Closest translation from Greek: “people command” or “people sovereign”.
Oxford definition of Sovereign:
-Possessing supreme or ultimate power.
The regime called Democracy was and always is presented as the only alternative to a monarchy or to any authoritarian regime headed by a unique sovereign and of course his council.
This regime called Democracy was about leading society according to the desires of the public through elected representatives.
Most social thinkers at the time thought that “representing” the public was defeating the principle of “the people sovereign”, but the public lacking the means of unlimited interconnectivity at the time, the ones presenting the alternative of representation as “the great invention” had their way.
But considering representation as “the great invention” is only admitting it to be the best alternative to “the people sovereign”, even if it is not “the people sovereign”.
So terminologically the actual system of representation may at best be called “representative democracy”, never “Democracy”.
What is to be sovereign?
In a monarchy, it is the king who decides while considering the input of his council and commands others to make it happen.
In a theocratic regime, it is the highest ranking priest who decides while considering the input of his council and commands others to make it happen.
In any regime ranging from tyranny to any kind of Democracy, the procedure of taking the decision and making it happen remains the same.
Being sovereign means having the power to make the decision.
So in true Democracy, it is the people (the sovereign) who should decide while considering the input of their council (the specialists in their midst) and command the hired administration to make it happen.
In a Democracy, the hired administration should administer the decisions of the public, never the public itself.
If the public should decide on a person to decide in its place, then who is making the decisions? Who is the sovereign?
Representative democracy makes the public surrender their sovereignty meaning their power of decision to someone who consequently becomes their sovereign and a key personality (exposed to pressure, blackmail, etc.) who decides for the nation: A very risky configuration.
Representative democracy is falsely considered as “The people sovereign” simply because the representatives including the sovereign obtain the “approval” of the majority of the public to decide in its stead by promises they may or may not keep.
Later they may even take actions contradicting their promises in all impunity.
This “approval” of the people is the factual surrender of their sovereignty. How can surrendering their sovereignty make “the people sovereign”?
Does the sovereignty of the public reside in the single programmed act of surrendering / refusing its own sovereignty?
In a self-sustaining system where the representatives are almost always the same (career politicians), it is perfectly natural that the pillars of power created to help and control the sovereign evolve into pillars of collusion with the sovereign, to empower and be empowered in return.
Expecting anything else is infantile.
Representative democracy is almost as far from Democracy as any regime admitting a sovereign, since to be elected any individual needs funding and exposure which are only possible by collusion with organisms and/or “power players” having the means, but also interests to satisfy.
These interests may or may not be symbiotic with that of the public, and sometimes may even be at its expense.
The principle of Democracy was created to prevent such privileges which define the defeat of public will/interest.
Representative democracy itself creating the things it was supposed to prevent should make us reconsider the consequences of representation.
Today the idea of direct involvement of the public in all affairs of the state is called Direct Democracy.
This is a diminishing term insinuating that Direct Democracy is only one vague version of Democracy among many when it should be the only clear definition of Democracy.
From here on in this article, the stand-alone term Democracy will designate Direct Democracy: people sovereign and representative democracy will be designated by the term Representation.
For the moment Democracy is associated with referendums.
Democracy should transcend referendums and claim the entire system of governance.
A system of self-governance that both leads and follows our human progress needs to be in that same state of progress; it needs to be a process.
Perhaps initiating the process of Democracy by referendums is one of the valid options.
So if as a first step in the process of Democracy we decide to restrict Democracy to referendums, then we should consider the fact that the result of any referendum will always be contingent on the available information.
Without complete and untainted information, all thinking processes of the public will be impaired, rendering the referendum non- representative.
“Tainting” the available information by “analysis”, interpretations, personal opinions or omissions invalidates the result of any referendum.
To have a valid referendum, the public needs a source of untainted, complete information, integrating the different perspectives of the different constituents in the society.
Mass/news media are owned by private companies/capitals hence the legitimate doubt as to the objective treatment of information in domains involving the interests of their owners,
the rare public channels still depend on people elected by funding and exposure, which raises the same issues as the first,
the internet may be extremely useful but will always be unreliable.
So the public needs to create a source or sources of untainted, thoroughly verified, complete information which will enable the citizens to think.
Some sort of a ministry of information totally controlled by the public may fit the bill.
This independent ministry should be totally distinct from any apparatus of the state, be administered by an often changing elected body, be funded without strings attached, and have new media at its disposal. It should hire investigative journalists who will deal only in facts, and only present information that is complete and thoroughly verified.
Hosting all sorts of live discussions with all sorts of people from all walks of life (scientists, sociologists, businessmen, taxi drivers, butchers, bakers, farmers, …) will familiarize the society with the different perspectives of its different constituents.
The manner of administration of this ministry should be decided by the public; for example by an often changing administrative body, where each new body would be elected sometime before the end of the mandate of the former, ensuring familiarization, experience and continuity.
A complementary option to initiate Democracy may be voting for candidates to parliament/congress who pledge to exclusively play the role of messengers between the public and the parliament/congress by:
-Bringing all the issues raised in parliament/congress to a platform where it would be thoroughly discussed by the public and its specialists, and later presenting the ensuing vote of the platform to the parliament/congress as his own,
-Reading in parliament/congress exclusively the proposals of the public formulated and voted on the platform.
Of course a certain delay should be observed between the vote of the parliament/congress and the vote of the public presented by the “messengers”.
This problem would be easily solved by considering the result of a vote in parliament/congress as definitive only after receiving the votes of these elected “messengers”.
