Direct democracy

Direct democracy or pure democracy is a form of democracy in which people decide on policy initiatives directly. This differs from the majority of currently established democracies, which are representative democracies.

Landsgemeinde Glarus 2006
A Landsgemeinde, or assembly, of the canton of Glarus, on 7 May 2006, Switzerland.

Overview

In a representative democracy, people vote for representatives who then enact policy initiatives.[1] In direct democracy, people decide on policies without any intermediary. Depending on the particular system in use, direct democracy might entail passing executive decisions, the use of sortition, making laws, directly electing or dismissing officials, and conducting trials. Two leading forms of direct democracy are participatory democracy and deliberative democracy.

Semi-direct democracies in which representatives administer day-to-day governance, but the citizens remain the sovereign, allow for three forms of popular action: referendum (plebiscite), initiative, and recall. The first two forms—referendums and initiatives—are examples of direct legislation.[2] In 2019, Thirty countries allowed for referendum initiated by the population on the national level[3]

A 'compulsory referendum' subjects the legislation drafted by political elites to a binding popular vote. This is the most common form of direct legislation. A 'popular referendum' empowers citizens to make a petition that calls existing legislation to a vote by the citizens. Institutions specify the timeframe for a valid petition and the number of signatures required, and may require signatures from diverse communities to protect minority interests.[2] This form of direct democracy effectively grants the voting public a veto on laws adopted by the elected legislature, as is done in Switzerland.[4][5][6][7]

A 'citizen-initiated referendum' (also called an initiative) empowers members of the general public to propose, by petition, specific statutory measures or constitutional reforms to the government and, as with referendums, the vote may be binding or simply advisory. Initiatives may be direct or indirect: With the direct initiative, a successful proposition is placed directly on the ballot to be subject to vote (as exemplified by California's system).[2] With an indirect initiative, a successful proposition is first presented to the legislature for their consideration; however, if no acceptable action is taken after a designated period of time, the proposition moves to direct popular vote. Such a form of indirect initiative is utilized by Switzerland for constitutional amendments.[2]

A deliberative referendum is a referendum that increases public deliberation through purposeful institutional design.

Power of recall gives the public the power to remove elected officials from office before the end of their term.[8]

History

The earliest known direct democracy is said to be the Athenian democracy in the 5th century BC, although it was not an inclusive democracy: women, foreigners, and slaves were excluded from it. The main bodies in the Athenian democracy were the assembly, composed of male citizens; the boulê, composed of 500 citizens; and the law courts, composed of a massive number of jurors chosen by lot, with no judges. There were only about 30,000 male citizens, but several thousand of them were politically active in each year, and many of them quite regularly for years on end. The Athenian democracy was direct not only in the sense that decisions were made by the assembled people, but also in the sense that the people through the assembly, boulê, and law courts controlled the entire political process, and a large proportion of citizens were involved constantly in the public business.[9] Modern democracies, being representative, not direct, do not resemble the Athenian system.

Also relevant to the history of direct democracy is the history of Ancient Rome, specifically the Roman Republic, beginning around 509 BC.[10] Rome displayed many aspects of democracy, both direct and indirect, from the era of Roman monarchy all the way to the collapse of the Roman Empire. Indeed, the Senate, formed in the first days of the city, lasted through the Kingdom, Republic, and Empire, and even continued after the decline of Western Rome; and its structure and regulations continue to influence legislative bodies worldwide. As to direct democracy, the ancient Roman Republic had a system of citizen lawmaking, or citizen formulation and passage of law, and a citizen veto of legislature-made law. Many historians mark the end of the Republic with the passage of a law named the Lex Titia, 27 November 43 BC, which eliminated many oversight provisions.[10]

Modern-era citizen lawmaking began in the towns of Switzerland in the 13th century. In 1847, the Swiss added the "statute referendum" to their national constitution. They soon discovered that merely having the power to veto Parliament's laws was not enough. In 1891, they added the "constitutional amendment initiative". Swiss politics since 1891 have given the world a valuable experience base with the national-level constitutional amendment initiative.[11] In the past 120 years, more than 240 initiatives have been put to referendums. The populace has been conservative, approving only about 10% of these initiatives; in addition, they have often opted for a version of the initiative rewritten by government. (See Direct democracy in Switzerland below.)[4][5][6][7]

