domenica 29 giugno 2014
21st Century Cosmopolis: A Proposed Constitution for a Better World
Here is the whole original document:
I will be adding commentary on each Article and section over the coming weeks to explain the reasons for each of these proposals.
Payment in global money may be provided to opting out individuals, though such payments may never exceed 1% of the funds provided to the city by the global authority.
I will be adding commentary on each Article and section over the coming weeks to explain the reasons for each of these proposals.
21st Century Cosmopolis:
Constitution for a Better World
A Civilization based on Self-Governing Cities and Townships, Cooperative Self-Governed Workplaces and Public Finance, Sustainable Agriculture and Renewable Energy and Universal Access to Citizenship, Income and Subsistence. And how we can start it up now and already have in many places.
Article I – A Civilization based on self-governed cities and townships and universal access to citizenship
1.A – the City and the Township
A city shall be understood to be an urban environment of dense population that identifies itself publicly as a city together with that part of the outlying environment and residence areas required to allow for a minimal relative self-sufficiency in food and natural resources. All the residents of this area shall be citizens of the city. A first priority for the city shall be to connect all of its residential and resource areas by light rail, passable road with electric cars or other such transport as is ecologically sustainable within that city and which its citizens decide to use (such as boats in some watery areas), as well as provision of the appropriate means of communication (common wi-fi connections for all residents for example).
A township shall be understood to be a number of residence areas – villages, hamlets, towns, and so forth that are combined so as to reach the critical mass of population and resources needed to be relatively self-sustaining and to provide the services – such as health care, transportation and education – required for its citizens to achieve their full potential and to meet their needs. Townships will thus be generally of greater territorial size and lower population density but will otherwise function juridically as cities for all other purposes except where the specific issues of rural life, ecology and agriculture or related activities are involved. The same prioritization of linking of all the residence areas of townships by transport and communications that are efficient and ecologically sustainable shall apply to townships as they do to cities. Where appropriate, town meetings shall function in place of the urban neighborhood legislatures and the same process of selecting delegates with specific mandates and where needed township-wide referenda shall apply.
Resources for this project of integration of the territory of the city or township will be available through various means including the city’s own resources and cooperative workplaces, its own local money the creation of which is limited only by its citizens’ own needs and collective decisions, and by the world currency that in the first stages after adoption of this constitution. The availability of this currency, explained in greater detail below, will include extraordinary grants by the neutral planetary currency agency and taking into account the need for poorer regions of the world and cities with fewer resources to quickly reach the worldwide average level of access to technologies such as solar power, wi fi communications, modern light rail and high speed trains and satellite technology, so that they will be easily able to obtain these from those regions that have these in abundance. Further, as described below, graduates will accompany technology transfers as direct forms of grants, spending a required year in cities in the Global South to be sure that these have access and training in the use of these means.
1.B – Universal access to citizenship and self-government of cities by citizens
Every individual human being resident of a city or of a component part of a township for more than 90 days will be a citizen of that city, with all the rights and duties that these entail in that locale.
Everyone will be a citizen of some city or township wherever they live in the world unless they intentionally opt out by living outside all existing city boundaries and declare to public authorities in a nearby city or township their intention to opt out.
By opting out, a person foregoes the rights and duties of a citizen, and access to the resources available in a city will be provided only on the basis determined by that city’s citizens.
Every city will have as its ultimate governing body the legislatures of its neighborhoods, the full resident adult population voting in city-wide referenda or assemblies where feasible, (as determined locally with regard to geographic residency and age but no other basis for exclusion) and implementation of decisions will be carried out by the delegates sent to city-wide assemblies and councils of administration chosen from among these with mandates to enact the decisions taken locally by the residents themselves.
Each city and township will provide at least one day a week in which its citizens, except those providing emergency and life-and-death services, will be free from work so they will be able to attend assemblies, and carry out their citizenship duties. All enterprises – cooperatives and those small-scale private firms permitted in some cases by cities and townships – must remain closed except for those providing necessary life and death services. Those working in such services will be provided alternative means of participating – taking turns or other means as determined by each city and township in negotiation with the cooperative or organization in question.
Upon arrival in a new city or township territory, a person, family or group must inform the city public authority of their presence, so that the 90 day period may be officially counted. Since income for use in the local currency, access to work and other activities and voting and governing rights are based on citizenship which is easily available, there is a strong incentive for everyone to inform the city or township of their presence.
Should persons arrive in a city or township and remain for 90 days without the intention of taking residency and citizenship in that city, they shall announce their intentions to the public authority in that city and shall retain citizenship of the city of permanent residence so long as this accords with the residency and citizenship rules of that city as determined by its citizens. Should this option not be available, the city in which such persons are newly arrived shall provide them with citizenship even if this is not their intention. Except for persons opting out geographically and politically, no person shall remain without a residence and a citizenship status of some city.
Upon reaching adulthood, or as an adult upon having resided more than 90 days every citizen resident shall be enrolled to vote and to having full voting, administrative and other rights and duties of citizens of a city.
