Direct Democracy OF, BY, and FOR the people!

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Direct Democracy OF, BY, and FOR the people!

Post by RayArrowood on Wed Oct 19, 2011 12:01 am

I am/was hesitant to bring up this topic, but the positive responses I got on the initial post convinced me that it is/was the right (timely) thing to do here in the forum.

I would very much like to see this protest address the real issues behind corporate greed. Anything less will not be very effective in my opinion. So, here is my take on the basic issues.

Fact #1,.. we the people,.. have given our power away to representatives that have become corrupted by money.

Fact #2,.. The 1% are super rich because we bought into "the American Dream" and bought their products.

Fact #3,.. We DO NOT have a government OF, BY, and FOR the people as the country's founders envisioned.

Fact #4,.. Money (Capitalism) rules the world, but it's built on sustained growth, which is impossible as Einstein pointed out,.. "You can't have infinite growth on a finite planet".

Fact #5,.. We have reached the limits to growth on the planet,. Peak Oil,. Over Population,. Over Fishing,. Pollution,. etc, etc

Fact #6,.. The world economy (Capitalism) is collapsing just as Karl Marx predicted 100 years ago.

Capitalism and corruption will self destruct all by itself even if we do nothing,. but it would be better to start rebuilding society in a sustainable manner before the collapse occurs. The key is self government, or direct democracy.






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Direct Democracy Part #2

Post by RayArrowood on Wed Oct 19, 2011 2:15 am

Only by reclaiming our personal power and ability to control the government will we solve the world's problems and prevent this (capitalism) from happening again. As long as money rules, people and the environment will always be "after thoughts". We cannot afford to destroy the natural environment we live in, or we will destroy ourselves in the process.

We are the wealthiest people in the world. The average world per capita income is about $550/YEAR,.. or about $1.50 per day. Now compare our American economic lifestyle to the average world citizen. We spend more than $1.50/day on a morning cup of coffee at Starbucks! The super rich 1% got that way because we enabled them by buying what they produce. The poor 3rd world people didn't make them rich,. we did! We (the 99% in America) are just as much at fault as corporate America. We however, can at least take steps to correct our mistake, which the wealthy 1% is not likely to do.

At the moment we are caught up in the excitement of the possibility for positive change, but what are we going to substitute for the corporate greed? Have you considered that? Can you accept a lifestyle without the materialistic luxuries that money can buy?

We are living off the resources and labor of "3rd world" countries. Can you give up that lifestyle voluntarily and consume only your share of the world's resources? This is where human over-population comes back to bite us in the ass is it not?

Capitalism is self-destructing and we will ALL pay for our greed one way or another. The sooner we end the monetary madness the less total suffering there will be. Lets get on with it!

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Direct Democracy OF, BY, and FOR the people1

Post by RayArrowood on Wed Oct 19, 2011 9:37 am

In my opinion (and many others), this topic is central to reclaiming our personal power and control of government and business by the people. Let's give the proposed delegates the opportunity to discuss this important topic too.

Ray

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Re: Direct Democracy OF, BY, and FOR the people!

Post by SirNDPT on Wed Oct 19, 2011 11:57 am

Ray,

I agree with most of what you say.

When you really think about it, "representative democracy" is an oxymoron -- like "military intelligence," etc.

My preference is for direct, participative democracy. How we achieve it is a very, very difficult question... but I do know that we have the technology today that the Continental Congress did not have. If I understand things correctly, I think the founders would have come up with it had they had today's [and tomorrow's] technology.

And let us not forget that what we are trying to do here is, in fact, direct democracy -- but it has never been done before [well, except for a brief period in Athens 2,500 years ago!] and there are no models or example from which to learn.

We must proceed, with ample patience, by trial and error.... I wish all those people clamoring on the Yahoo site would realize that these things do not happen instantaneously and that they would lend their energies to our collaborative efforts instead of trying to destroy and self destruct because "things" are not happening they way they think they should.

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Re: Direct Democracy OF, BY, and FOR the people!

Post by randallburns on Wed Oct 19, 2011 2:41 pm

I've seen a lot of folks asking for more direct democracy.

