Doing Government (still constructing)
Bruno Kaufman's* DIRECT DEMOCRACY FOR TRANSITION COUNTRIES looks at the past, the present and future. This extremely well researched paper will help you to understand the importance of taking action now to improve our governance.
* The author is Professor of Economics at the Institute for Empirical Economic Research, University of Zurich, and Director of CREMA Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
How to do it? Well, first we need to help people understand the benefits of Initiative and Referendum, and how this would improve government. By providing the links to Professor Kaufmans' papers and other DD information. Than we need "the people" for each location i.e.: local, state, national, global who would like to implement I&R/DD.
Some say, the people may not want this. Democracy is CHOICES and if we do not understand that we have a choice or what the choice is, we are not democratic. We need to inform and educate people about I&R and DD so the people can choose what they think is best.
Some suggestions below, please comment and add your ideas. email@example.com
1. Start an email list, yahoo or wherever, to gather your communities people.
2. When significant people have signed on, ask for petition signature gatherers and see if you have the area covered.
3. Gather signatures and present the petition to the government, in an official and accepted way so it cannot be later questioned in court.
4. The petition should require an election to make whatever changes/additions in the law or constitution of the government. Not simply "advisorary". This would have to be worded correctly before the petition could begin.
5. Write letters, advertise etc. for the election.
6. Keep at it until won.
Some things about government:
If a nation says its government is a Democracy, it implies that the government is: of, by, and for the people”. The question of late is just how much are the people actually involved?
With democracy, and “majority rule” thinking, whatever is voted in is accepted as “the peoples” choice. Thus if the people vote for a communist party, as recently happened in Cheq land, that is their choice. If the people choose a dictatorship or a Monarchy over a “republican” or “parliamentarian” form of government, that is their choice. But that is the DANGER!
If it is the case that the people do not want a dictatorship or monarchy when forming their government, it can be written as such in the constitution and before such could happen the constitution would have to be changed. Dividing and delegating the power of government is an important part of Constitutions. It is here the people can reserve their power, demand referendums on specific matters etc. Delegating and defining power is essential. Presently the "bureaucracies" have to much control. These are the agencies of government. Often they make "policy" which is enforced as law, such as the "Tax Collectors". These "laws" should be considered for their constitutionality as well as purpose and enforcement procedures, than the people decide their validity.
Of course the people can make a “wrong choice,” which may happen when passion like fear is involved. To guard against that, the Constitution can be structured so votes which would be contrary to the Country’s best interest would be “Un-Constitutional” and therefore not allowed. For instance, it could be structured so a Nation could not give up it’s sovereignty through a simple election. Or, if a “Bill of Rights” is attached, a law or proposal could not violate those rights, as it would be “un-constitutional”. It should be relatively easy to retract a law or policy so errors may be corrected. They are NOT written in stone.
As you can see a constitution is a very definitive, necessary document. There are many items necessary in a constitution.
I would like to construct a constitutional outline. This would be a document showing many of the important items which people think are important in a constitution. I would also like references, such as Locke, Socrates Madison, if you are using information from these philosophers and founders of constitutions. If this is your own idea, please attach a paper with your hypothesis.
If you send the items you would like addressed in a constitution, I can post them on the constitution outline web page for all to consider.
Please send to me; firstname.lastname@example.org
B. Bills of Rights examples:
I suggest we all use the UN Human Rights. Many countries have sanctioned it. It can be added to or changed if the people desire but certainly is a good beginning.
UN Human Rights: http://www.hrweb.org/legal/undocs.html
Swiss Constitution: http://www.admin.ch/ch/e/rs/1999/2556.pdf
Click PDF and it comes up in English. The Swiss Constitution does not have a separate "Bill of Rights". These are defined in the beginning of the Constitution.
Note also, the Swiss Constitution is under constant revision by the people, correcting and improving it all the time.
How much democracy?
How much democracy?
Generally power is divided to houses of parliament/congress, judicial,
administration (Prime Minister/President)
Generally power is divided to houses of parliament/congress, judicial, administration (Prime Minister/President)
Now, we want some of those powers directly in the hands of the people. We must define those powers.
Presently most constitutions cannot be changed with out a referendum.
Other matters could also require a referendum such as aggression. To go to war should be the peoples decision which could include the "covert" wars of the "secret" intelligence agencies. This is different than if attacked. The administration must make that decision as it is immediate.
Tax matters, ecological matters, corporate licensing, security, and other bureaucratic matter could require the peoples acceptance.
How to divide these powers will be a crucial question as we begin to take responsibility of our government.
It is interesting that the Cantons of Switzerland all have different
levels of "Direct Democracy". Some have quite a bit of government actions
which require referendum and others have little. However the important thing I
believe is that they HAVE THE CHOICE ! Beginning with a simple
I&R, the people can than decide the level they are comfortable with. As Bruno
states in his paper, it takes a bit of time for people to become comfortable
making decisions about their government. The people will than ask for more
authority as they think it is needed, and they think they can accomplish it.
It is interesting that the Cantons of Switzerland all have different levels of "Direct Democracy". Some have quite a bit of government actions which require referendum and others have little. However the important thing I believe is that they HAVE THE CHOICE ! Beginning with a simple I&R, the people can than decide the level they are comfortable with. As Bruno states in his paper, it takes a bit of time for people to become comfortable making decisions about their government. The people will than ask for more authority as they think it is needed, and they think they can accomplish it.
