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Politics


Without



Politicians




What is politics ?




What do politicians do ?



Do we need politicians ?



Can everyone do what politicians do ?



Political power corrupts, can we abolish it ? How ?





For answers to these questions check out  Politics Without Politicians

Direct Democracy Pamphlet

by Aki ORR

 



                                                             
Politics Without Politicians

Introduction 

 

All over the world today most people mistrust most politicians.

Political scandals, conspiracies and corruption occur daily in every country and in every political party, hence most politicians are mistrusted even by their supporters. Many believe that politics necessarily breeds corruption (there’s a well-known saying, “All power corrupts”). No wonder many people mistrust not only politicians but politics itself.

Many refuse to vote.  They no longer believe elections can make a significant change.

Non-voting for representatives is a vote of “no confidence” on rule by representatives.

Often people disgusted by most Politicians’ duplicity seek trustworthy politicians. If they find some, those too eventually disappoint them. No wonder some believe a dictator should replace parliament. Others, rejecting dictators but seeing no alternative, give up and leave politics to politicians. This makes matters worse as politicians concerned more with their power than with the interests of society are left to run society.

 

This booklet explains how to run society by all citizens – not representatives - voting directly on POLICIES rather than on politicians. When all citizens decide all policies politicians are redundant as their job is to decide for others. Politicians represent others. Authority to decide for others is “Power”, and it is this Power - not politics – that breeds corruption.  Abolishing authority to rperesent others wil  abolish corruption.  When no one has the right to decide for others, politics will be purged of hipocricy, duplicity, and conspiracies.  When all citizens decide all policies themselves we have a new political system called Direct Democracy (DD).  In such a system no one decides for others, no one is paid for deciding policy, so costs of running society are greatly reduced, yet citizens’ concern for their society rises.

 

No political system can cure all political problems. Belief in such a cure is a dangerous delusion. There is no such cure. Abolishing power will solve many political problems but not all of them. When every citizen can propose, debate and vote on every policy no one has authority to decide for others so politicians’ power is abolished.  Political power works like a drug. Those who get it - in any State, Church, municipality, school, or family - become addicted to it. They should be treated like addicts who do anything to get their drug.

Many politicians crave power for its own sake, but even the few who use it to improve society will do anything to hold on to it.

 

DD abolishes political power by forbidding anyone to decide for others.

In  DIRECT  Democracy no one decides for others. Every citizen can decides directly every policy.  Every citizen has only one vote on every  policy  and represents him/herself only. 

If a policy produces undesirable results, those who voted for it are responsible.

To prevent recurrence of bad results voters must discover what made them vote for a bad decision and reconsider their motives. This enables people to search for causes of  political problems within themselves - not outside them - to find and overcome them.

Direct Democracy can be summed up thus: Every citizen has, every moment,  authority to propose, debate, and vote for, every policy. This abolishes the political power of representatives, their authority to decide policy for others. In DIRECT democracy no one decides any policy for others  Every citizen has the right to propose, debate, and vote on every policy.   Whether citizens use this right - or not - is up to them. 

                                       

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Contents

Introduction
  1. Politics

  2. Decisions  are  not  conclusions.

  3. Priorities

  4. Politicians

  5. Society

  6. The  State

  7. Democracy

  8. Freedom

  9. Principle of Political Equality (PPE)

  10. Political  Parties

  11. Direct  Democracy

  12. DD  at the place of Work

  13. DD in Education

  14. DD in the Family

  15. Basic Rules of DD

  16. How does DD Work?

  17. Problems  of  DD

  18. Replies to critics

  19. Promoting DD

                                       

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1 .Politics

 

The terms ‘Politics’, ‘Politicians’, ‘Policy’, ‘Police’ all originate from POLIS, the title of city-states in ancient Greece. Each such city created its own laws, courts, money, army and foreign policy. There were different Poleis, each with its own special system for running the city, for making its laws, its policy, and its army.  Some cities were named after their founders: the Emperor Constantine founded Constantino-polis.  Adriano-polis was named after Adrian.  Akropolis is the ‘high city’, the hilly part of ancient Athens.    

What a Polis inten ds to do is called ‘Polis-y’. “Politics” was the activity of deciding what the Polis  should  do.   Those who decide policy are called “Politicians”. 

People appointed to enforce the laws of the Polis are called ‘Police’.

Nowadays we can replace the term ‘Polis’ by the term ‘Society’, and "Politics" is the activity of deciding what an entire society should do.

 

In some Poleis dictators decided what the Polis shold do, in others - the elders or land owners.

In Athens all free men (but not women and slaves) decided all policies. This was known as ‘Demos-kratia’ because the “Demos” (the entire community) had "Kratos", namely – authority to decide what the Polis should do..

 

What people call “Democracy” today is a system where representatives of citizens - not all citizens themselves - decide all policies. This is Rule by Representatives (RR) not democracy.  Calling such a system “Democracy” is false and misleading.

In Democracy all citizens decide all policies, and no one decides for others.

 

Politics means deciding what an entire society should do. This is done today by a few politicians. Everywhere today only a few Representatives of citizens - not the citizens themselves - decide all policies.

 

People accept policy-making by representatives because they do not yet see how all citizens can do so themselves.  This seems impossible. Finding out what millions of citizens want looked too complicated until recently.   Today it can be done by electronic means.

 

In Direct Democracy every citizen can propose, discuss and vote on every policy.

 

Is this technically possible today?    Yes.

 

Is this desirable?    To some - No.   To others - Yes;

 

To do politics is to decide policy.  What does “to decide” mean?   

 

In politics there are two types of decisions:

 

1.  What should society do?    (decisions of policy)

2.  How should society do it?  (decisions how to carry out a policy).

 

The next chapter discusses the first type.  A later chapter discusses the second type.                            


                                       

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2.    Decisions  are  not  conclusions.

 

Many people confuse decisions with conclusions.      Decisions are not conclusions.  

To decide  is  to  PREFER.    To  draw a conclusion is to DIAGNOSE.

A decision is a preferance,  a conclusion is a diagnosis.

There are four differences between a ‘decision’ and a ‘conclusion’.

 

1. To ‘decide’ is to choose one option from a number of options. If only one option exists we cannot choose and there is nothing to decide.      To choose is to prefer.

Preference is determined by a priority.  So every decision is determined by a priority.

 

To "reach a onclusion" is utterly different.  Only one right conclusion exists and we cannot choose it according to our priorities. We must deduce it from the data by using logical reasoning and technical knowledge.    Data, reasoning and knowledge - not priorities - determine a single right conclusion.   We must accept it even if we prefer a different one.

 

2. A conclusion can be ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, (2+2=5), but not ‘Good’ or ‘Bad’.  There are no bad conclusions, only wrong ones.  A decision can be ‘Good’ or ‘Bad’, but not ‘right’ or ‘wrong’.   There are no wrong decisions, only bad ones..

 

3. Those making a decision are responsible for its outcome as they could decide differently - by a different priority - and get a different outcome. Those who draw a conclusion are not responsible for its results.   They could not draw a different conclusion that is right.

They are responsible only for the conclusion being right,  not for its results.

 

4. Data determines conclusions, it does not determine decisions. The same data forces different people to draw the same conclusion, but they can make different decisions on it because of  their different priorities.

 

To clarify further the difference between a decision and a conclusion, let us compare Hamlet wondering “To be or not to be?” with a doctor pondering “To amputate or not to amputate? ” Hamlet has two options and must decide which to choose.  Knowledge and logic cannot help him, as they do not determine what is ‘Good’ for him. On the other hand, a doctor must solve his dilemma by medical knowledge and logical reasoning leading to the right medical conclusion.  If this has ‘Bad’ consequences the doctor is not to blame. 

A doctor is responsible only for his conclusion being right.

 

Imagine a patient suffering from a tumour in the leg. Analyzing test-results the doctor concludes that the patient has cancer and says: “Amputation can enable you to live longer; without it, you’ll die soon.”  By applying logical reasoning to medical data a doctor draws a single medical conclusion (‘diagnosis’). If the conclusion is wrong it is due to faulty data or reasoning but not due to the doctor’s priority.  Medical data determines a doctor’s conclusion, but not the patient’s response to this conclusion. The patient - not the doctor - decides how to respond to the doctor’s conclusion.  The same conclusion can lead different patients to make different decisions due to different priorities. Some decide to die rather than live as disabled, others decide to live as disabled rather than die.        Which decision is “Good”?

Can the same conclusion lead to contradictory decisions,  both  “Good” ? 

Can two decisions that contradict each other both be ‘good’? 

Surprising as it may seem the answer is - Yes.

