Open Parliament petition

Carsten Agger agger at
Fri Apr 18 16:39:08 UTC 2008

David Picón Álvarez wrote:
>> On the other hand, I've never much liked the EU as a project, and I
>> always opposed my own country's membership. A recent trip to visit the
>> Parliament in Brussels did little to convince me of its fundamental
>> democratic credentials (although I recognize some people there are doing
>> good work, like apparently the Spanish parlamentarian David Hammerstein).
> The fact is the European Union isn't waiting for you to support it in order 
> to exist. The EU is a reality on the ground, and we have to live with it. We 
> can take political action to try to get rid of it, or change it into 
> something we prefer, from the understanding that, if we ignore it, it 
> doesn't go away.
That is of course true; a third alternative would be to agitate for our
own country to leave the EU, which is common in some country, which
would make EU legislation irrelevant in that country - still, I think
the petiition has merit: if the EU Parliament was to shift to free
software and open standards and do it for political reasons, this would
be a significant victory.
> Without wanting to go into OT, if someone is sufficiently childish to think 
> that their "recognition" of an actually existing institution such as 
> Europarl matters, or that by withdrawing it they can somehow better take 
> charge of their future, they deserve as much political influence and power 
> as they get, zero.

Without going too far into OT, this misses the mark of how modern
institutions work and uphold their power. Institutions in countries like
the European ones thrive on recognition - if they didn't have it, they
would lose their power and become irrelevant. If (to take a contemporary
example) the Basque parliament were to declare independence tomorrow,
this would mainly be an assertion of not recognizing the Spanish
government's sovereignty over the area. The American declaration of
independence, likewise: An assertion of lack of recognition followed by
a struggle which ended with British loss of control over the area.

And, in practically all revolutions and similar upheavals, things have
started with people not "recognizing" the authorities' right to control
them in certain ways. Power *begins* with recognition: If nobody
recognized the government, it would be unable to govern; it can only
uphold its power by force as long as the vast majority *does* recognize
it as the reality on the ground - if a vast majority didn't and
consequenctly didn't obey the laws, no police force in the world could
save it.

So recognition *is* a very important political currency (thus also the
hairsplitting on both sides over "recognition" in the Israel/Palestine

br (and I better get back on topic),


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