“The individual loses his substance by voluntarily bowing to an overpowering and distant oligarchy, while simultaneously“participating” in sham democracy.”
C. Wright Mills,”The Power Elite” (1956)
Believe or not I will try to tell you something you probably do not know or even never heard about; something what I call a real democracy.
What I am writing about is rarely talked or written anywhere, namely a theory of classical democracy in its core [not necessarily what was implemented as Greek democracy].
I will not focus just on how democracy is “manifested” as social system which already fills many fat books of nonsense but I will try instead to capture what it really is in its essence, as narrative that has been hopelessly skewed into what some call faux liberal democracy ploy which is not liberal nor democratic according to how ancient Greeks understood it.
So let’s return to the source of what democracy is just to provide sound reference for understanding of plurality of reincarnations of real political systems of power, we are actually living under, that misuse this nicely sounding label to excess, especially within periods of political [re]cycling of power, called “electoral campaigns” as propaganda teaches us.
But first please answer following simple questions:
1. Is voting necessary or needed in democracy?
2. Are elections required or necessary or even needed in democracy?
3. Does participation in election voting scheme increase enfranchisement of voter into a democratic process?
If your answered yes to any of those questions this essay is definitely for you. So let’s get on with that.
The questions I posited here were not tricky ones but instead aimed to illustrate many myths used in the propaganda ploy to entice people to be “engaged” in democracy while what they actually engage themselves in is nothing but a sham of democracy with dire consequences that impact us individually and sow seeds of divisions among us especially in lower classes.
Such false narratives about democracy are allowing elite, under guise of moral superiority of “democratic system”, to push responsibility of their own genocidal practices against population on our own shoulders, blaming us for “electing” such a bad governments, while in fact it is all an illusion and we never had any input whatsoever into the halls of power that rules over us under whatever false label it was called: democratic [egalitarian], or aristocratic [elitarian i.e. meritocratic, patriarchal/matriarchal, oligarchic/plutocratic or totalitarian/autocratic etc.,].
In truth, all supposedly diverse, dynamic or even chaotic political processes we now are being fed with [as well as our ancestors] as meaningful and shaping sociopolitical realm are fake and never really happen in the reality of power elites. Instead, it is just a farce covering up cruel fact of contiguous unchanged in its core and essence and completely unchallenged unified governance by the same ruling elite.
A “democratic” process, under such circumstances of society of control by the ruling elite, we have in the US and elsewhere, deteriorated to an ancient ritual of active submission of every mental slave to the powers via act of participation in some ceremony, or symbolic sacrifice for beautiful gods of power and opulence, as perverted form of communion of victims with their illustrious executioners.
Unless, we demand right to truly democratic rule nothing will change, nothing will improve for vast majority of people short of some blessed caprice of enlightened despot. If we give up on democracy of sovereign people, we will become nothing but a wasted particles pleading for mercy in an obscene act of self-mutilation.
So let’s find out what do we really ought to demand and take as real democracy or something close to it.
Meaning of the word.
When I talk about democracy, demo[-]cracy, I mean demo -> people, cracy -> rule or “rule of the people” a classical direct democracy i.e. a rule of ALL SOVEREIGN PEOPLE.
The sovereign people in a democratic system are ALL THE PEOPLE that belong to egalitarian society, democratic society, society of human beings who at birth automatically acquire equal, unalienable right to rule directly on all matters of organization of society they belong to (e.g. government) including all the rules self-imposed on society through its government actions or decrees.
In other words basic rules of society, human and ecologically moderated culture, fabric and foundation of society itself is essentially immutable and supersedes those stemming from any decrees of government and serve as quasi-constitution of societal interactions, interrelationships and behaviors such a caring, sharing, support, solidarity, complete legal, socioeconomic, political equality, respect for human dignity and humanity in every dimension, etc. To put it simply, no democratic government decree may prevent peoples from caring and sharing, or promote divisions among people or denying human dignity to anyone etc., since those perogatives are permanently beyond government jurisdiction.
Some basic principles of democracy.
The sovereign people must, however, pay a price for belonging to the democratic society and for acquiring their social status, namely by self-limiting their absolute freedom and renounce violence and intimidation (fear) as influence peddling practices disallowed within the society relying instead on humanity and reason.
The sovereign people must willingly adopt certain human social morality as a foundation of democratic social system. Any kind of violence, manipulation or intimidation among people within society renders it undemocratic and elitarian since at minimum it creates specialized elites of skilled violence and/or influence peddlers effectively preventing any meaningful democratic process. In such sociaty division of labor can never turn into divison of social perogatives and by that creating elites of all sorts. For example professional guardians would create such a elite of perogatives and hence destroying democratic rule where all are sovereign rulers and bearers of all social prerogatives and all social responsibilities.