The reason is simple: different patients have different priorities, some prefer disability to death, while others prefer death to disability.  Both decisions are ‘good’ in the eyes of those who made them, as they are determined by different priorities, not by facts, knowledge or reason.   Different people have different priorities, and there is no absolute priority enabling us to grade all priorities.

 

How does all this relate to politics?  

 

Are politics decisions or conclusions?

 

Do politicians ‘decide’ or ‘conclude’ policy? 

 

In politics people vote. Voting is choosing. To choose is to prefer. We decide what to prefer.

Anyone deciding policy - King, Dictator, President, Prime Minister, Leader, or ordinary citizen - chooses one option from a number of options. We cannot choose a conclusion. Answering “What to do”?  is always a decision,  never a conclusion.

Decisions are determined by priorities, not by data, knowledge or reasoning. The same facts, knowledge, and logic, can lead to different decisions due to different priorities.

Politics is decisions, not conclusions.   We decide political issues.  We don’t conclude them.

Those who make a decision are responsible for its results as they could make a different decision (motivated by a different priority) and get different results.

 

Politicians whose decisions produce undesirable results ussualy try to evade their responsibility for such results by saying “I had no choice” pretending their decisions were conclusions.   But they voted.   Voting is choosing.   One cannot choose a conclusion.

 

 


                                       

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3.   Priorities

 

A priority is a principle that determines preference. Without a priority we cannot choose. 

To ‘decide’ is to choose one option from a number of options. To choose is to prefer. We prefer according to our priority. Priorities determine what we consider as ‘good’ and for whom it is ‘good’.  Many believe priorities are ‘natural’ or ‘self-evident’.  Not so.  They are arbitrary assertions we make as without them we cannot make a decision.

 

Before World War I in Europe many believed that ‘good’ means ‘Whatever is good for King and country.’  In the United States some believed  that ‘What’s good for General Motors is good for the United States.’  But is the ‘Good for General Motors’ also good for the Ford Motor Company?  Ford employees may think otherwise.

 

Human priorities are created by people, not by ‘Nature’, not by ‘God’, not by ‘History’, not by ‘Reality.’  Priorities are not imposed on us from outside, above, or below. If they were, there wouldn’t be political problems. Many people believe ‘Survival’ is the ultimate priority imposed on us by Nature. Hamlet refutes this. If survival were his priority ‘not to be’ cannot be an option, as he must conclude ‘to be’ and has nothing to decide.  But for Hamlet ‘not to be’ is an option, so he must decide, not conclude. For Hamlet - and many others - survival is not the ultimate priority. There is no ultimate priority.

 

A BBC survey conducted in 2004 showed that 71% of US citizens were ready ‘to die for God.’ They value God more than their survival. Many value their WAY of life more than life itself. Many prefer to risk their lives for Freedom or Honour rather than to live under oppression, or in shame. ‘Death before dishonour!’ and ‘Freedom or death!’ motivated millions to fight against oppression rather than submit to it.

Is submission to Nazi rule preferable to fighting against Nazism?  Many replied - No.

 

Human society was not created by Nature. It is an arbitrary creation of human beings. By creating society people liberated themselves from total subordination to Nature. In Nature behaviour is dominated by biological needs. There is nothing ‘good’ in being completly dominated by biological needs: it abolishes freedom and reduces priorities to one - survival. Living in society liberates us from this enslavement by making the fulfilment of biological needs easier.   Society frees us to choose priorities set by us, not by Nature.

Life in society enables us to choose our own priorities.

 

All political priorities can be sorted into just five types by posing the question: 

“I want to do what is “Good”, but for whom should this be good ”?  

    The five possible answers are:  

1. Good for me/my family   (the Ego-centric priority)

2. Good for my King/Country/Nation/tribe   (the Ethno-centric priority)

3. Good for Humanity   (the Anthropo-centric priority)

4. Good for God    (the Theo-centric priority)

5. Good for all Nature   (the Bio-centric priority)

 

At any moment we have a single priority. We need it as without it we cannot decide.

We cannot have two priorities at the same time, as we cannot prefer two things. We may want two things but if we must choose one of them we must prefer by using our priority.

 

Each priority excludes all other priorities.  ‘Good for King and Country’ excludes ‘Good for me’; ‘Deutschland uber Alles’ excludes ‘Rule Britannia’; both exclude ‘Good for Humanity.’    Many people use one priority for one purpose and another priority for other purposes but at any given moment everyone has only a single priority.

 

Economic and political conflicts originate from conflicts of priorities. Ethno-centrism of one group comes into conflict with ethno-centrism of other groups and often leads to war.

Egocentrism of one person comes into conflict with the egocentrism of all other persons.

Ego-centrism, the priority principle of Capitalism, contradicts Anthropo-centrism, which is the priority principle of Socialism and of Christianity. 

 

Each priority has sub-priorities, to decide what does ‘good’ mean. ‘Good for me’ can mean maximum health, or maximum wealth, or maximum power, or maximum happiness, or longevity.  Here too we can have only one sub-priority at any moment.

 

How do priorities affect Hamlet and the doctor?  They affect Hamlet but not the doctor.

Hamlet decides according to his priorities but the doctor concludes by applying logical reasoning to medical data, not by personal priorities.  If Hamlet is religious then his priority makes him choose ‘to be’ as all religions forbid suicide.  But if his priority is ‘good for me’, and if he prefers death to dishonour, then he’ll decide ‘not to be’.  A doctor cannot choose a medical conclusion.  Conclusions are not chosen but imposed by the data and by logic.

 

What about politics?     Is “Politics” conclusions  or  is  it  decisions ?

Politicians vote .  One cannot vote for a conclusion,  so politics consists of decisions.

 ‘Good for King and country’ was the priority of most Europeans up to World War I, and millions of Europeans volunteered to die for that priority.

Two world wars changed people’s priorities. Today most people in Europe and the United States have another priority:  Ego-centrism.  ‘I do what is good for me’.  

In his inaugural speech in 1961 President Kennedy appealed to the citizens of the USA to change their priority.   He said :

“Ask not what your country can do for YOU.   Ask what YOU can do for your country.”   

He asked them to change their priority from ego-centrism to ethno-centrism.  Very few did so.

Priorities are programmed into children by parents, teachers, leaders. Once implanted, it is very difficult to change them - especially if this is done using authoritarian means.    

People believe that their own priority is ‘natural’, ‘self-evident’, ‘the only sensible choice’. But all priorities are arbitrary. No priority can be justified ‘objectively’ as every justification is itself based on a priority which requires justification. 

 

Despite Kennedy’s request, very few Americans changed their ego-centric priority.

Some Americans decided that Kennedy’s priorities contradicted their priorities and assassinated him on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas. This event - like all wars - demonstrates that conflicts of priorities often motivate people to kill.


                                     

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4.    Politicians

 

In ancient Athens citizens concerned with the Polis were known as ‘Polites’. The “Polites” proposed policies. Today ‘politicians’ do not "propose" a policy but decide policy for all citizens while the vast majority of citizens cannot do os.    This contradicst "Demos – Kratia".

 

To vote is to choose. To choose is to prefer. In elections we decide who will decide for us what our society should do.  We choose others to express our preference and expect them to prefer according to our priorities. They are supposed to serve as a mere extension of us.  

In reality they impose their own priorities on us.

 

Why choose others to prefer on our behalf?  Why can’t we choose ourselves what we prefer our society to do ?  We elect representatives because to find out what millions of citizens prefer was very slow and difficult, while policies must often be decided quickly.

 

The easiest way to decide policies for a whole society was to authorize one person to decide for all. Therefore for many years, in most societies, one person (Chieftain, King, Emperor) decided what an entire society should do. Often, that person’s priority was to make authority to decide for all into property of his family.  Eventually people rejected such authority and elected representatives to decide policies for them.  If one politician represents 100,000 citizens, 500 politicians represent 50 million citizens. These 500 can sit in a medium-sized hall to debate (‘parler’ in Parliament or ‘congregate’ in Congress) and vote by raising hands. Representatives make many decisions daily for those who elected them. This system is still in use as finding out what millions of people prefer, explaining to them the options and their possible results, setting up voting facilities, counting millions of votes, was - until recently - a very long and complicated procedure.   

Nowadays all this can be done by TV, mobile phones, or magnetic cards.

 

Many believe that politicians apply the preferences of those who elected them. Usually they don’t.  Nor do they possess a special skill for deciding. Every decision is determined by a priority, not by a skill.  Decision-making is a role, not a skill; everyone makes decisions daily. The Athenian philosopher Plato - who opposed Democracy - argued that decision-making is a skill like that of a ship’s captain who steers a ship in a particular direction by using knowledge of ships and navigation.  But society is not a ship. All passengers on a ship want to reach the same destination, but not all citizens in society want the same policy since they have different priorities. Politicians need some skills to get Power, like conspiracy (to defeat rivals); flattery (to get the support of superiors); and hypocrisy (to win voters) but they need no special skill for deciding policy.