There being many cities in the world, therefore cities may, within reason, set some limits for periods of time as to how many new residents may arrive. This number may not under any circumstances be less than 1% of the population of that city as of January 1 of that same year over the period of a calendar year. Should this quota (10,000 new residents per 1 million population, or 10 per 1000) not yet be reached by December 31 of the same year, no restrictions on new arrivals and new citizens will be allowed.
Each city shall build, provide and maintain however a sufficient number of housing units at a high quality standard of safety, health and comfort equal to the total number of households (and of various sizes according to the likely sizes of families, groups or households), plus at least 1% which must be maintained as available for new arrivals.
Article II – Sovereignty of Self-Governed Cities and Abolition of National States and Capitalism
2.A – An orderly withdrawal from the national states
National borders are therefore abolished worldwide.
This constitution shall go into effect when a critical mass of cities worldwide and in key countries shall have approved it by referendum of their citizens, that is of all adults resident in the city for a period of more than 90 days.
Once this constitution has gone into effect, citizens of cities being the vast majority of the world’s persons shall cease to pay taxes any longer to national states.
2. B – A Communal Economy and the delineation of territorial access to resources
Every city and township shall be the collective owner of all the natural resources, land, water, and business enterprises within its territorial reach. That territorial reach will be determined by the General Council of Cities and Regions for its region, which will be constituted 2/3 by citizens of the member cities and townships of that region and 1/3 by citizens of cities and townships from other regions of the continent of which that region is part (North and Central America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Oceania).
The members of General Councils shall be citizens of important standing in ethics, ecology, science, religion, learning or medicine and other fields, but shall not be persons with longstanding relationships to large scale economic or political interests apart from those of their city as a whole. These will periodically, as needed and appropriate, re-designate the boundaries of cities, and a General Council of Regions and Continent shall do the same for the regions making up a continent, with a General Planetary Council determining the boundaries of continents (much more rarely but if and when needed). Council members shall be nominated by citizens and elected city-wide.
Every city or township shall establish both a television station available by satellite (see below), and an internet portal, as well as a social media page, through which citizens, schools, artistic, scientific, political, philosophical and other groups as well as cooperatives may express their views, provide information to fellow citizens and which are available for viewing by other cities worldwide and by their citizens. The city shall be the owner of these media though their management will be by a cooperative as with other public functions.
Every city and township shall establish a public finance institution that shall create money and distribute it to the persons and organizations making up the city.
Every citizen shall, at birth, or after 90 days of residency, be provided with an account in which a sum of money sufficient annually for them to live comfortably shall be direct deposited. This money shall be the local currency, utilizable only within the boundaries of the city itself.
Every city and township shall establish a currency which shall circulate only within its own boundaries, and shall create this money through direct grants to the accounts of cooperative organizations such as business enterprises of all types, schools, universities and other learning or research institutions, health care, transport and all service organizations, and into the accounts of each individual citizen of the city. No other form of money creation public or private shall be permitted nor legal within city limits per se.
A Universal money shall also exist, which shall be provided, in proportions of no greater however, roughly 1/5 with regard to the local monies, by the global public authority (see below) through an agency that shall provide these funds (the 1/5 quantity with respect to the volume of money creation in that city of its local money) directly to the municipal authority to be distributed as determined by the citizens assembled of that city or township. Additionally, an amount which shall be the same for all persons on Earth shall be distributed directly to the personal accounts of each of individual citizen of each city and each opting out individual person. In initial stages of this constitution’s adoption, sums of Universal money shall include extraordinary grants to poorer areas of the world so that they may obtain the technology, means of production, goods, resources and training to enable them to quickly establish a renewable energy base, sustainable and easily accessible transportation and up to date communications, as well as sufficient housing, appropriate medical care and food production for their citizens’ needs.
The Universal money shall be the only money allowed to be used for all transactions between cities, between organizations and enterprises established in different cities, townships, or regions or continents, between individuals residing in and holding citizenship of different cities or townships, or involving any opted out persons.
At some point when and if the general and sustainable productivity, abundance or wealth of human beings collectively reaches the point where money is determined to be redundant, a global referendum shall be held on whether to retire all money in favor of direct appropriation of all goods and services and on what basis and it what detail such a system shall be established.
2.C. – Restriction of Large Businesses, Prevention of Capitalism Developing in the Interstices
Under no circumstances may any cooperative or other enterprise operate, be registered or engage in activity in another city or township, or in more than one city or township, except where requested to provide emergency aid. Nor may any enterprise of any kind composed of, founded by or operated by or with the work of opted-out individuals operate, be registered or engage in activity in any city or township.
No monetary unit or currency originating in or used in the opted out territories, communities or among the individuals consisting therein may circulate or be used for any purpose in cities or townships, and only the Universal currency may be used for any exchange between cities and townships, or their citizens and cooperatives and enterprises and any individuals, enterprises or communities and organizations that are opted out or that operate in opted out territories.
