Why we're losing - and how to start winning
The View from Green Island
GI Central - my 'net home' for the last few years, and the foreseeable future, this seems where it's going to be - lots of venting, lots of good writing, lots of 'out-of-the-box' ideas you aren't EVER going to hear on the CBC
The Democratic Revolution Handbook - Home
And a book for younger readers too, Dave's an eclectic sort of person - Aquila
These and Dave's other books can be found at
Dave's Smashwords EPUBS page
- and for the curious, if anyone cares, a few words on
From Hastings to Green Island
- the (very) short form story of Dave's own journey..
Knowledge is like a candle. When you light your candle from mine, my light is not diminished. It is enhanced and a larger room is enlightened as a consequence. - Thomas Jefferson
III Democracy Discussions Chapter 6
How would a 'real' not-pretend Democracy work??
DD6 - What is the democratic process? - making democratic decisions after full informed debate, then hiring the necessary people to carry out our plans - and forever after, the engaged citizen, eternally vigilant over *our* democracy, knowlegeable about how it should be working, and ever alert for signs of trouble, regular meetings to make sure everything is going ok with everyone, and to bring new citizens into the process. (and not overlooking the important 'included' fact that this continual monitoring will also be a kind of permanent feedback loop, allowing us to identify problems in a timely way, or just identify things that could be done better, and institute appropriate changes - changes that are rarely made in the capitalist-dominated system, as they only 'changes' they are interested in are changes that direct more money and power their way, which are bad for most of us)
Sounds good, at least to me - but what exactly is the process, from the grassroots decisions to the national 'legitimate' law? Again, we're working with unexplored territory here, and among other things must first 'delegitimise' the current process, which pretends to, and has very many citizens believing it actually does, reliably assess the 'will of the people' and transfer that will to national policy, but as explained earlier, what we have now is a very carefully managed pretend democracy, where the 'will of the people' no more runs the country than the 'will of the high school students as expressed in their student council' runs the high school. They are encouraged to believe such myths, though, as it seems as long as they have a little bit of influence in some cosmetic things, they can be convinced they are having some 'real' influence, and we do indeed have a 'democracy'. But the great mess of our country and world today, very much not what most of us want, would be a very strong indicator that no matter what rigged polls they use to tell us we are all actually very happy with the way we are governed, things are less democratic than they seem - very much so.
So how, then, might a 'true' democratic process work? Again, I am not going to do more than point to general ideas, as these things must be worked out in the wider democratic discussions, through which I am sure a better process can be decided upon by all of us affected by it. Just as a place to begin, those not overly familiar with the current system might turn to a famous book written by Eugene Forsey, whose credentials as a strong supporter of real democracy are very solid - How Canadians Govern Themselves.
- a very famous book, as noted, written by a very smart man who very much believed in a true democracy, and democratic process, and is worth a read for people interested in background and history as a foundation for what we build and improve in our own times - but also one that is somewhat out of date, with some good ideas, but now and for some time a system honored very much more in the theory and myth than in actual practice, a system designed for slower and quieter and less connected times, for more innocent and honest citizens, with at least some, and often during the 60s and 70s, even a majority, of non-corrupt officials in our higher government circles looking out truly for 'our' interests, when there was at least some semblance of balance between the forces of big money and the forces of democracy, a balance which has been completely destroyed during the last few decades of the CRR as explained earlier as 'Big Money' became not just one player among many, but the only player actually exercising serious influence in our governments, and any semblance of those somewhat halcyon days is not likely to ever be seen again in the current system as long as money is such a force, and those who control that money so very dangerously psychotic and ruthless. And as we might honor Henry Ford for his invention of the motor car, we don't ride around in Model A's anymore, and we should not feel confined to a democratic process, no matter how well intentioned, dating back, really, a good number of years before the Model A. Even the best systems need updating as years go by, and our 'representative' system of party-based democracy is long overdue for some serious updating, if we want to be able to call our country truly 'democratic'.