In a word, in democracy what we call basic human and civic rights stem not from government but from morally driven social egalitarian constitution i.e. a set of quasi-permanent rules/culture of inclusion, good neighborly interactions, equality, reciprocity and rules for cooperation and betterment of society and its welfare that is determined by all sovereign rulers namely all the people themselves.
In democracy none of those are subject of government executive power or rules or laws that may be possibly changed since foundational principles of egalitarianism are not negotiable as they are based on human social morality. Otherwise democratic society itself will disintegrate as it periodically happens throughout history.
In democracy the power to rule is unalienable and always resides among people never in government itself that is just social construct, some ad hoc temporary tangible manifestation of people’s sovereign rule and can be changed/reformed or liquidated at will, anytime, and any prerogatives of power, if granted, withdrawn immediately if government does not meet expectations of sovereign rulers i.e. the people.
How people rule under democracy is also subject to democratic principles of equality, and sovereignty of every individual who belongs to the society.
In classical case it means belonging to local community, working there and contributing to socioeconomic and political live there. Individuals, who have majority of socioeconomic and political interests outside the community, even if they reside there, are not eligible to claim sovereignty and hence citizenship rights within this particular society run by democratic rules which does not mean that they are denied rights that stem from social constitution ( sharing, caring etc.,) but only that they are not sovereign rulers in this particular society and hence have no direct input into government rule.
The direct rule may involve many measures including among others, proposing rules, enforcing rules and agreeing to the rules.
The basic principle of democratic rule is rule by consensus, by discussions, debating and compromising in order to reach some consensus i.e. agreement among all equal sovereign people before proposals are finally openly, publicly and unanimously approved by the assembly. The transparency is not only desired but required in democracy or there is no democracy.
This is expression of the fact that every individual has all sovereign power not just part of it, and has to make decision on his/her own before any rule is bonding for all within society. But this is in its core different from just a simple veto since dissenting individual must provide material alternative to the rule, must express his/her constitutionally mandated engagement into civic duties and responsibilities, and debate it openly before insisting on his/her dissent.
Such attitude makes all decisions of assembly of sovereign people extremely deliberate and very slow since they require continuing discussions and education about proposals on the table with no time limit until a consensus is reached. In fact instead of focusing on fixing of some expediencies deliberate act of sovereign ruling is focused primarily on preserving democratic principle and process and not on particular desired outcome.
It is worth to note that in a democratic system government stalemate or perceived paralysis in no way negatively affect day-to-day functioning of the society and its economic foundation that operates mostly upon a permanent social constitution [extra-governmental social contract among sovereign people based on idea of egalitarianism] rather than government decrees or laws that cannot contradict it and have no superiority over it as assured by a rule by consensus principle.
What it does however, it effectively guards fundamental principle of direct sovereign democratic rule of the people, as number one consideration rather than agility of the government, and hence severely limits government adverse influence on society itself such a concentration of authority.
In classical democratic society, no exigent circumstances [natural catastrophe, war, plague etc.,] are handled by government, and instead all those functions are assigned aprori to social organizations, unrelated to government itself, following rational course of action in their mitigating efforts as defined by social constitution.
What is even more important is that all government decisions are directly implemented by sovereign rulers that made those decisions and especially most impacted by them since no delegation or authority to implement any government decision in truly democratic system can be delegated to any professional group temporarily or permanently.
For example if decision was made to dig some water canal those who made such decision are the ones who would dig it, especially those who live in vicinity of future canal.
Such arrangement prevents delegation and concentration of power within government under guise of dealing with suppose necessities orb exigent circumstances. But rather relies on social duty and responsibility and social institutions sovereign citizen built to handle such cases.
All the above considerations do not exhaust all required and necessary conditions for true democracy i.e. Rule by the People, to thrive but instead present review of thrust of general ideas behind concept of theoretical democratic system. In fact violation of one of the above conditions alone leads to slow or precipitous destruction of fragile democratic self governance, as numerous historical examples proved and introduction principles of rule by elites, a fatal departure from self governance with all vivid consequences we were and are wittinessing.
Fatal departures from democracy.
Any other arrangement different from the above is nothing but infringement on the democracy and sovereign rule by the people for the people and of the people and not its improvement or innovation, however benignly sounding it may be.
