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"I'm strongly in favour of a written constitution for a republican Britain (actually, it should probably be a federal constitution if Wales, Scotland and NI want to stay in - the UK itself is part of the problem)... the devil is in the detail. And I think that these days New Labour is even more than the Tories an enemy not only of the Human Rights Act and ECHR, but of historical civil liberties - very ironical since the draft of the ECHR in 1950, and therefore of the HRA which reproduces it, was thoroughly minimalist at the behest of the UK."
Bill Bowring, Professor of Human Rights and International Law

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A People's Charter for Democracy

we the undersigned believe that the existing system of government fails to represent the interests of the vast majority of people and is democratic in name only. Instead, the state’s primary purpose is to promote business interests at the expense of ordinary working people.

Policies for the crisis:

Under these conditions, our hard-won right to vote is undermined and the mass of people are effectively disenfranchised. As the global financial and economic disaster deepens, we refuse to pay for the crisis of capitalism through mass unemployment, repossession of homes, loss of pensions, tax and price rises and cuts in spending on vital services.

we therefore support the campaign for a republican Britain based on a written constitution that would:

we will initiate, encourage and support all actions such as campaigns to stop repossessions, occupations of threatened workplaces and the rejection of higher fuel and transport charges.

To this end, we will work to establish local and national Conventions for Democracy to build support for the transfer of political and economic power to the majority.


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Your views

Hilary says:

I am a 'baby boomer' - privileged and spoon fed, so they say. I am horrified by the society my generation has built - self-interest and greed at the heart of it all. I'm not sure what the answer is, but it can't be a knee-jerk, extremiist response. Openess, honest debate and harsh criticism of Murdoch's media empire might be good places to start.

G says:

At the moment we all have so much debt, as a result of deliberate attacks on our lives and wellbeing by the totalitarian regime, that many people’s health can be seriously affected due to constant stress and worries about not being able to have basic necessities such as food, shelter, water etc. one day. These simple things are our BIRTHRIGHT.
The elite are preventing us and especially the young generation from developing further... economically, socially, morally, spiritually...
The Government has been riding on our backs for free for far too long, but now it’s the time to show that we no longer accept the oppression, abuse and humiliation. The young generation doesn’t want to have a future controlled by the corrupt system.
The efforts put in to UK’s economy by the masses are so great that everyone should benefit from it, not the other way round.
Also, in my opinion, It is not in the elite’s interest for poorer people to be educated, not because of economic stress (which was created artificially, anyway) but because they are afraid of the exposure of their criminal activities, which are easier to see through places like Unis, Colleges... in other words, where people can gather, discuss current situations, get some ideas, organise events...
Everyone is blaming the bankers for the economic collapse, to which I agree, at some point, but the hidden evil is even above them...they are the ‘elite’ controlling the politicians, police, media, judiciary system, human rights, to name a few. They are the one’s responsible for mankind suffering and need to be ridden of this earth. The only question is how?
The ongoing protests may achieve an attention, but we have seen that the police and other forces have sided with the corporations. Their brutal, violent attacks on defenceless demonstrators are nothing more but treason. I can’t think of anything else but, either they are seriously brainwashed, or do not understand wider implications of the situation. The police are needed there only for as long as they can protect the ‘dictators’. In the past, the police was called a ‘policeman’ and his role was to protect the public from being injured, mugged, or murdered. Today, they are called the ‘police officers’ whose role is to generate income... for corporate.
I would like nothing more than to bring the REAL TERRORISTS to justice. Only then, can we build our lives the way we want in a free, happy society.
P.S. Meanwhile you may find this book or (e-book) useful. It has just come out, called “Ending the Global Casino” by Ad Broere., if you haven’t heard of it already.

Dave says:

For too long we have suffered at the hands of an elitist Establishment. No more...

David says:

Why should working people be spied upon, kettled, arrested at will and even killed when demonstrating against the state. Workers created the profits that the bosses rely upon, but then we are made to 'feel grateful' for the few crumbs that are thrown our way. Now even those few crumbs are to be hoovered-up by the bosses to feed their ever growing need for profits. Even the limited safeguards of the so-called welfare state are to be driven back to the austerity of the early 20th century.