So - here are some ideas that would give us a far, far more legitimate democratic process, I think, for a functioning true democracy (this too is all theory, of course, as although some things along these lines may have been done in some places in the past, and may even be being done in some limited form in the world today, esp the Nordic countries of course, we certainly have nothing like this at work in modern Canada today, where our 'participation' in 'our' democracy has been confined to casting a vote for party A, B, C (or D) in an election called by the people who rule every few years, and then watching television (or listening to the CBC for those who do that) to learn what 'our' government is getting up to.
A real 'of, by and for We the People' democratic process would proceed along these lines, as far as I can see:
First, just as a reminder: we are assuming here a relatively well-informed citizenry (very much unlike the current well-indoctrinated citizenry almost completely *un*informed in things that really matter, such as who controls money and how that control is used to thoroughly control our country), from reading not only the propaganda etc from the corporate special-interest state media, but also the many democracy-freedom-supporting individuals and groups writing on the internet. We also understand these are very different than current 'meetings', where people sit quietly and listen to various advertisements, then vote for A or B at the end, or just go home thinking 'none of this shit sounds good to me' and refuse to vote at all - true Democratic Meetings are fairly facilitated, open discussions of all citizens, asking all hard questions about whatever issue is on the table, well aware of their responsibilities as citizens, and the options or other things that are available for their government - for them acting together - to conceivably do, and speaking their minds in turn, and respectfully listening to others who have something to say. The goal is as wide a consensus as possible for any given issue; if some things are too new and too poorly understood to reach a wide consensus on, the meeting will be left open for continuance a few days later, when people have had time to talk and read and think more.
1. To give some overall context - Just working with the current ridings in Canada, which we are going to have to begin with, we have about 100,000 people per riding - some variation, but it's a place to start, and can be adjusted later. Say, for a number, 50,000 'intelligent, engaged citizens' per riding, who want a say in this discussion (again, as noted, we will have to define 'citizen' at some point during our initial Democracy Discussions also, and this number is just a place to start talking - adding another 10 or 20 thousand people won't make any difference to the process). Obviously, a meeting of 50,000 people is not going to be do-able if it is engaged and meaningful participation we are after, so each riding is divided up into whatever size smaller sub-divisions we want so each citizen feels they have an adequate voice - let's say 500-1000 people per 1st-level local meetings, which would be about 50-100 local sub-areas in the bigger riding, and meetings, at the most basic level. (it does not matter in any way what the divisions are, as every small meeting will make a decision which will then 'iterate upwards' into a higher level meeting as explained next, with all votes counted at every level - it will never be '5 meetings/divisions for and 3 against' or something, which is a common way to gerrymander this kind of thing, it will, right up through every level, be X citizens for, Y citizens against, in a cumulative process through every level - very rigorously checked for accuracy/honesty at every step)
2. So some issue requiring this level of decision arises (other more local issues, setting up a local wind farm or provincial laws regulating a fishery or wheat growing, whatever, can be decided at a more local level by a similar process without involving the whole country - again, such division of 'powers' to be decided during the initial Democracy Discussions, but based on who is involved or affected - whether to put a stop sign at a corner where there have been a few accidents in your town is not going to excite much national interest, but a proposal by the Business Council to enact some wonderful new 'free trade' agreement that affects all of Canada or a proposal for 'Canada' to join the US in bombing yet some other country whose leader they don't like should), and a 1st level meeting is called, where everyone who wants to talk gets to talk. There will be some kind of organising committee of course, trusted with this responsibility at earlier meetings by the citizens of the community, our earliest, most local 'bureaucrats', somebody needs to organise things, and when the meeting begins, with a facilitator accepted by all if all think it necessary, someone will (fairly) lay out the issue to be talked about, and the main options currently recognized, and help make sure the meeting stays focused, with the goal of actually arriving at a decision. If anyone thinks there is another option that needs to be included, they are free to put that on the table too, of course. Insofar as possible, most people are already somewhat informed about the issue, as the duty of the citizen, and are already acquainted with the various sides of the issue through reading or watching 'citizen tube' presentations before coming, and probably talking about it with some friends.
