Manifesto for Agile Development of Democracy (en)

First : to legislate or first : to live together ?
"It's ok to make a good law but a law is not enough because it does not come to your house to discuss with you" 
(imam Demba ; Kerpala, Senegal ; 1999)

"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education."
(Thomas Jefferson; 1743 - 1826)

Why this manifesto? 

The first public mention of the origins of this initiative comes from this text published on : De l’utopie réaliste à l’anticipation politique.

This Manifesto is  important to change how the public policies are defined. It is intended as a realization of  the necessary effort to further democratization  of our national and European politics, and to the relearning of the political commitment of the citizen, without which any proposed improvement of the society benefiting to most of the people will quickly be challenged.

This democratization and this political learning should begin, not by a proposal to set up a new constitution for a society dreamed as ideal by some people, but by an extension of the values ​​explained in the articles above, a Manifesto for Agile Development of Democracy would be formed like the Manifesto for Agile Software Development :
  • A text under a free license for easing translation and reuse, with an online petition for endorsement by citizens
  • Four core values, and 12 short and immediately understandable principles, which explains the duties and ethics of a political representative, starting with transparency, and the principles of the process of developing new policies so deeply collaborative and open, including an emphasis on inclusion of long-term scope and future generations.

The coming election year provides a unique opportunity to the citizens to encourage political leaders to effectively make the right decisions, consistent with their aspirations for a better society and especially to resist collectively the major dangers we face.
"What is needed is something radically new, something not entangled in uncontrolled global currents and financial flows; a new political experience, in short, that will start everything anew. “The capacity to begin something new inspires all human actions and is the hidden spring of all great and beautiful things,” said Hannah Arendt in her essay on freedom. 
The only experience that can start on a radically new course and accomplish the freedom now lacking is the (re)creation of a stable European polity, [...], one in which we are free to decide what to accept and what to reject, one in which the welfare of the citizen body is at the core of politics, one in which education is no longer the servant of the economy but is what it has always been before modern times, a water that nourishes the mind and brings it to maturity and truth." (Excerpts from Sylvain Rey’s, Freedom and European Unity, Aeneas Quest, May 10, 2012)
Beyond the interest in Europe, this Manifesto can obviously be translated and distributed by citizens in all countries.
For more details about how to adapt Agile practices to a new democratic process, see here. To read insight report and feedback when applying these principles in an existing citizen community, click here.

Manifesto for Agile Development of Democracy


"We are uncovering better ways of improving or expanding the practice of democracy and citizenship by doing it and helping others do it.

Through this work and citizen engagement we have come to value :
  • Individuals and their discussions more than the traditional electoral representation and institutions. 
  • Real democracy and citizenship more than exhaustive legislation and regulations. 
  • Collaboration with the citizens more than the negotiation of an electoral mandate based on the promises of a political agenda. 
  • The adaptation and political anticipation more than following a political agenda.

In other words, although there is value in the later part of each sentence, we appreciate more the former. "

Principles behind the Manifesto for Agile Development of Democracy

We follow these principles:

1- Our highest priority is to satisfy citizens' involvement in setting quickly and consistently policies with high added value for democracy. 
2- Welcome changing context and needs, even occurring late. Agile political processes harness   change for the citizen's advantage. 
3- Define evolution of a real democracy with a frequency of several weeks to several months and a preference for the shorter intervals. 
4- Elected officials, technocrats and citizens must work together daily, including the participation of civil society.  
5- Build initiatives around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need and trust them to get the job done. 
6- The most effective way to conveying information to and within a working group is face to face conversation. For efficiency reasons at a larger scale, the use of the Internet is recommended. 
7- The measurable progress ​​in your democracy are the primary measure of progress in the implementation of this manifesto.  
8- Agile political processes promote sustainable development. Together, the elected officials, technocrats and civil society should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely. 
9- A constant attention to excellence in political anticipation, transparency and good design in the implementation enhance agility in politics. 
10- Simplicity --the art of maximizing the amount of work not necessary to do-- is essential. 
11- The best solutions, guidelines and policies emerge from self-organizing teams. 
12- At regular intervals, the team thinks about how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.

Copyright 2011 Paul Bruno, licensed under Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0

5 commentaires:

  1. Luis Rubio: "That’s what we’re missing: a government that works and that doesn’t depend on who’s in power."

  2. "It's a strange thing, we think that law brings order. Law doesn't. How do we know that law does not bring order? Look around us. We live under the rules of law. Notice how much order we have? People say we have to worry about civil disobedience because it will lead to anarchy. Take a look at the present world in which the rule of law obtains. This is the closest to what is called anarchy in the popular mind-confusion, chaos, international banditry. The only order that is really worth anything does not come through the enforcement ... of law, it comes through the establishment of a society which is just and in which harmonious relationships are established and in which you need a minimum of regulation to create decent sets of arrangements among people. But the order based on law and on the force of law is the order of the totalitarian state, and it inevitably leads either to total injustice or to rebel lion-eventually, in other words, to very great disorder.
    All of this is done with such propriety as to fool us. This is the problem. In the old days, things were confused; you didn't know. Now you know. It is all down there in the books. Now we go through due process. Now the same things happen as happened before, except that we've gone through the right procedures. In Boston a policeman walked into a hospital ward and fired five times at a black man who had snapped a towel at his arm-and killed him. A hearing was held. The judge decided that the policeman was justified because if he didn't do it, he would lose the respect of his fellow officers. Well, that is what is known as due process-that is, the guy didn't get away with it. We went through the proper procedures, and everything was set up. The decorum, the propriety of the law fools us.

    The nation then, was founded on disrespect for the law, and then came the Constitution and the notion of stability which Madison and Hamilton liked. But then we found in certain crucial times in our history that the legal framework did not suffice, and in order to end slavery we had to go outside the legal framework."

    The Problem is Civil Obedience, by Howard Zinn, 1970

  3. Zhang also urged constantly developing the NPC system based on China's conditions to make it better serve China's deepening reforms and the rule of law.

  4. Article by César A. Hidalgo, associate professor of media arts and sciences at the MIT Media Lab, and commentary by Michael Krieger

    Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World revisited :
    "Or take the right to vote. In principle, it is a great privilege. In practice, as recent history has repeatedly shown, the right to vote, by itself, is no guarantee of liberty. Therefore, if you wish to avoid dictatorship by referendum, break up modern society’s merely functional collectives into self-governing, voluntarily co-operating groups, capable of functioning outside the bureaucratic systems of Big Business and Big Government."

  5. some real life experiences in different cities more or less near Agile Democracy :