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Demometer, organization

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Print-out of the questions from Demometer, organisation. To be used at meetings and workshops.

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Posted in Applications, na, Organisational Level

Testimonials

“The greatest use i have had of this material has been in grops of for example students and teachers, organisations, companies, pedagogues or unemployed people who for some reason have to to something together.
The material has been invaluable for giving us understanding of what it means to work in a group and why it can be useful to organise ourselves. Democratic Challenges gives us a common language to use when speaking about influence and participation. This is the perfect material for you if you are curious about how decisions and organisation really works.”

– Anders Holmberg, Kreaktiviteter

“The ABC of Democracy was a very appreciated part of a training program we arranged for 400 teachers and principals in Kurdistan. The country, which at the moment is going through great changes, needs serious support in order to build up a democratic civil society.Democracy.se is an important source for anyone who wants to open up a dialogue around the individuals role in the daily work to strenghten a democratic society.”
Asos Shafeek, Komak

“Using the ABC of Democracy you can talk about democracy in a way that people appreciate but aren’t always used to, which leads to many interesting discussions and new reflections.
The material is easy to understand and fits target groups of varying study experience and language backgrounds. I have held courses based on the ABC of Democracy for associations and personnel within ABF in Northern Greater Stockholm with Swedish, Spanish or Arabic speakers. The material gives a good base for understanding democracy and has very useful exercises.”

Eva Restrepo Ahrén, ABF Norra Stor-Stockholm

“I have used the material in the ABC of Democracy as a starting point in preparing for holding workshops in democracy,
fairness and human rights for associations and civil servants.”

– Jan-Erik Boström, DemokratiAkademin

“I have use for the model every day, to understand and explain in what ways our work with women’s rights in war zones contribute to peace and democratisation.”
– Pernilla Johansson, Kvinna till Kvinna

“OPEN SPACE has been great. In our youth commitment we had lots of use of this material. Speaking of myself, I have grasped more of the democratic principles”
– Birger Tuominen, Youth coordinator

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DOWNLOAD ALL METHODS

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The document contains all the methods and techniques presented here below.

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Posted in na Tagged with:

Download material

Download all backgrounds as one pdf» (17 Mb)

Download all applications one pdf» (15 Mb)

Download Method bank» (4 Mb)

 

Download all backgrounds separately:

An ABC of democracy
Organisational level
A fairly democratic country
Civil society and democracy
Global, regional or intergovermental
Human rights and the UN

 

Download all applications separately:

Democracy’s two faces
Peter & Paul and the alternatives
Association
A democratic platform
• Assessment form
ABC – folder
Developing a democratic organization
• Demometer, organization
• Demometer, meetings
• Demometer, results
• Check-list for democracy
Rule of law and FD countries
Towards a stronger civil society
Focus on the agenda
From needs to rights
• The UN declaration

 

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Posted in na

Focus on the agenda

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Purpose

illustrate agenda problems by making an inventory of current political issues and discussing them in Focus groups

Background

Once there were three boys fighting over a bar of chocolate. Then an old man appeared:

– Boys, boys! You shouldn’t fight. Violence simply breeds violence.
– This is none of your business!
– It certainly is, says the old man. I am a teacher here at school.
– And? says Peter.
– We don’t tolerate fights here!
– And? says Paul.
– This is a decision made by the whole staff!!
– Well, says the third boy, do you know who we are? The Three Musketeer Alliance! And we have unanimously decided to fight over the bar in a glorious battle.

Real world disputes may be less absurd and about more important issues. But if you want to avoid not only violent solutions but also authoritarian ones, then one often faces a similar difficulty: the parties belong to different communities claiming the right to decide for themselves.

This agenda problem may be solved if the parties can be made to accept one, common democratic structure. There are different varieties, for example:

  • rules of conduct are taken in a general assembly where all staff members and musketeers participate as full and equal citizens

  • the rules are decided by a democratically elected body representative of all concerned groupings

1. Theme in focus:

“Issues necesary to deal with”

2. Inventory

  • groups of up to 6 persons perform individual brainstorming: each person writes down 5 issues – on separate post-it slips – that she thinks it is important to deal with

3. Sorting and priorities

  • Each person presents the issues to the rest of the group. Related issues are placed side by side. Slips that mention the same matter are piled on top of each other
  • each person gives one third of the issues priority by marking those slips with a cross
  • the seven post-it slips that get most crosses are selected by the group

4. Assessment of the present situation

How and where are the jointly chosen issues tackled at present? Place each of the seven priority post-it slips in one of the columns in the following table.