While cooperatives and other organizations and enterprises, as well as cities, townships, and associations may all act – as determined by the collective decision of their citizens or members – as a unit for purposes of carrying out their activities, and while these activities may include in some townships or cities that choose to allow this some representation, delegation or other voice in political or economic affairs of said city or township or the region of which they are a part, such recognition of corporate or collective existence shall never be understood, construed or asserted to be synonymous with the duties, powers, obligations, rights of and obligations of others to individual living human beings nor even of animals and other living things. This recognition of existence sui generis as a unit or collective is the recognition by cities and townships of the cooperative nature of the activity of the individual persons making up such units, and does not mean that these may use their advantages as collectives to outvote, out-finance, out-organize or in any other way to unduly and disproportionately influence decision making, administration or political and economic life in the cities, townships or regions.
The Business Corporation as a private interest is hereby abolished as are private financial institutions.
Should any of the activities or practices or institutions described in this article be discovered to exist in any city, township, region, or in or among any opted out community or individuals or organizations, or among any associations be they professional, religious, ethnic or tribal, scientific, artistic or of any other nature, these individuals or organizations shall be subject to a universal boycott of their work, products, services, travel, individuals (who will thus be denied the possibility of citizenship until such practices desist) or currency.
2.D. Prohibition of Debt and Credit
No city, township, citizen of either, nor any region, association, organization or opted out community, individual or organization may engage in the use of debt, nor expect collection or restitution of debt by others. All payments shall be made upon rendering of goods or services, or within no more than 30 days thereof, and since currency both local and universal shall be made available in sufficient quantities to guarantee the comfortable livelihood of all, this requirement shall not be onerous. Anyone or any organization or city, township, region, or other person or organization found to be engaging in the use of debt for any reason either as debtor (individual or collective) or creditor (either individual or collective) shall be subject to the penalties described for the practice of slavery and related activities.
Article III – Education, Work and Cooperation: Abolition of the wages system, institutional hierarchy and bosses.
3.A. – A cosmopolitan education for all building solidarity within and across territories
All citizens of a city or township shall be provided with a public education free of charge at schools run on a basis determined by the citizens of that city. All public education shall however be connected to the learning of practical skills at one or more of the cooperative organizations or business enterprises of the city, and the learning of a professional degree (engineering, nursing, software writing, history, etc.). All students in every city shall spend one semester of their Secondary School years traveling to other cities in their region to see how that city is governed, how its trades and skills are developed and how its cooperatives work. Upon graduation from University, all students in the regions north of the Mediterranean Sea, the Rio Grande River or the city of Vladivostok shall spend one year in a city in a region in the South of the world as a guest citizen, helping to provide transfer technology and other resources to enable those parts of the world to quickly arrive at a comfortable and sustainable living condition for their citizens, and students from the South will likewise reside for a year upon graduation in a city of the North so as to gain access to useful technology, knowledge and techniques while sharing the cultural knowledge and ways of their own city with the residents of the northern city.
3.B. – Cooperatives are schools of self-government and realization of everyone’s abilities
All business enterprises and organizations in every city shall be owned in the final instance by the city’s or township’s citizens as a whole. All enterprises involving more than 5 persons shall be managed as cooperatives by the workers together with the clients, patients or service-provided citizens relevant to that organization, the latter group (clients etc.) to serve on a rotating basis as in jury duty and for periods of not more than one year, and in proportion of 1/1 with the workers at the enterprise or organization. On all questions of work that do not directly involve or affect clients however, such as hours of work, safety at work, how to carry out specific tasks, and so on, the workers themselves will decide but will keep the clients informed of their decisions and where possible seek approval by the latter as a gesture of good will.
A City or Township Council with two branches shall administer the decisions taken by the citizens themselves and their delegates on a day to day basis. One branch will deal with city or township issues as a whole, including relationships with other cities and regions, and will consist of an appropriate number of citizens (for each city given its size and population) chosen by random to serve one-year terms. This council will also oversee, or will create an agency of some of its members and also including delegates from other cities in the proportion of 5/1 to oversee the decisions taken by the other branch, the Cooperatives Council in its role of oversight of the enterprises, organizations and funds provided publicly to these by the city in both local and global currency.
The Cooperatives Council will coordinate, administer and make rules for the cooperatives making up the economic life of the city. They will send delegates to the Regional Cooperatives Council which will coordinate and develop plans in accordance with the already expressed decisions of the cooperative assemblies and the City and Township citizen assemblies to deal with larger scale questions of management of common transport and communications, ecological repair and sustainability, resource management beyond the boundaries of cities and townships and other related issues.
3.C. – Regional coordination by delegated administration enables cooperation among cities and townships
A Regional Cities and Townships Council will coordinate the cooperation among cities in the region on issues of common concern, will oversee the organization of city self-defense without however exercising any authority over the self-defense organizations, will seek to develop needed common infrastructure by cooperation leading to the pooling of Universal money funds provided to cities for common uses approved by the citizens of each city and township by referendum and in neighborhood assemblies. But it will not have the authority for example to negotiate with other Regions or Continents on political or economic issues. These powers remain with the cities and can only be temporarily delegated for extraordinary purposes.