Politicians decide policy according to their personal priority like everyone else.

 

The citizens of ancient Athens, who invented Democracy, declared: “Every cook can govern.”   We see this is true when Arnold Schwarzenegger, a muscle man who became an actor, serves as Governor of California. He can decide for all citizens without any special skill or training because all decisions are determined by priorities not by a special skill.

Arnold has priorities just like anyone else.  In 1980 Ronald Reagan, another Hollywood actor, became President of the USA. Did he possess a special skill required for being President?

Not at all. No President has a special skill required for being President, Acting as President is a role, not a profession. It can never become a profession.

Anyone can act as President.  Whether he’ll be good (for whom?) or bad (for whom?) depends on the priorities of those who comment on his decisions.

 

Forecasting the outcome of a policy does require knowledge and skill, which are provided by experts who study the various options and their possible outcomes. Such experts explain to the President the various options and their possible results, but they do not decide which option to choose. The President decides. Experts rarely decide policy, but when they do, it is their priorities, not their expertise, that determines their decision.

 

A President acts like the jury in a court of law. Jury members are not legal experts. They listen to lawyers, to witnesses, and the judge, and then decide whether the defendant is guilty or not. When witnesses contradict each other, jurors must decide whom to believe. They do so according to their preferences, not according to their legal knowledge.

 

Politicians decide what society will do.

The State carries out these decisions.  

 

This raises two questions:

 

1.  What is ‘Society’?   and  

 

2.   What is ‘The State’?

 

                                      

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5.       Society

 

Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s Prime Minister during the 1980s, once said: “There is no such thing as society, there are only individuals and families.”   She said this to justify her policy of privatization, arguing that coal mines, railways, electricity plants, must be run exclusively for profit, not as a service to ‘Society’, which is - according to her - a fiction, not a reality.

 

At first it seems she is right.  We see no entity called ‘Society’. We see only people.

But if she is right, then one can also say: “There is no such thing as an Army, there are only people wearing uniforms.” We know this is nonsense. An Army is more than people wearing uniforms. The difference between an Army and people wearing military uniforms is not in the way they look but in the way they behave. People wearing military uniforms as a fashion do not obey orders and do not act together according to a plan. They do not risk their lives or kill others, even if ordered to do so.   Only soldiers in an Army do so.

 

The difference between “people” and “society” is not in how they look but in how they behave. A ‘society’ is not merely people living next to each other but people behaving according to rules accepted by all of them.  These rules - known as ‘laws’ - are made to resolve conflicts between people, and are accepted by most people in a society.

Obedience to laws makes “people” into a ‘society’.  Different societies make different laws, but only when a group of people accepts the same laws do they become a society.  Not everyone obeys every law, but most of the time most people obey most laws.  Some do so out of fear of punishment, but most people in most societies obey most laws because they know that without laws there will be constant strife and living together will be impossible.  A crowd of people, each obeying their private laws, as in frontier towns in the ‘Wild West’ of the United States in the 19th century, is not a society.  It is merely a crowd without cohesion.  Such crowds lack stability and viability. They live in constant strife, lack communality, and eventually fall apart. American Indians used to say the “Wild West” became ‘Wild’ only after the whites arrived.  It became wild because each white immigrant obeyed only his own laws.   When people obey only their private rules they constantly fight each other and ‘society’ does not exist.

 

Before creating societies, hominoids were just another species of apes lacking speech and thought. Life in society produced speech and thought thus ‘humanizing’ primates.  Speech and thought are not produced by Nature but by Society.   If, as Margaret Thatcher said, Society does not exist, then speech, language, and thinking, could not exist either.

 

                                      

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6.     The  State

 As we have seen, people living together and obeying accepted rules are a society.

To make the rules (“Laws”), to enforce them and defend them, people created special systems. All of them together are - ‘the State’.  The components of the State are:

1  Parliament - a group to discuss and decide laws and policies for an entire society.

2. Government - a commitee deciding how to carry out each policy. 

3. Courts, Police, and Prisons –  people trained and organized to enforce the Laws;

4. An Army - people organized, and armed, to attack other societies or defend their

     society  from others.

     All these together are   “The State”.

 

The content of the laws depends on their makers. If one person makes the Laws they will depend on that person’s priorities. If a group makes them they will depend on the group’s priorities.Peoples’ survival depended on society and society depended on laws accepted by all.  In the past people attributed the creation of laws to God. The laws were deemed to come from God.  Laws were engraved in stone to be permanent and visible (n Hebrew ‘to make a law’ means ‘to engrave in stone’.)  The Bible story about God giving the Ten Commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai is an example of the belief that the laws by which a society lives are made by God..  According to the Bible Moses engraved them on two stone tablets, but he recieved them from God. 

Mohammed too was convinced that God dictated the Koran to him.

 

Actually it is people who make all laws. Moses - not God - created the Ten Commandments, and Muhamad - not God - created the Koran.  Human beings, not Gods, make laws and States, and they can -  and  do  - change them.  Every State is designed, created, maintained and paid for by all the citizens and they have a right to change it whenever they so wish.

 

The basic issue of politics is:    Who makes the laws and policies of a society ?

Until four centuries ago the answer was - the King. 

Many citizens opposed laws and policies made by kings and decided to make the laws themselves.  No King liked this.  A violent conflict between kings and citizens started.  The King called for ‘Law and Order’ denouncing the citizens as ‘outlaws’ and ‘lawless’.  By ‘Law and Order’ he meant his Law and his Order. The citizens wanted the “Law and Order” they made themselves. The conflict between the citizens and the king was not conflict of ‘law vs. lawlessness’ or ‘order vs. disorder’. It was a conflict of “King’s law” vs. “Citizens’ law” and ‘King’s order’ vs. ‘citizens’ order’.   Eventually the citizens won, but the issue, ‘Who makes the laws and who decides what the Order should be?’  Is still with us today.

Nowadays ‘law and order’ is decided by politicians, yet many citizens disagree with many laws and much of this ‘order’.   Today we can have a system where all citizens - not their representatives - decide what the laws and the order should be.

Such a system is a Direct Democracy (DD).  It is a society run directly by all its citizens. This will be denounced as ‘Disorder’ and ‘Lawless’ by those who prefer Rule by Representatives (RR).  A system where citizens are represented by others but can represent themselves directly and determine the laws and the order themselves,  is not a  democracy.

This raises the question: What is Democracy?

                                     

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7.   Democracy

 

Democracy was invented in the ancient city of Athens by Cleisthenes about 2,500 years ago. In Greek, ‘Demos’ means ‘the people of the community’; ‘Kratos’ means ‘power’ or ‘authority to decide’. ‘Demos-kratia’ (Demokratia) means ‘a system to decide what a group should do where all members have the right to participate in all decisions’. Nowadays we would call this a ‘Direct Democracy’ as citizens themselves - not their representatives - decide all policies.  In Athenian Demos-kratia all free adult men (but not women or slaves) decided all the laws and policies of their society. This was not ‘rule by referendum’ asking citizens to vote on questions set by others.   Every citizen could propose every law and policy, amend or debate it, and vote on it.

 

Denying women and slaves to propose and vote on policy is a major fault, but in most ancient societies also free men could not decide policy or law. Only kings or elders made all laws and policies.       Athenian demos-kratia was unique by enabling all free men to vote.

 

Today we still admire Egypt’s pyramids, but they are not something we can use. Yet Athenian democracy is something we can use today. ‘Democracy’ is still very much in demand, though its content and form have been perverted beyond recognition.

 

Athenian democracy produced the philosophies of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. It invented Theatre, Drama, Persona, Tragedy, Comedy, the plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Aristophanes, and the method of proof by logical argument. We still use them today. They were created in Athens, not in Sparta which was nearby but was run by two kings and a council of elders.    Philosophy, Theatre, Tragedy, Persona, grew from the public debates on policy which took place before voting, in a square known as the ‘Agora’. Every citizen could express his views in the Agora. On controversial issues there was even a duty (called ‘Parhesia’) to express views publicly - silence was punished by law.

All citizens debated and voted directly on all laws and policies of Athens..

 

In Athenian democracy there were no elections. Citizens appointed people to carry out policies. Such appointments were made by lottery, not by election. Posts were granted for one year only. No one could serve two consecutive years. Each year new lotteries appointed new people and the outgoing ones had to account for their deeds and were punished for failures. Appointing officials by lottery prevented the formation of an elite and eliminated competition and corruption.