1. Individually by the participants.
2. Internally by the participants’ own group/organisation.
3. Negotiations with external parties but no decision by a public authority.
4-6. Decisions locally/nationally/internationally: issues that in addition require a public authority’s decision at any of these levels.
7. Uncertain: use this column if it is not clear at what level the issue can be settled.

5. Joint analysis

Compare the groups’ results. Concentrate on the political issues (columns 3-7) and try to work out those that are not clear:

  • Are decisions required at more than one level? How can such a situation be solved without disputes about competence?
  • May bee there is no body that has the issue on its agenda at present. If so, what should be the strategy for achieving a solution?

Comments

If there are unclear issues for which the group has difficulty in finding an appropriate column, this is no doubt mainly because agenda problems are complex and tricky.

No single body, not even a more or less sovereign state, is completely self-governing in the sense that its members control an open agenda so that they can deal with any issue. A group is often affected by what others do, just as others are affected by the group’s own decisions. This problem – that those who are affected and the people are not identical (see An ABC of Democracy) – could in principle be resolved if:

  • everyone has access to a variety of communities that between them are entitled to decide all relevant issues
  • and the communities do not decide issues of the same type

This requires a system with a number of clearly differentiated levels for decision-making: nations, for instance, are fairly independent entities, with relatively open agendas, that mostly delegate issues to do with education, social services, medical care and so on to a lower level, for example a local authority. These smaller entities then have a more limited agenda; their decisions are restricted to certain types of issue. Similarly, nations can refer more universal issues – security, trade, etc. – to an international institution.

Such a system with a number of entities at different decision-making levels could be fairly democratic provided there is a clear, orderly structure that connects the entities in such a way that the agenda of all entities on one of the lower levels is fairly open, while the agenda on all other levels is clearly delimited.

This is often not the case. It is not clear who has delegated what to whom; thus. No one is accountable. There will then be many important issues that do not belong anywhere.

This agenda problem is accentuated in large-scale, representative systems with a wide gap between the rulers and those who elect them. When the representatives become “them there” who mostly seem to look after themselves, the way is open to populist pseudo solutions where the principle of Equal consideration only applies to one’s own group and a charismatic leader makes hay of the presumption of Personal autonomy.

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Posted in Application, International Level, na

Towards a stronger civil society

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Dialogue conference

Target group

Organisations and public authorities with projects aimed at promoting a democratic development of society

Purpose

  • visualising, discussing and valuing what may happen in a future project in a concrete, playful manner
  • using this new perspective to accentuate the democratic aspect of their projects Read more ›
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Posted in Application, Civil Society, na

Rule of law and a fairly democratic country

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Purpose

Use a case study to reflect on how rule of law relates to a fairly democratic country Read more ›

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Posted in Application, na, National Level

Developing a democratic organisation

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.

Target

  • The participants’ own organisation

Purpose

  • identify democratic shortcomings inside the organization
  • outline a plan of action for dealing with them
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Posted in Applications, na, Organisational Level

Three basic issues

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Every day and in a variety of situations, decisions are made that affect many people. When should the decision-making process be democratic and what does that mean

To answer that question, this theoretical background presents an ABC of democracy. The model is general – it applies at every level, from small groups to global organisations such as the United Nations – and consists of three stages:

A. First of all, get a clear idea of the two alternatives to democracy
B. This gives a sounder basis for arriving at democracy’s fundamental principles
C. If the democratic alternative is chosen, there is the question of how to put it into practice.

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Read more ›

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Posted in ABC of Democracy, Background, na

Association

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Purpose

Give the participants an opportunity to:

  • apply democracy’s preconditions and basic principles to themselves

  • reflect on what it means to form a democratic association

  • experience the tension between the principles of Equal consideration and Personal autonomy in a Hot seat session

Read more ›

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Posted in ABC of Democracy, Applications, na

A democratic platform

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Purpose

Get the participants to:

  • decide on a joint, democratic platform

  • compare their platform with the criteria for democracy
  • assess the degree to which their own decision-making process was democratic

Read more ›

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Posted in ABC of Democracy, Applications, na

Global, regional or intergovernmental?

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Many important political issues can no longer be succesfully tackled at the national level. The greenhouse effect, for example, is affecting people all over the world. Which international bodies are there that can deal with matters of this transnational kind? In this background we shall:

  • use the chart of alternative forms of rule to examine some intergovernmental and global organisations that have been set up for this purpose
  • consider the EU countries as an example of mixed rule – certain matters are decided at the national level; others are referred to the regional level
  • study the extent to which some global organisations in the FN family meet the criteria for democracy
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Posted in Background, International Level, na