This would be a way to graft Democracy to Representation. Doing this will allow Democracy to run on a small scale for a certain time allowing the public to acquire the experience and confidence needed while simultaneously correcting and perfecting the projected mechanisms of Democracy. Later when these mechanisms become operational, Democracy would be both able and ready to claim the entire system of self-governance in one form or another.
Another complementary option to initiate Democracy may be the creation of yet another ministry governed by the public and for instance, called “ministry of Democracy” which would elaborate the unavoidable necessary systems and mechanisms to endow all willing members of the nation with the time and experience needed to get familiarized with the perspective of decision making.
All of these options are presented to initiate the continuous process of Democracy.
Democracy is similar to an operating system integrating an antivirus program: It should enable, facilitate and monitor the operation of society, continuously adapt to new situations, enhance its performance and counter any attempt to hijack or corrupt the system. Like any operating system or antivirus program, without continuous updates Democracy will become obsolete very fast.
It should always be kept in mind that all these options will be in their infancy at the beginning with their fair share of unavoidable shortcomings and errors.
Making the public think that it is currently ready for Democracy is fooling it into errors and ridicule.
We are not ready to tackle all the issues of our state at this stage, but we can be perfectly ready very soon; a few months, to a year or two.
Perhaps instead of grafting Democracy to Representation, some may prefer to create on a platform some sort of a popular parliament or congress parallel to our actual one constituted by all willing citizens.
This popular parliament would participate in legislation by a proportional representation determined by the ratio of those who prefer to represent themselves to those who prefer to be represented by representatives.
We should consider and perhaps test all our options, maybe even simultaneously.
There is an understandable non-issue with Democracy that upsets the economically privileged constituents of a society. They fear that if Democracy is instated, the poor will rob them of their wealth.
In my view, it is Democracy that will save their wealth for them.
Most (perhaps all) countries governed by Representation are indebted. The people did not decide to contract debt, their “key” representatives did.
Currently, representatives are selling (called privatizing) everything of value in their nations and sometimes even indirectly taxing the poor just to pay only a part of the interests on the debt of their making.
The cries of the impoverished will be drowned by the arrogance of the yet non-impoverished in the name of order/good governance, considering the impoverished as being responsible for their situation.
Order/disorder is a consequence, not a cause.
Treating a cause before it creates consequences is the spirit of Democracy.
Letting a non- treated cause inescapably create consequences and then silencing these consequences is the spirit of tyranny.
Eventually the impoverished will have nothing more to give.
The impoverishment will move up and tax the next level of society, and so on.
This situation will continue as long as we continue with representation.
The indebted country will sell its national treasures and everything of value.
Crash after crash the money in banks will be less and less accessible.
Crash after crash investments will be lost for individuals and small banks.
Crash after crash the big banks will absorb all the investments along with the small banks.
Do the economically privileged think that they risk nothing, or they risk nothing for the time being?
The answer should make them see that eventually either the entire society wins together, or falls as alienated parts.
And if we think “global”, then either the entire human society wins together, or falls as alienated parts.
Representation can only continue doing what it does: tax and sell anything belonging to the nation that has value or can generate profit.
Only Democracy allows us to deal with the debt logically, hence save everybody, including the economically “privileged”.
On the long run, Democracy is for the benefit of all the constituents of society, and “detrimental” only to global finance and its ambitions of unlimited profit which serves no vital need, just throws the rest of humanity overboard in an ocean of scarcity and misery while causing an irreversible, catastrophic ecologic/environmental failure.
The nation(s) which tries to initiate a process to extricate from this system of farming humanity by representation, debt and eventually poverty will most probably suffer the wrath of global finance which may go to extreme lengths in stopping the process, because Representation has always allowed foreign/global actors to freely Lobby/pilot our “key” representatives to their own interests under the cover of “democratic legitimacy”.
We should remember that almost all nations which were not yet absorbed in this system of representation, debt and eventually poverty were textbook tyrannies.
But before rightfully dismissing and condemning tyranny like any normal, self-respecting human being, the following facts deserve some consideration:
1 - Knowing all too well the fact that an educated public is harder to govern, strangely most of these tyrannies had a free education system including free universities alongside the private.
2 – Knowing all too well the fact that a well fed, well healed people will always think of ways to make their lives still better hence becoming a danger to the tyrant, most of these tyrannies had free healthcare and retirement systems.
Of course we are always relieved to see any tyranny go, but in the painful absence of Democracy where the people would submit to no rule but their own, I am no longer sure that submission to representation, debt and eventually poverty in a globalized world with globalized, profit oriented, domineering foreign economic rule is better than submission to a non-globalized native tyrant.
Naturally these nations suffered civil wars, went bankrupt, lost all their social guarantees and were obliged to accept being “helped” and “invigorated” by debt, and have now joined the ranks of the modern, free, representatively democratic, “privatized”, invigorated and indebted nations.
Democracy is an open process of civility which will secure the extension of the economic middle class by elaborating a corresponding economic/ecologic/financial model.
In Democracy, we even need not concern ourselves with non-provable “conspiracy” issues or any issue really; Democracy will shed abundant light on anything and everything and correct all and every imbalance in our societies.
Democracy is not only our best bet,
It is our only bet.
The political/economic/ecologic situation is so far gone that nothing can be accomplished by “reasonable”, “responsible”, progressive half measures and patches.
A massive, rational hence inherently pacific yet unstoppable civic insurrection/revolution is needed.
To take back the control of our lives and to preserve all life on our planet we need to unleash our true might;
We need to unleash Democracy.