Some fascinating commons-animated political undercurrents are starting to surface in Ireland and Spain, two of the “troubled” nations of the Eurozone. (I will focus on Ireland today and Spain later this week.) In Ireland, a new all-Ireland political federation, Fís Nua hopes to shake things up. Its self-professed goal is “to bring together, under one umbrella, all those disaffected with the corruption in politics and government and who feel that they have been left without a voice within the political arena in Ireland.” (A tip o the hat to Michel Bauwens of P2P Foundation blog for this news.)
Fís Nua, a registered political party, wants to open up a new sort of political conversation and agenda. The catalyst for the movement is the systemic ripoff of the Irish people in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. As the Fís Nua website puts it:
We believe that up to 90 billion Euro of our tax money that is presently being used to ‘bail out’ or pay for the corruption of politicians and banking officials is the greatest crime in Irish history, one that we are paying for with a collapsed economy, soaring unemployment, diminishing social facilities and a scarred environmental and cultural landscape. We believe that this money belongs to the Irish people and it should be devoted to dealing with our present crisis rather than guaranteeing the profits of criminal developers, bankers and corrupt politicians.
As set forth in a bracing manifesto, Fís Nua seeks to draw upon the work of social justice, ecology and anti-corruption constituencies “with the intent of breaking the mould in Irish politics.” The party’s manifesto is comprehensive, thoughtful and well-worth reading. But what I found especially exciting were Items #6 and #7 in the party’s “Ecological Economics” platform:
6. Develop a commons sector to accompany the public and private sectors. Within this commons sector, assign property rights for commonly held resources (e.g., the atmosphere, mineral resources and forests), and establish public trusts to manage those resources for maximum long-term public benefit.
7. Employ cap-auction-trade systems in the commons sector for allocating basic resources. Set caps based on biophysical limits. Use auctions to distribute rights to extract resources. Equitably redistribute auction payments through public trusts. Implement a trading system for extraction rights to achieve efficient allocation of resources to those uses with the highest demand.
The party has other commons-based aspirations: Item #9 calls for moving the monetary system “away from a debt structure that requires continuous economic growth,” and Item #11 demands the use of “other indices to measure economic welfare and social progress [than GDP], such as the Genuine Progress Indicator and the Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare.” It further recommends use of “the Steady State Economy Index to indicate proximity to a sustainable steady state.”
When will we begin to see this sort of breakthrough thinking in American electoral politics?