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John Seymour came to live in Ireland in 1981 when he began work on developing his smallholding in County Wexford. A regular series of summer courses was started in 1993.     Will Sutherland joined John in running courses soon afterwards and continued to work with John until his death at the age of 90 in 2004.   Will continues to run courses and give workshops on the many and various topics covered by the Complete Book.

 

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SANO PARTY – MANIFESTO draft of 14 January 2019



THE RIGHT TO SAY 'NO'


The SANO party exists for two reasons:


1. to remedy the “democratic deficit” by giving voters an opportunity to say “NO” -

2. to enable those wishing to change the “system” to meet others who wish to do the same


WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?


The social, economic and environmental problems of planet Earth are not the result of wicked or incompetent leadership (whether political or corporate). These problems are a direct result of outdated cultural systems which now threaten our survival. Our system of party politics and so-called democratic elections is an integral part of what has become, in effect, a cultural prison. The dominance of consumer values has created lifestyles which exist in what amounts to a spiritual desert. Worse still these lifestyles are impacting on our wellbeing in multiple ways.

As has been said before “if voting changed anything, they'd abolish it”.

Right now there is simply no way for voters to register their disagreement with the system itself. The options are to vote for the least worst candidate, spoil your ballot paper or abstain. This is a profoundly dis-empowering and unsatisfactory experience which effectively reduces democracy to a passive means of maitaining the status quo.

SANO supporters believe it is time to change this and give people the opportunity to peacefully say “NO”. The alternative is a growing frustration between those who see the need for fundamental change and those who have faith (or a vested interest) in the status quo. Such frustration only leads to anger and ultimately powers such important social movements as Extinction Rebellion.

SORTITION


The creation of the SANO party is a social invention whose aim is to become a catalyst for peaceful and well considered change without confrontation or violence. One important feature of SANO processes is the use of “sortition”; bringing back choice of representatives by lot so as to replicate the methods which were central to the original Greek concept of “democracy”.

HOW IT WORKS


The SANO party will field candidates (SANOReps) in as many constituencies as resources allow. SANOReps will be chosen from the local membership by lot. Once chosen each candidate will be asked to make a declaration that they are standing for the sole purpose of enabling voters to register a “NO” vote. They will promise not to take part in any of the existing democratic institutions except to bear witness to the failures of these institutions. If elected they will donate half of their salary to the party.

CREATING COMMUNITY - FIRST STEPS TOWARDS A POSITIVE FUTURE


Those who wish to take a stand against the “system” can only progress their ideas through creating community whilst embracing dialogue and being prepared to “rebel” through non-violent demonstration. The SANO party invites all those supporting its aims to get together in local groups by exchanging contact information (email addresses or phone numbers). Each group will develop its own agenda within a positive and social ethos which might include themes such as:

Educate – learn how the key institutions of the consumer economy operate Understand – understand why these institutions have become life threatening Inspire – through mutual support inspire each other to think and act “outside the box” Rebel – take local non-violent direct action to make things better Enjoy – make community by engaging and arranging positive social events and activities (fun) Imagine – imagine new ways of being and behaving which are not exploitative or life threatening Debate and Create – begin to evolve templates for new institutions which are life enhancing, socially just and democratically effective.

OUR POLICIES


There is just one policy. SANO exists to enable voters to send a message of protest to those “in power” and to encourage others to empower themselves by doing the same. As for the future – SANO communities will enable empowered individuals to explore new cultural forms and institutions. There will be input from many thinkers, philosophers and experts. There will be newly energised debate through internet and social networking sites. The fundamental tenets of consumerism, economics, banking, representation, taxation, social welfare, corporations, land ownership and health will all need to be re-examined. There will be local experiments with new cultural forms. There will be organised non-violent rebellion which demonstrates the depth of our concerns. There will be a wiki type process allowing wide participation in the creation of new institutions which are life enhancing rather than life destroying. The human species has a brain which, so far as we know, is probably the most complex ordered structure in our Universe. It has taken the cosmos 14 billion Earth years to create it. The time has now come for us to use that brain responsibly to enhance life on Earth rather than simply consuming resources like hungry predators SANO acts as a cultural catalyst to start this process.

THE GOOD NEWS


Humans are creative intelligent beings who are perfectly able to adapt their behaviours to live well with all the resources and life support systems which our home Earth provides. We do not need to use and pollute at faster and faster rates in order to increase our wellbeing. In fact the very opposite is now necessary. We invented the cultural systems and institutions which are leading us to destruction. We made them and we can change them. What we cannot do is to expect the systems we now have to change themselves. (You cannot pull yourself up by your own bootlaces!) The SANO party is an essential first step in breaking this deadlock.

There are many people who have the expertise to create new cultural institutions. There are many opportunities for exploring the benefits of such institutions. New patterns of power and decision making must be explored. Many communities, both real and virtual, are already pioneering such new ways of thinking and being. It is from these test beds that new life enhancing values and behaviours will emerge.

Each of the local groups and communities arising from SANO will have its own priorities and programmes. The greater the variety then the more “anti-fragile” the result.

SOME KEY ISSUES


Wealth and power are unfairly distributed – both nationally and globally. Inequality reduces wellbeing in multiple ways.

Dependency on fossil fuel and economic growth – is causing profoundly life threatening changes to Earth's complex life support systems

Economics and the “free market' – provide dangerously wrong signals governing our use of scarce resources

Debt based interest bearing fiat currency has become the ultimate ponzi scheme which can only continue with more economic growth or price inflation.

Profit seeking banks are not appropriate agencies to allocate scarce resources

Advertising of consumer products stimulates greed instead of meeting true needs

Corporate power and political influence create life threatening behaviours when they are driven by “profit”

Our addiction to consumerism and “stuff” creates multiple threats to “wellbeing”

Governments and corporations invade our privacy as part of multiple measures to control us so as to ensure the dominant elite remain in power

Democratic politician are motivated by ego and ambition rather than idealism or public service

Drug companies have a vested interest in sicknes rather than health

How we spend money and live our lives is the most important way we influence the future.