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.[12]

Examples

Early Athens

Athenian democracy developed in the Greek city-state of Athens, comprising the city of Athens and the surrounding territory of Attica, around 600 BC. Athens was one of the very first known democracies. Other Greek cities set up democracies, and even though most followed an Athenian model, none were as powerful, stable, or well-documented as that of Athens. In the direct democracy of Athens, the citizens did not nominate representatives to vote on legislation and executive bills on their behalf (as in the United States) but instead voted as individuals. The public opinion of voters was influenced by the political satire of the comic poets in the theatres.[13]

Solon (694 BC), Cleisthenes (608–607 BCE), and Ephialtes (562 BC) all contributed to the development of Athenian democracy. Historians differ on which of them was responsible for which institution, and which of them most represented a truly democratic movement. It is most usual to date Athenian democracy from Cleisthenes, since Solon's constitution fell and was replaced by the tyranny of Peisistratus, whereas Ephialtes revised Cleisthenes' constitution relatively peacefully. Hipparchus, the brother of the tyrant Hippias, was killed by Harmodius and Aristogeiton, who were subsequently honored by the Athenians for their alleged restoration of Athenian freedom.

The greatest and longest-lasting democratic leader was Pericles; after his death, Athenian democracy was twice briefly interrupted by oligarchic revolution towards the end of the Peloponnesian War. It was modified somewhat after it was restored under Eucleides; the most detailed accounts are of this 4th-century modification rather than of the Periclean system. It was suppressed by the Macedonians in 322 BC. The Athenian institutions were later revived, but the extent to which they were a real democracy is debatable.[14]

Switzerland

Swiss voting material
In Switzerland, with no need to register, every citizen receives the ballot papers and information brochure for each vote, and can return it by post. Switzerland has various directly democratic instruments; votes are organised about four times a year.

The pure form of direct democracy exists only in the Swiss cantons of Appenzell Innerrhoden and Glarus.[15] The Swiss Confederation is a semi-direct democracy (representative democracy with strong instruments of direct democracy).[15] The nature of direct democracy in Switzerland is fundamentally complemented by its federal governmental structures (in German also called the Subsidiaritätsprinzip).[4][5][6][7]

Most western countries have representative systems.[15] Switzerland is a rare example of a country with instruments of direct democracy (at the levels of the municipalities, cantons, and federal state). Citizens have more power than in a representative democracy. On any political level citizens can propose changes to the constitution (popular initiative), or ask for an optional referendum to be held on any law voted by the federal, cantonal parliament and/or municipal legislative body.[16]

The list for mandatory or optional referendums on each political level are generally much longer in Switzerland than in any other country; for example any amendment to the constitution must automatically be voted on by the Swiss electorate and cantons, on cantonal/communal levels often any financial decision of a certain substantial amount decreed by legislative and/or executive bodies as well.[16]

Swiss citizens vote regularly on any kind of issue on every political level, such as financial approvals of a school house or the building of a new street, or the change of the policy regarding sexual work, or on constitutional changes, or on the foreign policy of Switzerland, four times a year.[17] Between January 1995 and June 2005, Swiss citizens voted 31 times, on 103 federal questions besides many more cantonal and municipal questions.[18] During the same period, French citizens participated in only two referendums.[15]

In Switzerland, simple majorities are sufficient at the municipal and cantonal level, but at the federal level double majorities are required on constitutional issues.[11]

A double majority requires approval by a majority of individuals voting, and also by a majority of cantons. Thus, in Switzerland a citizen-proposed amendment to the federal constitution (i.e. popular initiative) cannot be passed at the federal level if a majority of the people approve but a majority of the cantons disapprove.[11] For referendums or propositions in general terms (like the principle of a general revision of the Constitution), a majority of those voting is sufficient (Swiss Constitution, 2005).