Our parliamentary democracy has been cruelly exposed by the Lib-Dems in their betrayal of the students. The Con-Dem coalition is driving through social destruction measures that nobody voted for. Democracy should reflect the interests of the masses - not the interests of capital.

Now is the time for fundamental change of society based on the needs of people and the cooperative use of resources. Failure to achieve this will allow the bosses to solve their crisis of capital by another world war - only this time ending in annihalation and devastation of the planet. That may seem drastic, but already currency devaluations, mass unemployment and battles for raw materials - especially in Africa - are the same preludes to the previous two world wars.

Dew says:

We need to be fully committed to this as in "over my dead body" committed, because change will not come because we say we want it.

Paul says:

We are coming to a time when our choices are either to be screwed by the public expenditure cuts and civil liberties violations which the pro capitalist political establihment offer us or we can fight back. The latter is the only option if we wish civilisation to triumph over barbarism.

Melody says:

I am horrified by all that is going on the world around. The people who have recently betrayed humanity at Copenhagen are letting their shadow run the show and these are not the types of people we need running our lives. We need people who are balanced and can see the value in the lives of each and every sentient being as well as the beautiful planet that we are fortunate enough to live on. We need people who put community before their own bank accounts.

Phil says:

The attack on our rights cannot be halted unless the socialist movement becomes much more transparent and democratic at every level. Sectarianism is slaughtering the chances of the world's population.

Hem from Nepal says:

The attack on all forms of peoples rights in 21st century resembles the barbarism in the windowdressing of democracy.This is how capitalism is no more justifiable. Going once through the all hitherto history of mankind, I strongly advocate in favour of a vehement world peoples resistance against capitalism.

Patricia says:

I have just received an e-mail from Alistair Darlings secretary asking for my postcode to see if I am one of his constituents ??? Do I need to be to complain about the governments use of tax payers money to bail out banks. This is the world we live in. Do they honestly think this will put an end to my complaints, no-way !!!

Jonathan says:

Thanks for doing this Mark et al. The world definitely needs to be won back some how.

I believe an essential building block is transparency. Whenever there's a new coup, or failed election, you'll notice that it's the radio station the generals rush to secure.

Information has become so distorted and managed of late, that even outrages like Abu Ghraib, rendition, tower 7, health insurance death panels (not the Palin ones), Geithner's colusion with Wall Street and dodgey expense claims fail to have any effect, get labelled theories or get shouted down.

You can point your finger at a number of contributing factors, from Murdoch's business acumen, Alistair Campbell's ability to unseat Greg Dyke, armies of PR consultants and the revolving door back-patting culture of the city and Washington. We are however willing to be dumbed down, be it by free newspapers, ridiculous TV, and an apathy brought about by our cosey lifestyles that the developing world is subsidising.

If it's not too corny, I'd like to quote Plato who had something to say way back that seems very relevant today: "This City is what it is because our citizens are what they are." "They see only their own shadows or the shadows of one another, which the fire throws on the opposite wall of the cave"

Bill says:

The New Labour Government of Blair and now Brown have eroded the human rights of all working people as they have sought to safeguard the interests and profits of the bankers and monopolists, and largely as a result of its treachery and corruption it is about to hand over the working-class and a large section of the middle-class, bound and gagged to a Tory elected-dictatorship which will seek to place the entire burden of the financial and economic crisis onto the backs of the working masses, in order to try to save the banks and monopolies and the profit system. The working masses urgently need an international leadership based upon Marxist revolutionary principles.

Ross says:

When we the people change our approach to life and with it our ambitions and motivations. We will cease to fuel the development of the state that is increasingly destroying our humanity.

Louise says:

As an ardent Trade Unionist we must keep fighting to secure the repeal of all anti-trade union laws in the UK. Workers voices need to be heard more than ever now!

