Centre for First Nations Governance has so much to offer! Find out about  
 an extensive list of documents, and strategies for community engagement amongst other things. 

Now is a time of awakening. Walls are being shattered. How can we draw the line between nations, between the governing and the governed, when we realise we share so much – possibly even a soul. Whilst living, breathing creatures that we are have become experts at distinguishing ourselves from one another, the soul that is in us, that animates (our life and breath) makes no such claim. Separation is the luxury of the living and also our greatest stumbling block and heaviest burden.

  Konrad Adenauer Foundation (Stiftung) is included for their sheer volume of works 
 (so many you have to do a search to find anything) on political events and issues around the world. 

If we saw ourselves and one another as our souls do and can, the game of fighting and taxing, ignoring and electing one another would be over. But it is not.

 The Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance (printed by UTS in Sydney online). 
 This article struggles with the issue of integrating traditional tribal government  
  with systems in place today, in Nigeria.  

What do we need, and what do we want? The most important thing in the world is our peaceable sustenance. We must be sustained in our quest for our own true nature. Peace is not necessary, it is essential for embarking on an inward journey. For a soul that is not at peace must forever occupy itself with the daily, physical [practical] survival of the body it has befriended and enlivened from the moment of birth onward.


  The work of the Africa Mentoring Institute.   

Not judging this research article by its sponsors (The World Bank Institute's Community Empowerment and Social Inclusion Learning Program-- CESI), I found this section "Principles of good governance and traditional authorities" starting p.17 particularly helpful and inspiring. There are some relevant text boxes with examples from Africa (Niger, Senegal, Mali, Cameroon, Mozambique, Congo, Northern Ghana and Burkina Faso). 

[Note- the World Bank is not the same as a global financial group I was thinking of.] 

The trail then lead me to this article, a hopeful story of land right restoration 
in Central America (to the Miskito people of Honduras and Nicaragua).


A story so good it needs two links.

Therefore, arrange your own environment in a peaceful fashion. It means to surrender (willingly give up) notions of right and wrong as they apply to the appearance and actions of those you notice around you. You may still choose, in your way, your own form of existence.

  The Nonprofit Quarterly e magazine promotes "an active and engaged democracy".  
  Here is what I found there. 

A summary of Mel Gill's article on nonprofit org governance follows:

 Each org has its own character and therefore specific governance needs. 

 It is useful to have, and be aware of, a range of governance options. 

 Overlap between executive board roles (the ends) and the management (means) 
 needs to be flexible and is ideally based on 
 strong relationships and communications between and amongst groups. 

 The org's structure (policies, rules, and roles) can be perpetuated both by 
 written and oral tradition. 

 Owners of the org are the ones who select the board 
 [as in a co-operative, where the members do this]. 

 Growth and diversification need to be mediated by existing structures (as related above) 
 so the group can function coherently in times of change. 

 Governance is not the main purpose of an org (its visions and goals are). 
 Governance is the process,  structure and traditions 
 behind the power to make decisions (and the responsibility), 
 and the ways in which the members of the group are empowered to participate. 

Gill concludes,

 "The critical elements of good governance lie in  

 creating a vision,

 securing resources,

 defining clear roles and responsibilities,

 establishing benchmarks for performance,

 monitoring them, and

 accounting to key stakeholders for the organization’s direction and performance."

You and I may might wonder if our needs are actually the same. For instance, do we eat the same things, enjoy the same things or even have similar strengths and weaknesses.

Almost certainly not; we are utterly perfect in respect to our [human] individuality. But our rights are the same! It is possible for me to recognise in you, myself and all others the same essence of humanity – divinity even. (And for you to do the same in me if you wish.)

Therefore, I can see that (and you may too) we are all equally worthy of respect.

 Also, from the Nonprofit Quarterly, here is a link (* see quote)  
  that introduces the topic of Sociocracy (also called Dynamic Governance). 

This is a method of governance that has found favour in many a Co-Housing Community.

