“What do we want?” “Political Reform!” “When do we want it?” “NOW!” I loved this image from Elaine Byrne in a post to this website earlier this summer. It straight away had me wanting to create placards and take to the streets chanting.
But what do we want? Among a section of the thinking classes, the summer schools did something to bring great minds closer together. Now, what about the rest of us? What do I want? And what can I do (while I wait for the revolution) to make it happen?
Second Republic (www.2nd-republic.ie) has been quietly working towards answering such question over the past few months. What we’ve done is to organise a facilitated, day-long discussion of around 100 people on the “culture of the Second Republic”.
These 100 people will be made up of a mix of invitees and the general public. A little under two thirds of these places have already been accounted for and we are now making a push to fill the last places. (And that’s where you come in!), you can register for the event here: http://2ndrepublic.eventbrite.ie/
The sort of questions we’ll be asking include “Why should we stay?” and “What are 10 rules to being a citizen of the Second Republic?” We will also be covering issues like a political reform roadmap, including Seanad abolition/reform, open government, and direct and participatory democracy.
But, importantly, the focus will be on generating practical outcomes. Things that people can implement now in their daily lives. The key questions will be what do we want? And how can we make it happen? Or to summarise it another way “What?” and “What now?”
The format we’re taking is deliberately horizontal. There will be no top table and we won’t be making any distinction between invitees and the general public. Our intention here isn’t to give the impression that every opinion is equally valid. Rather, it’s an expression of a philosophical position on republicanism as well as a means to forward certain goals.
Something we want to do with this event is to ferment cohesion and dialog between different people working in different ways towards the same goal. We also want to challenge some traditional notions of authority and to build the capacity among everyone to make reform happen.