The Cascadian Independence Project is a grass roots social movement dedicated to building awareness and support for local democracy, global community, and the freedom and eventual independence of Washington, Oregon and British Columbia. Our work connects, supports and advances our society in the Pacific Northwest by promoting policies for increased direct democracy, land rights, individual rights, environmental sustainability, social justice and freedom.
In the past several months, we have begun a process of moving away from a specific 'platform' and instead towards a set of unified principles that embodies many aspects of a society we would like to see in the Pacific Northwest.
This idea of Cascadia fundamentally incorporates several key principles:
- Dynamic and Open Governance
- Privacy, Civil Liberties and Freedom
- Environmental Sustainability and Bioregionalism
- Community Resiliency and Empowerment
This strategy gives our movement many distinct advantages such as giving our groups and supporters a dynamic and flexible organizational model that is able to reflect the needs and priorities of the communities and regions in which they live and are working. The distinction between a platform, which is set regulatory policy - and principles, which is an underlying framework on which these decisions can be based, are instead an expression of our shared values and insights. This delegates power to local decision makers, and allows them to respond appropriately to conditions set before them and which are often times unforeseen.
Why principles and not rules? Regulators have no choice but to make it up and enforce policy as they go along when coping with rapidly changing systems. Principles guide decisions without relying on rules that will be obsolete before their ink has dried. We should not expect perfection from principles – just better results than could be achieved with either fleetingly relevant rules, or giving regulators complete discretion.
Concrete policies can be incredibly divisive. We cannot set one unified platform that will be perfectly applicable 100% of the time, nor should we try. This encourages political factionalization with each group attempting to impose their will on a larger body, whether relevant, necessary or not. Indeed in a truly democratic society, it must be individuals and localities that have the final say in the governing systems which are appropriate for their region and the priorities established by those living there.
Laying out a set of principles allows us to effectively challenge and break down many of the dominant political discourses prevalent in our society today, agree on a organizational framework representative of our needs and values, and the ability to organize in a system mutual support and voluntary association, prioritized in a dynamic and flexible model that empowers our members, and is strengthened by our diversity of opinions, instead of weakened.