For example, the Belfast Ecovillage (Maine, USA) shown below. Here is an item on a workshop conducted for ecovillagers {scroll down that page to find story}. 

 (*) “Everything is done with an aim,” explained Jerry Koch-Gonzalez 
 while leading a sociocracy workshop for Belfast Ecovillage. “The greater the divergence 
of the group [regarding the aim], the harder it is to work together.”  

On the ground, this respect takes many forms. Any form of government that differentially empowers, elevates or ennobles any one is fundamentally out of balance. By creating concentrations and vacuums of respect amongst the population.

Ideally, our governance should be linked with our sustenance as this is the common need of all people. Where government deviates, or encourages any one to deviate, from the continuing of his, her or any one's sustenance, then that government ceases to serve its people.

  An Austrotopia (Austrian Ecovillage Network) gathering. July 2011

The page shown above (* quote further below) on was my introduction to the
 fascinating topic of Systemic Consensus. This is more of a process than a structure
 (Sociocracy is the latter) that helps a group find a speedy resolution to any decision-making task 
it chooses to undertake.

A systemic consensus website (German/English).

Relying on mathematics, it is a sophisticated type of preferential voting. Where each possible option
 receives a score (rather than ranking options in order as we do in Australian elections).
 The scoring process helps the voter identify their resistance to an option. 

 Fellowship for Intentional Community site on Systemic Consensus. 

 And an example vote. 

 A video with one of the inventors, Siegfried Schrotta. 

It is believed people are more clear about why they don't like something than why they do! 
The option least resisted by the group generally proves the most satisfactory. Then 
you can go back and fine tune options to reduce areas of resistance for all concerned. 
Basically it brings balance through numbers.


 Could this be something that allows the most 
 number of people to get the most of what they want 
 most of the time? (*) 
 Given that full consensus can be elusive and heartbreakingly difficult to achieve..  

To me, the traditions that are important are the ones that enable the earth to enable us to continue to live. This may even be called Natural Law. For the consequences of not following this law are not dealt by the hand of man or by woman [but by the very land and its creatures].

And I look forward to the day when man's and woman's action are not limited by the fear of negative counter-actions [repercussions] on the part of fellow people, or the earth.

But by one's inherent unwillingness to (knowingly) commit a harmful upon any other being, or to disadvantage, abuse, neglect or deprive one's neighbour of their rightful sustenance.

 A very recent media release (June 19, 2014). 
 The subject -- traditional owners of land in the north of Australia 
 (Muckaty Land Trust, Northern Land  Council) have succeeded 
 in stopping (!) a nuclear waste dump near their homes. 

 Greens Senator Scott Ludlam (WA, Australia) celebrates the victory with a traditional owner. 

This means what I have said (and meant) in all the previous posts. Every one is entitled to some land on which to create and ensure the means and substance of one's continuing sustenance and peaceful co-existence in an earthly fashion.

 The story of the Peacemaker

Now we conclude with the beginning. The Great Law Of Peace refers to 
the constitution of the oldest continually running -- representative -- democracy on earth. 

 {Historically referred to as the Iroquois League by some.}

This came to my attention reading the book 1491 by Charles C. Mann. Subtitled, 
"New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus".  Its closing chapter
 reminds us of the possibility (and actuality) of democracy
 in a people whose existence was much closer to the earth 
than those who came to occupy their land. 

Some new settlers preferred this form of government (and way of life) to their own. 
It is said that the US Constitution framers were informed 
not just by European thinkers
 but also by their North American forebears.

 An artist tells the story

Like Sociocracy (invented by computer scientists!) the Haudenosaunee have
 feedback mechanisms, where the decision makers need the informed consent 
of their people for anything that directly affects them.

   Back to the beginning. Sociocracy book

Whether our [form of] government/governance comes 
from an ancestor, a scientist or a great spirit
 who arrives on earth to enlighten us, 
the common thread is humanity. 

Every tradition that ever was (or ever will be )
represented an innovation
 on some one's part 
and posed a challenge for others 
on its acceptance.

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