Civic Democratic Institution

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= one of two institutions proposed by Mark Whitaker for the Bioregional State: "a framework that provides checks and balances between informal, local, geographically specific coalition and leadership building--and external, clientelistic, ideological, party politics".


Mark Whitaker:

" a framework that provides checks and balances between informal, local, geographically specific coalition and leadership building--and external, clientelistic, ideological, party politics.

The CDI thus provides a check and balance between informal and formal politics, by making sure that formal politics, through despatialized informal parties, is unable to gatekeep against more geographically locused and specific political agendas of citizens of local, state, and/or federal governments due to lack of organization.



It can either make or break a successful mobilization to have a widely shared sense of activities and interpretations of the world.

Especially in nation-states, political parties tend to be the reifying structures with the widest political identity participation, and thus these nation-state political parties both aid in defining nation-state culture, as well as prescribing certain cultural motifs and identities and demoting others to suit systemic interests. This can leave local areas shortchanged culturally speaking and without voice or variation of voice to represent their particular geo-specific interests and concerns on the national level. Crenson’s understanding of a lot of politics as “non-politics” (or ignoring, dropping, and selectively appropriating citizen concerns) is readily witnessed in the selectivity or triage of national-political parties in discussing local issues.

This “non-politics” is particularly seen in the United States when it comes to the Republican and Democratic parties with a host of common environmental and social issues from: environmental sustainability, environmental risk, pollution, pesticides, herbicides, genetically modified crops, cancer clusters, food safety, industrial pollution, food access, transportation choices, voting security, corporate subsidies, and media consolidation.

The CDI aids in local area formulation of an area’s own political cultural frames and discourses, based on their community interests which are created out of their local political processes. The Civic Democratic Institution form (CDI) is a structure for defensibly maintaining and registering local sentiment in a form of a ‘living poll,’ if you will, to recognize any individuals who are admired or culturally trusted in social relations.

The CDI conception is so webbed into social feedback effects it’s rather germane to discuss it in terms of what it does, than what it ‘is.’ The CDI ‘grounds’ coalition building into existing cultural networks. It uses existing thoughts and feelings towards other citizens, pools them together and delivers a tally to the people of whom they find representative or admire, as a group. This brings local politics into integration with local cultural forms. As a consequence, it makes state elites work to maintain their power. Instead of local actors working to get the state’s or a political party’s attention, the latter groups have to acquiesce more when there is a stronger and more vocal local cultural milieu which is less dependent and more resistant to external ideas about what is ‘good policy.’

The CDI’s checks and balances makes sure that its membership is:

(1) popular amongst various groups instead of merely their own ‘political machine,’ (2) with a cultural sense of creating an intermediary and facilitating role in cultural sense, instead of creating an ideological reactionary influence, (3) and in addition, the CDI makes sure they are personally motivated to fulfill this role without any incentives besides the status recognition which becomes a symbolic rallying frame for them in a social and political capacity by the CDI recognition.

The CDI aims at popularizing local political coalitional development as a cultural process, within already existing cultural networks. The CDI, per se, has nothing to do with changing government structure, or changing voting law, etc.

The checks and balances in the CDI are effected by its dual-tier voting structure, and that the turnover period of one CDI is short enough (one year) to allow for issues to develop as soon as they become widely pertinent, instead of growing unobserved and unaddressed by government and exploding into violent conflict. The CDI voting mechanism is described in Article I of the Constitution of Sustainability, and I turn the reader to examine it further there.

In the CDI, legitimacy comes from their personal vote totals, though no one is actually running against anyone else which minimizes the mass psychological issues of manipulation to be forced to choose one or the other, or any at all. After the group individual recognitions, organizational politics take a very different geographically local and more complex systemic base than gatekept elite public power structures in society. " (