 

This is utterly different from what we call ‘Democracy’ today.

Nowadays ‘Democracy’ means electing a few politicians to decide for all citizens. 

This contradicts the meaning and spirit of original democracy where all citizens decided all policies, without representatives.

In  Demos-Kratia all citizens decide all policies.

Politics without Politicians is the authentic, original, meaning of  Athenian Demos-kratia.

                                     

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8.     Freedom

 

To be "Free" is to live by one's own decisions. ‘Freedom’ means living by self-made decisions. Those living by their own decisions are free.

Those who live - knowingly or unknowingly - by other people’s decisions, are not free.

 

Total freedom is impossible in any society.   It is possible only when one lives - voluntarily - isolated from all people. Living with others requires accepting, occasionaly, their decisions, and limiting one’s own decisions so they do not harm others. Even two people living together voluntarily have disagreements, and each must, occasionally, accept decisions of the other. If the same person always accepts others’ decisions, that person is oppressed. But if people take turns in accepting others’ decisions they limit their freedom - voluntarily - for the sake of living together. This occurs in most families, communities, cities, and societies.

In society people agree to obey decisions of others if others in turn obey decisions of theirs.

If the same person or group always has to bow to decisions of others, they are oppressed.

Total freedom for every member of a group is impossible in any group, even in the smallest anarchist commune.

 

Most people prefer to live in groups such as family, tribe, society, with partial, rather than total, freedom. However, there are different degrees of partial freedom. Living under elected rulers gives people more freedom than living under unelected rulers, as the ruled can at least decide who will decide for them. But those living under elected rulers have less freedom than those living without rulers. A society where every citizen can propose, debate and vote on every law and policy is self-ruled, and its majority lives by its own decisions. The minority must obey majority decisions but if the minority has a fair chance to become a majority it is not oppressed. These citizens enjoy far more freedom than those who live in a society where representatives decide every law and policy.

 

Politics without politicians (Direct Democracy) allows the highest level of freedom possible in any society. It is not total freedom, as majority decisions are binding and the minority must accept them. So the minority is not totally free. However, those in a minority on one issue can be in the majority on another decision. A minority that can promote its views and become a majority is not oppressed. A minority prevented from becoming a majority by rules (laws) forbidding it - or restricting its ability - to publicize its views, is oppressed - but if it can publicize its views, gain votes and become a majority, it is not.

 

Direct Democracy enables every minority to promote its views, however disagreeable they may be .This stimulates public debates on policy, increases people’s concern for their society, and raises the quality of life in society as a whole and of each individual within it.  

 

Indifference to society breeds boredom and depression. By encouraging people to participate in deciding what their society should do Direct Democracy will dispel their indifference to society and thus the boredom and depression most people suffer today.          

 

 

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9.        Principle of Political Equality (PPE)

 

The American  Declaration  of  Independence declares :

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

And women ? Are they ‘created equal’ with men?   

The formulators of this declaration did not consider women – or slaves – as equals.

They opposed the idea that women must have the same rights as men

 

As no two creatures are ‘created equal’ the declaration also contradicts biological facts.

What ‘equality’ did its authors have in mind ? did they mean biologically equal? Legaly equal? Economic equality? Political equality?  These are different matters. It seems they meant legal equality - namely, that all laws apply equally to all people, whatever their origin, race, sex, creed, wealth or power, so no one is above the law. The dismissing of President Nixon in 1974 for his part in the Watergate scandal demonstrated this equality, it showed that even a President of the United States is not above the law. 

 

So much for applying the law equally, but what about equal authority to make  laws?

Do all citizens have equal authority to propose, debate, and vote ,  on every law?

Certainly not.   Very few citizens are authorized to vote on laws or policies. Those who do so are not legal experts but politicians. Applying all laws equally to all citizens is important, but equal authority to vote on laws is more important. Authority to vote on laws and policies is authority to make the rules which all citizens must obey.

 

Every citizen must have the right to decide what laws society should accept. After all, the purpose of law is to improve the life of all citizens. Shouldn’t those whose life is to be improved decide themselves how to do it? Apparently not, as in no society today are all citizens authorized to propose, debate and vote for the laws and policies of their society.

 

The Principle of Political Equality (PPE) asserts that even though no two citizens are biologically equal all must have equal authority to vote on every law and policy of their society.   Only those who have this equality live by their own decisions - and are free.

 

When all citizens have equal authority to make laws, they can legislate other equalities. 

They can decide all laws of society, including other equalities.

 

PPE must be applied to any group, couple, family, tribe, nation, army, place of work, school, and to society itself.  PPE asserts the right of every member of a group to propose, debate and vote on every decision of the group. Some will accept PPE as self-evident. Others will prefer to die rather than accept it. They will oppose its application to society - but even more so to family, school, and work. PPE abolishes power and domination in every domain of society, in families, schools, places of work, trade unions, and political parties. It equalizes ‘leaders’ and ‘led’, dominators and dominated. No political party leader, Right or Left, will accept that all members of his or her party have equal authority to propose, debate and vote on every policy of their party.

 

Many ‘democrats’ denounce PPE for taking Democracy too far, and label it ‘Populism’. They distort the meaning of original Democracy and write it off as ‘dated’ or ‘unrealistic’. It is a safe bet that hysterical campaigns against PPE will erupt whenever demands for PPE will appear. The scope and intensity of hostility to PPE will exceed the hostility to Socialism, Anarchism or Feminism.    Socialists will oppose PPE no less than Capitalists, arguing that what really matters is the Principle of Economic Equality, not of Political Equality (PPE). Socialists ignore the fact that in all the states based on economic equality (the USSR and the former ‘Eastern Bloc’) only a handful of officials decided everything for everybody, and 99.99% of all citizens had no authority to decide anything, not even who should decide for them. No wonder such systems collapsed without bloodshed. Very few of their citizens supported them. Such systems were supposed to overcome oppression and exploitation caused by economic inequality but being based on political inequality they produced greater oppression and exploitation by denying their citizens political freedom. Most people who grew up in former socialist states prefer economic inequality of capitalism to political inequality of socialism.     No wonder.

 

The collapse of the USSR was the historical proof that economic equality is inferior to political equality - and cannot create it.  Only political equality can create any other equality and is therefore far more important than any other equality.

 

Opponents of political equality argue that most citizens lack the knowledge to understand the laws they vote for, either their benefits or their drawbacks. But this applies to most politicians who vote on laws nowadays. Most of them are not legal experts, yet they debate and vote on new laws and policies. They call experts to explain the consequences of proposed policies, then they choose the option that suits their own priorities. Every citizen can do the same. Citizens can listen on radio or TV to panels of experts explaining a new law or policy, and later vote on it. If a law or policy has unforeseen negative results, the citizens can always repeal  them.   All panels of experts must be drawn by lottery and changed regularly.

 

                                     

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10.        Political  Parties

 

A political party is a group of people acting voluntarily to promote a particular policy.

A poklitical Party is not part of the State.  The State can function without political parties.

If some citizens want to promote a particular policy they can form a political Party to do so, but the state can function without them.

 

A large Party needs people to run its offices, to publicize its views, to organize meetings and talks, to raise funds, to create new Party branches and communicate regularly with Party members. To do all this Parties hire full-time employees, known by various names – officials, secretaries, bureaucrats, nomenklatura. The names don’t matter; what matters is that these people earn their living by running political parties and controlling their work. They decide what to do and how to do it, they influence nominations to Party posts.

Many of these officials care more about their Party job than about the Party’s policies.

 

Each Party has its own policies, but there can be different versions of these. In most parties, different sub-groups advocate different versions of the Party’s policies. When a particular Party wins a majority in an election - in which many voters may not have bothered to vote – it starts to run the State. Its Head becomes President or Prime Minister and Party leaders become heads of government departments. This Party then runs the government and its leaders use their government posts to implement the Party’s policies.  This is how all ‘democratic’ states work today. Actually this contradicts the basic principle of democracy authorizing all citizens to participate in deciding all laws and policies.

It also contradicts the democratic principle of nomination by lottery only.

 

Party Rule is not democracy. In ‘Demos-kratia’ the citizens vote directly for policies, not for political Parties. What is called "Democracy" today is Rule by Representatives (RR). In Democracy Party leaders can decide only the policies of their Party, not of society as a whole. Parties can propose a policy to the citizens; but not decide it for them.

A political party advocating a particular policy contributes to democracy, but a Party deciding all policies for all citizens is blatantly anti-democratic.

