Local Council that can split in 2

   

   In my constitution proposal the national council is 50 persons by
   definition, so are the (optional) "province level" and (optional)
   city-wide councils (these latest 2 are not in the proposed
   constitution). These councils have no size problem, the number 50 can
   easily be changed.

   The local councils formed by delegates directly elected by their voter
   groups have a size of 50 or larger. Once the size is 100 (as shown),
   the council can split up in 2. Hence the size would vary between 50
   and 100 or even a little over 100 (to avoid constant shifting between
   2 and 1 council on the 100 border).

   When putting 100 average persons together and ask them to have a
   meeting, even if subdivided into grouplets of 10 submeetings ... well,
   even that might work. Fortunately in a local council the delegates
   where already selected for the task, being willing to do it, hence it
   will probably be made to work.

   Mathematically thinking a council of 100 persons could be relatively
   rare. Suppose there is a local council somewhere, it is having another
   council in each of the 4 directions. Once these 5 local councils each
   possess 60 delegates, they have a total of 50 delegates in excess
   above the norm that could form a new council of 50. When there are
   some new delegates seeking a council to belong to, if there are no
   other reasons they might as well join the smallest in the
   neighborhood.

   I'd think council size somewhere between 40 to 60 would be relatively
   ok ? With motivated delegates and a functional subgroup division, good
   record keeping and so on, the larger sizes could still work more or
   less, at least be functional Governments. When the grouplets work
   well, a "grand debate" would be very well rehearsed and understood
   before it actually begins. In that sense the "grand debate" could
   almost become a formal debating and voting ritual about an issue
   already decided on. If a lot of delegates in practice do not always
   show up, or only on certain issues, the size problem reduces. If some
   delegates tend to show up only for subgroup meetings, and leave the
   grand debate of the entire council to their grouplet brothers and
   sisters - even to raise their hand for them - the potential size
   problem for the grand debate reduces.

   It is worthwhile to notice that the Haudenosaunee worked with "spoke
   persons." The use of people who can speak well and clearly on behalf
   of others in a grand debate could make things more transparent for
   everyone. Speaking to a large audience may be difficult as well as
   daunting, it may be so challanging that some valuable opinions won't
   be heard at all.

   It might be an idea, for instance, that each grouplet possesses at
   least one person who can speak well, and who could vocalize opinions
   and ideas from their grouplet brothers and sisters as well as their
   own ideas. Everyone who wants to talk for himself could do so, and
   everyone who wants to use the grouplet spokesperson would find the
   grouplet spokesperson willing to bring the idea forward in a clear
   way. Since not all ideas the spokesperson would be vocalizing would be
   his or her own, he or she would feel less intimidated in addressing a
   lot of persons, because right or wrong it is not always his or her own
   ideas. The spokespersons would become better at their task and this
   might also help the proceedings become clearer. It is maybe useful
   that a potential grouplet spokesperson is somehow identifyable as
   being the grouplet spokesperson, and when he or she is talking on
   behalf of the group, one individual, or him or her self. If the
   grouplet has a name (or color), the spokesperson could somehow hold on
   to a symbol representing that name (or color) when speaking for the
   majority of the grouplet. When speaking for one specific individual
   (an opinion the spokesperson might not agree with perhaps), the
   spokesperson could stand in front or near the concerning person, or
   have his or her hand on his or her shoulder, or so. When speaking for
   him or her self, he or she could sit or stand in the position all the
   other members would also be sitting/standing when speaking on their
   own behalf. And or alternatively the spokesperson could lie down the
   spokesperson symbol, if any, to speak for him or her self.

   A spokesperson could also be used as a hearing person. Speaking is an
   art, listening might be an even more difficult art. Suppose some
   member wants to address someone in another grouplet, but has a hard
   time reaching him or her. He or she could address the matter to the
   spokesperson of that grouplet, who once understanding the matter could
   forward it to the concerning grouplet member(s). A difference in how
   quickly something is understood will be resolved this way, if at least
   the spokesperson is him or her self quick to understand. In an ideal
   case a long winded debate about something obvious to almost all,
   addressing a grouplet member, could be resolved with the question to
   the spokesperson to explain the issue to a certain member of his
   group. That explanation might then even be done after the grand debate
   is over. It may then of course become apparent that there is another
   problem, like a real difference of opinion, which could then be later
   communicated back and forth between the grouplets and eventually in a
   grand debate.

   It might be an interesting idea that every member of a council has the
   power to postpone a vote on an issue for a day. That way, if a person
   feels oppressed in a debate because it simply is not understood what
   he or she was saying or somehow feeling steamrolled and ignored, the
   person would have the power to attract a lot of attention to it self
   with such a move. Of course, if abused, such a power could become
   limited to "one issue once a month / year" and so on. Seems it could
   be a useful byrule, like a fuse in a circuit that can suddenly break
   down stopping the entire system for some time.

   I imagine that the smaller councils, nearer 50 people, will have a
   much easier time debating and voting. On the other hand 50 people
   still is quite a few. I suppose a well run council makes the laws for
   itself that it needs to operate efficiently and satisfactoraly. Some
   councils may need nothing at all, not even a chair person. Other
   councils might be so chaotic they need even more rules then those
   suggested here, or different rules. Hard to say, isn't it, since there
   are so many different peoples and regions and so on in the world, and
   this is supposed to be functional for everyone.

