Liberty from below – What next? by Shan Morgain

A response to our question, What next?

Shan Morgain: First congratulations and thanks to Antony and Henry, and everyone else who created this great starting point. Now we need to go further.

Towards the end of this post I give a seven point practical plan for how to go forward. 

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ANTHONY BARNETT SAYS:
“Look to yourself and what you can do in concert with others. Remember that we are powerful together – and if you don’t feel this to be so, perhaps it is because this is how they want you to feel. Many organisations are already combating the four-fold undermining of liberty as we can see. Please join and support them.”

Anthony –  if doing it on our own, including networking, were enough we wouldn’t have come to or connected with the Convention. We are looking for a meta-network that can link small efforts together.

HENRY PORTER SAYS:
“When people ask me what next? I reply, well, reading the papers would be a start. Find out who your MP is and pester them; set up a local group to discuss the attack on liberty and what you can do about it, which is exactly how my co-director, Anthony Barnett, and I began three years ago.”

Three years ago Henry that was appropriate and admirable. But we can’t afford to wait another two or three years while we all go into our local areas and work separately to start little groups and painfully nurture them through their baby steps. By the time they become effective a lot more damage will have been done. We need to work faster and stronger by linking together across the country. The Convention’s next step is in facilitating that.

PHIL BOOTH:
Thank you for your excellent concrete suggestion about registering dissent (refusal/ non consent) with our MPs under any Information Sharing Order, and demanding said MP vote to have Clause 152 of the Coroners and Justice Bill (currently being debated in Parliament) *completely removed* from the Bill.

We can also write to our GP and register dissent to permitting our Health Records to be “shared” with any agency not directly and specifically working on our health in a medical way.

We can also make enquiries about our children to see if they have been fingerprinted, issued with any kind of ID Card, or interviewed by Connexions or any similar agency. If so demand this is dismantled, destroyed, Encourage anyone you know who has children to do this. With one exception: if under Child Protection “supervision” you cannot
affoprd to anger the bullies.

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Finally more generally how can we best go forward from the Convention’s day of opening up possibilities?

 I do not think that aiming at key constitutional change (at this point) is realistic. We don’t have the clout to do it. It would take many years to achieve as a first goal, and would have to be backed by judges and at least some MPs of all parties. They aren’t going to work to change what feeds them. Constitutional change may well happen as a result of other activities building up though.

Where I think we need to build on the Convention is connecting together. That is ultimately the greatest power we have. Connecting means sharing resources. ideas, knowledge, contacts. Some of us have these and the more they are passed on the better. For some excellent ideas on how this can develop see the post-Convention blog, Cardiff sector.

John Davies gives superb analysis and recommendations – almost a recipe of ‘What Next’!

Every freedom movement I have known started from small groups. In that Anthony and Henry are dead right. But sending us off to set up groups will leave most people floundering. It takes knowledge and skill. Not so hard to learn but people do need a bit of help from those who know, to get started.

It will be important to work in connection not only with each other but in connection with other Liberty type organisations, Open Democracy, Liberty, Amnesty etc A Convention group will need to contact other organisations and offer support and ask for help.

What precisely each group does will depend on its members. One group might focus on Clause 152 of the Coroners and Justice Bill. Another on ID cards. Whatever their agreed major focus – which could be 2 or 3 things for a larger group – the group needs to be willing to help other groups doing other things. Otherwise we’re not working together. Small
favours exchanged, members going to support another project or action, strengthens us all.

ONE The very first step is to get connected with 1) local people around the Convention 2) local people with other liberty based organisations and 3) less local people you feel are like you in affinity with you who might be useful and you might be useful to them.

TWO Through telephoning and email get together. Online meeting is definitely an option – MSN and Inbit Messenger are both free and can support group meetings. Inbit messenger can also handle different groups in different “rooms.” But nothing can replace really getting together.

THREE Share the yuck. Despair, disilusion, anger. This is an important stage if we are to move on. Everyone needs to be heard and respected, to remedy the way we are NOT heard and NOT respected.

FOUR From the connections, begin to identify something that most people feel strongly about. Something in common. Maybe two or three things. As specific as possible. Some members may need to put their pet concerns on the “second place” list but this should be with strict reassurances from others that once a bit of confidence and experience is going these issues will move to first place. It’s just that first activities are best about things held as widely in common as possible.

FIVE  Now work out something definite and practical the group can do together about these key issues it shares. This might be something EVERYONE does – like writing to an MP, putting information notices up in the library or elsewhere locally; watching for news items where members can write comments onj liberty issues. Small steps like these first.

SIX Once the group has learned to carry out small projects like this effectively bigger things become poassible. Like visiting your town hall to speak to one of the committees or writing to a Parliamentary committee. Or do a public action, witnessing and talking with people about what’s wrong.

SEVEN Keep doing steps 3 4 and 5 – sharing disillusion and anger is raw liberty fuel. Identifying those secondary aims and picking up on them is important not to forget so as not to lose members. The more practice at doing definite things the better.

Then of course there’s the connections to other organisations to check every couple of weeks to see what they are doing. Networking is never lonely and rarely boring!

To start this off I am well placed by experience to support people who want to start groups. I also have a big comfortable building with meeting rooms right near the M4 and mainline stations (train/ bus). I can help and support anyone in Wales or Bristol directly around starting up groups, both for early steps and problems arising More distantly I can help with simple online software, and practical advice/ personal support.

I’m on the networking section here as Shan Morgain. See Crowdvine top right column on this page. Join it and contact me or others if you like. Alternatively email me on Shan*A*shansweb*.co.*uk leaving out the * asterisks and replacing A with @

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