3.D. – Work as free activity for all without the whip of hunger or need and without bosses
Each city and township will insure that each citizen has useful work to do with a cooperative organization or enterprise. Cooperatives are schools of citizenship and self-government and the contribution to the general good is a central right and duty of all city and township citizens. Citizens shall be free to seek and apply for membership with any cooperative they choose and employment shall be determined by the members of that cooperative, as well as, in extreme cases, the ending of such membership if a member is determined to have violated basic rules, put others in danger, damaged the means of production or in some other way to have violated the norms of the cooperative to such a degree as to merit expulsion. But each cooperative shall be required by each city to hold a number of positions available to those requiring placement in useful work and an agency of the city chosen by random but overseen by the Cooperatives Council proportionate to the likely need for work placement beyond the immediate membership applications by the cooperative’s members. Those citizens placed in cooperatives by the Cooperatives Council agency shall be full voting and managing members of the cooperative in which they are placed on an equal basis with all others, with the same rights and duties. All new members of cooperatives become full voting and permanent members, subject only to the extraordinary disciplinary rules outlined above, after a 90 day probationary period.
Each cooperative will designate at least two days per week or 9 days per calendar month in which their members will not be expected to work, though these need not be the same day for each cooperative member, but these days are to be decided by the members themselves as appropriate for the kind of work they do and type of product or service their cooperative provides. These days may not ever coincide with the days which the city has designated for assembly participation in self-government, but are intended for rest and for the activities freely engaged in by cooperative members, their families and friends. The general tendency and overall objective is for less work time to be required with periodic reductions of required work time as the overall productivity worldwide rises. But many cities or townships may choose freely to carry out work in traditional or labor-intensive ways due to local cultural values. But work may never be imposed either by physical force (see the ban on slavery and related practices), by threat or practice of withholding needed resources or income needed for survival, by debt (see ban on debt), nor be required to exceed the number of days proscribed herein.
3.E. Provision for but limits on private business enterprise.
Some small privately run businesses, such as restaurants and some personal service businesses will continue to exist, and any citizen is free to seek and accept employment in any private business with 5 or fewer members, founders and their family members included. Should a family or household consist of more than 5 persons and wish to establish an enterprise, they may do so, but under the regulations established by that city for such organizations, but they may not employ other non-family member citizens.
3.F – Abolition of the Wages System. Income Separated from Work, with universal access to needs.
The wages system is abolished. No pay will be received or provided by cooperative or private businesses in any currency local or universal nor in kind. All citizens’ material needs are provided for by the guaranteed universal income through the direct transfer by the local and global public finance agencies, and by the rights and duties of their citizenship in their respective city.
Payment in global money may be provided to opting out individuals, though such payments may never exceed 1% of the funds provided to the city by the global authority.
Education, housing, health care, access to wi-fi internet and related networks, transportation within the boundaries of one’s city, and meals at a common neighborhood cafeteria (which may not be required by the city or township for more a maximum than one meal a week at the most should this be a local cultural and social norm established by its citizens, but which will be available to all in the neighborhood provided they inform the cafeteria’s staff of their intention to be present for the meal no later than at the closing time of the previous meal that same day), will all be provided free of charge to all citizens and a certain number of guests to be determined by each city or each neighborhood as each city or township decides.
Article IV – Collective Self-Defense and Security and Keeping of the Peace
Article 4.A – Collective Self-Defense both nonviolent and armed
Each city will be required to provide for two forms of collective self-defense: training in public school from Middle School age onward in nonviolent collective resistance, and membership of all citizens in an armed and trained militia.
The citizens will themselves establish and provide for the safety and security of their neighborhoods on the basis of their membership in militia units. Where cities and townships decide to delegate this collective security function to police, no individual may serve as a police officer in any capacity for a period of greater than 5 years. A rotation system similar to jury duty is advised and many variations on such a system are possible.
4.B – Penalties for violations of persons, rules or laws – instead of prisons
(a self-governed prison in Bolivia)
Any citizen or visiting person found by a jury trial to have committed a violent act or other serious violation of the laws or rules of the city will be provided with a choice: they may choose either 1) expulsion from the city to another city that has been found by the city agencies to be willing to accept them as a newly arriving resident and may not return to the city whose rules they violated for a time determined by the juries of that city, or 2) to opt out of city or township citizenship altogether with all the consequences that entails or 3) to go to a rehabilitation collective in which those from various cities in the same region found to have violated laws in some serious way together manage their existence, work and subsistence and where they will have the same access to local monies (in this case of the rehabilitation collective acting as a township) and global money but where their citizenship will be that of the rehabilitation collective for a period agreed upon by the members of the rehabilitation collective (acting through randomly selected members in a governing council) and the city that has found the person in violation. After that period is over the city or township may decide if they are willing to accept the person in question back as a newly arrived resident or not, but that person is otherwise free to move as a new resident where they like subject only to the available places for newly arrived residents/prospective citizens in a given city or township. No other stigma or record or limitation is otherwise attached to that person.