Bill says:

The working people of Britain and internationally, due to the depth of the world capitalist financial and economic crisis face the greatest threat to their jobs, living standards environment, human rights and to the peace and stability of the world in history and need more than ever a disciplined leadership based on Marxist socialist principles

Aubrey says:

The UK state appears to be the most invasive of all the Euro States. All Euro states have ID cards - just a little card with name address phone etc like a passport -who's got a problem with that, run-down in an accident, loss of memory ok know who to contact and who you are. But the ID card the UK are going to introduce is far over the top and plus all the info on people they want to collate, what you read on internet, who you communicate with etc etc - boggles the mind. Why are they so paranoid about the people they're supposed to be serving... Perhaps it's just that they may be feeling more than a little nervous about their own war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan etc or just a little nervous that their so-called democracy with the unelected monarchy is getting just a little bit shaky.

Daniel says:

More aspects of the world's many problems must be resolved through fairness and equality, plus basic sense. The UK government needs to re-shape its overall image and cabinet to better represent the public, and see that they are unhappy with the state of their county and where it is apparently leading. A better sense of community is also needed, due to the fact that "everyone is out for themselves" through these hard times, whether that be in businesses, or just helping someone in need. Once that changes, we can build for a better future, truly benefiting the public. If things carry on the way they are, there is a grim future ahead. This is the crisis of our generation, and we must act to prevent it from spreading across further generations.We need to stop taking things for granted, after many "easy" years. It's time to actually do something.

Stuart says:

How many more bonuses do the Banking Industries actually need? I live in a City, London, where Banking Bosses are STILL getting bonuses and where there is a dire shortage of midwives. Come off it.

Ross says:

"In our world the lie has become not just a moral category, but a pillar of the state."---Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Sang-Jin from South Korea says:

As an agency of intervention in economic crisis as we find today, the state, insofar as it is democratic, should pay more attention to the threntening situation and rights of the ordinary people rather than few powerful groups and institutions. However, the state is moving in an opposite direction in many countries in the world. Therefore, I support the people's charter for democracy.

BB says:

my whole life has been in a state of background confusion and fear, caused i feel by the'attack on our rights' by those in power and those that serve them. i hope this charter can hold enough intention and truth to be revered and carried through.

Allan says:

We all either look forward to all the possibilities with hope and intent or fold and give away our rights. I like the direct honest intelligence of this outlook, and wish you all love and luck.

Peter says:

All the 'truths' equate to lies in the current system. Real education is fundamental to the solutions. All babies are born as 'unprogrammed computors' then, subsequently, 'corrupted' in a global system founded on mass ignorance of the true purpose and potential of life and humanity.

Whether intentional or not, this system is self-sustaining, destructive and 'past its sell-by date'. So, mankind is presented with a challenging learning opportunity to reclaim its magnificence by working together for the common good.

Essentially, we can see that the entire confused system is funded by the banking structure, which generates an ever-increasing, and unrepayable, burden of debt. Consequently most people cannot have or develop the means to live creatively; rather economic slavery ensues and is perpetuated.

This system is at the root of all the imbalances. Remove the debt with a 'People's Bank', free from interest charges. Then 'pay' people to partake in a process of life-long learning and self-development -'Get paid for having Real fun' is a most attractive, and truly realisable concept.

This will initiate a new socio-economic structure based on the goods and services required to fulfill the innate human demand for fulfilling, creative endeavour. Simultaneously, it will enable the more fortunate to assist the less fortunate.

Thereafter, mankind can re-evolve in peace to our natural state of Truth, Beauty and Goodness. The supreme aim and purpose for living can be the collective creation of 'Paradise on Earth'. A process that guarantees global 'full and gainful employment'.

Why should we seek less than the best?!

Eugene says:

I like many other people am absolutely exasperated  at the constant attack on our civil liberties currently being experienced  in this country. All carried out in the name of the "war on terrorism". We  are the most watched nation on earth, how can that be in the home of democracy and a so called free society. Why the need for an expensive and  ultimately futile ID Card scheme, based solely on the premise of having a  card to tell others (and mainly the state),  who you are!! We must raise awareness by whatever means possible and confront these  increasingly dictatorial and autocratic measures.