In 1890, when the provisions for Swiss national citizen lawmaking were being debated by civil society and government, the Swiss adopted the idea of double majorities from the United States Congress, in which House votes were to represent the people and Senate votes were to represent the states.[11] According to its supporters, this "legitimacy-rich" approach to national citizen lawmaking has been very successful. Kris Kobach claims that Switzerland has had tandem successes both socially and economically which are matched by only a few other nations. Kobach states at the end of his book, "Too often, observers deem Switzerland an oddity among political systems. It is more appropriate to regard it as a pioneer." Finally, the Swiss political system, including its direct democratic devices in a multi-level governance context, becomes increasingly interesting for scholars of European Union integration.[19]

Paris Commune

In 1871 after the establishment of the Paris Commune, the Parisians established a decentralized direct system of government with appointed organizers to make sense of the largely spontaneous uprising. While it still refused women the right to vote, they were heavily involved in the consensus before votes took place. Everything from the military to when meetings took place was democratized, and such decentralization and aforementioned democratization led many members of the First Internationale to regard the Paris Commune as a stateless society.

Due to the short lifespan of the Commune, only one citywide election was held and the structures necessary to facilitate future organized elections on large scales was largely nonexistent. However, the influence of direct democratization in the Paris Commune is not to be understated.

United States

In the New England region of the United States, towns in areas such as Vermont decide local affairs through the direct democratic process of the town meeting.[20] This is the oldest form of direct democracy in the United States, and predates the founding of the country by at least a century.

Direct democracy was not what the framers of the United States Constitution envisioned for the nation. They saw a danger in tyranny of the majority. As a result, they advocated a representative democracy in the form of a constitutional republic over a direct democracy. For example, James Madison, in Federalist No. 10, advocates a constitutional republic over direct democracy precisely to protect the individual from the will of the majority. He says,

Those who hold and those who are without property have ever formed distinct interests in society. Those who are creditors, and those who are debtors, fall under a like discrimination. A landed interest, a manufacturing interest, a mercantile interest, a moneyed interest, with many lesser interests, grow up of necessity in civilized nations, and divide them into different classes, actuated by different sentiments and views. The regulation of these various and interfering interests forms the principal task of modern legislation, and involves the spirit of party and faction in the necessary and ordinary operations of the government.

[...]

[A] pure democracy, by which I mean a society consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the government in person, can admit no cure for the mischiefs of faction. A common passion or interest will be felt by a majority, and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party. Hence it is, that democracies have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have, in general, been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.[21]

John Witherspoon, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, said: "Pure democracy cannot subsist long nor be carried far into the departments of state – it is very subject to caprice and the madness of popular rage." Alexander Hamilton said, "That a pure democracy if it were practicable would be the most perfect government. Experience has proved that no position is more false than this. The ancient democracies in which the people themselves deliberated never possessed one good feature of government. Their very character was tyranny; their figure, deformity."[22]

Despite the framers' intentions in the beginning of the republic, ballot measures and their corresponding referendums have been widely used at the state and sub-state level. There is much state and federal case law, from the early 1900s to the 1990s, that protects the people's right to each of these direct democracy governance components (Magleby, 1984, and Zimmerman, 1999). The first United States Supreme Court ruling in favor of the citizen lawmaking was in Pacific States Telephone and Telegraph Company v. Oregon, 223 U.S. 118 in 1912 (Zimmerman, December 1999). President Theodore Roosevelt, in his "Charter of Democracy" speech to the 1912 Ohio constitutional convention, stated: "I believe in the Initiative and Referendum, which should be used not to destroy representative government, but to correct it whenever it becomes misrepresentative."[23]

In various states, referendums through which the people rule include:

  • Referrals by the legislature to the people of "proposed constitutional amendments" (constitutionally used in 49 states, excepting only Delaware – Initiative & Referendum Institute, 2004).
  • Referrals by the legislature to the people of "proposed statute laws" (constitutionally used in all 50 states – Initiative & Referendum Institute, 2004).
  • Constitutional amendment initiative is a constitutionally-defined petition process of "proposed constitutional law", which, if successful, results in its provisions being written directly into the state's constitution. Since constitutional law cannot be altered by state legislatures, this direct democracy component gives the people an automatic superiority and sovereignty, over representative government (Magelby, 1984). It is utilized at the state level in nineteen states: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon and South Dakota (Cronin, 1989). Among these states, there are three main types of the constitutional amendment initiative, with different degrees of involvement of the state legislature distinguishing between the types (Zimmerman, December 1999).
  • Statute law initiative is a constitutionally-defined, citizen-initiated petition process of "proposed statute law", which, if successful, results in law being written directly into the state's statutes. The statute initiative is used at the state level in twenty-one states: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming (Cronin, 1989). Note that, in Utah, there is no constitutional provision for citizen lawmaking. All of Utah's I&R law is in the state statutes (Zimmerman, December 1999). In most states, there is no special protection for citizen-made statutes; the legislature can begin to amend them immediately.
  • Statute law referendum is a constitutionally-defined, citizen-initiated petition process of the "proposed veto of all or part of a legislature-made law", which, if successful, repeals the standing law. It is used at the state level in twenty-four states: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming (Cronin, 1989).
  • The recall election is a citizen-initiated process which, if successful, removes an elected official from office and replaces him or her. The first recall device in the United States was adopted in Los Angeles in 1903. Typically, the process involves the collection of citizen petitions for the recall of an elected official; if a sufficient number of valid signatures and collected and verified, a recall election is triggered. In U.S. history, there have been three gubernatorial recall elections in U.S. history (two of which resulted in the recall of the governor) and 38 recall elections for state legislators (55% of which succeeded).
Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have a recall function for state officials. Additional states have recall functions for local jurisdictions. Some states require specific grounds for a recall petition campaign.[24]
  • Statute law affirmation is available in the Nevada. It allows the voters to collect signatures to place on ballot a question asking the state citizens to affirm a standing state law. Should the law get affirmed by a majority of state citizens, the state legislature will be barred from ever amending the law, and it can be amended or repealed only if approved by a majority of state citizens in a direct vote.[25]

Zapatistas

Territories held by the Zapatistas in Mexico also employ elements of direct democracy. At a local level, people attend a general assembly of around 300 families where anyone over the age of 12 can participate in decision-making, these assemblies strive to reach a consensus but are willing to fall back to a majority vote. Each community has 3 main administrative structures: (1) the commissariat, in charge of day-to day administration; (2) the council for land control, which deals with forestry and disputes with neighboring communities; and (3) the agencia, a community police agency. The communities form a federation with other communities to create an autonomous municipalities, which form further federations with other municipalities to create a region. The Zapatistas are composed of five regions, in total having a population of around 300,000 people.

Rojava

In Syrian Kurdistan, in the cantons of Rojava, a new model of polity is exercised by the Kurdish freedom movement, that of Democratic confederalism. This model has been developed by Abdullah Öcalan, the leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, on the basis of the Kurdish revolutionary experience and traditions, and of the theory of Communalism developed by Murray Bookchin.[26] At the opposite of the Nation-State model of sovereignty, Democratic confederalism rests on the principle of radical self-government, where political decisions are taken in popular assemblies at the level of the commune, which will send delegates to the confederate level of the district and the canton.[27] This bottom-up political structure coexists with the democratic self-administration, as organized in the Charter of the Social Contract adopted by the cantons of Rojava in 2014. These two structures constitute a situation characterized as one of dual power by David Graeber, though a peculiar one as they are both formed by the same movement.[28]

Compared to other experiences categorized as ones of direct democracy such as OWS, the Rojava experiment presents only several elements of direct democracy, namely the organization of the self-governing communes in popular assemblies where everybody can participate, the confederation of these communes through imperative and recallable mandates, the rotation of charges (often biannually) and the absence of a centralized power.[29] In theory, Öcalan describes the principle of Democratic Confederalism as follows: "In contrast to a centralist and bureaucratic understanding of administration and exercise of power confederalism poses a type of political self-administration where all groups of the society and all cultural identities can express themselves in local meetings, general conventions and councils.".[30] In practice, Rojava is organized on a system of "Four Level Councils": the Commune, the Neighborhood, the District, and the People's Council of West Kurdistan. Each level nominates delegates for the next level with imperative mandates as well as recallable mandates.[29]

As democratic autonomy rests on the equal political engagement of members of the community, the Kurdish women's movement aims at changing the historical exclusion of women from the public sphere as well as at educating women, creating space where they can participate and produce their own decisions.[31] This commitment to women's liberation is instantiated in the principle of dual leadership and 40 percent quota and in the many political spaces created for women's education as well as their political and economic emancipation.[32] Women are therefore fully included in the project of direct democracy. In order to contribute to their political emancipation, Kurdish women created a new science, Jineologî or "women's science", in order to give to women access to knowledge, the very foundation of power in society.[33] Moreover, political emancipation is not seen as sufficient to ensure women's liberation if it does not rest on the possibility of women for self-defense. Therefore, Kurdish women created the Women's Protection Units (YPJ) which forms, along with the People's Protection Units (YPG), the Kurdish armed forces.