 

After World War II, Political Parties everywhere deteriorated in three ways:

1. The officials took over the Party from the policy-makers.

2. Parties began to seek power for their own benefits, not for the benefit of society.

3.  Most Political Parties have become vote-collecting machines.

 

Today, in most countries, Party officials run States (and Parties) for their own benefit, not for the benefit of all citizens.[1]   Many people came to believe this is ‘normal’.

 

 

                                     

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11.         Direct  Democracy

 

   “Politics’ means two things:

1. To decide what an entire society should do.

2. To carry out these decisions.

 

In a Direct Democracy every citizen has the right to participate in the first task, to propose a policy, to debate and vote on it. Public debates on policies are the core of Direct Democracy. In Athens these debates stimulated people to produce Philosophy, to invent the Theatre, Tragedy, Comedy, and to convince people by logical reasoning rather than by imposing one’s authority.  Public debates on policies are genuine only if facilities exist enabling every citizen to participate.   How can millions do so?   Today they can do it - by using TV for the debate, and mobile phones, magnetic cards and touch screens for voting. In ancient Athens citizens debated policy in an open-air space called “Agora”.  The modern Agora is TV where every citizen can speak to millions of other citizens. In DD every government Department (Health, Education, Industry, Finance etc.) operates its own TV channel around the clock all year round. Tuning in to a channel will show a panel debating policies for this department.  Panel members must have knowledge and experience with issues of the particular department. They will answer questions phoned in by the public. They will explain the good and bad points of every proposal. Panel members must be drawn by lottery (not by elections) from a list of those with the required expertise. Panel members will be changed regularly; no member will serve two consecutive periods.  Any reward to panel members will be a punishable crime.

 

The TV channel will display lists of all proposed policies and the panel will debate the pros and cons of each one. Viewers will be able to phone in at any time to question, criticize or suggest ideas. Every proposal will be allocated a discussion time (set by Constitution). When this time is up the proposal will be put to the vote. The public will have 48 hours to vote on each one. Any proposal receiving the required number of votes will be submitted to a second round of debates and voting. A policy gaining the required number of votes in the second round of voting will become state policy. If citizens demand a third vote, the proposal will be submitted to a third round of debating and voting.

 

Public debates on policies, by millions of people, are possible today. Clearly, when ‘politics without politicians’ is established, all citizens will have to devise and adopt a Constitution to decide all the procedures. Unforeseen problems will emerge, but ‘where there’s a will, there’s a way’, especially with the help of TV, mobile phones, magnetic cards, touch-screen input and the Internet. What technology to use, and how, will be decided by all citizens when Direct Democracy is set up. For now it is sufficient to realize that by using electronic communication we can establish a political system where every citizen can propose, debate and vote on every law and policy.  

 

When a policy has been decided a panel will be set up to carry it out. Panel members will be drawn by lottery from a pool of all those with experience and knowledge of the specific task. They will be changed at regular intervals.  Complaints about panel members’ inefficiency or corruption will be invistigated immediately - and punished if it was the case..


                                     

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12.       DD  at the place of Work

 

Using TV for public debates on policy raises the question:

‘Who decides what to show on TV ?’ 

Those who do so , can manipulate the debate and the vote. 

This raises a further question :  “Who decides policy at any place of work, not just in TV ?”

 

DD gives a clear answer: unless a majority of citizens decide otherwise, all issues in every place of work must be decided by all employees who work there. This raises the issue of Privatization Vs. Nationalization of the economy. We see that the problem is not  Privatization or Nationalization of units of the economy,  but their Democratization.

 

Every employee must have the right to propose, debate, and vote on every policy at work. This will make work far more rewarding and efficient. Should employees wish to nominate experts to decide technical issues, this must be done by lottery and maintain the employees’ right to revoke any nomination at any time.

 

Some say Direct Democracy at work is impossible. But is it desirable? If it is then where there’s a will there’s a way. When all employees decide all policies, management and unions become redundant. This will greatly reduce the costs of production and will eliminate most conflicts at work since people do not act against their own decisions. Employees’ Direct Democracy at the place of work will end the misery most employees feel today as they cannot decide anything concerning their work and just oppose certain decisions made by management and unions.

 

Attempts to introduce DD at work will be met by fierce resistance from management, Unions and Political Parties. Those facing this resistance will have to decide how to respond to it. At the moment it suffices to offer DD at work as an alternative to present methods of production with their constant conflicts and frustration.

 

In small work-places, employee meetings to debate and decide policy can be held in a hall by raising hands. When hundreds or thousands of employees wish to debate and vote, they can do so by using closed circuit TV or computer networks and other methods of electronic communication. All employees must debate these procedures without outside interference, and the majority decision implemented.

 

Introducing DD at work will meet many problems, but technical problems can be overcome by using modern technology. If rancour is harnessed by tolerance and anger by humour, DD can be implemented without violence and bloodshed. When those who desire DD become the majority - and implement it - they will transform not only their work but their entire lives and the life of society.              DD can be introduced only when most employees want it. 

Without majority support there can be no DD anywhere.

 

 

 

                                     

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13.      DD in Education

 

In education today most students cannot influence how and what they are taught.

This produces boredom, frustration and learning by rote. Teaching ought to inspire curiosity and creativity. Cramming data into memory is unnecessary when one can consult the Internet any moment. Education today conditions students to accept what they are taught instead of stimulating their criticism and creativity.

 

Direct Democracy in education is based on joint meetings of teachers and students to decide what and how to teach. When such meetings decide teaching subjects and methods, education will change dramatically for the better. Students will be able to raise their problems and discuss how to overcome them. Teachers will hear criticism and proposals as to how their teaching may be improved.   The entire teacher-student relationship will be transformed.

 

What is known today as "Education" is a one-way flow of information from teacher to student. This must be replaced by a dialogue where both sides learn from each other. Today teachers teach accumulated knowledge but in a society based on constant innovation they can learn a lot that is new from their students. Today, much accumulated knowledge and experience quickly becomes obsolete. Using containers in shipping, computers in accountancy and prinrting, sattelites in navigation, put an end to many traditional skills.  Many children today teach their parents how to use the Internet or a mobile phone. This situation has never existed in the past. The Internet enables anyone to consult libraries, museum, or data banks anywhere at any time.  Using computers as a teaching aid can save teachers much drudgery. 

 

The face to face teacher-student relationship acquires a new importance today. A teacher need not do what a computer can do - transmit accumulated knowledge. Instead, teachers can assist students to think critically and creatively. There must be a profound democratization of teacher-student relations. Teachers monologues must be replaced by teacher-student dialogues.

 

Education of the very young does require guidance by educators. In DD such guidance aims to cultivate the child’s autonomy, curiosity, creativity, and respect for the autonomy of others, rather than its obedience and docility.

 

It is up to teachers and students everywhere to introduce DD in education. As with Direct Democracy in the work-place, procedures for DD in Education must not be decided from outside but by joint meetings of students and staff.   If DD in education produces undesirable results they can changed (faster than in any other system).  This is part of the learning process.

 

                                     

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14.    DD in the Family

 

Males dominate most families in the world today. Males decide all the main issues, especially family’s relationships with society outside the family.  Women are allowed to decide smaller issues within the family, especially those regarding children’s nurturing, but they must obey the males' decisions even when they disagree with them. In their turn, children must obey both.  So most women and children do not live by their own decisions and are not free.

 

Religion – and Tradition - support this setup. Many women, conditioned by Tradition and Religion, accept - and justify - this arrangement. Yet as long as women are not free, men cannot be free either.   They are dominated by their obsession with domination.

 

The Domination Setup conditions its adherents to dominate or be dominated. Many try to change from dominated to dominator. This leaves the Domination Setup intact. The struggle against the Domination Setup is not against men but against domination. If women become dominators they merely exchange roles but retain the Domination Setup.

 

Some become addicted to the Domination Setup, either as dominator or as dominated. Domination of children by adults (at home, nursery, school or college) is part of the Domination Setup. It creates a servile character in children, who as adults will repeat the same family model that tries to compensate for being dominated by dominating others.

This perpetuates the Domination Setup in the family and in society.

Families living in a Domination Setup condition their children to become citizens accepting domination by  Bosses, Experts, Union officials, Priests, Politicians and the State. 

They accept domination as inevitable, "Natural" , and necessary, and  seek to dominate others.

 

Only by rejecting the Domination Setup can one break this vicious circle.  Today we can replace the Domination Setup by the Autonomy setup and cultivate the autnonomy, not the servility of  ALL  members of the family.