   Good record keeping can be very helpful in finding out what works and
   what doesn't. Since the proceedings are supposed to be public, you
   might even take accurate record keeping and then allowing everyone to
   see the records as a constitutional obligation under the rule that
   "all proceedings are public." One good day, some scientists will come
   along, or some bright people or who knowns, and launch an
   investigation in what works well, what doesn't work, and so on.
   Records about what has happened might be useful for them to
   investigate. In any case, it would be the history of the people, the
   records would become the memory of the people. That must be worthwhile
   to invest in a bit.

   Another idea is to start a grand debate with some soup or tea &
   coffee, eating & drinking tends to be calming and fun, a good way to
   start a debate of some sort with greater unity and fewer nerves and
   apprehensions (hopefully).
   posted on Wednesday, April 01, 2009 12:15 PM

   Comments
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   Needless to say the voter-groups can organize in exactly the same way
   as the councils, and do exactly the same work. The difference would
   be the voter group only has the power to ask and force ("you vote our
   will or we will find another who will") its delegate to communicate
   and vote in the councils the way the voter group wants. The voter group
   can not make Government decisions like the councils can. Voter group
   involvement can range from 1 vote in 5 years for a representative, to
   daily debates about everything and everyone, from the simplest local
   issues to the grandest international problems. Naturally a voter group,
   comprising of people, has the power and right - obligation - to inform
   other people, councils, and to start a petition for a binding referendum.

   Someone might say "it is the job of Government to be Government, and the
   job of the people to be the people." I would think that is an individual
   choice. The Government would work better the more people involve themselves
   with it, that is beneficial to the way the Government is the will of the
   people. The benefit of being an involved voter group, is that it is low
   key and not as responsible as the councils. The same fun, but less burden.
   Would also be good training for the real councils.

   *

   I thought it would be a good bylaw perhaps, with the spokespersons
   (the Haudenosaunee stress the importance of unity and unanimity):
   if unanimity is achieved withis the grouplet, the spokesperson holds
   on (wears?) not to 1 but 2 symbols for that grouplet. If something
   is said with 2 symbols denoting unanimity, that will no doubt cause
   the rest of the council to account for that in what is being said.
   Because of that, there will be a push for unanimity in the grouplets,
   because they would want to present ideas with that bonus to others.
   The push for anonimity will cause dissenting minorities to be heard
   to a far greater extend. That is important for overall unity, but also
   because the minority may very well prove right after longer thinking.

   When there are 2 grouplets already in unanimous agreement about
   something, and another grouplet is approached (outside of the grand
   debate), the proposal can likewise be done with 2 times the first
   and 2 times the second grouplet symbols, clearly and continually
   signalling a strong agreement. Then if the next grouplet merely 
   supports it in majority, going to a fourth grouplet could only be
   done with 2 times the first, 2 times the second and 1 time the
   third grouplet symbols. Thus clearly denoting where dissent is
   located, where it can be readily found no doubt, for discussion and
   so on, even by the fourth grouplet members. Of course a dissenting
   opinion is of interest when considdering a proposal.

   During the grand debate of all grouplets together, when a proposal
   is recounted for instance by the originating grouplet spokesperson,
   he or she could be holding on to the supporting grouplets symbols,
   as many as would be gathered by majority or unanitimy. This would
   then very easily identify sources of pre-meditated opposition to
   the proposal (complete rejection or wishing for doing things different).
   If the blue grouplet sends in only one symbol, the yellow, red and
   white send in both, and the brown send in 1, after the proposal was
   recounted it makes sense that the blue and brown groups explain their
   position. It could then be debated further to see if positions change
   with more debating or more time, maybe it is possible to find a common
   ground that all can be satisfied with. If not, it would be time to
   vote under majority rule. If the wait for unanimity becomes eternal,
   it would be minority rule, which is hurting more people in their will.

   A benefit of having each grouplet having one capable spokesperson, is
   that power is spread out inside the council (or voter group). The
   debating power is distributed better, and also put to service for 
   everyone. It seems to make sense that the council (voter group) would
   make sure each grouplet has one capable speaker. Imagine the opposite:
   people of like mind and skill would more easily congregate together,
   forming a powerful subgroup, with or without grouplet subdivisions.
   Everyone will be in easy reach of a relatively good speaker, according
   to the standards of the council. Some of the better speakers could
   become chair-person, while the power of the chair-person is moderated
   by the collective and individual power of the grouplet spokespersons.
   Who can quite easily interject, obstruct, call for a vote for a new
   chair-person, and so on, because they are already talking quite a bit
   and get the ear of the council. There is of course always present the
   nightmare of the dictatorial council chairman, who somehow is able to
   manipulate the whole council into being a slave to his (her?) will.

