[EM] participatory democracy
dmorton at bitfurnace.com
Wed Jun 28 21:03:49 PDT 2006
I had a revelation recently about a new kind of political party that
might well have a chance of succeeding in a two-party democracy.
Whilst representative democracy was an excelent choice in a time when
communication and travel were measured in days, weeks and months,
participatory democracy is enabled by communications measured in
milliseconds and travel in hours.
Over the last few years, I have been refining an idea for a third house
of government, ive been calling it the "jury house", which is formed
from a large number (10000+) of randomly selected people who sit for
random, but short, periods of time. The idea being, to inject an element
of participatory democracy into the representatorship that now prevails
in most western democracies.
I thought about forming up the jury house as an unofficial political
body, but it would be completely ignored, and getting people to
participate in a body with no power or money is somewhat futile.
But then I was reading how some of the larger states in the US were
going to do an end-run around the electoral college system by pledging
to give their votes to the popular winner.
I realized then, that you could quite easily start a participatory
democracy party, whose elected officials are contractually bound to vote
according to how their members vote on each and every single issue. No
horse trading, no being influenced by lobbyists, nothing. Attempts at
bribery would have to be directed at a significant portion of the
Such a party might even appeal to all kinds of people, no matter what
their political leanings were, especially if the party presented itself
as a scrupulously neutral organisation dedicated to the concept direct
participatory democracy only, encouraging members of all walks of
political life to voice themselves through the system.
Its hard to argue against it, and its kind of infectious. It takes a
structure that is in place and improves it by adding another layer.
Some thoughts: political parties in a representatorship gain power
through solidarity. Should a participatory democracy party split its
votes in congress/senate proportionally based on its members votes, or
should it direct all of its votes according to the winning block. My
inclination is that it should split its votes.
On membership: What rules should govern membership, if any? $100 to
join, $1 per vote you cast (max one vote per person)?
Some questions: Can a member of the house of Representatives be
contractually bound in how they vote? Could the be contractually bound
to resign under certain circumstances?
What do you guys think?
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