What I've proposed:
let those folks that want to take on the responsibility to do so. For purposes of delegate selection make either
a) having a voter a random selected from the voter rolls
b) direct democracy being an option for purposes of this delegate assembly.

One problem is that may folks simply wouldn't want to vote on every measure in a legislative body. Even congressmen don't read all the legislation-they simply can't. They are lucky if one of their aides actually do.
This national assembly won't be as permanent as congress-but it will be a lot of work I'm sure.

One long term compromise might be some kind of mixed system of proxies-that might even work on the legislative process. In practice congressmen often make deals with each other to vote on areas where they both have strong concern. That might be formalized-and extended to direct democracy. Basically if a citizen voted, their vote would count-but if they didn't their representative would vote.

That said, I dont' think this will get settled the next 9 months.

There are enough activists around, I think direct democracy might work well for a compoent of the national assembly. I'm curious to see how the direct democracy vote would differ with the elected reps. I'm also concerned that moving toward de facto activist representation might move the general assembly away from
truly representing the 99%

The real success or failure of OWS will be decided by how well it gives a better voice to the 99% than what they have now.

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Re: Direct Democracy OF, BY, and FOR the people!

Post by Guest on Wed Oct 19, 2011 7:06 pm

Note: This thread was created in two different places; I've merged the two threads.

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Direct Democracy are empty words.

Post by giogo on Sun Oct 23, 2011 1:20 am

There is no such things simply put. Consensus is a myth.

It is all fine and dandy to play with such ideas in a encampmento of a few hundred people, and yet even there is a form of representation because only the few that are in the GA get to decide. They, even if unelected, are representing everybody else. Athens never had direct democracy, since only some people (free men) could participate. In essence, it was congress, similar to what we have have now.

If we want to talk about the 99%, we need to have a way of establishing representation and voting.

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Direct Democracy, consensus, and electronic voting

Post by RayArrowood on Sun Oct 23, 2011 8:14 pm

Consensus is a great ideal to strive for, but it works best in small groups. The larger the group the harder it becomes to reach 100% consensus. In a mass communications direct democracy, 100% consensus would obviously be impossible.

Many people are concerned about voter fraud in elections, especially over the internet, but there is a simple to solve this problem using consensus.

The reason voter fraud is a problem in our elections is because we have a 51% majority vote and a two party system. Even a 1% voter fraud rate can change the result of the election, and only having two candidates makes it tempting and easy.

The consensus solution to this problem is to increase the majority vote to 75% or more, and increase the number of candidates. If no candidate gets 75% of the votes, we let the candidate with the least number of votes give their votes to another candidate of their choice, and keep doing that until someone gets 75% of the votes. Who will want to tamper with the vote when they know their fraudulent votes could be given to someone else?

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Re: Direct Democracy OF, BY, and FOR the people!

Post by cujet on Mon Oct 24, 2011 10:30 pm

History suggests that capitalism is a necessary condition for political freedom. Clearly it is not a sufficient condition.
Milton Friedman

Is it really true that political self-interest is nobler somehow than economic self-interest?
Milton Friedman

Many people want the government to protect the consumer. A much more urgent problem is to protect the consumer from the government.
Milton Friedman

Marx remains in error, capitalism is singlehandedly responsible for the greatest reduction in human suffering and greatest increase in prosperity ordinary people have ever experienced. And, those of us who know the earth was not created 6000 years ago understand that mankind's been around a very long time indeed.

I'd rather see government intervene where unlawful activities occur and otherwise leave capitalism unmolested.