So for example introduction of permanent government institutions like tax authority or army strongly, in principle as well as in practical terms, weakens not only people sovereign power but also violates very core of social constitution on which such a sovereign democratic power is founded while creating an elite in violation of the equality (of sovereign power) clause via concentrating and delegating prerogatives of governance.
Another idea that effectively disenfranchises sovereign citizen from running the government is idea of voting in itself and idea of arithmetical majority rule instead of all people’s rule, idea of term elections, representative elections and idea of body politics and political campaigns, all prohibited features of true democratic political system, before elections themselves were invented by upper classes of the society, and now are praised as democratic achievements.
Behind this benign formulation of representative elections there is hidden, dramatic change in overall government/constitutional system, stripping formerly sovereign citizen from their rights and prerogative of “direct rule” and replacing it by act of “participating” in ruling/governance or government itself if permanent.
By voting sovereign ruler turns into voter who even theoretically, only participates in governance by whatever changeable, ad-hoc variable means, but no longer directly rules his/her society. In practice voter is removed from decision making process of governance in its entirety.
What voting schemers do not want to disclose is that there are others, third unnamed party who, beside voters, heavily participate in governance, namely government bureaucracy and special interests of upper economic classes whose interests are in clear violation of democratic social constitution, since they acquire particular strong sensitivity to government interests above that of society at large and through that developed identity politics of division, and strict class morality destroying fundamental democratic principle of total equality of sovereign citizen in influencing government decisions via direct rule.
A simple majority 50% +1 rule of passing rules/laws further dilutes sovereign power of the people and make easier influence peddling, bribing and propaganda activities that surely propelled political parties into their existence for the first time, but most of all divides and conflicts the society in different ways every time the rule is passed by majority denying the rule to minority whose proposals were not enacted but rejected instead, all that process is artificially fueling social antagonism.
Such a situation became of critical threat to what’s left of democracy even back then in Classical Greece when the variable membership people’s court called “Dicastery” was created not by elections but by random drawing of 500 to 1000 citizen of Athens [who voted on criminal cases] to diminish effect of rampant bribery.
It is worth to note that in Athens judges were not elected to their posts because there was no elections at all in Greek direct democracy in which only about 30% of all citizen even participated repeatedly and by that violating basic democratic principle not to mention mass slavery that makes calling Greek governance a democratic one a misnomer to say the least.
Yes, it may be shocking to many but there were no elections in classical Athens’ “democracy” period, as they were rendered unnecessary.
And here is how we came to final nail to coffin of direct democracy of sovereign people, namely an electoral ploy. After that there was no democracy left to speak of.
The introduction of so-called “representative elections” not only caused devastating disenfranchisement of people’s sovereign power from the realm of government but simply destroyed all vestiges of sovereign supremacy that’s left, and forced people to relinquish their authority to a small elite of “representatives” or much too incorrectly put it, “delegating” peoples sovereign power to somebody else, some guy or gal who supposedly speak for us in all matters of grave importance to our very lives. As it turned out to be historically, they speak only for themselves and for their own benefit no matter how dire consequences for constituency may be.
I must to emphasize that act of electing some representative is nothing but an act of ultimate disenfranchisement of individual voter from the political process, an act of giving up direct involvement in community affairs, act of surrender of one’s own sovereign authority to rule by completely removing oneself from any power prerogatives and instead turning sovereign citizen into spectator of political theatre of power and affluence, where governing happens beyond curtain of overwhelming institution of all-powerful, distant government.
Democracy vs. political reality of today.
By now reader probably figured out why answers to my three questions are resounded no, but quizzing a reader was not my point. My major point regarding those questions was to draw attention to meaninglessness of paraphernalia of “democracy”, as we are propagandized, suppose to constitute proof that we are living in system resembling democratic one.
In fact none of the paraphernalia of “democracy” such as political parties, voting, elections, representatives of the “people”, national assemblies like congress and supposed division of government powers and political antagonism, are needed nor necessary for true democratic system to exists and thrive.
For democracy we need enlightened sovereign citizen instead, citizen acting to the benefit of other sovereign people in egalitarian spirit of human dignity and cooperation, nowhere to be found in political spectator halls of power in America today.
Overall now all the so-called democratic political systems in existence throughout the world are nothing but farcical productions paid by and aimed at gullible misinformed spectator audience allowed to watch some sorted parts of some sorry spectacle and occasionally cheer some empty utterances or jeer particularly bad performances while unable to get their tickets refunded.
Utopia or true alternative?
While idea of theoretical democracy may sound for some as anarchistic, utopian, impossible to pursue, or even impractical in fact it is economically self-sustainable, extremely politically stable and easily workable solution to social self-organization including government given today’s advanced technology allowing for some small variation of its practical implementation, as long as one gives up on any imperial dreams or global domination.
