Alan Cassels is a drug policy researcher at the University of Victoria and author of Selling Sickness: Medical Screening and the Misguided Hunt for Disease. He was the keynote speaker at the Victoria Seniors Meeting in February 2012.
Michael Riordon reading from his book “Our Way to Fight: Peace-Work Under Siege in Israel-Palestine,” talks about the experiences of repressed and silenced people working for peace in Palestine and Israel.
Jeff Schutts, a history professor at Langara College, speaks about the culture of consumerism from Nazi Germany to the present.
2011 World Peace Forum, Vancouver-Canada
This PDD thesis attempts not just to show the pitfalls of our present political system, but offers a realistic framework of a new Citizen’s Constitution.
It suggests that statutory changes and constitutional laws need to resonate and harmonize with a Citizen’s needs. It also suggests a shift from a system based in political and economic competition, where money begetting money is the biggest aim of activities, into a system where providing social services becomes the collective responsibility and the main purpose of society.
This PDD framework is not a monolithic program to be literally followed, but only a set of observations and practical suggestions in the midst of our precarious time. We are nothing more than transitory observers and participants, and we could do better by recognizing the evolving ‘Social Consciousness’ as the guiding supreme authority.
We must keep in mind that by submitting our individual opinions for examination, discussion, and tabulation, on an established official poll, we will produce a social consciousness.
This booklet offers the author’s perspective, limited to his understanding; therefore it is not presumed to be a final rule. PDD is suggested only as a starting contribution to a larger solution where we all participate to develop a perpetual direct democracy.
6.1 – Perpetual Direct Democracy.
Democracy, in principle, is not a new idea. It has been understood as a political power “from the people, by the people, for the people” since ancient Greece to the American Constitution. For over two thousand years democracy has evolved, in most nations.
It starts as an exclusive right for property owning men, and evolves into a universal membership including all men and women of all races, in most nations.
What is new in PDD is that it advances the evolution of democracy, this time shifting the political power from the traditional representative democracy, “RD” to all the citizens: directly and perpetually. This two new factors make PDD a relatively new system.
6.2 – Reassigning Political Responsibility.
So far we have seen how, in the current RD, citizens’ decision making is allowed only one day out of more than a thousand days. PDD means to reclaim the citizens’ right to have every day as citizens’ decision making day, not just on election day.
6.3 – Our responsibility to keep political power.
We looked in chapter four, how disconnected the RD elite has been from most of us. However, the purpose of PDD is not just to show our mistake of giving away our political decision making power, to a representative leaders, but PDD means to reclaim the right, the confidence, the ability and the responsibility of all citizens to make all relevant political decisions directly and perpetually.
PDD reveals that our perennial disfunction with government elites, which engage in unwanted wars, erode social services, and mismanage natural resources, is in fact the product of our own misunderstanding about our legal commitment to RD on election day. PDD ideology means that we the citizens, do not give away that political power to make desicions, but hold on to it so we can legislate our own rules.
6.4 – Electing Executive Administrators.
The PDD thesis proposes a system where we will no longer need to elect political leaders like City Councellors, MLAs or MPs. Instead, we will only elect executive administrators for each city department, State Executive Ministers to replace the current Members of the Legislative Assembly, and Executive Federal Co-ministers for each ministry to replace the current Members of Parliament. These executive administrators, Ministers, and Co-Ministers would be perpetually accountable and subordinate to our right to recall them anytime.
6.5 – Trusting Human Nature.
We, the proponents of PDD, optimistically assume that the referendum system will overwhelmingly show a majority of citizens wanting to develop and participate in an egalitarian society.
We also assume that the PDD system will show a cooperative rather than a competitive driving force for our activities.
In other words, we assume that most people want to build a society where the competitive market economy is no longer the driving force of our policies and activities, and that a fair allocation of natural and human resources becomes possible by contributing according to people’s abilities and distributing according to people’s needs.
Finally, we expect that the majority of people will happily legislate and comply with ethnic, religious, and gender human rights granted to all minorities.
6.6 – Fundamental Human Values.
Hopefully, PDD will reflect the most fundamental human values of empathy, equality, justice, security, and ecological conservation.
Understandably, empathy by itself can not be legislated; however, Laws and empathy are indispensable and complementary. Law without empathy is a despotic body. Empathy without laws is a spirit without a body.
For thousands of years, the concept of love has been predicated by Jesus, Tolstoy, Gandhi. and many others who understood empathy, as the spirit of the law and a fundamental element in human relations and survival.
Michel Nagler in his book, “In search for a Nonviolent Future” says that we need to change ourselves, our thoughts, our words, and our deeds in order to change the world.
Adopting racial, cultural, and economic equal rights will free us from hierarchy, exploitation, and oppression. Epidemiologist Richard Wilkinson, in his book “The Spirit Level”, shows how detrimental inequality is to all of us, and why equality is better for everyone.
Christian Andersen illustrated this cultural idolatry of hierarchy and inequality in his 1837 Fairy Tale, “The Emperor Has No Clothes.”
Justice and Security:
Security and Justice of one is the security and justice of all. Security is a mutual fairness in human relations, rather than on the culture of fear, punishment, and retaliation. According to Professor Wilkinson, the more egalitarian a social system is, the less crime it breathes. So, security is directly proportional to economic justice for all.
Ecological justice: Buddhist teachings and native Americans tell us that if we see ourselves as separate beings, unconnected with each other and with the environment, we will eventually destroy the ecosystem and ourselves with it.
6.7 – Peoples’ Legislation.
PDD means to register, discuss, and quantify the mission, statutes, and laws based on an ideological balance between individual liberties and collective freedoms. The results of these registered initiatives, voluntary discussed for a reasonable length of time, and counted on an on-going referendum, will become the peoples’ choice from the ground up, rather than legislation imposed from the government elite down.
6.8 – A Nonviolent Evolution.
Although PDD is a radical change, the shifting process from RD to PDD, does not need to be chaotic, abrupt or violent. PDD appeals to the matureness of citizens to gradually develop the new system in nonviolence, as a natural evolution of democracy.
6.9 – Identifying the peoples’ agenda.
After a conscious realization of our sovereignty from hierarchical politics, the most fundamental step is to clearly define the people’s agenda and write it down into a citizens constitution.