3. And the discussion then proceeds in some orderly fashion, with everyone getting a chance to speak, or ask questions of other speakers, with no one allowed to dominate or shout others down
4. Once everyone (or most) are satisfied that the various sides of the issue have been fairly laid out, and nobody else has anything to say or any more questions, some kind of vote is held, depending on the options on the table (an open vote, secrecy at this level is a weapon of those who wish to control a community through some kind of dark process - nobody should be afraid to express an opinion about an important issue in a public way - we always need to remember, evil thrives in dark secret places, the kind of dark places we are trying to escape from). The goal is consensus - not 100% agreement, which will rarely be possible, particularly with the known presence of some few whose only purpose is to prevent our democracy discussions and doing anything they can to attempt to derail them, or just well-meaning citizens with different ideas than most of their neighbors, but hopefully, with most serious issues, a dominant trend will be very apparent, as it is usually quite evident what is best for most people, and doable in whatever circumstances there are, in the 70%+ range, 80% or over would be best. (If no such agreement is apparent, and there remains something in the neighborhood of a 50-50 split, then we call the meeting inconclusive or to-be-continued or something, and everybody goes home to read and think more about what they've heard at the meeting and talk things over with others, and access more information, and we have another meeting again a couple of or few days later, and again discuss whatever contentious points there were from the first meeting, at which time hopefully the issues at hand will be still more clear and consensus reachable - if contentious issues still remain, then we will have to work out what to do about that, but that level of detail is not what I am talking about in this broader overview of the democratic process).
6. At some point, there will be nothing new left to say, no more questions, and the votes are tallied. Whatever happens, we pick a couple, or 3 or 4, representatives of the major points to go to the next level meeting, with the same 3-4 reps from other 1st level meetings (at least one rep from each major point of view under discussion, to ensure accurate transmission of vote totals at the local meetings (which will also be available on websites - maximum redundancy will minimize manipulation - maximum transparency all the way through equals least opportunity for trying to manipulate things) - the reps are chosen again by consensus at the meeting, as people whom everyone trusts who can present the positions intelligently and clearly, for both sides). For your average 50,000-(engaged)-citizens riding, this would mean 50-200 1st-level meetings, and thus 200-1,000 reps at the full riding meeting - we could put a second level meeting in the middle and call the full riding level the 3rd level if this was wanted or needed, it would not matter, the maximum chance for full fairness and accuracy of assessing the desires or will of the majority would remain no matter how many iterations, 2,3,4 5 whatever, with actual lower level votes counted at each higher level. At this 2nd or 3rd level meeting, the actual vote totals of all of the lower level meetings are first tallied - the exact numbers from the different positions, that is why we have 3-4 reps (and full reporting on the internet) to make sure there is no suggestion of incorrect figures being given, and if there is a good consensus on what our course of action is at the higher and highest levels, then the decision is made for the riding, and once again 3-4 riding reps are agreed on to go to the next level, either a sub-national level or directly to the national government in Ottawa (or province if this is a provincial issue), where the same process is carried out, and the national decision made, with, hopefully, a large degree of consensus on what we are going to do, and finally our bureaucrats for national issues or spokespersons to international meetings or whoever needs to be is so informed, and gets to work, drawing up whatever kinds of documents are needed, which will then be presented to 'we the people' for approval. And, one might note, all of this can be done in a quite short period of time - this whole process from 'urgent new issue needing to be talked about to national democratic decisions' could easily be done within a month, when your purpose is to actually make a decision - our current politicians, of course, very often have the exact opposite purpose, as they are trying not to do best for the people of Canada, but for whoever is paying them behind the scenes to do what the rulers want, while pretending to work for 'we the people'. (And of course our full-time bureaucrat -employees would have some 'standing orders' of some kind laying out their options if a true emergency required some kind of immediate response, but that response would be talked about and either approved or replaced as soon as full meetings could be held.)