Charlie says:

An article I published with Andrea Beckmann - 'Nous  accusons - Revisiting Foucault's comments on the role of the "specific  intellectual" in the context of increasing processes of Gleichschaltung in  Britain' (2005), Outlines: Critical Social Studies, Vol. 7, No.2,  December - explores some of the parallels that can be drawn between the  historical phenomenon of 'Gleichschaltung' in Nazi Germany and  contemporary politics in Britain. In contemporary Britain there can be no  mistake about the many ways in which the so-called New Labour government  uses language to manipulate and confuse its population. In its historical  context 'Gleichschaltung' describes the processes by which all  organisations and associations existing in German society were 'nazified'  and resisting 'bodies' were simply suppressed and later eliminated. Our  article argues that contemporary Britain is characterized by similar  processes that have so far resulted in opportunistic conformity being the  reigning norm of a societal life in which former notions of freedom, civil  rights and self-government have become entirely breached. Given this  devastating state the British state should now be openly challenged in the  name of basic democratic values. On the basis of a re-reading of  Foucault's understanding of the 'specific intellectual', this article  relates its core concerns to specific localised contexts and suggests that  we need a non-party space for the public expression of ethically governed  politics.

Nadia says:

i feel particularly strongly about our right to a clean and healthy environment and resent the power that companies have to pollute it as well as the use of fluoride in our water. i feel we should have the right to move around wherever and however we want to without being checked on. i worry that the police have more and more power and feel more wary of the power that they have and the weapons that they use than of terrorist attack. the detaining of people on suspicion of terrorism is worrying. i feel angry that people do not have the right to form groups of (whatever number it is! 3/4??) in order to protest about new laws/amendments etc. i would like more transparency, accountability to and involvement of the majority when it comes to making decisions about how we live our lives. it helps to know that you are there working against the arrogance and elitism of the current rulers. keep up the good work :)

Daniel says:

The most immediate of responses I have for this question is the right to protest that has been taken away from the people of Britain. I was arrested and beaten by police for protesting against our government in Parliament Square last year. It is now illegal to protest in a large area of London without prior permission. This sanitation of the people's right to voice their democratic voice is most worrying and does not bode well for the up-coming battles against capitalist exploitation of both ourselves and the environment we exist in. We must fight back.

Vicky says:

The government has become such a joke that we just accept their autocratic decisions, feeling it's pointless to fight back. But we must.

Trevor says:

Like many attracted to this proposition I have in the past been involved in various campaigns for human rights and social and environmental justice. I have witnessed the deterioration of all strands of democracy on a local (UK) level but also the imprisonment of the planet through the imposition of the unsustainable rise of global capitalism. These days as long as you can get through your training and studies and are willing to keep your head down you can earn your way until the capitalist machinery has no longer any need for your services. The country needs not only a written constitution but also at least an equitable form of voting. We no longer have any choice in our commercial consumer led lives. We have become modern day market place slaves whose enforced individualised lack of regard for each other means that we have fallen straight into the divide and rule methodology of our coporate masters. Do not expect mainstream political parties to change anything for the better as they are clearly an integral systemic part of the problem.

Tali says:

this campaign is fantastic and really needs more attention and hype. it really has the potential to change so much, and i think awtw is going about this in an inspiring way.

George of Texas says:

The corruption within the current near-totalitarian state of most "democracies" takes our rights from us and gives us no choice in what happens, only to choose the smartest idiot from a crowd of beaurocrats. The government does not understand what it is like to be a normal human being, and in separating themselves from us, will become as hated as every totalitarian government.

Owen says:

I fully endorse your statement and hereby include my name to your truly inspiring campaign

James says:

I agree entirely that we are fast losing our liberty. I live in the Netherlands, and things are only marginally better here. The EU's power is excessive, undemocratic and tyrannical. Bureaucracy and the state's obsession with "security" waste an awful amount of citizens' time and money. There are too many laws, and it is impossible to keep up with all of them. Illegal invasions abroad and suppression of rights at home are just 2 sides of the same coin.