The most important single central fact about a free market is that no exchange takes place unless both parties benefit.
Milton Friedman

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Criticism of Friedman

Post by RayArrowood on Mon Oct 24, 2011 11:56 pm

From Wikipedia

In her book The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, journalist and author Naomi Klein critiqued Friedman's ideology and the principles that guided the economic restructuring that followed the military coups in countries such as Chile and Indonesia, drawing analogies between the way that Friedman proposed using the social "shock" of the coups to create an economic "blank slate" with Ewen Cameron's controversial medical experiments that used electroshock therapy to create a mental "blank slate" in patients with mental disorders.[68] Based on the extent to which the application of neoliberal policies has contributed to income disparities and inequality,[69] both Klein and Noam Chomsky have suggested that the primary role of neoliberalism was as an ideological cover for capital accumulation by multinational corporations.[70] Chilean economist Orlando Letelier asserted that Pinochet's dictatorship resorted to repression because of popular opposition to Chicago School policies in Chile.[71]

Wikipedia on Karl Marx

Marx's theories about society, economics and politics, which are collectively known as Marxism, hold that all societies progress through the dialectic of class struggle. He was heavily critical of the current socio-economic form of society, capitalism, which he called the "dictatorship of the bourgeoisie", believing it to be run by the wealthy middle and upper classes purely for their own benefit, and predicted that, like previous socioeconomic systems, it would inevitably produce internal tensions which would lead to its self-destruction and replacement by a new system, socialism.[4] Under socialism, he argued that society would be governed by the working class in what he called the "dictatorship of the proletariat", the "workers state" or "workers' democracy".[5][6] He believed that socialism would, in its turn, eventually be replaced by a stateless, classless society called pure communism. Along with believing in the inevitability of socialism and communism, Marx actively fought for the former's implementation, arguing that both social theorists and underprivileged people should carry out organised revolutionary action to topple capitalism and bring about socio-economic change.[7][8]

Looks like the 99% would disagree with Friedman and agree with Marx to me!

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Re: Direct Democracy OF, BY, and FOR the people!

Post by johnmulkins on Mon Oct 31, 2011 1:05 am

First challenge, then end the systemic dysfunction preventing representational governance.

I am re-posting this message because I think it needs everyone's consideration. Thanks.

Unless we are forming a break away Country, issues will continue to arise until we dismantle the systemic dysfunction blocking real progress on the issues. The intentional undermining of our elections, and our media, is the consequent AND result of the way we (don't) control corporations and (don't) have policies which reflect the will of the People.

Draft resolutions which reform our Corporate Governance laws, refresh our Media, revitalize our Elections, and brings sunlight to our policy-making, and you defeat the cabal using the system against us. Do this in a "People's Congress" in D.C. before the summer recess 2012, and those resolutions will dominate the national dialog going into the election.

If Congress refuses to grant us a more representational and democratic Republic, then they can come home and hear about it from their constituents! If they agree to theses reforms, we all win big. If not, we establish our own institution to govern, like they did in S. Africa, New Zealand, Norway and Tunisia, Egypt and soon, America!

The proposal for a People's Congress is already on line and can be used, copied, amended or ignored by Occupy if we like. Because PC believes in the process and goals so far identified by the Occupy, the Peoples Congress fully endorses the Occupy Movement and any decision it makes.

The link to the PC is here:
http://peoplescongress.org/

The introduction to establishing a new institution for our own governance is here:
http://peoplescongress.org/2011/10/introducing-idea-people%E2%80%99s-convention/

Have a good time with this one! It's very central to the planning. Would love to talk with you as well since it's all that much more effective.

Call anytime.
John 510-381-3863

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Re: Direct Democracy OF, BY, and FOR the people!

Post by tomwcraig on Mon Oct 31, 2011 1:21 pm

Actually, the major problem that we have that triggered the OWS movement and the TEA Parties is the LACK of Capitalism. In REAL Capitalism, the banks, GM, Chrysler, AIG, etc. would have failed and gone into bankruptcy. Instead, CONGRESS and Presidents Bush and Obama REWARDED the bad behavior of the executives by bailing them out without restrictions on the money they were given.

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Re: Direct Democracy OF, BY, and FOR the people!

Post by Joe Steel on Mon Oct 31, 2011 1:33 pm

tomwcraig wrote:Actually, the major problem that we have that triggered the OWS movement and the TEA Parties is the LACK of Capitalism. In REAL Capitalism, the banks, GM, Chrysler, AIG, etc. would have failed and gone into bankruptcy. Instead, CONGRESS and Presidents Bush and Obama REWARDED the bad behavior of the executives by bailing them out without restrictions on the money they were given.
Public policy must be concerned with other than pure idealism. While you might believe capitalism is the answer to every prayer, others say human life is more important. The bailouts saved jobs and prevented significant human suffering. That's far more important than worshiping Capitalism.