4.C. – The Death Penalty Abolished Worldwide
No penalty of death may under any circumstances be provided for or practiced by any city or township, nor by any other public authority or organization. Any city, township, region, or organization or community found to have practiced or to be about to impose the death penalty for any reason will be subject to a universal boycott by all cities and townships on their goods, services, travel by their citizens and should such practice continue may be considered by all other cities to be in a state of war with all other cities, the cities in its region being the first to be obligated to unite to conduct such a war, as always in cases of violations of human members of a city or township to be able to call on all other cities and townships for that aid that is required to quickly, effectively and with as little loss of life as possible end the war and bring the injustices that required it to an end.
4.D. – The Crime of Slavery and of Forced Labor and Trafficking, including Debt
The crimes of enslaving others, trafficking in persons, physical imprisonment of another, kidnapping or the use of violence or threats of violence to another, abuse of minors or disabled persons for one’s own use, pleasure, sense of power or exploitation of the other however fall under another category from other crimes. For even murder, horrible as it is, is a crime committed against another individual and the city and community of which they are part. But enslavement and these related practices threaten human freedom as such.
Therefore those found to have been guilty of engaging in such practices will first have their case re-heard by a jury at the Regional level and upon that hearing they may appeal to a Global jury. Should that jury find in their favor, they will nevertheless be required to spend a period of time under the penalty system outlined above as determined by the city involved and the rehabilitation collective. But should it not find in their favor they will be expelled from all cities globally as a global opt out, no longer eligible for citizenship in any city or township anywhere.
For purposes of this article, the taking on of debt by any individual, city, township, organization, enterprise or cooperative, or the granting of credit and therefore the imposition of debt on another individual, city, township, organization, enterprise, or cooperative or association, shall be construed to be an act of enslavement and the penalties herein described shall apply.
4.E. – Collective and Universal Self-Defense against Aggressors
Any city or township that invades or attacks another city, township or region with its militia or other organized violent force will be considered to be in a state of war with all of the cities and townships in the region who under the coordination of the Council of Cities and Townships and led by delegated leaders will engage in collective defense of the attacked city or region and will place the city and citizens found to be in violation of the peace in a sponsorship in which its self-government will be for a time to be determined subject to approval by delegates of the cities that provided a collective defense. Any individuals found to have committed war crimes on behalf of the aggression or responsible for the deaths of residents of the attacked city or region will be subject to the same penalties as apply to enslavement.
4.F. – Punishment of war crimes to apply to both sides in all cases
A body of the Global Council will also undertake an investigation to determine if any members or groups of the cities engaging in collective defense likewise are responsible for wrongful deaths beyond those necessary for the defense of the attacked city or region and these too will be subject to the same penalties as those of the aggressor city.
4.G. – In case of Oppression or Denial of Freedoms or Exploitation
Any city or township that engages in violations of personal safety, security or freedom of some of its residents or citizens, or of those of another, engages in exploitation in its business or political dealings with another, is found to have abused the ecological resources that are in use by other cities and townships, or in some other way is found to violate basic norms and values will be faced with a general boycott of its goods and services, a refusal of the global financial agency to distribute global funds (it will still be basically self-sufficient for its citizens’ needs locally and have its own currency but can’t participate in the global economic activity) and a travel ban on its citizens.
Article V. – Non-city or township affiliations and associations: diversity without power relations
5.A. – Other associational forms are non-governmental allowing the greatest cosmopolitan cultural diversity imaginable.
Since cities are many, the possibilities for cultural diversity are great. But cities are primarily public and political spheres in which citizens can act as self-governing beings, as citizens.
Other organizational forms, which are wider in geographic scope or in membership will arise and may exist, including networks, tribes, religious affiliations, gender, indigenous, scientific and professional associations, ethnic or language groupings, and artistic or educational affiliations, to name a few.
These may transcend city or region or even continent in scope and scale. But none of these may under any circumstances ever do any of the following:
1) Exercise governmental authority in any fashion. They may have self-governing bodies for their own organizational purposes and they may make and establish moral, ethical, normative or behavioral and theological/philosophical rules, but these can never be obligatory for their members except inasmuch as non-acceptance of such rules merely means one’s membership in these associations is the price of one’s own views or practices. These associations may not in any other way except expulsion from membership engage in any punishment, rehabilitation, nor may they establish prisons, physical disciplining of recalcitrant members, or engage in any act of violence. Any such practice will result in their no longer being allowed to exist as a membership organization in the region in which such action has taken place. Should such behavior become an ongoing pattern, the General Council may globally advise all cities on the need or desirability to ban such an organization from the city.
2) Coin or create or distribute money for any purposes except to pay their organizational expense such as for supplies. They may never have paid personnel working for them either for any reason.
3) Establish any militia or other armed group for any reason.
