Direct Democracy

December 3, 2006

Our friend, Richard, had a response to one of his frequent messages in his quest for knowledge about relationships between humans. His question to his addressee was more or less of this tenor: How can we get Direct Democracy? And his interlocutor replied concisely : Dialog.

The question I pose here and which I will try to answer is: how should this dialogue be? Because if it is a dialogue between political parties we would be getting the same results we are getting now, so in my view the dialogue should be undertaken on all social layers of our society, without any discrimination for sex, religion, standing, ideology, anything, etc, in sum always bearing in mind what is or is not convenient to the welfare of the human being.

Is this utopian? In a way it is. There are so large sections of our society where zealotry is  firmly imbedded – and this can be seen even in these blogs where communication with some people is practically impossible – that fruitful dialogue does not seem possible. And it is really so difficult that these people bend to reasoning in fundamental issues, that the dialogue in all likelihood would turn into a boring monologue.

We can see every day that election results are not easily accepted by those who lose. Mexico is a recent example. I do not think I make any mistakes if I say the same will happen in Venezuela whatever the result of the elections will be. Nobody seems eager to accept a defeat and that is a serious obstacle for any dialogue.

It is easier to say “dialogue” than conducting it in a civilised way. We see this every day in television, not only in political questions but in day-to-day matters.

Switzerland is a case of exemplary direct democracy, but Switzerland is a small country and its democratic traditions are perhaps unique in the world. When a major decision is to be taken, that is carried out via the usual vote session. And voters for or against the moot question are supposed to discuss the pros and cons beforehand, as should happen in all democratic matters.

I think the solution to the problem is starting everything from the basis in a pyramidal way where the tip represents the individuals who the rest of the people forming the edifice have chosen to represent them. The flat basis, the population chosing among them those people who should elect in their turn those who should elect the others, and so on until a given number of people also elect the head or heads who should lead the country for a given period. In this connection I am also of the opinion that the responsibility of leading a country should not be exclusively on the shoulders of ONE person. Not one President or Head of State, it should be a  responsibility shared by at least a triumvirate, in the Roman style, with functions allotted to each of its members.

Of course to arrive at this result much dialogue would have been exchanged among all concerned.

I do not think this to be utopian. To reach an agreement about this, we should never leave it to politicians,  a large nationwide consensus at population levels is fundamental.

The problem is who is going to bell the cat.

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3 Responses to “Direct Democracy”

  1. Richard said

    “In the April 1941 issue of ‘Left News’, Orwell replied to a long letter from Douglas Ede responding to our ‘Our Opportunity’ – a re-titled chapter by Orwell in the book “Betrayal of the Left” (Gollancz, March 1941). THIS ASKED PRECISELY HOW A ‘SOCIALIST DEMOCRACY’ SHOULD BE BUILT.”

    (Source : Introduction to “The Lion and the Unicorn : Socialism and the English Genius” – ‘Orwell and Politics’ – Penguin Classics – 2001 – Page 104)

  2. anticant said

    Surely the Internet, and the rise of blogging, is a crucial step towards genuine directly democratic dialogue? I’ve been blogging since the summer, first on the Guardian’s increasingly unsatisfactory CiF site – which I abandoned, because its title is a lie: comment isn’t “free” there; it’s heavily censored – and later on my own site, ‘anticant’s burrow’, and a growing number of other sites, most recently yours, canarislander.

    What fascinates me, as a long-time journalist, is not only the unprecedented instantaneous worldwide contact the Internet provides, but the fear and horror of it evinced by many old-style journalists, and party politicians, and the increasingly frantic attempts of governments and other Nanny-minded people to censor it. These must be resisted at all costs. I believe the Internet gives us the best hope of reviving democratic people-power and defeating those who itch to suppress and control us “proles”. George Orwell would have loved the Interenet, and would have used it to great effect. We must endeavour to do the same.

  3. Jose said

    I side with you in this, Anticant. You may have seen that the big media are slithering into the net, but there is something that is the essence of the Internet without which it could not prevail: the contribution of all of us. The written press, the television and the radio cannot exist if advertisements and readers in combination do not support them.

    As you say we must work for this means of communication among us, people of the street, to be free of all external pollution, of all brainwashing to which we are so much used with the written and audio-visual media.

    Thus there is a possibility for the world to be freer and more peaceful.

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