Jonathan says:

rights are being curtailed at the same time we are being told that we are both spreading freedom and defending freedom. something doesn't quite add up...

Michael says:

I fully agree with your campaign appeal. My only word of caution is beware of written Constitutions in the hands of the corrupt politicians we have today. I can fully explain how the German Government has made its own Constitution worthless with the use of the Law on Legal Advice 13th December 1935 which is still used today. This law has denied me the right to a solcitor for the last 5 years.

Justus says:

I support the declaration below and I will circulate the e-mail as many times as possible. Yes the case for a society freed from the shackles of sale and profit will remain on agenda until such a society is achieved.

The following from Uganda have signed: Joseph Balikuddembe; Hilde Ahumuza; Derick Kwesiga; Kennedy Tukwasiibwe; Daisy Kusiima; Lilian Tushemereirwe; Jackson Mugisha; Andrew Kabemo

Well, it is the way to be going isn't it? Having a constitution that people are able to act on and alter should get people's attention. Our Dormant political companions!
Alan

Is a written constitution really going to help democracy, community, or sanity that much? After all, it's America that's famous for having one... (power and bad politics can always twist anything into worse than nothing...) enough said?!
Bethany

Big things can change, eg. slavery was abolished
Angelica

Things need to change
David

The anti-union laws have had a big effect on disputes, and I remember the USEC used to make a lot of that. But my experience over last ten years makes me think people's lack of (easy) access to revolutionary ideas has been far more important in maintaining capitalism, and in preventing the coalescence of a working class party.
Phil

We are in the ENRON stage of capitalism.
Megan

Everything is about money & so much choice as to whose pocket we put our money into, but no choice where it counts i.e. where our taxes go, having a true voice that is heard by this sham government of ours. Our rights are being eroded daily on a UK & world level. A climate of fear is being engendered as this very conveniently allows government to remove more of our rights under the guise of our protection. The only thing really being protected is big business, the power of the multi national etc. This is the kind of material I rap about in performance.
Heather

Rights and constitutions are vital symbols, especially in the current political climate - but in the end the value of rights is practical. It's practically that ground is won, and livelihoods are saved. The erosion of rights isn't uncontested - but we need to turn localised resentments and anxieties into a concerted, purposeful response to it. This means challenging capitalism, sure - but also challenging the more 'petty'-seeming ways in which managerial culture, commodification, and instrumental rationality have colonised everything from education to healthcare to the treatment of asylum seekers. That's the link between tuition fees, foundation hospitals and the abhorrent, unchallenged political culture around immigration and asylum in this country.
GC

I am deeply concerned about the gradual (and, it  seems, uncontested) erosion of our civil rights, particularly the right to  peaceful protest (for instance, the SOCPA section 132 laws criminalising  protest near Parliament and the increasing police presence during marches  & demonstrations) & our right to privacy, now under threat from  surveillance of e-mail & telephone communications, as well as the  mushrooming of CCTV cameras in our towns & cities. The breakdown of the  welfare state and health system, to be replaced by private companies whose  main ethos is profit-making rather than care and welfare is also a  disturbing feature of the UK today, as is the increasing 'us & them'  viewpoint in political discussions recently, marginalising the young, the  poor and/or the immigrant/non-white community.
MLC

I support this!
Bob Hughes
No One Is Illegal, UK

I think that we are daily being suppressed, Our views are totally disregarded, The government and politicians are vastly overpaid and will do anything to keep their fatcat salaries to the detriment of the whole country, they are a complete farce.
AB

I read the last update from AWTW, can't believe that Straw was sacked he wasn't really a soft liner but that can't be a good sign compared with Iran! Here I can't say if it's worst or not but Chirac's end of reign is just far too long & painful for many!!!!! The Clearstream affair smears so many politicians the prime minister the most & still he stays in control!!!

That in itself advocates for action, indeed it demonstrates how corrupted even a so called democratic system can end up, democracy is in danger & real crisis & that should open many people's eyes...(At least before the world cup)! Democracy can't be just a matter of technological improvement it needs it has to be social too! Revolution can't be just technical it has to be social too! No violence of course but united as much as possible!