4) Hold territory as an organization, nor informally or behind the scenes wield governmental power in a city or township or region. Such a practice is to be reacted to by a general boycott of the city in question, and on its goods and services, restriction of funds by the global agency until such behavior ends and is understood to have ended, and travel bans on its members.
5) Own or control resources of use to one or more cities. Own or control any cooperative businesses.
6) Engage in acts of violence against other associations with which it is not in accord.
7) Engage in organized lobbying, behind the scenes or secret negotiations, bribery or other attempts to influence anyone in any temporary position of delegated authority of a city, township, region, continent or of the world in general or any authority thereof or of any finance agency, militia, nonviolent self-defense force, or cooperative of any city, township, region, continent or of the world in general. Such activity will be considered a major violation of law in every city and township and will result in the penalty system described above for violations.
The preceding section shall not be interpreted to exclude the initial founding of a city by citizens constituted by a plurality, majority or even entirely by a single ethnic, indigenous, tribal, language or national group.
5.B. – Cities are open to all and are not tribes, nations, ethnicities, religious institutions or parties
But a city is not a tribe, ethnicity, or nationality, and anyone arriving subsequently to even such a township or city will be eligible for full citizenship on the same basis as all others after 90 days of residency. This of course does not mean that this person also becomes a member of the tribe or ethnic association which remains self-governing as an association subject to the rules outlined above. But as such that organization then has no authority over any individual in the same city except inasmuch as it can encourage its members to abide by its moral or philosophical guidance, and even this does not apply to the city or its citizens as such whether of that same ethnicity or tribe etc. or not.
5.C. – Avoiding conflicts of interest while maintaining absolute freedom of movement
No person may hold citizenship of more than one city or township at any one time, nor hold office of any kind in more than one city or township. Should anyone be found doing so, whether by accident, oversight or on purpose, they will have 48 hours in which to announce publicly which city they hold citizenship in, though that city may then investigate the question to determine eligibility. Should neither or no city involved find the person to be a citizen of their city, that person remains free to move newly to a city or township under the limitations established only by the available residency places and to then begin the 90 day process of establishing citizenship.
Article VI – Energy and Ecology, Technology and Weaponry
6.A. – Nuclear Energy Forbidden.
No use of nuclear energy is permitted for any reason by any city, township, or region or continent, nor by the global agencies, and certainly not by any association, though should so-called “cold fusion” which does not generate radiation be made practical whether this rule applies may be determined at the time according to the scientific facts and the judgment of citizens worldwide after an informed debate and discussion.
6.B. – Renewable Energy as a Material Basis for City and Township Political Self-Government and Ecological Sustainability
Every city and township will be expected to act as quickly as possible to shift to renewable energy sources, forms of transport, heating and cooling and hot water etc. that are renewable and to end use of fossil fuels. Upon its founding as a self-governing city, a first action should be to make an audit of the possible renewable energy sources (solar, wind, water etc.) available within the city or township’s territory, and then to establish, in cooperation with the educational institutions, research organizations, scientific and technological associations, and relevant cooperatives existing or which it finds it convenient or necessary to create the necessary resources – institutes, cooperatives etc. to develop to their fullest these resources, to manage the full transition (solar panels, windmills, solar roadways, light rail run by such sources, electric buses and cars and so on) to these resources.
Each city should, within a short time of a few years at most, be expected to be near 100% self-sufficient in renewable energy, nearly self-sufficient or the medium term and fully self-sufficient short term for its own food needs and health care needs, linked by light rail, solar roadways and electric vehicles to other nearby cities, linked by universal wi fi to the rest of the world, and self-governed by citizen assemblies, as well as producing its own currency and providing it to all of its citizens and cooperatives.
6.C. – Technology transfers, extraordinary grants of Universal currency and obligatory year abroad by college graduates as methods for universalizing the most advanced renewable and sustainable methods of energy production and conservation, transport, production, consumption, agriculture and housing:
As made clear above in several articles, as an initial process, those cities with a surplus of access to renewable energy technologies such as solar power or advanced windmills etc. or advanced and sustainable transport such as high speed solar powered trains and solar roadways are expected to make these available in any way possible, without imposition of forced labor conditions on their own citizens, to the poorer areas of their own region, continent, and the world. This process will be eased by the previously described extraordinary grants of universal currency to be spent on purchasing these technologies, and gaining access to the skilled use of them where needed, and by the requirement that college graduates spend a year in the opposite hemisphere to provide needed knowledge and training and to learn from the people they live with and work with there.
6.D. No hoarding of weaponry, all nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction strictly banned
The same applies to the most advanced but inexpensively produced and where possible non-lethal weaponry for collective self-defense. All nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction are banned, and the existing ones dismantled by the authorities in the cities, townships and regions where they exist. Thus no city can be blackmailed by threats of superior weaponry or force. All new weaponry that is designed (and it is hoped that within a short time no new weaponry would be developed as it would not be needed or desired and would serve no purpose) must immediately be made available on the Internet and its successors and so made universally accessible.
