Subverting the current system to achieve more democracy

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Elleo
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Apr 27 2005 12:17
Subverting the current system to achieve more democracy

The fact that politicians have agendas, manifestos and parties puts the lie to any claims of representation, they represent their own interests and under the current voting system you just get to choose who's promises match closest to your own desires. However, I think it might be possible to work within the loose framework of the current voting system to achieve something much more democratic.

A candidate should stand promising to represent exactly the desires of their community; to enforce this they should enter in to a legally binding contract, which any number of people within that community can sign, stating that if a majority ever calls for his/her resignation he/she will resign immediately. Thus making them directly answerable to the people they represent.

This candidate would vote in parliament as the majority of the community decides to vote. This would make it so that people aren't trying to convince a politician to vote a particular way, instead they have to convince members of their own community; hopefully leading to proper debates and conversation on issues. All the handling of finances and local decisions would be done as per the community's wishes.

If the candidate ever goes against the wishes of the community they can immediately have him/her recalled as per the contract signed by the candidate at the beginning of his/her service.

With multiple such candidates people would be voting at local elections for who they believed had the best ability to champion their cause in parliament and execute their wishes locally. Instead of who promises to do something they may or may not want done.

If such a position were to become popular countrywide, to the extent that parliament was composed greatly of independent community bound representatives it would be much easier for changes which may otherwise have been strongly opposed by those seeking positions of power to take place (assuming the majority of the population wanted these changes).

I don't believe this should be an end in itself, but the more power taken from the hands of the few the better. Making future progress much easier to achieve.

(Note: When I refer to a majority, I'm speaking of a majority of people voting, rather than a majority of the population. Since not every topic will be of interest to every person.)

Ghost_of_the_re...
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Apr 28 2005 17:05

Wouldn't work, it would just give the Daily Mail even more power. In a land where independant thought is so violently extinguished by the man, the word 'democracy' leaves a nasty taste in my mouth.

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Steven.
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Apr 28 2005 17:10
Ghost_of_the_revolution wrote:
Wouldn't work, it would just give the Daily Mail even more power.

What? confused

Of course more democracy would be nice, Elleo, but you're being naive if you think that will happen! Check out the general election threads for similar, more in-depth discussion

Vaneigemappreci...
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Apr 29 2005 10:19

Its a nice idea mate, i think the main problem would be that power is so centralised that even if the elected representative wanted to do something significant, something physical in their constituency, then they wouldnt be able to go beyond voicing their suggestions in parliament, the rule of law, planning permission and the judiciary would ensure that they remain fairly impotent in that respect. Didnt a lot of trots get into councils in the 70s and 80s and were they able to implement any of their ideology in policy?

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cantdocartwheels
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May 6 2005 17:35

no doubt this way you can achieve 'more' democracy, as you can with referendums, but it doesn't really deal with the basic problems pf a parliamentary system. Plus it fails to address the basic issues, as anarchists we are not simply after a direct democracy in terms of votes, we are after an economic democracy in which everyone runs the economy and we control our own industries as workers.

In this way socialism cannot be implemented by a parliamentary act, it has to consciously taken up by the people.

Elleo
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May 7 2005 10:07
cantdocartwheels wrote:
In this way socialism cannot be implemented by a parliamentary act, it has to consciously taken up by the people.

True, which is why I don't see this as an end in itself; but I feel that if people are given more chance to experience a taste of self-determination they'll hunger for more. I believe this system would do a lot to bring a community closer together in a politically active sense and make them much more aware of the power they could wield over their own lives if they were only to take it.

Mike Harman
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May 7 2005 10:34

I think there's a limited possibility for something like this to occur effectively in parish councils (which may be extended over the next couple of years), and Hackney Independent ran a candidate for Hackney Council on May 5th (didn't get it) largely on a direct democracy/accountability ticket.

Impossible in parliament though.