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Re: Direct Democracy OF, BY, and FOR the people!

Post by tomwcraig on Mon Oct 31, 2011 2:52 pm

Joe Steel wrote:Public policy must be concerned with other than pure idealism. While you might believe capitalism is the answer to every prayer, others say human life is more important. The bailouts saved jobs and prevented significant human suffering. That's far more important than worshiping Capitalism.

It's not about worshiping Capitalism, it's about letting the NATURAL course to occur. Jobs may or might not have been lost by letting companies enter bankruptcy. Both GM and Chrysler entered bankruptcy after being bailed out, despite the bailouts having been requested to prevent the bankruptcies. Some people lost their jobs as a result of the bankruptcies and the stockholders of GM got doubly screwed by the government over the bailout and the bankruptcy. Their stock became worthless and then they never received any compensation for it through the bankruptcy courts as would have happened had GM just filed for bankruptcy straight out. Instead, the bailouts made GM stockholders lose all control over the company and the government received all the benefits which they transfered over to the UAW. The stockholders of GM made it possible for the UAW to have workers to represent, by investing in GM. Everything that happened to GM and Chrysler would have happened much sooner without the bailouts and the TAXPAYERS would not have wasted the bailout money.

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Re: Direct Democracy OF, BY, and FOR the people!

Post by RayArrowood on Mon Oct 31, 2011 7:44 pm

johnmulkins wrote:First challenge, then end the systemic dysfunction preventing representational governance.

I am re-posting this message because I think it needs everyone's consideration. Thanks.

Unless we are forming a break away Country, issues will continue to arise until we dismantle the systemic dysfunction blocking real progress on the issues. The intentional undermining of our elections, and our media, is the consequent AND result of the way we (don't) control corporations and (don't) have policies which reflect the will of the People.

Draft resolutions which reform our Corporate Governance laws, refresh our Media, revitalize our Elections, and brings sunlight to our policy-making, and you defeat the cabal using the system against us. Do this in a "People's Congress" in D.C. before the summer recess 2012, and those resolutions will dominate the national dialog going into the election.

If Congress refuses to grant us a more representational and democratic Republic, then they can come home and hear about it from their constituents! If they agree to theses reforms, we all win big. If not, we establish our own institution to govern, like they did in S. Africa, New Zealand, Norway and Tunisia, Egypt and soon, America!

The proposal for a People's Congress is already on line and can be used, copied, amended or ignored by Occupy if we like. Because PC believes in the process and goals so far identified by the Occupy, the Peoples Congress fully endorses the Occupy Movement and any decision it makes.

The link to the PC is here:
http://peoplescongress.org/

The introduction to establishing a new institution for our own governance is here:
http://peoplescongress.org/2011/10/introducing-idea-people%E2%80%99s-convention/

Have a good time with this one! It's very central to the planning. Would love to talk with you as well since it's all that much more effective.

Call anytime.
John 510-381-3863

I agree that we should try to reform our present dysfunctional system before taking more drastic action, which is why I support Michael's initiative to present a declaration of grievances to the government next year.

On the other hand, I seriously doubt if our government will take appropriate actions on the petition, without some more drastic actions to back the demands (like a boycott of big corporations).

Capitalism is based on continued growth in production and consumerism, but we have reached the limits to growth, and capitalism is collapsing just as Karl Marx predicted and Einstein confirmed with his statement,. "We can't have infinite growth on a finite planet."

Money was invented as a bartering medium so we didn't have to carry all our trade goods around with us. At first our money was based on the actual supply of metal resources (our natural currency), but it has since been turned into an artificial resource with no real resource value. Our faith in money is the only think that gives it value.

Banks have used our faith in the valueless currency to create a debt based economic system, so they can "make money" (and interesting phrase) by creating more worthless money via loans to us. Now everyone is in debt up to their ears, the people and the country.

We have gotten to the point that all countries are in debt to each other. So who is left to loan us more worthless money to pay our debts to each other?