Any city or township or region found to be monopolizing technology or armaments will be subject to all of the boycott provisions described above for other violations and if necessary for the safety of other cities and townships and their citizens will be considered in a state of war with all other cities, townships and regions as an aggressor. Any individual, group or association, including those opting out that are found to be in such violation are subject to the same procedures as apply under conditions of enslavement or aggression as needed.
A Civilization of Self-governed Cities and Townships can only exist if the material conditions for such cities and their sustainability are available
Article VII – Putting This Constitution into Practice – How We Can Begin Now Where We Are
As for now, each city and town’s residents may begin to put this process into practice through direct action in anticipation of these methods becoming the legitimate authority of the city and the city becoming the legitimate authority politically.
1) All neighborhoods or small towns of all kinds everywhere in the world could begin immediately to set aside a time each month, say two weekend afternoons or weekday evenings, to hold assemblies, make decisions for themselves and set up a budget. This would immediately stand in a situation of “dual power” with regard to the established city council government. The idea is not conflict but to establish the greater moral authority, and democratic legitimacy of the assemblies.
2) Citizens could then declare a day, after several months or a few years of such practice, once established and once its authority had won over a critical mass of participants in the city, when they would refuse to go to work during that time because they intended to attend assemblies. They would demand that the existing authority authorize this new 4-day workweek (as noted above) but would not need to wait for that, for if an entire city refused to work on say Wednesday any longer it would become fact and other cities would follow.
3) Organizing through some association both a nonviolence self-defense training, which would serve for the struggle to establish the new system in the city, and a militia with training, now essentially legal in most parts of the United States and in some parts of the world. If the bearing of arms by citizens is not legal, the militia could exist anyway and train with innocuous instruments but show its organization, self-government, discipline and collective dignity. Under no circumstances should armed conflict with the existing police, or armed forces be undertaken.
4) Print and distribute their own money city-wide. Ithaca, New York deserves credit to have been the first to have attempted this approach to create community. Again, this can start as a nonprofit association and a “barter” system, but using money for what is really is: merely a points system to keep track of who owes what to whom for services rendered. Businesses, farmers’ markets, cooperatives and individuals can sign up and begin providing each other services using this currency. In some countries any income earned needs to be declared as income. Though if seen as merely a way to facilitate activity it could also be the practice to eliminate all such income at the end of the year and restart the distribution again the following year.
5) Set up cooperatives for buying, producing or any other activity to practice self-government.
6) Demand or set up where available land is to be had, community gardens and other methods to establish greater food self-sufficiency, and health and food sovereignty.
7) Establish well-organized food distribution systems through “Community-supported agriculture” (though I take Wendell Berry’s criticism of this particular title for these as reasonable) by making contact with local and nearby farmers to provide them a guaranteed market for their produce. Then, to create a critical mass of demand for locally produced and organic food to convince by protest, electoral power, or other means the local institutions such as hospitals, schools, universities, company cafeterias etc. to buy this locally produced food.
8) To set up cooperative “supermarkets” and buying groups to purchase in bulk that food and other products that near expiration date to be made available for local currency at a low price or free to the city’s citizens and those in need.
9) To set up, by pressuring even the existing city government, a local bank or credit union to serve as a place for all the city’s residents to set up an account.
10) Setting up cooperatives to provide other services, such as laundry services for the large institutions like hospitals, schools etc. in the city to start up a solid cooperative sector of the local economy.
11) Establishing a cooperative for local energy needs, and a public generator and utility, eventually freeing the city from dependence on oil companies, coal companies, utility companies and the like.
12) An alternative “Conflict Resolution” system where juries of city residents can utilize the option of temporary banishment from the city for those accused of medium-serious crimes as determined appropriate. Establishment of a Rehabilitation Collective for those who voluntarily turn themselves in and negotiation with the existing police, public prosecutor and public defenders offices (under public pressure by the movement of course) to accept this conflict resolution process as an easier way to obtain confessions, “convictions” and self-sentencing by those found guilty rather than the expense and violence of prisons (granted this one is the hardest to obtain under present conditions, but even establishing the alternative in the public mind is worth the effort).
13) Some initiative of engagement with the local police, such that the worldwide trend toward militarization of police is reversed or at least limited. For example to convince the police to no longer accept nationally-provided armaments and hardware. Again, a tough sell. But it takes the initiative.
14) Later to establish the assemblies as a legitimate form of authority recognized by law as the city’s ultimate governing bodies – this may in many places require changing regional, state or national law however.
15) A direct action initiative at a LATE stage (to put this first as I can imagine many of my anarchist friends wishing to do) to organize a city-wide withdrawal of taxes paid to national and state/regional governments IN COOPERATION with other cities doing the same (to have on city only do so would be suicide for the movement itself).
