PG 244," A LADDER OF CITIZEN PARTICIPATION" Journal of the American Institute of Planners(1969), Sherry Arnstein, from The City Reader/[edited by]Richard T. Legates, Richard T Stout,1943 III- trb notes
" the idea of citizen participation is a little like eating spinach; no one is against it in principal because its good for you. Participation of the governed in their government is, in theory, the cornerstone of democracy- a revered idea that vigiorously appaluded by virtually everyone."
"The appaluse is reduced to polite handclapps, however, when this principal is advocated by the have-not blacks,mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, Indians, Eskimos, and whites."
" And when the have-nots define participation as redistribution of power, the American consensus of the fundamental principal explodes into many shades of out right racial, ethnic, ideological and political opposition."
* Citizen participation is power
*The typography of eight levels of participation may help in analysis of this confused issue.
So what is my point here today?
On 10/08/09 I was part of a mini power struggle.
A group of dominate elites running a component of a political party and aligned through their own contrivance of a caucus system blocked an effort for a diverse group of body politic members to form an educational committee committed with a specific mission of holding elected officals accountable by reqular town hall meetings.
The idea of accountability generated from the elites but when a lack of total control in the process was apparent they reversed their position and blocked the initative.
I would describe the dominate groupd as placating through tokenism the sub group that desired to increase citizen participation in the party through educational programs.
The dominate group won this skimish, possibly protectionism for the sake of protectionism.
If Accountability is their mission, we will see if they have any impact. I suspect is was not and will not.
But why not educate.
A group of members of this body politic could simply conduct a program of education, coalition building, policy advocacy and political accountability of its elected leaders.
Anyone interested in increasing citizen participation in policy development and government by becoming active in an ad hoc political education committee.
Hows the spinach?
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