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Re: Direct Democracy OF, BY, and FOR the people!

Post by johnmulkins on Tue Nov 01, 2011 3:23 am

I bit tired but will add this for now: It is perhaps the "vision" which matters here. If we successfully held our own Congress, used it as a way to communicate to the nation, deliberated on layman's legislation, and took those resolutions to Congress, I think most of the country would be on our side. We could make it very hard for any member of Congress to not support initiatives which were aimed at creating a representational democracy.
A million strong is a very formidable crowd, especially when it is for a week and it has very clear reasons for holding a "People's Congress". 85% of Americans disprove of Congress. Holding our own has huge cache and it is a proven way to organize ideas as well. We will need something familiar.

The consensus process will evolve, or a voting procedure. We need to figure out if we are about issues or systemic dysfunction. I think the later because it is something every American feels. If we win that, we have a lasting representational democracy to pass on to your kids.

I'm crashing...off to bed. Let's talk if possible 510-381-3863

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Re: Direct Democracy OF, BY, and FOR the people!

Post by Joe Steel on Tue Nov 01, 2011 7:54 am

tomwcraig wrote:Everything that happened to GM and Chrysler would have happened much sooner without the bailouts and the TAXPAYERS would not have wasted the bailout money.
GM and Chrysler are producing automobiles in the US. Had they been allowed to fail, they might not be doing that. To me, that means the bailout money wasn't wasted. The most important goal of public policy has to be maintain living standards for Americans. The bailouts did that.

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Re: Direct Democracy OF, BY, and FOR the people!

Post by RayArrowood on Tue Nov 01, 2011 1:18 pm

Joe Steel wrote:
tomwcraig wrote:Everything that happened to GM and Chrysler would have happened much sooner without the bailouts and the TAXPAYERS would not have wasted the bailout money.
GM and Chrysler are producing automobiles in the US. Had they been allowed to fail, they might not be doing that. To me, that means the bailout money wasn't wasted. The most important goal of public policy has to be maintain living standards for Americans. The bailouts did that.

I have to disagree with you Joe, about the most important goal of public policy beinng "maintaining living standards for Americans" if you mean our present living standards. We are only 5% of the world's population but consume most of the world's resources per capita. So we must reduce our standard and raise the standard of the lowest people.

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Re: Direct Democracy OF, BY, and FOR the people!

Post by randallburns on Tue Nov 01, 2011 2:43 pm

This one is a complex topic. A lot of the resources used in the US weren't particularly valuable until US created technology made them valuable.

The other issue is this:
what purpose does the US serve in the world today?

I would argue there are really two big functions:
a) to serve as the closest thing there is to a microcosm laboratory of the world. Just about EVERYBODY in the world can find someone like them in the USA-and see how they are doing under a best case scenario for globalization.

b) technology generation. The US is still the world's center for key types of R&D-and it is the place where serious inventors want to be _if_ they have funding/established credentials. A lot of the key funding for technology is still centered in the USA(stuff like venture capital doesn't yet really have good global equivalents). Companies in a lot of technically advanced countries like Japan maintain a presence in the US for specific purposes.

I don't think the people of the world necessarily want to pull funding/resources in the USA as much as they want the US serving to create a more positive long term future. When the US gives the appearance it is doing that, it gets a lot of support globally(i.e. like it did right after the Moon missions).




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Re: Direct Democracy OF, BY, and FOR the people!

Post by PDT on Tue Nov 01, 2011 3:12 pm

Personally I think the best thing the government could have done with the bailouts would have been to divide the bigger companies into smaller ones, allowing for more competition. Just as we see in this forum, the best ideas then have a way of rising to the top.

If, let's use as an example, one car company wanted to strictly devote its resources towards electric cars, rather than corner every edge of the market, you might actually see more people driving them (maybe). Even if not, my guess is that the technological advances would be greater because more resources would be put into their development.

This is pretty much what happened during the "space race" between us and the Soviets.

Healthy competition tends to breed innovation, and we all seem to benefit from that.

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Re: Direct Democracy OF, BY, and FOR the people!