16) The preceding proposal for direct action tax withdrawal is only practicable for a network of cities that had first established significant levels of self-sufficiency in basic needs and also had well-established local currencies circulating AND which still had considerable access to products of the national or world market since until the establishment of a non-political agency to (acting more or less as the US Social Security Office does) supply the global currency for inter-city exchange such cities would be vulnerable to great economic hardship and the whole project could then easily lose support. Alternatively, a large network of like-minded cities could establish an alternative basis for exchange using a single currency between them (none has to change hands, just numbers in bank accounts in the publicly owned credit union/banks).
17) Knowing the possibilities of massive state repression at some point in this process the coordination of nonviolence self-defense groups citywide AND the local production of arms for self-governing militia should begin, not to provoke a conflict but merely to make clear to national states that military repression is not an option or at least would be a costly one.
18) Declaration of assumption of governing authority by cities, regions, and their coordination among themselves to begin to create the infrastructure for a planetary civilization based on universal access to citizenship for all, to provision of basic and comfortable subsistence for the needs of all, renewable energy, and self-government.
19) The neutrality of the coordinating agencies, based as they are on the retaking into the hands of citizens worldwide and their cities and townships as public spheres of participation and self-government are an end to the “state” as such though not to politics or political activity or government. These coordinating bodies have no authority, an act merely as oversight bodies to be sure that no is being exploited or oppressed at which point they must mobilize, on the basis only of being delegated coordinating bodies, the member cities to act together against a common problem or threat, or they act to coordinate the efforts for those projects, such as environmental repair, climate change reversal (mostly effected by these locally-organized changes but still needing some larger scale coordination), stopping any aggression by any given city or group, and for coordinating any infrastructure such as continental roadways, air travel (using renewable energy obviously) satellites, space exploration (we may be close to folding space to allow for “faster than light” space “travel” (by not moving at all of course according to Einstein’s General Relativity), and the like.
Thus these act more as juridical or mediating bodies and as delegated agencies to carry out tasks decided on by the citizens in their respective cities and townships, not as political institutions. This is in complete contrast to the existing United Nations, IMF, World Bank, WTO, G20, NATO and the rest. These global governance organizations will be abolished both by being disbanded by the movement of the self-governing cities and by the withdrawal of taxes to national states at the end of the process.
In many cases however, the penalty process involving enslavement or war crimes will apply to some of the heads of these organizations during their rule.
20) Thus, it would be possible to maintain an urban and global civilization in which everyone had a citizenship status, in which movement to where one wanted to live was much freer than today (the 1% minimum is roughly double the number of immigrants arriving annually to the US), in which the wage system and capitalism were abolished, in which money became a mere utility until it too no longer served, in which national borders and national armies were done away with, in which the global ecology could be restored and maintained, in which learning and teaching, healing, growing food, making useful and beautiful things, connecting human communities by transport and communications, could all be done for their own sake, rather than for profit. Where defending one’s community and keeping it safe, rehabilitating or where needed punishing of those who act violently or exploit without prisons or the death penalty, where in all probability ending war, and where community but universality at the same time in something that would be worthy of the name civilization would be possible without imperialism or conquest.
And we could start wherever we are, now, and indeed as these proposals indicate, many aspects of these have already begun, so we begin from something that already exists.
* The proposals here have come out of years of conversations with activists, comrades, friends and scholars, from studies of past societies, contemporary technologies, practical experience with cooperatives, community-supported agriculture, alternative political parties, green politics, socialist and communist politics, local initiatives to remake cities, studies of movements around the world and the like. I don’t take credit for them, they have been the result of the efforts of many people. Only the things that won’t work or are inadequate are my own.
The idea is to develop a political sphere that allows us to go from the experiences of direct democracy embodied in the many movements of 2011 (Indignados, Greek revolts, Occupy, the Arab Spring etc.) to the holding of a political sphere and self-governing it in a way that takes us past and out of capitalism. The city is big enough to allow for an “articulation” or ensemble of many “commons” activities including cooperatives and yet small enough to allow for citizen participation. It also allows for a vast diversity of ethnic and other backgrounds, and so allows for a localism that is not ethnically or conservatively based on specific customs. It defuses to some degree issues of immigration over national borders, since there are many cities one can go to. It allows for public ownership but citizen control and workers control, and avoids mass bureaucracy and state power, yet keeps politics. Indeed, it allows us to imagine everyone in the world having a citizenship status – here I had in mind the Medieval cities that allowed one to be a citizen if having escaped from serfdom for a year and a day. So, cosmopolitanism but local community as well.
So I do not name the following people and groups or cities because they would agree, approve or like this nor because they take any responsibility for any of my bad ideas, but merely to avoid plagiarism – I have learned so much from so many. Here is where I got most of this stuff from:
The Zapatista Autonomous Good Government Towns
A lot of friends, including but not limited to those thinking and practicing communing, among whom: Peter Linebaugh, Silvia Federici, George Caffentzis
Cleveland, Ohio and it cooperatives movement
Porto, Alegre, Brazil’s Participatory Budgeting
The Shakers Villages
The Amana Communities in Iowa
Ithaca, New York
Massimo De Angelis
And so many others whom I thank even if they don’t like this idea.