They're not voting because...
- Corporate-driven globalisation has ...
Corporate-driven globalisation has undermined the democratic process to the point where the right to vote has lost its meaning. You get a big business governnment whichever way you vote. This is because the state, governments and the corporations have moved into each other's pockets. Not voting is one opportunity to deny this set-up legitimacy. But I also believe not voting should be followed up with a campaign to build a new, truly democratic state and society to replace the one we suffer now. Otherwise our overlords will carry on as before. I am supporting the campaign to achieve this launched by A World to Win (www.aworldtowin.net)written 26th Apr 2005
Michael M. replies: After criticising globalisation and the corporations A World To Win offers its recipe:
A World to Win has proposals for extending democracy in new ways and creating a political
system that people can control in a direct way. Our proposals would:
* bring democracy to the workplace, giving those who create and consume goods and services
shared ownership and control
* put people in charge of their own lives at local as well as national level, through
Assemblies representing different community interests
* tackle climate change by careful use of resources through a not-for-profit production
* free culture, sport and leisure from commercial control and make them accessible to all.
-- Who will order the companies to accept this workplace democracy? They run on shareholder
-- You propose to put people in charge by adding another layer of politicians and bureaucrats
-- You want effective remedies for climate but how will these be put into effect? Where will
the political will for this come from?
-- Who will pay for all the free services?
While your criticism of economy is worth considering more deeply, your suggested remedies are hopeless. I suspect that the hidden World to Winmessage will turn out to be "vote for the
traditional left at the next election".
Stronger democracy in contrast could be a way for us to mobilise good ideas and political willwritten 26th Apr 2005
for urgent reforms. See
Citizens' Initiative and Referendum I&R
a campaign for direct democracy in Britain
Paul replies: Michael M misses the point. A World to Win actually argues that the current system is actually BEYOND reform. 'Stronger democracy' can't come from putting pressure on the existing state because the state - including parliament - is part of the problem, not the solution. New Labour and the other parties, including most of the 'left', are tied into that outlook. That is why I'm not voting and campaigning for an alternative. No one can order the corporations to do things. That's why their ownership and control has to change. Ordinary people can't influence this state. That's why we need to abolish it and create something better, actually democratic in practice, in its place. Or as acclaimed novelist Andrey Kurkov, writing about our so-called democracy, says in today's Guardian: is it time for a British revolution?written 26th Apr 2005
Michael M. replies: Paul wrote "'Stronger democracy' can't come from putting pressure on the existing state because the state - including parliament - is part of the problem, not the solution."
I didn't suggest putting pressure on the existing state. However, instead of drastic measures like "abolish the state" our proposals would entail transforming "the system" soon in various ways. For instance, with citizens' initiative and referendum, public decisions are made directly by the people. In order to tackle global issues such as environmental damage and companies, direct democracy can be applied at european level, even globally. See http://www.iniref.org/critics.html
If democracy is unacceptable in A World to Win, which form of governance do you recommend?written 26th Apr 2005
Laura replies: I understand the views of both of you, and I do believe that the current system might need some kind of reform to make it more directly representation. However there is strong evidence that shows the more referendums the more apathy, and lower turn out. if we change the system to work with a majority of referendums, then only the very passionate would turn up, and many people would find it difficult to make it to the polls if we had a large amount of referendums. This is why we have representational government. Lets face it lots of people are lazy and don't want to vote on many issues and are not informed on the facts or bothered about finding them out. What we would achieve would be a state run by the extremists not the majority and it would also be highly corruptible.written 26th Apr 2005
Our government has evolved over a long time; the fact that we have an uncodified constitution means it does evolve with the country, unlike the USA where they have had only 27 amendments since 1787. This also means any change could easily be reverted with one bill, the process has to be more gradual then you suggest.
the only reason i am not voting or choosing to spoil my vote is because i am unable to as i am only 17.
Michael M. replies: Laura replied: "I understand the views of both of you, and I do believe that the current system might need some kind of reform to make it more directly representation. ....."
Laura, Unlike you I cannot understand Paul, because he has not said what sort of system, democratic or otherwise, he wants to promote instead of the one which we have. Do you know what he is on about?
Regarding "the more referendums the more apathy" this is a marginal part of the whole picture of direct democracy and certainly cannot apply in Britain because we *have* almost no direct, citizen-powered democracy . There was only one country-wide referendum, in 1975.
In Britain for years politicians and pundits have claimed that the electorate is "apathetic" mainly because of fall in turn-out for elections. Recent studies of adults and youth have shown that this is *not* true. People are concerned about social problems and are often socially active, they are concerned about political issues *but* they see little point in voting because they think it will have no meaningful effect.
Having the *option* of direct democracy -- alongside and combining with the representative (indirect) system of parties, parliament etc. -- is an antidote to this estrangement from and frustration with the indirect system. This can be seen in the growing popularity of direct democracy across the world -- I think that perhaps you are not aware of this. Surveys confirm this strong interest also in GB.
The options, for example citizens' law proposal, veto of unwanted government bills, are mobilised only when there is a strong public feeling and interest, encouraging high participation.
If you study the proposals which we make, you will see that there are built in safe-guards to prevent that an excess of proposals goes to referendum .
Constitution -- well, that's another, long, certainly related story. Ask the average British university graduate what our constitution is -- you won't get a uniform response and probably few coherent replies. More shocking is how constitution-like law is made and changed in Britain - by a small elite, without any reference to the people. In many countries change to constitution *must* be put to binding referendum. It concerns, all of us , perhaps for several generations and is not within the remit of a single government or prime minister!written 26th Apr 2005
More detail at
james replies: I agree with paul about abolishing the state -- but i don't think it should be replaced. i think an anarchist-communist society (one based on a gift economy, mutual aid, voluntary co-operation, etc.) would be much better than any state or form of government. at the moment my hopes for the future appear to be pipe-dreams, but i think that they are worth putting into practice.written 28th Apr 2005
Michael M. replies: james wrote "at the moment my hopes for the future appear to be pipe-dreams, but i think that they are worth putting into practice."
How could your proposals be put into practice?written 29th Apr 2005
Al replies: How can you have a society that's both anarchist and communist?
There's no structure to anarchy. It's anarchy, look it up.written 29th Apr 2005
tiger43 replies: To Laura.....Nice to see you in the forum Laura. I have to say when ever your in the room, my majority gets quite big. I`m, sorry, but I just had to say that.written 29th Apr 2005
Pete Wilde replies: I too would like to know just how James plans to have a society that's both anarchist and communist.
As Al correctly points out the 2 are mutually exclusive.
It's a bit like advocation a dictatorial democracy !written 29th Apr 2005
amanda replies: I thought we lived in a dictatorial democracy already? There is nothing mutually exclusive in our post-modern society, where we have 'friendly-fire' killing troops, a 'victory' that has caused only loss, a 'Leader' who follows the US wherever they take him, and representatives who are not representative!
I shall be writing 'none of the above' on my ballot paper this time around, as there are only the three main parties, UKIP and the BNP standing in my constituency.written 1st May 2005