( What? No 'permanent government' meeting 50 or 200 days a year???? - I don't think that is at all necessary, any more than a 'permanent council' is required in your home, or small community - we get things running the way we want them, with well-experienced and honest bureaucrats running the various things that need to be run, and then just get on with our lives, keeping a regular eye on the bureaucrats of course, the same as you keep an eye on your nanny or gardener or accountant. We might have some kind of 'senior council', with 10 members or something, one from 10 similar sized regions of the country, to deal with day-to-day problems or be ready for emergencies of some kind, but there is no need for a 'permanent' sitting government - that is just part of the great party-democracy scam, and all they do is get in various kinds of mischief to try and make us believe they are doing something useful - it's all really nothing more than a huge dog and pony show, part of the great spectacle - the decisions about anything important are very obviously made behind closed doors by those who really rule the country, and to whatever extent they are passed through parliament, it's nothing more than a rubber stamp. But in a true democracy, with 'we the people' truly in charge, living in our own small communities, with the great communication systems we now have, follow what is going on in our country, and are ready to deal with problems quickly, through the process outlined above, or some watered-down version for smaller problems we need to make a decision about - but, as I see it, a 'permanent government' of sitting MPs or other so-called 'representatives' such as we have now is just a golden opportunity for those who wish to take over our country to do so, as they currently have. (and it's also part of the great 'divide and conquer' game underlying everything, with the country divided among 'cons' and 'libs' and anyone else all 'vying for power' - rather than all of us working together as we should be - that does not mean we are all the same, it just means we all work together to come to whatever arrangements and compromises we must to allow for different views and beliefs...)
Yes, one can think of many possible problems with such a process, and that is good, that is what the democratic discussions are for, and we will have to deal with them fairly and openly, as all things must be dealt with in a democracy, and reach agreeable solutions to them - all such feedback loops doing what they should, finding potential problems to deal with, and thus through solving such problems strengthening our process and country in an open and democratic way. The main problem we are going to have, we need to always, always keep at the front of our minds, is the interference from the elite entrenched powers, who have been running this country like their personal fiefdom forever, and will be very, very loathe to relinquish that control through this kind of democratic process, and will do everything they can, in far more foul ways than fair, to derail, control, or otherwise ensure the process does not work as we need it to, and they will be allowed to continue ruling as they always have.
The key, the absolutely necessary ingredient, to making a democracy work, is the engaged, informed citizen who accepts a share of personal responsibility for the things that happen in his or her country. If we accept our current role as essentially dependents in a country ruled by others, then that is what we will remain. The democratic citizen will be informed enough, intelligent enough, strong enough, courageous enough, and trusting enough that she or he has the full support of other equally strong citizens to stand up to and not be cowed by the loudness and bullying or gullible enough to be fooled by the trickstering of others who attempt to dominate by force and intimidation as they always have, and intelligent and well-informed and secure and brave enough to not passively believe the lies of others, to not accept being told to go home and shut up when someone tries to take over their meetings, will be ever alert for the safety of *their* community and country. It can work no other way - we must always remember, that those who would be kings are always ready to back up their wishes with violence if they cannot persuade otherwise, and if we are not at all times ready to simply not allow such violence to defeat us, then we are not going to progress to a true democracy. It will not be easy, blood will surely be lost before we get these parasitic ruthless predators away from our houses of government, but we need to know, and believe, that we the 'strong and brave sheep who have grown some teeth and testicles and brains' can take down the 'rule by blood and fear' wolf, as long as we stand together.
Part III Chapter 7. A Democratic Economy or back to
Democratic Revolution Handbook- Home