 

Direct Democracy abolishes the Domination Setup by establishing an Autonomy Setup in Politics, at Work, in Education and in the Family. ‘Auto’ means ‘Self’;  ‘Nomos’ means ‘Law’. ‘Auto-nomy’ means living by self-made laws.  In the Autonomy Setup one rules only oneself, doing so by respecting autonomy of others.  Within the family this means that parents respect - and cultivate - each other’s autonomy and that of their children.  This does not mean children are left to do whatever they like. They are guided to respect the autonomy of others. Respect for others is not inherited but acquired via family feed-back.  Adults with more experience have to guide children (the level of guidance depending on the child’s experience) to become autonomous. Guidance must avoid domination; it should set limits to the child’s wishes and cultivate the child’s ability to decide within these limits. By cultivating the child’s autonomy and its respect for autonomy of others, parents will create responsible individuals with anthropocentric priorities, capable of creating a society run by all its citizens for the benefeit of the community, of society and of humanity.

                                     

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15.     Basic Rules of DD

 

To ensure that a DD remains viable it is necessary to lay down basic rules for its conduct. Such rules are ‘The Constitution’ of DD. They too can be changed at any time but changes should require a large majority (say 80% of all the citizens) to guard against accidental or frivolous changes, so that the Constitution remains viable longer.

Only those living in a DD must decide the details of such a Constitution, but those promoting DD today can suggest some general principles to be considered.

 

DD must educate its young to accept anthropocentrism as their priority since ego/ethno/theo-centric priorities will create constant strife in DD and will - eventually - tear it apart.

As DD rules by majority decisions it could become a dictatorship of the majority.   

The DD Constitution must prevent this by adhering to five principles:

 

1.    The right of any minority (political/ethnic/sexual/religious, or other) to express and promote its views – including anti-DD views, however repugnant they may be to the majority - must be guaranteed, and protected, against any violation by any majority.

 

2.    Any minority must have the right to veto specified decisions provided it proposes alternative policies to the one it vetoed.  The right of Veto does not apply to every decision. All  citizens must decide which decisions can be vetoed.

 

3.    A minority may be exempted from obeying specified decisions that will apply only to those that voted for them.    All citizens will decide to which decisions this applies.

 

4.    The Constitution must clarify which decisions require a simple majority vote, and which require a majority of all citizens (including those who did not vote).

Some decisions may require a preferential majority of 60% or more of all citizens.

 

5.      When 1% of all citizens propose to debate and vote on a particular decision, that   decision will be debated and submitted to a vote of all citizens.

 

A DD Constitution must protect any minority from being crushed by the majority. Minorities must obey majority decisions but must be protected from abuse of this rule. Those in the majority must consider how they would respond if they were in the minority, and do their best to minimize the discomfort of the minority. The spirit of DD is respect for the autonomy of others, including those in a minority. Majorities are fallible and must take care not to create situations where erroneous decisions cause irreparable damage.

 

A critical attitude to one’s own decisions is preferable to over-confidence.

 

 

                                      

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16.     How does DD Work?

 

The basic functioning of DD political system, for any group of any size, incorporates the points made in previous chapters and follows the pattern described earlier in Chapter 11.

 

All citizens vote directly on all policies. There are no elections, no Parliament and no Government.   Each domain of the society, such as health, education, finance, agriculture, transport etc is allocated a TV channel open 24 hours every day all the year round. Panels drawn by lottery from pools of people with expertise in each particular domain debate the pros and cons of various proposals phoned in by citizens. A proposal becomes subject to panel discussion if 1% of all citizens support it. Proposals are listed on TV and citizens can phone in to establish the 1% support required for further discussion. Each proposal is discussed for a fixed length of time, after which all citizens vote on it. Proposals are numbered and citizens can vote on each by mobile phone, touch-screen, magnetic cards, or the Internet. A proposal gaining a majority is submitted to a second round of discussion and voting, and – if required -  to a third one.

If it wins a simple majority in the second – or third - round it becomes policy, unless it is one which requires a larger, preferential,  majority.

 

Every citizen has one vote. Voting on behalf of another person is a criminal offence; so too is offering or receiving favours for a vote.

Voting is not a duty, but a right. However, a policy is binding for all, including those who did not participate in the voting on it – except for particular issues fixed by DD Constitution.

Citizens can phone any channel at any time to propose, comment, or question panel members. Panel members respond, and can suggest solutions to problems, but they do not vote on proposals they discuss.

All citizens will decide which proposals require a simple majority of those who voted and which require a majority of the entire electorate, or a preferential majority of more than 50% of the entire electorate.

Every citizen has the right to propose any policy, to vote on any policy, and to criticize any policy.

Once a policy has been approved, a Committee will be drawn by lottery from a pool of people with the relevant experience and knowledge required, to carry it out.

Committee members serve one year, after which new members are chosen by lottery.

All citizens will decide which decisions can be vetoed by a minority, in which case the minority has to propose an alternative to the policy it vetoed.

All citizens will decide which decision is binding on those who voted for it but not on those who voted against it.

Direct Democracy will be applied at work, in education, and in the family. However, employees at work and students and staff at a site of education can overrule their right to decide all policies and appoint decision-makers as they see fit, provided they retain their right to return to Direct Democracy at any time.

All citizens will work out a Constitution stating the rules of DD for that society or group. Changing a rule will require a majority of 80% of all citizens

Every decision can be submitted to a renewed discussion and vote after one year.

                                     

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17.    Problems  of  DD

 

Direct Democracy - as any other system for deciding policy - faces two kinds of problems :

 1. Technical problems,   and     2. Inherent problems.

Technical problems can be eliminated, but inherent problems are like volcanoes - they can be treated but not eliminated.  They may reappear, perhaps in a new form, and must be tackled in new ways.

 

Technical problems of DD stem from all citizens’ right to propose, debate and decide every law and policy. Electronic communications provide the means to do this but procedures must be devised to protect the public from abuse of this right. Committees to decide such matters can do it, but they must be drawn by lottery and serve one term only. This will prevent the formation of elites controling everything. This applies also to the Executive Committees that decide how to carry out policies. Carrying out a policy often requires expertise which most citizens lack, but Committee members must be changed regularly to prevent the formation of ‘expert elites’ influencing all decisions in that field.

 

    Inherent problems of DD stem from two issues:

1. There can be no guarantee that the results of a decision will be ‘good’.

2. Conflicts between overall majorities and local majorities are inevitable.

 

A decision can produce undesirable - even disastrous - results, completely unexpected by its supporters. This happened to popes, dictators, presidents, representatives, fathers, mothers, ourselves - and majorities - everywhere. The chance that a Pope, a Dictator, a President, a General Secretary or a body of Representatives will revoke their decision if it produced a disaster is small. They all refuse to admit they were wrong, as this challenges their authority and their role as decision-makers. They insist that undesirable outcome of their decision is not their fault. By contrast, in DD a 1% minority can initiate a new debate on a decision that produced undesirable results and this may convince a majority to revoke that decision. This does not ensure that every bad decision will be revoked, but the chance of doing so in DD is greater than in any system ruled by those who insist on their infallibility.  Citizens in a DD need not suffer indefinitely the undesirable results of a bad decision (like continuing a lost war).  They need not wait for new elections, or start a campaign to change a leader. They can renew the public debate on a bad decision and revoke it immediately.

 

Conflicts between local majorities and overall majorities are inevitable. The best way to resolve them is by all agreeing in advance which types of issues will be decided by an overall majority of all citizens - and which by a local majority of those involved directly.

Although an overall majority can impose its decisions by using force this is undesirable as it motivates local majorities to use force too. This leads to an extended armed conflict which is eventually terminated by a compromise. To prevent such conflicts it is better to reach a compromise that neither side will like yet both will accept it as the “lesser evil”. 

Whereas a compromise is accepted by both sides, a clear victory of one side will motivate the other side to prolong its  resistance.

 

 

DD reduces the damage caused by demagogues. In any political system, demagogues can influence people to make decisions that produce disasters, but only in DD this can be remedied immediately. In DD a demagogue can only advocate a policy, not decide it.  Demagogues can influence citizens’ voting but if this produces undesirable results citizens can revoke their decision immediately, thus terminating the influence of the demagogue.

In dictatorship the dictator is ussually a demagogue and must be stripped of his power before his decisions can be changed.  This is not easy, and takes time. In Rule by Representatives citizens must wait till next elections before they can change representatives, hoping these will make new decisions. This prolongs the suffering from disastrous decisions. 

Only in DD can disastrous decisions be revoked immediately.

 

Direct Democracy is not a magic cure for all the problems of society. THERE CAN BE NO SUCH CURE. Whoever preaches such a cure sells illusions. DD abolishes politicians’ power and solves many political problems faster than all other political systems because evasion of responsibility for bad decisions by decision-makers is impossible in DD.  In all other political systems decision-makers can evade their responsibility for decisions that produced undesirable results by shifting responsibility onto others. Evasion of responsibility works like a veil hiding  both causes and makers of a bad decision from most citizens.

