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Direct Democracy NOW!!!

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  • Direct Democracy NOW!!!

    Anyone up for it? It seems the best way...
    Is this anarchy?

  • #2
    direct democracy... as in "one person, one vote?" nah... that would make too much sense, wouldn't it? 8)

    Comment


    • #3
      Nice in theory, but there is the slight drawback that you would have to spend the rest of your life in long and tedious meetings trying to hammer out 'consensual' solutions to each and every problem that might arise. OK for anoraks - but for those of us with a life (or at any rate books to read...)????
      \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

      Comment


      • #4
        In the US, we have trouble getting people to show up for representative elections. Direct democracy would turn out to be rule by the few.

        Comment


        • #5
          The problem with direct democracy is that it can only work with a well informed electorate. I can see several problems with direct democracy in the US. One is that we have an electorate that can't or won't be moved to actually COUNT the ballots in our current system, rather we have outsourced our election procedures to a small handful of companies that are, for the most part controlled by republican activists and, in some cases staffed by convicted fraudsters. Another is that public policy would then be directly controlled by the slickest PR machine, and I do include all of our media giants as PR machines as they relate to this point. Then there is the issue of continuity in foriegn policy, assuming that the afore-mentioned obstacles can be overcome, you still leave foriegn policy subject to whimsical changes as public trends come and go.

          This is not to say that our current system is working properly. I do think we should immediately abandon the electoral college, which in my opinion was originally designed to give extra weight to the slave states, an to this day unfairly weights the so-called red states, which creates resentment in the so-called blue states who rightly feel that as the greater tax-bases they should be entitled to greater representation.

          I think that there are two major problems we need to overcome in our current election system, one is counting and aggregating votes, the other is election methodology.

          The mechanical problem is counting the ballots. To have faith in the legitimacy of the election, it is important to have faith in the accuracy of the canvassing. I submit that the actual counting of the ballots should be performed by actual people who would be drawn from the pool of available jurors. The process should be based on a divide and conquer strategy where each first-level counter would have a table where (s)he would count the ballots in small groups (certainly no more than 100 to a pile). These piles would then get a cover sheet (sigend by the counter), which have the totals for that pile. The next level would be a random spot check of not less than 10% of the piles, to be performed by another juror and a public servant - ideally a police officer for reasons I will get into later. When the piles have been counted and spot checked, the table can be aggregated onto one report sheet that will be signed by the counter, and both checkers. Then all the counting tables at the precinct can be further aggregated to a report signed by all counting parties present. It is now time to archive the precinct's ballots, and move the numbers upstream to the next level of aggregation (municipality, or county), here is where it becomes useful to have the cop involved, and here also is where the first big opportunity to taint the results appears. My suggestion would be that the precinct poll master and the cop should independantly phone the results to the county while witnessed by all counting personnel, the cop should file an incedent report that should be signed by the counting parties, then the poll master and the cop should load the ballots and the final total reports into a car and drive first to the county canvassing board to deliver the hand written, signed precinct totals, which must match the phoned in results to be considered valid, then to the ballot archival location to deposit the ballots for storage. The canvassing board should use a procedure identical to the precint level aggregation, less the spot checking (ther has already been redundancy introduced by the requirement that the phone totals and hand written report match). From the county to the state level there should be a similar procedure for the transfer of aggrgate data. I believe that by this procedure we could have adequate accuracy and integrity with involvement of the public, and most importantly keep the counting human without creating large administrations to fulfill the responsibility. Further, the participation by the public could eventually lead to people having greater understanding of, and therefore faith in the system. Of course all the complexity of this process could be eschewed with the use of computer automation, but using computers has the drawback of NOT directly involving the public in the democratic process, is highly tamperable in subtle ways, and can lead to "outsourcing" of the democratic process.

          As to the methodology, it is generally accepted, at least by those who have studied election methods, that simple majority election procedures do not reflect the will of the people. The primary flaw being the "lesser of two evils" syndrome that compels people to cast their one vote for the candidte that they think most likely to defeat the candidate they least desire, rather than casting their vote for the candidate they truly prefer. This type of system almost inevitably forces a controlling duopoly comprised of the two strongest political parties, and leaves no room for independant or third party candidates. The solution to this problem is to be found in some sort of ordinal method for elections. Instant runoff voting is one such method, but it seems to carry many of the problems that simple majority has, condorcet methods seem to be most representative of the will of the people. For those who have no idea what the distinction is, please refer to http://www.electionmethods.org/.

          I say condorcet elections administered and canvassed by humans.