Post by kclaytor on Wed Nov 02, 2011 4:34 am

California added participatory democracy to combat the railroads controlling the California government. Switzerland added participatory democracy to their government (that had been modeled after our federal government) during the industrial revolution. I presume to combat industrialists controlling their government. Some places have used this fix to combat corporate control of government before. We need to add this to our federal government.

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Re: Direct Democracy OF, BY, and FOR the people!

Post by kclaytor on Wed Nov 02, 2011 4:42 am

johnmulkins wrote:I bit tired but will add this for now: It is perhaps the "vision" which matters here. If we successfully held our own Congress, used it as a way to communicate to the nation, deliberated on layman's legislation, and took those resolutions to Congress, I think most of the country would be on our side. We could make it very hard for any member of Congress to not support initiatives which were aimed at creating a representational democracy.
A million strong is a very formidable crowd, especially when it is for a week and it has very clear reasons for holding a "People's Congress". 85% of Americans disprove of Congress. Holding our own has huge cache and it is a proven way to organize ideas as well. We will need something familiar.

The consensus process will evolve, or a voting procedure. We need to figure out if we are about issues or systemic dysfunction. I think the later because it is something every American feels. If we win that, we have a lasting representational democracy to pass on to your kids.

I disagree that it will be lasting if we stick with representative democracy. We may clean it up for now, but eventually as people forget, the bad will come back if we don't give the people more power in the government. We could model it after Switzerland, which originally copied our Federal structure, but then added participatory democracy to it during the industrial revolution. They have the powers of initiative, referendum and recall. They use referendum the most. That is where they can vote on any law they have and basically veto it or pass it. When a law is called for referendum, their parliament usually fixes it before it gets voted on by the people. It keeps their representatives responsive to the people. Initiative is where the people can vote on a new law. They use it much less, and have historically only passed conservative laws with it. Recall is where they can vote a representative out of office early.

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Re: Direct Democracy OF, BY, and FOR the people!

Post by kclaytor on Wed Nov 02, 2011 4:51 am

RayArrowood wrote:
I have to disagree with you Joe, about the most important goal of public policy beinng "maintaining living standards for Americans" if you mean our present living standards. We are only 5% of the world's population but consume most of the world's resources per capita. So we must reduce our standard and raise the standard of the lowest people.

I agree with you Ray. I don't think we necessarily need to make the living standard of everywhere in the world equal, but we need to stop oppressing people to maintain our standard. Additionally, with some slow changes to the US we could lower our need for things like tons of oil, without it being painful. We've just zoned ourselves in a very unsustainable way where everyone has to drive everywhere in the great expanses of suburbs. Over time we could just change zoning to allow more mixing of businesses, farms and homes to reduce our oil needs, and we wouldn't even have to feel like our standard of living was lower. Plus, if we got more solar power going on homes everywhere, we would have lower electrical needs, so again wouldn't need to use as much, but wouldn't feel like our standard of living was less.

The way we are set up to live keeps us having to pay money to oil companies, electric companies, cell phone companies, grocery stores, etc. If we find ways to not have to pay all those monthly bills, we will be both living in a more sustainable way, and reducing our standard of living without feeling like we are reducing our standard of living.

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Re: Direct Democracy OF, BY, and FOR the people!

Post by kclaytor on Wed Nov 02, 2011 5:25 am

I would also like to add that Iceland used direct democracy (a referendum) to choose not to bail out their banks.

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Re: Direct Democracy OF, BY, and FOR the people!

Post by RayArrowood on Wed Nov 02, 2011 1:00 pm

I like what I've read here about Switzerland and other direct democracy experiments. Those are all good models for us to try.

I keep coming back to the role of government as a basis for decisions. The big question is how can we use government to promote a sustainable lifestyle for everyone on the planet?

I submit that providing quality education, healthcare, and public transportation, are essential roles of government. What are other essential roles,.. Housing and food maybe?

I know some will say national defense, which I can understand, especially right now. I think eventually we will be able to eliminate national defense once the people of the world control government actions.

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Re: Direct Democracy OF, BY, and FOR the people!

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