Nikos
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Oct 11 2005 16:59

it may not be ideal, but i don't think its a bad idea. If it was to become popular nationally (bit of a long run but definately worth a try) then it would at least increase the public's decision making power.

There is a current movement working towards having public forums on the internet so that the public may have a better system of contact with politicians. If the public forum idea takes off then there is no reason why the would be MP could not add a "I will vote in parliament in accordance with the reffurendum in my own constituency" to the contract. (Basically have all future parliamentary votes put on the public forum as reffurendums).

The only problem is the funding for the election fee. It would have to be somehow communally raised as i don't think these would-be MP's should be affiliated to any party.

Anarchoneilist
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Oct 12 2005 15:59

Sounds a bit like the "Vote for a socialist candidate"

cross-party campaign. Not sure how it would achieve

"more" democracy. red n black star

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Rob Ray
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Oct 12 2005 16:46

Various parties have come into parliament and enacted exactly what they said they would, accoring to the letter of the manifesto. What they have also done however is vote a dozen little changes which change the meaning or destroy the impact, which while not breaking the contract does make whatever law it is easy for capital to swallow. When you're talking about legislation, the possibilities for betrayal are infinite.

Nikos
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Oct 12 2005 17:31

Well, its not going to make things any worse is it? Anyway the whole idea is that the candidate is not part of a party and doesnt have a manifesto. Theres also the part where if the people wish him to, by the contract, he has to resign.

Then again, he could refuse, get taken to court and win the case allowing him to remain in parliament. There are all kinds of problems with the idea but one little thing which makes me support it. The fact that it MIGHT work in our favour but WONT work against us! red star

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Oct 12 2005 17:41
Nikos wrote:
it MIGHT work in our favour but WONT work against us!

Getting someone elected takes years of putting major time and energy and money into the project. I'd be very careful that any such project was based in living social movements before getting involved, myself.

Elleo
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Oct 16 2005 13:04
Nikos wrote:
There is a current movement working towards having public forums on the internet so that the public may have a better system of contact with politicians. If the public forum idea takes off then there is no reason why the would be MP could not add a "I will vote in parliament in accordance with the reffurendum in my own constituency" to the contract. (Basically have all future parliamentary votes put on the public forum as reffurendums).

When writing that I actually gave some thought to the idea of online referendums but didn't want to couple that with the general idea since at present I'm unconvinced by the security implications of such a measure. I've also been giving some thought to an electronic voting and general community solution based around a decentralised wifi-mesh system and public key-private key encryption but I'm waiting for 802.11n to mature before experimenting in that department (in case you can't tell I'm a computer science geek wink). This would also obviously require public access areas where those without computers can access facilities, as well as the possibility of trained people to act as intermediaries for those who don't want to deal with the computer system.

Nikos
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Oct 17 2005 14:34

I think only very few people cant get on net. There is internet at the smallest of libraries, most small towns and some larger villages now have free internet resources in community drop-in centres, etc.

billysmith
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Oct 18 2005 10:40

So this net voting/referendums idea. Everyone at home sat in front of a computer making individual decisions. Shouldn’t we be looking toward collective responses rather than individualistic ones? Isn’t that just what the capitalists want?

Elleo
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Oct 18 2005 11:16

One of the main purposes of networked computer systems is communication as far as I'm concerned; it offers the opportunity for people to put together well reasoned arguments and for others to refute them, with a permanent record to refer to. It also allows for a large number of participants in a discussion. We're still just talking about a subversion of the current system here, so a referendum system would make sense; but it'd be backed up by discussion. I agree voting is far from perfect, but in the current context with a shift away from one person having most decision making power (the local 'representative') to a situation where a majority decision is taken it would seem to make sense. As I mentioned in the original article it would prompt much greater debate between interested parties since they would need to convince their peers instead of a single person. And I'd like to reiterate that I don't think this is a solution in itself, merely a step on the way to something far more palatable.

In the words of the Brazilian Landless Farmers:

"Expand the floor of the cage before you try to break out."