          Comment


          • #6
            I think, realistically, that direct democracy could work in a small community, but I can't imagine it on a large scale. Perhaps this is the problem with democracy overall; everything's just too BIG!
            \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

            Comment


            • #7
              "Tyrany is always preferable to anarchy" - Some bloke whose name I can't remember. :(
              Interesting Comment on the political process perhaps?

              P.S. Remind me what exactly a theocrat is. :?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Mikey_C
                I think, realistically, that direct democracy could work in a small community, but I can't imagine it on a large scale. Perhaps this is the problem with democracy overall; everything's just too BIG!
                Yeah... I just wanted to have a way against 'corporate feudalism'.
                I guess you can say we are 'consuming ourselves to death'..

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Judge
                  "Tyrany is always preferable to anarchy" - Some bloke whose name I can't remember. :(
                  Interesting Comment on the political process perhaps?

                  P.S. Remind me what exactly a theocrat is. :?
                  theocracy:

                  a word first used by Josephus to denote that the Jews were under the direct
                  government of God himself. The nation was in all things subject to the will of
                  their invisible King. All the people were the servants of Jehovah, who ruled
                  over their public and private affairs, communicating to them his will through
                  the medium of the prophets. They were the subjects of a heavenly, not of an
                  earthly, king. They were Jehovah's own subjects, ruled directly by him (comp. 1
                  Sam. 8:6-9).

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Theocrat

                    Yeah... I just wanted to have a way against 'corporate feudalism'.
                    I guess you can say we are 'consuming ourselves to death'..
                    Unfortunately, direct democracy in the US would amount to media-cracy (you figure out how to pronounce it).

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Judge
                      "Tyrany is always preferable to anarchy" - Some bloke whose name I can't remember. :(
                      Could have been Hobbes - or maybe 'an Arab proverb':
                      Hobbes recognized the monstrous power of the state, and aptly referred to it as a �Leviathan’. His basic view was that the security provided by the state was of such importance that it outweighed and justified any tyranny that may result as a byproduct. A tyrannical state represented less tyranny than no state whatsoever. This notion has an echo in the Arabic proverb that one hundred years of tyranny is preferable to one day of anarchy.
                      http://www.pakistanlink.com/nayyer/10242003.html
                      It all depends on what you think anarchy is, I suppose. In theory, I'm all in favour of it - but maybe this really is a case of "You can't get there from here"... :?
                      \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by invalid nickname
                        Originally posted by Theocrat

                        Yeah... I just wanted to have a way against 'corporate feudalism'.
                        I guess you can say we are 'consuming ourselves to death'..
                        Unfortunately, direct democracy in the US would amount to media-cracy (you figure out how to pronounce it).
                        :lol:

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          decentralisation and the impossibilities of participation..

                          Ahh the conumdrums of idealism... :)

                          Participatory democracy, instead of the oligarcy we live in. Everyday we all logged online or went to the local TAB and discussed and voted on everything done by our community.

                          Besides of the vast logistic impossibilities NO ONE would ever have time to live his or her life and would be stuck discussing and voting everything and voting on a forum just like this one doing this very thing (come to think of it things wouldn't much different for many of us.) I am reminded of Life of Brian in the PFJ meeting to discuss immediate action about the nessesity to decide to rescue brian, but there you go satire triumphs again.

                          Not only this but we still get people making disisions for others, which does not make much sense to me. This is the biggest problem I have with this and any form of syndicalist control, the people become the new tyrant.

                          How about I live my life and you live yours. We can work together if that benefits us, as most likley it will, or not. You cannot escape consequence, certainly dont need others adding superflous and irrelevancies into the situation, it certainly wont benefit ANYONE. It just perpetuates the stagnation of the human condition. Uh, excuse me I didn't mean to get preachy there I promise. :D

                          Lots of love,

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Direct Democracy NOW!!!

                            Originally posted by Theocrat
                            Anyone up for it? It seems the best way...
                            Is this anarchy?
                            I think that it can only be (capital A) Anarchy if you remove all the power hierarchies that exist to impose rule. By definition, a Democracy (participative, direct etc) represents a power structure by which the freely expressed will of the majority defines how power will be used.

                            So it's a bummer if you hold a minority view...

                            However, what tends to be proselytised by the center and right at the moment is that free market capitalism equals democracy equals freedom. You are free if you can buy McDonalds or Coca Cola or watch Paris Hilton on TV etc.

