First plan for participatory democratic consultation.

A few months ago started on the initiative of the “KEPP” (Kinisi Energon Politon Parou), a debate between collectivities and citizens on the issues on the Island.

In the first meetings it was agreed that the conditions for a unified platform for the municipal elections existed.

We discussed the current situation in the municipality, we identified the many problems afflicting our Island and the inability of municipal majorities to face them, we analysed the prospects for our intervention and we decided to go for the creation of a common body that will be, either the evolution and broadening of the “KEPP”, or the creation of a new Local Governance Bloc.

This procedure, whatever form it takes, will be open and stay with the citizens, not above them, with direct democratic participatory processes and practices. The same kind of procedures will define the Mayoral candidate of the bloc.

 

WHO ARE WE?

  • We are part of the civil society affected by the economic downturn and the multi-faceted crisis: social, moral values, political, environmental, cultural, etc. exacerbated by the callous Government Policies made of dismissals and availability for work, reduced wages and pensions, disintegration of Health and Education, divestment of public property, destruction of the environment, and in general of the huge humanitarian crisis experienced by our country.
  • We are also part of the society that strives for a bottom up approach for human dignity, to secure public goods and the use of public property through Social Cooperatives.
  • We are those who participated in every mobilization to assert the self-evident demands of the citizens.
  • We are those who got out of the drawer the Health issues, when the municipality didn’t even have them in its agenda, and with all our strength we contributed to the successful and unprecedented mobilization of the people of Paros and Antiparos for public Health.
  • Along with many others, we are the ones who cut the way and overthrew the plans of the Golden Dawn on Paros, at a time when many were showing defeatists and complacent, before rushing to applaud us.
  • We are the ones trying to change the municipality in a way that it expresses the citizens and their collective needs
  • We believe that the municipality should not be a mere observer and a manager of the system.
  • We are the ones who have raised the issues addressing the humanitarian crisis we are experiencing, asking the municipality to create structures of social inclusion and cohesion, and not of charity.
  • We believe that, in the current cruel conditions of the crisis, the municipality needs to adjust priorities, aiming not only to alleviate its consequences but also to contribute, on a local level, to the way out of it.

WHAT DO WE WANT?

  • We want the municipality not to be limited to the simple management of the “system” with all the constraints resulting from the administrative reforms known as “Kapodistrias” and “Kallikratis”, but until a new more performing “Charter of Local Government” is implemented, to act with radical vision, pragmatism and innovation, transgressing the rules and taking action beyond their suffocating entanglement.
  • We want the municipality to direct its efforts primarily to the empowerment of the society, and to move towards a model of mild and sustainable development that will ensure social inclusion and environmental protection.
  • We want the Municipality to become a supporter of all these social collectivities born in our Island as well, addressing the crisis through productive activities and the development of social economy
  • We want the municipality to acquire vision and strategy for the support of quality agricultural production (agricultural cooperative, producers groups, transformation of the Agrokipio into a development tool for innovative production, etc.), and for its connection with the touristic product.
  • We want the municipality to support the local sustainable processing units and handicraft, which are starting to emerge.
  • We want the Municipality to redesign its Tourism Policy and its inappropriate slogan  “Imagine Paros”, which still targets mass tourism, and to mainly promote Sustainable Thematic Tourism, connecting the touristic product with the traditional character of Paros and the local quality agricultural and manufacturing production.
  • We want our community to not accept the installation of industrial RES from unknown investors but instead, as in many European countries, to create its own energy co-operatives for its own benefit.
  • We want Paros to become a model eco-island with a total recycling program (including cooking oil, organic waste, etc.) where sorting at the source will minimize the burden on landfills, with the promotion of bicycle and turning all traditional settlements into strictly pedestrian zones.
  • We want the municipality to protect Paros’ wetlands that are steadily degrading. Along with society, we must prevent their planned divestiture and find ways to exploit them.
  • We want the municipality to implement a clear policy for the management of water resources of the island, as the water is not a commodity but a social good, and even more in shortage.
  • We want the cultural sector to be redesigned in a model that relies more on the potentials of the dozens of local cultural associations. We want to restrict overpaid “fiestas” and the import of dubious quality “Artists”. The municipality’s choices must be well thought, to cover the whole year and to target all the residents of the island.
  • We want the municipality to stop being the means for petty political favors and services for electioneering purposes.
  • We want to break the output of concentric circles around the Mayor and his court, which spread like a stain, and includes the same recycled applauders for their own benefit.
  • We finally want the Municipality to deal seriously with the basic infrastructure projects in the Island that haven’t been achieved over the last 10 years as there was no integrated planning: Airport, Commercial Port, 2nd High School, Marina, Cultural Center etc.
  • We want the municipality to give decision-making powers to Communes for local issues.
  • We want the organization of Open Meetings with binding decisions, which will replace the existing ersatz of a “Consultation Committee”, promoting civic participation and direct democracy.

We know very well that we’re going to be accused of raising matters that are beyond the responsibilities of the municipality. We’ll answer with a quote: “If you really want to do it, you do it. There are no excuses.”

These initial thoughts and opinions are an initial political viewpoint, which will broaden and enrich through open discussions and dialogue that we will seek to do with all citizens, regardless of partisan or other position.

It is a plan for participatory democratic consultation which will result in a comprehensive action plan and a commitment to the future of Paros and our children.

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