In contrast, any political regime run by oligarchic elite, we currently are living under, is inherently economically, politically and demographically unstable since it is based on inhumane exploitation defying principle of egalitarianism.
The regime is naturally prone to collective conflicts or wars and carnage and requires massive unsustainable and wasteful natural resource utilization or simple profit driven theft and plunder, massive wasteful human labor and costly social support and control mechanisms and most of all it requires massive and expensive propaganda industry that would lie to us that the system we live under has no practical alternative, and is natural, the best we can get. None of that is needed in true democracy.
The problem is that this current system is disintegrating in political and financial terms as I write; nothing works for majority of people anymore, and nothing is trickling down from the top of oligarchic tower.
The natural resources are nearly depleted or their exploitation is uneconomical and/or harmful to environment and people, climate change economic impact worsen, wars and terrorism lost their appeal and social disciplining power, propaganda of happiness fades, army of courtiers and useful idiots of this oligarchic regime grow restless.
What’s left is a naked brutality that ensues as a tool of social control and political suppression of all public descent escalates while mainstream economy collapses under more and more people’s feet. Millions of people are crying for relief but to no avail while open totalitarianism looms and last vestiges of democratic veneer dissolve into mist.
Is this viable “End of History” alternative to supposedly utopian real democracy or just another dystopian nightmare?
If we lived in system remotely resembling any kind of democracy, even liberal democracy, we would need deep reforms to provide political stability and economic recovery but since we are living under brutal fundamentalist oligarchic regime, a radical revolution is imperative not an option.
Thirteen points about People’s Democracy we want but do not have.
1. Sovereign citizen of truly democratic system need to raise their government like they raise their children, since government is metaphorical child of society/nation, not parent or uncle.
2. The state, if even deemed necessary, must be understood as mere formal professional designator of our common will about what kind of social organization we want to live in and devoid of its own institutional, political, economic or civic interests or engagements and hence should and must be malleable and ever shaped by the people.
3. The state cannot be perceived by people as source of benefits, advantages, political, economic, medial or religious since all those, if any are coming directly from sovereign people who make direct decision about production and distribution of national wealth within legal structure, and never from state bureaucracy.
4. The state [a permanent form of a government] cannot be seen as any security threat or being in any way intimidating against citizenry, but only as benign aggregator of information, and neutral unbiased open accounting ledger that tabulate results of economic activity of nation and provides informational services about legal and economic framework agreed by sovereign people and in no way may acquire any authority to enforce anything (economically or legally) since those can only be rendered on local community level directly by local citizenry.
5. Democracy requires that government serves all or vast majority of people and does not harm minority with differing way of life or political opinion if committed to social harmony, and that’s pretty much it.
6. Government must be prohibited from protecting minority of rich and opulent, monopolists of economic realm, and concentrated influence peddling powers or explicitly those who socially and economically exploit nation and its people.
7. Those are political foundations of egalitarian state and basic operational principle of people’s government that must remain beyond any political discourse while defined apriori within unamendable social constitution or social contract.
8. Political campaigns, elections, voting, no voting, are of secondary or no importance to governing process. They are just particular ways of asking people to otherwise get engaged, to take power in their own hands and specifically refuse to assign it temporarily to someone else what would have been sign of dereliction of civic duty and disengagement from political process and definitely not expression of involvement in it.
9. It is only apparent that any representative electoral system actually disengages electorate from the political process of directly holding and administrating power and unnecessarily concentrates power of authority likely to become corrupted, manipulated and ultimately dangerous to vital interest of people.
10. In fact delegation of one’s sovereign power is impossible, what possible is temporary, instantly revocable, technical delegation to somebody else right to become a physical and/or social conduit of expression of original unalienable sovereign power of individual.
11. We must reject attitude of political infantilization of citizenry via means of political, economic, social and monetary bribery, lies and pseudo-patriotic distractions by government usurpers.
12. It is we the people, who tell government what to do and what not to do or it looses its legitimacy and if we wanted government opinion we would have asked for it.
13. The true sovereign power of citizenry flows from bottom up only, never backwards. Our government must be prohibited from telling us what to do, in any way different from what we told our government first, and only as long as we still accept it.
All those above, seemingly radical and extreme principles of holding and exercising power are alien to 99% of ordinary Americans, and not without a reason, big propaganda reason. However, they are well revered and applied by one-percenters who breathe and live by them everyday.
It’s time that we start living too.