                            Obviously this is not the case. Power under capitalism is measured by your access to capital. That is, no capital equals no power. The unfortunate side effect of this is the creation of state endorsed ("it's good for the economy") rampant and out-of-control consumerism. This impacts directly on the environment as the government believes that capital growth (i.e. increased consumption) can be sustained indefinately. As they only look ahead to the next election, no one is willing to make tough decisions that would result in a perceived drop in the "standard of living" (whatever that is). The result - maintaing the status quo results in continuous environmental degredation.

                            Maintaining the status quo also impacts on levels of "society". That is, we are expected to toe the line regarding our support for the institutions of government. After all, we elected them to make decisions on our behalf. However, because of the economic context, things like education, social security, health care etc whose outputs are not readily quantifiable in an fiscal sense, are seen as "cost centres". And to make a profit, costs MUST be reduced.

                            Of course, the first people to feel the impact of this are those with the least power in the market place - the capital poor. And as the poor become less educated, sicker and inevitably poorer, the status quo keeps them in line through the promise of a consumer paradise.

                            Also, democracy is only a reflection of a process, not the execution of power itself. Witness how around the world freedoms are being degraded by the passing of "anti-terror" (sic) laws by democratically elected governments. The quality of a democracy is not measured by how it gains power, but by what it does with power and, just as importantly, how it relinquishes it.

                            Judge wrote:
                            "Tyrany is always preferable to anarchy" - Some bloke whose name I can't remember.

                            Must have been written by a tyrant, or a someone who had a lot invested (metaphorically and literally) in the preserving the Status Quo.

                            sorry - what was the question?
                            Does it follow that I reject all authority? Perish the thought. In the matter of boots, I defer to the authority of the boot-maker.
                            Bakunin

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Direct Democracy NOW!!!

                              Originally posted by Groakes
                              Originally posted by Theocrat
                              Anyone up for it? It seems the best way...
                              Is this anarchy?
                              I think that it can only be (capital A) Anarchy if you remove all the power hierarchies that exist to impose rule. By definition, a Democracy (participative, direct etc) represents a power structure by which the freely expressed will of the majority defines how power will be used.

                              So it's a bummer if you hold a minority view...

                              However, what tends to be proselytised by the center and right at the moment is that free market capitalism equals democracy equals freedom. You are free if you can buy McDonalds or Coca Cola or watch Paris Hilton on TV etc.
                              That an illusion to me.. I mean, i want variety, and to be able to support the local farmers in my town. I don't want some standardized crap that is impersonal and that has been made in india. The shallowness of liberalist ideas is really self-incriminating i think. As any good scientist, Marx tried to put mankinds "human condition" inside a test-tube, and that is (according to capitalists) why he failed. But on the other hand there is all this 'yap' about "Laziness" from neo-liberals... To me, laziness is relative in that who has the power and might of being lazy in the first place? I think everybody should work to their capabilities with dignity to have fruitfull life. Should we want to relive the feudalism before the renaissance? Or revisit the 1800's with it's weird taste for angst and decadence?

                              Socialism (or degree's of it) was probably the vaccin or pill society needed after colonialism to begin a process of social stabalization. And that 'modernism' brought fascism and totalitarianism, is a story or pattern that is probably going to happen again. In one form or another. *shivering*

                              Obviously this is not the case. Power under capitalism is measured by your access to capital. That is, no capital equals no power. The unfortunate side effect of this is the creation of state endorsed ("it's good for the economy") rampant and out-of-control consumerism. This impacts directly on the environment as the government believes that capital growth (i.e. increased consumption) can be sustained indefinately.
                              "The snake eating it's tail" again.. Socialist economists are good (whether you are a socialist or not) at seeing the 'dis-ease' growing in the economy..

                              And.. 'Loan upon loan' to get money to "buy" seems really stupid to me..
                              Money needs to get back into the system. You can't buy stuff with air?
                              The 80's and 20's anyone?

                              To just kick Keynes out the door and introduce fervent monetarism, created an unstable society i think. To learn from what failed with keynes was not an option for certain political economists. Reagan just wiped all the ladders and spokes of the economic wheel and let the economy "fly" to outspend The Sovjet Union. At least according to Pierre Andre' Rinfret:
                              http://www.parida.com/reaganomics.html
                              (Shabby site i know.. The guy is old.)

                              I don't know if the Clinton administration tried to redeem the american economy after Reaganism or not?

                              I think Lao Tzu put it best with "Above all..... Do not compete!".
                              There has to be a counterculture after all this.....

                              Cheers!
                              *Slurp* ("Carlsberg! The best beer in the world!") :lol:

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