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(en) Dusnieuws 41 - From the director's democracy to direct democracy A short handbook for a post-parliamentary project (introduction)

From marco <marco@squat.net>
Date Tue, 8 Jul 2003 23:54:59 +0200 (CEST)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E

in English/Dutch and soon also Serb-Croat on http://www.basisdemocratie.tk
We live in a time of excessive centralisation of political and economic
power. In European Union countries, half of all these countries' lawmaking
takes place in Brussels. A broad and coherent scale of institutions such as
the World Trade Organisation and the International Monetary Fund are having
more say over how people all over the world organise their lives. The trend
of centralisation of politics on a worldwide level goes hand in hand with
increasing monopolisation processes in the economy. Fusion between
industrial conglomerates is the order of the day. A corporation such as
General Electric has more capital than the collective capital of the
poorest third-world countries! Neo-liberal politicians gladly praise the
sacred market and promise the populations of the world heaven on earth, but
this 'promised land' seems reserved for fewer and fewer people.


Through these developments, the word 'democracy' has been stripped down to
'the people's right to choose their own government' (Prisma dictionary).
This shabby view of democracy manifests itself in the constantly
reoccurring election circuses where it's becoming more difficult to
convince people that their vote reflects a real choice. The ever-increasing
'de-democratisation' of social decision-making processes leads constantly
to conflict, not only between those who make the decisions and those on
whose behalf decisions are made, but also within both groups. In order to
be able to continue this de-democratisation, the politicians play a
conscious game of 'divide and conquer'. Divisions among ethnic groups and
social classes, for example, are carefully cultivated and these divisions
are used to cover up fundamental inequalities of rights and opportunities,
and to play off the different groups against each other. At the same time,
every form of social unrest that germinates gets channelled into so-called
'opposition parties' and 'Non-Governmental Organisations'. In exchange for
a place at the table of the powers-that-be, they keep society's malcontents
at home on the sofa, in front of the television. The attentive reader will
have understood it already: the author of this brochure is saying that
within narrow parliamentary channels, it is impossible to bring about real
political change.

On our way to a post-parliamentary project!

Parliamentary democracy is a capitalist discovery, which gives form and
sustenance to the elite and to hierarchies, thereby justifying inequality.
The parliamentary puppet show, with its 'professional politicians', doesn't
involve people in decision-making but instead pacifies and neutralises
them. Elections and other 'moments of democratic participation' are nothing
more than folklore that gives parliamentary capitalism the appearance of
legitimacy. Politicians, together with their loyal mass media, do their
best to try to convince us that there is something worth voting for, but
this is exaggerated, to put it mildly. The choice between candidates only
represents a difference in style. Parliamentary channels offer only a
narrow margin of possibility for change. Stick your neck out and get your
head cut off.
We have seen enough of parliamentary democracy; we do not need any more
time to determine that it is a fraud. There is no excuse for the enormous
and ever-increasing gap between rich and poor and between the North and
South. There is no excuse for the continued waging of war, in our name, in
countries where the population already has little or nothing to eat. It's
high time for a post-parliamentary project, a project that not only fights
parliamentary-capitalist power relations, but at the same time brings a
just and workable alternative into being.
The good news is that an alternative does exist: direct democracy. The
pursuit of direct democracy is a struggle for radical democratisation of
all decision-making processes in society. The intention of this booklet is
to show that direct democracy is not a new ideology where you have to first
convince the masses and then you can seize the power; it is not an
unrealistic utopia. Direct democracy is a concrete way of achieving
horizontal organisation in the here-and-now, from the local level to the
global level.

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