In DD citizens who made a decision that had undesirable results cannot blame others. This forces them to confront their motives for their decision, tackle them, and thus break the vicious circle where the same motivations produce the same undesirable results repeatedly.

 

Replacing RR by DD is the logical - and historical - continuation of replacing Monarchy by Parliament.  Both  increase citizens’ freedom by enabling them to live by their own decisions.

 

DD deepens citizens’ understanding of the problems of their society. It is not Nature, God or History that cause problems to societies but people living as a group. Until people discover the source of political problems within themselves they will face the same problems repeatedly, being unable to overcome them.

 

When all citizens decide all policies, no undesirable result of their decisions can be blamed on others. Those who made a decision are responsible for its results and if it produced a disaster they must find out where they went wrong, and why. This is not how representatives, dictators, popes, kings, presidents, or general-secretaries behave, as it would destroy their credibility and terminate their role as decision-makers. Only in DD, where deciding policy is not a temporary role but a permanent right of every citizen, can people admit their political errors without fearing that they will lose their right to make political decisions. Citizens who ‘made a mistake’ do not lose their right to vote, and can admit - and reconsider - what made them vote for a decision that produced bad results. In doing so they may discover - and overcome  -  their former motivations and develop new abilities and sensitivities.

 

Often a minority whose proposals were rejected by the majority turns out to be right, while the majority turns out to be wrong.  Majorities often err and produce disasters.  This happened in Nazi Germany in March 1933 elections when 44% of the German electorate voted for the Nazis, and Nazi members of the Reichstag (parliament), bullied representatives of other parties to join them in passing a law to abolish all political parties except the Nazi Party.

This gave the Nazis a free hand to carry out their murderous policies.

DD motivates people - more than any other system - to learn from their own mistakes.   Whether people learn from their mistakes - or not - is another matter    Kings, Presidents, Party Leaders, Dictators, or Representatives cover up the causes of their disasterous decisions as this could bring about their replacement by others, but in DD decision-makers cannot be replaced yet their motives for disasterous decisions can be replaced to avoid more disasters.

 

Today, under RR political systems, most citizens have no authority to decide any policy and will - at best - change representatives whose decisions produced disasters, but not the motives that led to those decisions. Germans who supported Hitler considered his decisions bad only because he lost the war, not because he started it. If they could decide policy also after electing him as leader, they could replace him when they realized the Nazis lost the war. and could have discovered their own mistaken motives, rather than be judged later by those who defeated them.

 

When dictators achieve power they destroy the means to displace them so only they decide all policies. After 1933 Hitler alone decided all German policies. He carried on the war long after his Army - and most Germans - knew it was lost. If Germany had been a Direct Democracy it could have avoided war, or stop fighting it and might never have killed millions of Jews and other minorities.  In dictatorship nasty decisions - and acts - must (and can) be hidden from most people, who would object to them. This is impossible in DD.

Whatever must be hidden from most citizens can rarely become a policy in Direct Democracy because a majority will rarely vote for a decision to hide something from itself.

 

Some critics argue that DD can produce a ‘crowd effect’, or ‘Bandwagon effect’,  causing people to vote like those around them even when they would not do so in private. Today electronic communication enables people to make political decisions privately, separate from any crowd. Today (for the first time in history) anyone can address millions (on TV) from their own home without joining any crowd. Mobile phones and interactive television enable people to see and hear privately anyone who wants to address them, and to vote on policies in the same way as people already choose films in cable TV networks, by pressing a key on a remote control.  This eliminates the ‘crowd effect’ or ‘mob rule’ in politics.

People no longer need to be in a crowd to propose policy – debate it - or  vote on it.

 

 

                                     

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18.      Replies to critics

 

Many people value their authority more than their property, and their Status more than their income. They will vehemently oppose DD as it challenges every dominant authority - in the Family, in Education, at Work and in the State. Therefore any attempt to implement DD anywhere will encounter fierce opposition from all present-day authorities, and decision-makers. Republicans and Democrats, Conservatives and Liberals, Socialists and Communists, Monarchists and Anarchists will all oppose DD.     

RR supporters will denounce DD as ‘populist’ while anarchists will reject it as ‘centralist’. Actually DD has no “centre” but it accepts majority decisions.  Most anarchists reject majority decisions.

 

Many believe that ordinary people cannot themselves make responsible decisions as they lack the required knowledge. If policy decisions require special knowledge, why isn’t such knowledge taught anywhere?

Every doctor has a certificate confirming her/his qualification to practise medicine.

Why has no politician a certificate confirming his/her qualification to practise politics ?  

This is so because deciding policy is not - was not - and never can never be, a special skill.

To decide is to choose, and no special knowledge is required for choosing. To choose is to prefer. People prefer what they consider ‘best’ according to their priorities, not because they have some special knowledge for deciding. 

No amount of skill, information or reasoning determines a decision. Priorities do, and they are arbitrary and cannot be justified.  They are what justifies everything else.

 

In DD, panels of experts - drawn by lottery - will discuss every policy on TV, explain its advantages, its drawbacks, its cost, and the consequences of accepting or rejecting it.

Members of such panels will answer questions phoned-in by citzens, and providing all with the necessary information to make a decision.  The experts will advise.  

The citizens will decide.

 

Many fear that if all citizens will have the right to propose and decide all policies there will be too many decisions to vote on. This is disproved daily in every parliament as the number of proposals is much less than the number of its members. The subject of a proposal, not the number of those entitled to propose it, determines the number of proposals.

Parliaments require three rounds of voting on every policy proposal.

Proposals failing to get a required minimum of votes at every stage are dropped. 

This method can be used in DD and will reduce the number of decisions to vote on. 

 

Contrary to popular belief corruption is not a necessary part of politics. It occurs when a few decide for many. Seekers of favours from the few policy-makers try to bribe them, while they bribe others to retain their role of decision-makers. When all citizens decide all policies there are too many to bribe. In committees to implement policies drawing committee members by lottery makes bribes useless. Lottery fraud can be prevented, so politics by DD can eliminate corruption.

 


Some believe that DD is far more complicated than a Rule by Represenatives. This is not necessarily the case. Representatives complicate political problems so they will be called to solve them. Politics by DD is simpler than Politics by RR, but even if this were not so most people prefer more freedom in a complex system, to less freedom in a simple system. Dictatorship is much simpler than RR.  One ruler, without opposition or coalition, decides all policies. Yet most people prefer RR - despite its complexity - to dictatorship, as in RR they have at least freedom to decide who will decide gor them.

 

A society can be run by Direct Democracy only if most of its citizens want to decide policies themselves.  Until the majority wants DD it cannot be implemented as no minority can force a majority to make policy decisions. No minority, however positive its intentions, can impose DD on society.  Only when most citizens want to decide policies themselves can they  dismiss their representatives and take over the role of policy makers. Political representatives have no authority to represent those who refuse to be represented by them. In the past kings could impose their authority by force. In a modern industrial society authority deciding for others cannot be imposed by force, only by deception or dellusion. In a modern industrial society if people refuse to let others decide for them then those who do so loose their authority to do so. They may try to impose their authority by deception and bribes but this cannot last for long. Direct Democracy - unlike all other political systems - cannot be imposed by force or by undemocratic means.  Any political system that can be imposed against the will of the majority cannot be democratic. Either the Demos decides all policies or someone else decides for the Demos.  In the parliamentary system representatives decide policies on behalf of all citizens (the “Demos”) but such a system is not “demos-kratia”. 

The rule of the few over the many means  Oligos-Kratia’, not Democracy. 

No Parliamentary system  was  -  or can  be -  a  Democracy. 

 

When the majority - in a school, municipality, borough, village, church, place of work, or in the entire country, decides to make all policies by itself, it will face fierce resistance from all those who currently decide policies. It is a dangerous illusion to believe that those who have authority to decide for others will give it up just because the majority demands it. 

They will oppose the decisions of the majority by all means possible.

DD deprives such people of their authority and income so they will use every trick to defest it. Every DD activist must reaslize that while DD can be implemented locally, in a school, borough, village, or town, any attempt to implement it in the entire country will require a long and fierce struggle. DD activists must prepare themselves in advance - psychologically and technically - for this struggle. If they are unprepared for it they will be defeated.  Opponents of DD will use all known terick, and invent new ones, to defeat DD. Many tricks are deceptions and psycological manipulations designed to confuse and scare the majority. Many will be scared or confused but if the majority persists in demanding DD no minority can defeat it. 

