Here’s our new ‘manifesto’. We’d be interested in your feedback

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Posted Feb 23 2015 by Dave Darby of

Our manifesto

We now know that the richest 1% of the world own the same amount of wealth as the other 99%. But it’s worse than that. The top 1% of that top 1% own as much wealth as the other 99% of the top 1% – and so on.

Our current system concentrates wealth in very few hands. And it’s getting more concentrated every day. That concentration of wealth brings power, which makes real democracy impossible.

Corporations and banks corrupt our political system by pouring billions of dollars into it. No-one else can afford that level of corruption. Added to that, corporations control public opinion through ownership of the mainstream media, offer jobs to government ministers when they leave office (and often before), and banks control the money supply.

The 1% of the 1% of the 1% of the 1% are steering. They got to that position because of the amount of money they have, and that’s not the best way to choose the people to steer.

Intelligence, compassion and integrity are what we need in our decision-makers – but making the most money doesn’t require those qualities.

Plus, our economic system is primed to grow forever, which damages ecology. This is insane. Any species that fails to live in harmony with nature will eventually be removed by nature. We’re better than that, surely?

To survive and prosper, we need a new system – one that doesn’t concentrate wealth and power, and doesn’t damage nature.

But if any government tries to do anything about this by implementing corporate-unfriendly policies, investors are scared off, the country suffers economically, they lose the next election and another party is elected that reinstates corporate-friendly policies.

This is a very important point, and holds whoever gets elected, and whether we have proportional representation or not. The government of one country can’t change anything fundamental – the global system will force them back into line.

And after the 20th century, I don’t think anyone really believes that violent revolution can make things any better.

We want to:

  1. encourage people to think for themselves and critically assess corporate propaganda
  2. help people live a low-impact life by providing great information and support in 200 topics
  3. promote small businesses doing great things because they believe in what they’re doing, rather than corporations doing things for profit only
  4. campaign for land reform and a stable economy
  5. provide a platform for people working in different disciplines to talk and support each other – for example, people who receive a veg box delivery, are a member of their local Transition group and have renewables installed might also be interested in natural building, craft skills or bushcraft; there’s lots of scope for cross-fertilisation
  6. spread the idea that we need systemic change
  7. use as a platform to discuss how we might bring about that change

We will continue to promote lifestyle change through our 200 topics. The quality of our website will allow a growing number of people to find good information, training, products and services, and our range of topics will allow ‘cross-fertilisation’, so that visitors discover whole new fields as well as individual businesses.

But lifestyle change isn’t enough, because not enough people will do it. Most people are too busy with career, mortgage and family to even think about it. And if they do think about it, it’s often very difficult to change. The system we live in doesn’t make it easy.

However, our low-impact topics can form the basis of a new system – but only after we replace the current one. It will be difficult – it has a strong grip. But it’s not impossible – and it only needs a minority of us to get things moving.

This is not about left v right; there’s no ideology; no blueprint of what society might look like. Let’s just talk – and that includes everyone. Any plan for change mustn’t compromise freedom, or the right won’t be interested – and rightly so. We’ve had conversations with city bankers who have no problem with this concept. Working in the city, they understand that this system allows the wrong people to steer. Left and right fighting each other leaves the system intact and wastes time.

Below is our elevator pitch for how to implement a new system. Implement is the important word here, because there are lots of ideas around for what society might look like, but they lack a plan for implementation. We have an idea that’s implementable, launching late 2015 / early 2016, based on meetings in each other’s homes. We’re doing it in London already, and we’re working on a book and a website. It’s provisionally called ‘Philosophy Club’. Here’s the elevator pitch:

At the species level…

  1. There are soon going to be 10 billion of us; and we’ll have some huge decisions to make – around ecology, economics, population, technology and conflict
  2. With so many of us, and with such huge destructive capabilities, the wrong decisions could prove disastrous or even fatal
  3. So we need extremely intelligent, compassionate and honest people, with no vested interests, making those decisions
  4. What’s currently happening is that either we’re not talking about those things, or the decisions are being made by a consortium of bankers, business leaders, career politicians and the military
  5. They’re not our most intelligent, compassionate and honest people, and they have vested interests
  6. Pure democracy isn’t good enough, because the vast majority don’t understand enough about the issues to be able to make informed decisions, nor do they understand the system; and violent revolutions don’t change anything – decisions are still made by bankers, business leaders, career politicians and the military
  7. We need to find a way to get the most intelligent, compassionate and honest amongst us, without vested interests, to make the big decisions. So…

At the personal level…

  1. Let’s get together to talk philosophically
  2. Not proselytising, but exploring, thinking and communicating
  3. Not academic philosophy, but freestyle philosophy; you can quote other people of course, but really, it’s about what you think
  4. The organisation can be online, but the meetings have to be face-to-face, so that…
  5. We can choose representatives from groups based on intelligence, kindness and honesty – because we know and trust them
  6. It will nurture understanding, compassion and integrity in people and in society, because those are the qualities that will be valued
  7. We can then build a better system based on those qualities, and we need it urgently, because…

(back to species level, above)

We need to talk.