Friday 4 May 2012

Direct Democracy

I've never liked politics. Anecdotes about USSR's leaders and all the crazy things I've seen on TV have put me off at an early age. I saw politicians mostly as anti-social human beings, manipulative, lying, driven entirely by lust for power and money.

I've grown to believe, that representative democracy, despite being widely considered as the least bad social structure, just doesn't work right. It can't work, because, at it's core is the principle of elections of the representatives by voting. And linear voting just can't work right, as it favors those candidates, that have the most ambition and ability to deceive and trick people into voting for them. Therefore, corrupt, shady and selfish government is inevitable.

Nowadays, Internet and various Internet-based phenomenons like Linux, torrents, Wikipedia have proven that decentralized, open, collaboration-based approach is extremely powerful.

Very tempting ideas arise, that similar approach could be adapted in the way people's social life is organized. Something like OpenSource Rules of Engagement could replace the "dumb" voting procedures. People who have the most skills and recognition in some field should be the ones responsible for making decisions and solving issues in that field. Everybody should have the opportunity to review and contribute to the process.

Recently I discovered, that I am not alone - similar ideas are emerging all around the globe. Here is an excerpt from a Direct democracy Wikipedia page, that just "nails it":

Some of the issues surrounding the related notion of a direct democracy using the Internet and other communications technologies are dealt with in e-democracy and below under the term electronic direct democracy. More concisely, the concept of open source governance applies principles of the free software movement to the governance of people, allowing the entire populace to participate in government directly, as much or as little as they please. This development strains the traditional concept of democracy, because it does not necessarily give equal representation to each person. Some implementations may even be considered democratically-inspired meritocracies, where contributors to the code of laws are given preference based on their ranking by other contributors.

It is clear, that this issue is deadly serious. The ones holding the political and monetary power are already fighting against such ideas, presenting their attempts as protection of intellectual property (Most visible lately are the PIPA, SOPA and CISPA acts in the US).

I feel strongly that:
 - direct democracy must evolve and take over the way the politics are made;
 - rights to use Internet, uncensored and unlimited must become one of the basic human rights;
 - so called "intellectual property" should be subject to ethics, not regulated by any laws.

There is a project Participedia that aims to connect activists working on new forms of democracy internationally. Unfortunately, Latvia is not listed among the countries, that would have some sort of direct democracy party or movement. I see thousands of people bragging about how bad things are either on the Internet in commentaries or in real life, while taking a bus or standing in a shopping line.

Should an attempt be made to initiate some sort of movement, that would connect these people and made them aware, that there might be a hope, if only they stop bragging and start working on it?

There is no fate but what we make!

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