Direct Democracy OF, BY, and FOR the people!

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

Post by johnmulkins on Tue Nov 01, 2011 2:23 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 6:54 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 12:18 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 1:43 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 2:12 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 3:34 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 3:42 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 3:51 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 4:25 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 12:00 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!

Post by PDT on Wed Nov 02, 2011 12:11 pm

energy

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

Post by BradB on Wed Nov 02, 2011 12:13 pm

I tend to support a hybrid concept…. Direct Democracy, with Representation, and a People’s Veto …

here’s my take…

Direct Democracy…. one person one vote … is the moral & right thing to do….
Representation… (if not corrupted) … help’s advance the ideas…it keeps the focus on issues … it helps educate the issues to more… it’s very existence keeps the issues in the spot-light… it also provides jobs… and reduces apathy… the problem we are having now is that it is corrupted and wields too much power…

We can keep Representation working for us … there are many ideas on the OWS & NYCGA sites that will force the Rep’s to represent the people….and it will work if we have a “People’s Veto” to insure it…

So we start with Direct Democracy … we have a vote at Community level… then Representative delivers our vote… since we already have the People’s vote.. it will be hard for the Rep to vote his/her own way .. no? …

If a Rep does not deliver the vote of the constituents… we remove him/her from office immediately…

So now if the Rep disagrees with the people’s vote it would be his/her task to campaign and move the people to his/her views before the Community level votes… which will create discussion & build consensus…

If the people lose the solidarity with the Congress, Admisnistration &/or Judicial … it is simple … we organize and assemble a “People’s Veto” of any law .. at any time we see fit… given some threshold … say 75% of registered voters ???

the added advantage… is that now we have our government working for us… We only have to show up when necessary…

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

Post by BradB on Wed Nov 02, 2011 12:48 pm

a reply from ....Jimboiam (Mobile, AL) 1 points 8 minutes ago
So you support a pure democracy? Would you have supported a direct democracy in 2010? There would have been tons of anti abortion bills, bills ending medicare, ending social security, etc. Would you have been happy with the result considering it was a widespread conservative victory? Democracy is 51% of the people ruling over the other 49%. It is not a stable form of government.

good points imo
http://occupywallst.org/forum/direct-democracy-with-representation-and-a-peoples/


Last edited by BradB on Wed Nov 02, 2011 12:58 pm; edited 1 time in total

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

Post by randallburns on Wed Nov 02, 2011 12:54 pm


Scientific polling has served as a major check on politicians. At least with scientific polling we can tell what at a specific time people think about laws. However, politicians can and do still pass laws against popular consensus. One good example is H-1b expansion in 1998. H-1b is basically a return to indentured servitude in the US. H-1b lets major corporations hire engineers from China, India or other countries to work in the US(the only real requirement is a college degree). About 50% of H-1b holders eventually get green cards. IEEE ran a poll that suggested when the law was explained to folks that 80% thought it was a bad idea.

For purposes of comparison:
Only 80% of folks polled in brooklyn after the US was exposing the nature of Nazi concentration camps, supported US entry into WW II. 80% consensus on a major issue by the general public is extremely strong consensus.
http://www.ieeeusa.org/communications/releases/_private/1998/pr091698.html

However, Congress overrode public will, with the aid of hundreds of millions of collars from major tech companies-and people like Bill Gates.

How could this happen? Well even though the public opposed that law, most voters have higher priorities in picking how they will vote-and many times politicians can talk one way and vote another.

I think an expanded role of direct democracy is probably a good idea. However, Ballot fatigue is a major issue. Getting folks to vote endlessly on referendums is hard. I think people really want to vote on stuff they feel is important.

How do choose referendums? I'd like to see increased use of citizens assemblies(kind of like juries used for legisative purposes but selected at random from the voter roles). I think we could also see increased use of revocable proxy voting.

To the extent we still use representative democracy, we can still use techniques like STV/Condorcet voting

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

Post by Guest on Wed Nov 02, 2011 1:27 pm

I am being won over to the idea of direct democracy through polling! (Or at least I'm warming up to it!)
I've always been okay with representation in the past, at least theoretically, because I know exactly whom to hold accountable. Also, living in Northern New England, I have had the Town Meeting experience firsthand, and guess what? It's a lot like this forum, in that it very easily gets bogged down in discussion and is susceptible to in-fighting, bullying and petty personal squabbles. Furthermore, a lot of working people simply cannot get off work to attend all of town meeting (which can easily last 16 or 17 hours), so you end up with mostly the wealthy and retirees attending.
Obviously, that skews results in favor of the wealthy and retired!
But if we can (and by "we" I mean Randall!) design a polling system That would serve to keep discussion flowing in a constructive, consensus-building fashion, what a gift that would be to not just our forum, but to so many other people!
Anyway, I'm looking forward to serving as a guinea pig in the development of this system.
Thank you to everyone in the thread for all their great ideas, if I haven't thanked you already.
peace,
Johanna

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