 

The struggle for DD is the school preparimg people for DD teaching them how - and  why - to run society as DD.  This answers the criticsm of DD opponents who argue that most people do not want to make policy decisions.. This is true in RR which thrives on citizens indifference and induces it in the individual. Such critics assume that peoples’ responses and behaviour will always be the same as they are in RR where rulers have a vested interest in staying in Power and cultivate the political apathy of most citizens. Using RR societies as examples to prove citizens’ political apathy is misleading as all RR societies oppose rule by all citizens and cultivate citizens' apathy.

Such arguments use what needs to be proved as a proof and are logically false.

 

Critics of DD argue that most people do not want to be in a position where they must decide all policies of society.  This is true about many people today but not necessarily in DD. Clearly, most citizens do want to decide every policy.  In DD all citizens have the right to decide policy but not a duty to do it. Most citizens will participate in debates and decisions that concern them but when they will have to obey decisions they do not like on issues that did not concern them their response may change.

 

Some oppose DD even though they accept that all it is technically feasible.

These are principled elitists. They abhore rule by all citizens. Elitists denounce DD as ‘populist’.  They believe majorities will make decisions causing disasters to themselves and to others. One such example is the majority that voted the Nazis into power in 1933. That event happened in RR and is not an argument against DD, but against every system of decision-making. Hitler came into power in a parliament, through elections.

Voters in RR made decisions that produce disasters.. This can happen in DD too.and also to Kings, Dictators, Experts, Statesmen.        DD is not worse than RR in this respect

In fact, the more decision-makers the less do psychological whims, phobias and craving for power, shape political decisions. Decisions of a single person depend on that person’s psychology. Different people have different psychologies and their influences often cancel each other. The more decision-makers the more cancelling out of psychological influence on decisiions, thus reducing the influence of psychology on the final decision.

 

No political system can protect society from decisions that have disasterous results. However in DD decisions that produced disasters can be revoked immediately, and those who made them are forced to reconsider their motives.  In RR, citizens can replace representatives whose decisions produced disasters only after four or five years, and even this still leaves intact the motives that lead to such decisions,  and leads to repetition of bad decisions.

 

Many assume that the selfishness, greed and political apathy pervasive in society today implies that DD will be a ‘jungle’ ruled by the unbridled selfish instincts of most citizens. They believe selfishness is part of human nature. Selfishness, greed and indifference to society are a by-product of political systems that prevent people from deciding what their society should do. Such systems depend on the apathy of most of their citizens, and induce it. Every political system shapes peoples’ motivations by creating conditions enabling people to ‘succeed’ only if they accept the norms of the system. Drawing conclusions from citizens attitudes to politics in RR is misleading as it ignores the influence of RR on individual behaviour.  When this influence is taken into account, this argument against DD collapses because unlike RR -  DD depends on its citizens’ concern for society and enhabces it, so its influence is diametrically opposed to that of RR.

This means that DD is not just a new system to make political decisions - it creates new attitudes in individuals, motivating them to improve society through direct partici[ation in politics.. DD  changes norms, attitudes, aspirations, personality, and individuality.   

Making a decision implies responsibility for its results. Some fear this responsibility, and hence fear freedom. This is the attitude of children fearing loss of parental love. Adults suffering from fear of freedom need support and help to overcome it. This is a predictable outcome of parental atitudes forbidding children to take up responsibilities since childhood. 

Fear of freedom stems from immaturity and can be overcome.

 

Some people support DD but do not define it as Politics Without Politicians. They support reformed Rule by Representatives. They want citizens’ initiatives and referendums (I&R) to control representatives. Basically, they accept Rule by Representatives..   I&R merely tries to reform or ameliorate the faults of RR, while upholding it.          I&R supporters refuse to define DD as ‘politics without politicians’ as this exposes I&R as reformed RR.

 

Cooperation between supporters of DD and reformers of RR is possible if both sides recognize the differences between them and each respects the role of the other. Although they must eventually part company, each can benefit from temporary cooperation with the other.  

 

As long as cooperation is beneficial it should be maintained. However, cooperation is not an end in itself but a means to an end. When means cease to serve their aims, they must be discarded. Otherwiae they become ends themselves. The Church was a means to spread Christianity and the Communist Party was a means to spread Communism. Both became ends in themselves at the expense of the ends they were supposed to serve. They turned their former ends into means to serve themselves, thus destroying them.

The tendency to turn means into ends must be constantly resisted.

 

Elitists must be reminded that contrary to Plato’s critique of Athenian Democracy 2,500 years ago, his teacher Socrates supported it.  The Athenians tried Socrates and sentenced him to death, as some of his students (who misunderstood his teaching) had tried twice to overthrow Democracy by force causing many deaths.  Socrates could have escaped, but decided not to. He prefered to die by the verdict of DD even when it condemned him unjustly. By deciding to attend the trial, accept its verdict, and not to escape he demonstrated his support for DD.   Plato twisted Socrates's views and decisions by prsenting them as opposed to Democracy.  This is Plato's view.  Not Socrates's. 

 

Today we still benefit from the contribution of Athenian DD to politics, philosophy, art and theatre. All these benefits grew from the public debates on policies in which every citizen could participate. The public debate on policy in DD stimulates citizens’ creativity, intellect, and concern for society. It develops people’s humanity. It inspires political creativity and goodwill, which are stifled by all other political systems. It raises humanity to a higher level by upgrading society and individuality. It upgrades the ‘person’ from a selfish, bored, indifferent, member of a static, corrupting and alienating political system, into an active participant in a consciously evolving society concerned with the wellbeing of the individual, of the community, of society, and of humanity as a whole.

                                     

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19.      Promoting DD

 

     Here are a few suggestions for promoting Direct Democracy:

 

  1.  Find others interested in DD and discuss it with them.

  2. Think globally, act locally. Set up a local Committee for Direct Democracy (CDD).  in  your family, neighbourhood, school, work or Internet, whichever you find suitable. Members of a CDD must be DD activists, not just  sympathizers.    A CDD must meet regularly to discuss local and general issues relevant to DD, to decide - and carry out - activities.   Each CDD must finance itself and act as an independent unit.

  3. Promote DD in any way possible, by word of mouth, print, radio and TV, on the Internet, in discussion with friends at work or in school.

  4. Every CDD must be self-reliant, but should help other CDDs and create new ones.When a number of CDDs exist, they should organize a local, regional, national or international conference to coordinate activities, to learn from each others’ experience and to assist CDDs that need help. In time all CDDs should help create a World DD Movement to coordinate activities of all DD movements. This does not mean the world becomes one huge DD.  DDs will merge if most their citizens – not just DD activists - want it.

  5. A DD movement must not be organised like traditional political Parties. It must not have an Executive Committee deciding on behalf of others. It must have a Coordinating Committee (CC) to facilitate coordination between CDDs and to aid the exchange of ideas, but every CDD is free to reject proposals of a CC. Proposals from a CC are not decisions imposed on others others,   they are suggestions to others.

  6. A DD organization has no person or committee deciding for others.  The DD movement is an embryo of the political system it wants to create.  Every creation is a re-presentation of its creator.  Relations between members of a DD movement must be like those they want  see in a DD society. Members must cultivate their own autonomy and respect the autonomy of others. DD supporters must not behave as  dictators at home or in society.

  7. If a CDD can implement DD at work, in a school, village or borough, it should do so, and be prepared for fierce opposition.  Don’t wait till DD is implemented everywhere. In small domains DD can work without electronic means. Experience gained from such cases will help other CDDs. However, as long as the entire society is not a DD every local DD will be subjected to strong pressures from those who dominate the larger society.  Local DDs may be perverted or crushed by RR and its supporters..   It is therefore essential - eventually - to make the entire society a DD.

  8. Use humour. Politics need not be grim or boring. Jokes are a powerful political weapon.  DD can be fun.  Exposing RR can be fun. 

  9. DON'T  JUST  CRITICIZE – PRPOPOSE  ALTERNATIVE  SOLUTIONS  to every  social, political or psychological problem.   Be creative, invent new solutions, but keep your feet on the ground.

  10.  Don’t be deterred by those who say DD is impossible. 
    Millions believed human flight,     lunar landings, use of nuclear energy, curing infertility,  changing hereditary traits’, were all impossible.  Lord Rutherford, ‘Father of nuclear physics’ declared in 1938
     that any practical use of nuclear energy would be impossible.  In 1945 Hiroshima   proved  him  wrong.   In politics those saying ‘impossible’ usually mean ‘undesirable’. Check up on the motives of those who say DD is ‘impossible’.

                                     

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