Bravo for the campaign for a written constitution that would make a real change!!!! Such a campaign is revolutionary in itself I guess...
Loic (France)

Yes something must be done.Oherwise we shall start paying for the air we breathe
Lillian

We live in a unified world, where technology offers  opportunities to give everyone what they need to live a decent life. What  prevents us from achieving this next stage in human social development is  the global capitalist system of exploitation for private profit, which  uses technology for the opposite outcome - starvation, disease and the  destruction of the environment. Our government and other governments exist  only to prop this system up and use mass media to indoctrinate us it is  the only possible way humans can live. Having this call for a written  constiution that enshrines human and social rights is a direct challenge  to that, and I support it wholeheartedly.
Penny

I believe that Blair's Labour Party is a crucial part of the global trend towards limited democracy and partial citizenship. This is manifested in a gradual privatisation of service provision, a narrowing of political choices and growing inequality. As citizens we must reject this model and work towards truly democratic alternatives.
Dermot

Time to stop watching TV and take back responsibility for what happens
to us, thanks for keeping the resistance going
Adele

Student loans - one way of tying young people to the state by way of burden and debt
Darren

Our rights are totally ignored.  As Christians we  see every religion but ours matters.  We live on an Estate run,  supposedly, by the Corporation of London who ignore each and every  complaint made to them about everything and anything.  Political  correctness rules everything and has totally undermined every standard  and value this country stood for.  The attitude is to pay for everything  several times over.  For instance, we pay for public services, but the so  called service is useless, across the board.  Despite this, you are  legally obliged to pay taxes which would have seen our ancestors up in  arms.  If you dont like what is happening, you complain and nothing is  done.  Then you have to pay for legal assistance, quite beyond the means  of most ordinary people.  The contempt politicians have for the public can  be clearly seen in the ID legislation, the illegal war in Iraq, and the  imprisonment of at least one air service doctor who stood up to them, the  totally inadequate provisioning of our troops, which needs to be compared  to Cherie's £7,000 hair do.  The spin doctors replace truth, integrity and  professionalism and public service.  On our own estate we have seen the  change in people, which I offer as a mini indication of what is happening  generally in society.  The nature of people has become meaner, more  demanding of others, but showing no responsibility themselves.  Those who  want what they want, ignoring the effect their actions have on others,  neighbours, the community in general, drown out any and all critics.  Our  quality of life is zero.  We no longer have hopes or ambitions or anything  to live for.  You need money to do that!  Michael Howard spends more money  than I on cosmetics.  As a species I might be human, in reality I am  transparent to all forms of local and central government.
Miss JH

Yes, I support a written constitution for the UK, which is now the only way out of the impasse you describe so well.
Pat

Eloquently put as always and I can only add that if there could be any reasonable doubt remaining then it is shredded by The Government's raw thrust for the imposition of the I.D. Card, a frenzy of abandonment of the Public Good. Destined to 'point-score' each unfolding life and under-written by the sole and singular aim of squeezing every last drop of revenue for the Exchequer, it will progressively peel from us every veil of privacy until we are exposed beyond intimate retreat.

There can be no justification whatsoever for linking this item to a national register save that it serves the purpose of plotting an audit trail through our entire lives, an eventuality the easy provision of technology and absolute guarantee of nature - any man who will not recognise this intent is a deliberate liar, a deluded fool or a simpleton - any woman is simply not a man. There can be no worse exploit than to give enfettered licence to the primitive drives of male-nature and this greed-driven, fear-fuelled pursuit will draw to the bastions of Power a level of influence and control over the majority population to finally quash all hope - if there is not a thunderous backlash before then, an increasingly likely event (I pray).
David

Democracy is slipping through our fingers in favour of global capitalism and elitism, fuelled by ignorance, consumerism and power-hungry bureaucratic institutions. Citizenship is brought seriously under question through a lack of accountability in such a regime, and our rights should be further protected - not eroded to protect human kind and the planet as a whole. I support a written constitution for a truly democratic Britain, and furthermore support such a protection of rights globally.
Anish