Open Parliament petition

Xavi Drudis Ferran xdrudis at
Sat Apr 19 20:25:58 UTC 2008

On Fri, Apr 18, 2008 at 06:39:08PM +0200, Carsten Agger wrote:

> 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.

Well, the Catalan parliament and the people of Catalonia in referendum
voted on an statute and then the Spanish parliament rewrote it upside
down, not long ago. Possibly the reason is that the statute and many
of the people recognized the power of the Spanish parliament. So yes, 
recognition is important. 

In any case. The EP may want more recognition, but many many forces 
inside the UE institutions and outside want it to be ignored by 
the EU population, mainly in order to be able to influence legislation
against us. So I don't think ignoring it is useful. You can ask it 
to do what you think it's right and be against the UE at the same time. 
You could ask it to endorse free software and oppose biofuels, for 
instance so you can ask it to endorse open standards and dismember the
UE at the same time. As long as they have power over you you have a
right to tell them what to do. Another matter is whether you feel like
doing it, but signing a petition is an effort small enough to endure, 
even if you would not be pleased to go to greater lengths in some 
institutions. And I don't find any contradiction in doing so. I've 
been talking in institutions I don't want to have power over my 
country just because they have that power, and I had something to 
say about some subject. There are a lot of subjects to influence on. 
The legitimacy of the institution is just one. 

On the other hand it is questionable whether ignoring a democratic 
institution is ethical. I may not want my country to be in Spain, 
but as long as enough people in Catalonia want it, there's little
I can do other than try to convince them. Another question would 
be if the majority of your country doesn't want to be in the EU 
and it is. Not accepting laws that you don't agree with is undemocratic.
On some issues you just find some ethical imperatives above democracy.
For instance in some countries the majority of the population 
decides you must be trained to kill people and blindly follow orders.
And you may decide that your responsability over your actions and 
your duty not to kill anyone is above your duty to obey the laws 
than the majority imposes on you. You accept democracy but within limits.
So maybe for you ignoring a democratic institution is required 
to fulfill some higher duty, or maybe not. We can't decide for you.

And you may simply decide the EU is not democratic so that
does not even apply. I won't argue you this, but I second Sebastian.
The EP is the most democratic EU institution. It has too little
power and it might be more democratic, but the main deficits are outside
> 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.

Possibly, but you can only decide on your acts, not on the acts of 
the majority. The petition does not say it wants the EU to stay 
as it is. So sign that petition and then start your revolution.
There's no contradiction.

Btw. some MEPs are eurosceptic, maybe you can ask them or their
party about what they're doing there. But I find it coherent
(And some where helpful against swpats, btw). 

In summary: yes, you are responsible of your acts, and recognizing 
the power of the authorities is one of your acts. It is not irrelevant
just because everyone else does the opposite, because you are only 
responsible of what you do, not of what others do, and the authority
does not exists if people oppose it. But expressing an opinion on 
a subject does not imply an opinion in another subject. In particular 
I don't see how that petition implies recognizing legitimacy of the EU. 
You don't ask EP to be open because you think it should have power over you, 
you ask it because it has power. 

xdrudis at
Signa per fer Collserola parc natural com cal

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