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Re: A definition of DD?
Posted by: PVR (IP Logged)
Date: March 16, 2008 02:44AM

Dear All,
Perhaps adding the following at the end of Roy Daine's suggested definition for DD, may be better ".....without the intermediary dominance of political parties". Political parties are acceptable as long as they are primarily concerned with their function of raising issues concerning people and avoid dominating the process of governance itself.

I agree with Roy's statement that - " The right of a people to self-determination MUST be paramount. A people may wish for a dictatorship or an absolute monarchy. It is not for any of us to impose or attempt to impose any system of governance upon a people. Our modus operandi should be persuasion to the acceptance of an idea, through force of argument". What is being attempted through WDDM is to find out and fine tune a better system for people to think about and aspire for. If they like it they may go for it. We are not going to force anyone.

"It must also be realised that a people, in determining the system and functioning of their own governance, if done under universal suffrage, would be enacting direct democracy in that determination, regardless of the outcome of said determination." Roy will have to withdraw this statement if he knows that in India we have universal suffrage and yet two-thirds of the population especially in the rural areas are so alienated from the mainstream thinking of the government that one can ask if they really belong to India. Definitely the wishes of the people are not getting translated into action. No doubt a popular upheaval can bring down governments at the polls but it is crude democracy and not direct democracy.

Thanks to Mirek for suggesting the link to an excellent and exhaustive insight into how DD came into being in Switzerland even eight centuries back. A few sentences from the text, which are revealing:
"....if you look at a map, and you see all these valleys, lakes, rivers, and steep hills and mountains, breaking the country up into a tapestry of thousands of natural villages. If you wanted to impose your will even on your neighbor, how would you do it? It would take a large army just to conquer a few such communities. How would you then take over dozens or hundreds of them?"
"....Switzerland seems almost designed to be a democracy. The slopes make for a natural stadium or amphitheater, allowing a large number of citizens to participate in a discussion and then vote."

This geographic aspect appears to have played a role in the evolution of Swiss thought. It is not surprising then that they were able to focus on what matters most for the well-being of their families and communities.

The following words about the Swiss constitution, in that account, are notable -
"The Swiss regard their constitution somewhat differently than the people in other Western democracies....

"On the one hand, in political and even everyday discussions, it is treated with a little less reverence than in the United States. If the constitution is a holy oracle or fixed tablet in the United States, France, or Germany, in Switzerland it is more of a home medical guide.
The Swiss are more used to taking the thing off the shelf and using it.....

"The typical Swiss voter of age fifty has seen about twenty to twenty-five constitutional changes in his lifetime, and as an adult has voted on an average of more than one per year. Perhaps he even volunteered time to help support the passage of one or the defeat of another. In any
case, if he is a typical Swiss, he was reading regular newspaper articles about the merits of this change or that change. In this process, implicitly, he was engaged in a kind of rolling review of his country's fundamental law. This process makes the constitution alive and the people its owners, in a more tangible way than in nearly any other country. To say this is not to comment on the wisdom or lack of wisdom of the measures themselves. It is an observation about the
process and its impact upon the sociology, if you will, of the Swiss constitution as against others.....

"The Swiss constitution, for all its flaws, is less an object for handling only by an opaque priesthood of attorneys and officials, and somewhat more of a living document and a family member. If familiarity breeds a certain rough contempt, the overall impact appears to be a
healthy, balanced respect and a greater sense of pride and participation."

What we see in India as well as in most democracies today is that the constitution is used as a legal document with the spirit in which it was written being forgotten. Once we understand and agree that the main obstacle between the people and true democracy in today's world is the dominance of party-based governance then we can focus on it and define our efforts towards it.

By 'True' Democracy I mean opposite of 'false' and am not implying any particular system. I hope Bruce will agree on this. Antonio has asked whether the basic problem of selection of candidates to run the government can be solved. The 'Troika' system suggested by Fred is excellent and I hope every one has gone through it.

Georges has suggested a 'shadow parliament' to act as a counter check to those in government. David Frank's One Voice Now and Roy Daine's My Verdict are efforts in this direction. In other words we need a True or Direct Democracy Platform for people to voice their opinion on issues concerning them.

The Direct Democracy Experiment on My verdict is unique since it focusses on the main obstacle to True Democracy, which is to get 'there' to the seats of governance independent of political parties and this experiment envisages the use of the 'Troika' system to achieve it. This will eventually favour the introduction of I&BR processes to put democracy on a firm footing.

While geography favoured the Swiss to evolve and deepen their democracy over the centuries, internet and the abysmal record of present day democracies favour the further evolution of democracy to reach perfection.


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Subject Views Written By Posted
  A definition of DD? 1780 RoyDaine 03/02/2008 01:17PM
  Re: A definition of DD? 902 PVR 03/11/2008 10:30PM
  Re: A definition of DD? 899 MiKolar 03/13/2008 12:30AM
  Re: A definition of DD? 982 PVR 03/16/2008 02:44AM
  Re: A definition of DD? 904 PVR 03/20/2008 08:30PM
  Re: A definition of DD? 919 PVR 03/27/2008 04:23AM
  Re: A definition of DD? 923 RoyDaine 03/28/2008 06:20AM
  Re: A definition of DD? 931 MiKolar 03/28/2008 08:47PM
  Re: A definition of DD? 889 RoyDaine 03/29/2008 04:45AM
  Re: A definition of DD? 930 BrEggum 04/24/2008 11:56AM
  Re: A definition of DD? 908 MiKolar 03/28/2008 08:33PM
  Re: A definition of DD? 972 MiKolar 03/28/2008 08:09PM
  Re: A definition of DD? 879 RoyDaine 03/12/2008 05:34AM
  Re: A definition of DD? 905 WebMaster 03/07/2008 02:46PM
  Re: A definition of DD? 922 RoyDaine 03/10/2008 03:47AM

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