Of course there are many areas which the people can be more effective in "managing" their government. For instance, the retirement program is expected to accomplish certain objectives. The people using these services can "report" to other citizens and if the agency needs to be "corrected a bit" and the people could demand it.
The step by step process of the people having a greater hands on experience with government should cause little problem and will have many benefits.
These lists are people who would like to develop I&R / DD in their home governments. There will only be perhaps one email a month. The purpose of the list is to gather names and when sufficient numbers have signed on, we can begin to network.
Wisconsin (initially Wisconsin will gather in the US and GLOBAL lists.
Shawano County (initially Shawano County will gather in the Wisconsin list)
Specific scheme for DD
Develop DD I&R This link goes to pages identifying some of the problems of I&R which can be addressed by proper structure and constitutional provisions. Here you will see some of the problems which can be overcome by the structure of the Constitution.
The problem of managing huge amounts of initiatives and deciding which should be considered needs to be addressed by "the people." The scheme below does provide equality and significant power for the people to manage government.
This link takes you to some of the problems I have posted from 2001 - 2002. Although not addressed specifically by the following scheme, the scheme does provide a way for the EU people to correct errors. The Corpus Juris court system takes the EU back to the days of locking people in the "Castle" with no charge, no court, no justice. Scroll down for specifics. EU EC control
Dear colleagues in Direct Democracy,
next to the posting of our colleague Paul Carline (you can read it below)
we are proud to announce you that after six months of deliberation and research (since the Barcelona Forum held by IRI there on March 28 this year - and during the Citizens' Assemblies, held parallel to the last European Summit in Chalkidike, Greece, where we have given personally our Resolution to the European leaders - up until now) we formed finally (Wednesday, Sept. 17th in Greece) the Network called "Democratic Euro-Vision" with the aim to enforce the following Instrument of the European Civil Societies in the Constitutional Treaty, through the Intergovernmental Conference beginning its works on October 4th.We will also support with all our powers the objectives of the European Referendum Campaign
Please comment on the following initial text and join our efforts:
EUROPEAN Civil Society's ASSEMBLY for SOCIAL MONITORING
We propose the institutional consolidation of a new alternative and Direct democratic instrument expressing the European citizens in the context of the completion of the European Constitutional Treaty and the prospect of a future, fully operational, European Union (on federal principles) which will respect further to the principle of population analogies (expressed already in the European Parliament), also the equality among citizens of its members states (expressed in the proposed Assembly), as this principle exist in the Senates and all the similar Chambers of all federal States, that follow the Bicammeral Constitutional Structure.
As an answer to the criticism expressed against the European Union, as far as the existence of the so-called "democratic deficit" is concerned, we suggest the manning of this new institutional instrument- temporarily called European Assembly for Social Monitoring - with four hundred (400) members coming from the following four categories of European Citizens:
A. A hundred members (four from each of the twenty-five members states in the European Union) who will hail from the Local Authorities in each country and express on a legislative level the institutional instrument of the E.U.
called "Europe of Regions".
B. A hundred members (according to the analogy mentioned above, referred also to the 25 new Commissioners) who will come from the productive classes of European Societies and will express also legislatively the professional associations ( of lawyers, doctors, e.t.c.), all kinds of chambers and,
generally, all professionals in European countries.
C. A hundred members (by the same analogy-4 from each 25 States monitoring by subject of their interests the 25 General Directions of the Commission)
who will hail from the organizations of Civil Society, from all sorts of non governmental organizations ( NGOs) and citizens unions with specific interests.
D. A hundred members (twenty-five from each member state again ) who will be registered in lists consisting of conscious volunteers and determined by lot at regular intervals. These members should be interested in contributing to public affairs and performing the legislative task undertaken by the European Union.
The aim of this particular instrument will be, on the one hand, the shadowy observation, control and social inspection of the undertakings of the instruments having executive power in the European Union ( primarily of the Council, the Commission, the President and the Minister of Foreign Affairs in the E.U.) and, on the other hand, the law-making of the resolutions resulting from citizens' legislative initiatives, thus putting into use the new constitutional prospect ( art.46 of the existing now Draft Constitutional Treaty) concerning the obligation of the E.U. legislative instruments ( the Council, the Commission and the Parliament mainly ) to look into every resolution signed by a million European citizens at least, who come from a significant number of members states. Namely, this suggested Chamber of Civil Society could be considered as performing the duty of issuing the so-called "Pre-resolutions" which were also drawn in the past Direct Democratic system (by the Vouli (Parliament) of 500 in the ancient Athenian regime model) in order to assist the Popular Assembly (Ecclesia of Demos) to its legislative jurisdiction.
From the above-mentioned, it is obvious that the enactment of such an instrument, as the proposed "European Assembly for Social Monitoring", will promote the so-called "Direct Democratic Principle", since the social origin of its members and the functional procedures suggested above and furthermore in details confirm the potential for substantial civil expression within the Society of Citizens, serving at the same time basic political components of an integrated federal European superstate.
George L. Kokkas - Spokesperson of "Forum for Citizens' Democracy" and "WDDM"
I suggest this scheme could work for the United States as the United States is also a large Federal Government. Monitoring the Congress, Administration and Judiciary is a huge job. A "grievance procedure" was advocated and made into law from the National Advisor Commission on Civil Disorders in 1968. This Commission found it essential that people could alert the agencies and courts when atrocities were preformed. The problem with grievances is who is a fair evaluator. This body could be that institution.