   1 chair-person, 49 non-chair-persons, but chair-person has no vote.
   1 chair-person, 5 grouplet spokespersons, 45 grouplet members (chair
   person is also a grouplet member). It might be best if the chair-person
   is not also the grouplet spokesperson. What I also thought was a good
   idea: decide per debate who is going to be chair-person, since the
   person doing it is likely more or less neutral on the issue since he or
   she would be giving up his or her vote on the issue. This council
   housekeeping impartial proceedings-service minded attitude is exactly
   what is needed in the chair-person. You can also have a more dedicated
   council chair-person, but often have the position change for the
   duration of a debate to the most impartial (but still capable enough)
   person.

   I suppose it might also help proceedings if grouplet members are
   not only identifiable into their function (voter, delegate, chair
   person, twice elected delegate, province delegate, national delegate,
   electoral committee, grouplet spokesperson), but also by their grouplet.
   The more obvious the structure is, the more transparent and efficient
   things could end up being. This also for people coming new to the
   councils (voter groups), and people reporting on it from the outside.
   When the structure is well maintained and displayed, that of course
   translates in adherence to protocol, order, it is a show of support for
   the protocol(s) which translates into them being honored. A very cheap
   method for grouplet identification is a colored peace of paper, with
   the spokesperson being specially identified with a circle drawn on the
   color. Grouplet majority would for instance be one circular other peace
   of paper in hand, grouplet unanimity would for instance be two peaces
   of paper (and so on for other grouplets in the council). Symbols would
   be similar to the voter function identifier, which is something most
   people probably won't wear because there are so many voters anyway
   (presumably) so what is the use (not too much, probably not worth it
   especially once the system is established well). Function identifiers
   would be mostly the same in one council (voter group), so the grouplet
   and grouplet spokesperson identifiers would stand out easily. The wearing
   of some official symbology would probably instill a sense of purpose.
   I suppose one could wear them only during session or constantly, whatever
   one wants (because the value of everyone having to wear symbols all the
   time isn't so great at all, and a really significant mostly unnecessary
   burden). Constant wearing of symbols seems mostly useful for the 
   elected delegates, so the public can approach and find them all the time.
   That is only maybe 1% or 2% of the people, and even that would be optional.
   Wearing function identifiers during a council isn't that useful, since
   most would be the same anyway. Maybe it is much easier just to somehow
   mark chairs with the different colors, or hang a colored string above
   each group of 10 chairs, grouplets would likely sit together anyway. That
   seems easier.

   *

   I'm having a council teetering on the brink of collapse in mind when
   thinking about all these byrules: "what can just keep it from collapsing."
   The more chaos, the more rules needed. For some councils doing all here
   suggested rules would be useless and wasting time. Why wouldn't it be
   quite enough to say if something was majority or unanimous in a grouplet ?
   It depends on what kind of people sit on that council, for how much 
   constant clarity is needed. Would it be clearer to wave around with grouplet
   colors when making official proposal statements, I think it would be.
   Is it another burden to carry, of course.

   My goal is just to make things so orderly, transparent and efficient,
   that once this system is being attempted it will work right away. If
   things turn out to be an unnecessary burden: cut them out. Better too
   much order and transparency preventing national (international?) chaos,
   then having a few too many bylaws to contend with. Can always cut down
   later. Having one place where these laws are proposed already, also
   suggest some more or less arbitrary byrules, can ensure that there is
   at least one set of byrules suggested in one place that would likely
   be visited by a lot of people if these laws end up being done. That
   more widespread familiarity with a set of byrules makes them more
   effective by being widely recognized. "Why is that man having a yellow
   circle in his hand ?" ... "Oh, that is probably denoting majority
   but not unanimous consent with what is said by the yellow grouplet 
   over there." ... "What in heavens name is a grouplet ?" ... and so on.
   "What does it mean now that the same person is saying things without
   holding anything ?" ... "That means he speaks for himself." ... "How
   do you know the byrules of the council for this village which is in
   the middle of nowhere ?" ... "Because they use the byrules suggested
   from the same site that inspired our new economic model, many people
   know them because they read up on that work a more extensively, or
   read some works by people who did a much better job at explaining things
   then the original site ever has."

   So, that gives me a good reason to make a lot of byrules. Whether they'd
   be good or substandard, having them suggested together with economics
   and a Constitution for which they are meant can make them more useful for
   that reason alone.

   "What does it mean that this person someone stands on the left, sometimes
   on the right, and sometimes remains at his place while speaking ?" ...
   "That is their way to signal unanimity, majority or speaking for him or
   herself by the grouplet spokesperson in this council." Basically the same,
   but different, still easily understood by anyone familiar with here
   suggested byrules. "I don't see any grouplet structure here." ... "That
   is because they don't do any byrules." Also clear, and then it must 
   apparently be a council willing and able to handle themselves that way.

   "What does it mean `Yellow grouplet convenes on thursday at 17:00 for
   the Sheng Fong council.'" ... "Why don't you know that, the whole world
   more or less knows what that means, go do your homework !"

   In the end, only the doing it could probably prove if the system would
   work (well enough). Or to put it differently: if this system has been
   designed for this or another (fantasy) humanity (barring contradictions).
   Many/most of these byrules where inspired/taken from the Haudenosaunee
   (altered though, I guess making it a bit more abstract), where it
   apparently worked.