The Rojava cantons are governed through a combination of district and civil councils. District councils consist of 300 members as well as two elected co-presidents- one man and one woman. District councils decide and carry out administrative and economic duties such as garbage collection, land distribution and cooperative enterprises.[34] `

Democratic reform trilemma

Democratic theorists have identified a trilemma due to the presence of three desirable characteristics of an ideal system of direct democracy, which are challenging to deliver all at once. These three characteristics are participation – widespread participation in the decision making process by the people affected; deliberation – a rational discussion where all major points of view are weighted according to evidence; and equality – all members of the population on whose behalf decisions are taken have an equal chance of having their views taken into account. Empirical evidence from dozens of studies suggests deliberation leads to better decision making.[35][36][37] The most popularly disputed form of direct popular participation is the referendum on constitutional matters.[38]

For the system to respect the principle of political equality, either everyone needs to be involved or there needs to be a representative random sample of people chosen to take part in the discussion. In the definition used by scholars such as James Fishkin, deliberative democracy is a form of direct democracy which satisfies the requirement for deliberation and equality but does not make provision to involve everyone who wants to be included in the discussion. Participatory democracy, by Fishkin's definition, allows inclusive participation and deliberation, but at a cost of sacrificing equality, because if widespread participation is allowed, sufficient resources rarely will be available to compensate people who sacrifice their time to participate in the deliberation. Therefore, participants tend to be those with a strong interest in the issue to be decided and often will not therefore be representative of the overall population.[39] Fishkin instead argues that random sampling should be used to select a small, but still representative, number of people from the general public.[8][35]

Fishkin concedes it is possible to imagine a system that transcends the trilemma, but it would require very radical reforms if such a system were to be integrated into mainstream politics.

Relation to other movements

Nuit Debout - Place Commune, 2016.05.14 (2)
Practicing direct democracy – voting on Nuit Debout, Place de la République, Paris

Anarchists have advocated forms of direct democracy as an alternative to the centralized state and capitalism; however, others (such as individualist anarchists) have criticized direct democracy and democracy in general for ignoring the rights of the minority, and instead have advocated a form of consensus decision-making. Libertarian Marxists, however, fully support direct democracy in the form of the proletarian republic and see majority rule and citizen participation as virtues. Libertarian socialists such as anarcho-communists and anarcho-syndicalists advocate direct democracy. The Young Communist League USA in particular refers to representative democracy as "bourgeois democracy", implying that they see direct democracy as "true democracy".[40]

In schools

Democratic schools modeled on Summerhill School resolve conflicts and make school policy decisions through full school meetings in which the votes of students and staff are weighted equally.[41]

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ Budge, Ian (2001). "Direct democracy". In Clarke, Paul A.B.; Foweraker, Joe. Encyclopedia of Political Thought. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 9780415193962.
  2. ^ a b c d Smith, Graham (2009). Democratic Innovations: Designing Institutions for Citizen Participation (Theories of Institutional Design). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 112.
  3. ^ Popular or citizens initiative: Legal Designs
  4. ^ a b c Hirschbühl (2011a).
  5. ^ a b c Hirschbühl (2011b).
  6. ^ a b c Hirschbühl (2011c).
  7. ^ a b c Hirschbühl (2011d).
  8. ^ a b Fishkin 2011, Chapters 2 & 3.
  9. ^ Raaflaub, Ober & Wallace 2007, p. 5
  10. ^ a b Cary & Scullard 1967
  11. ^ a b c d Kobach 1993
  12. ^ Rushkoff, Douglas (2004). Open Source Democracy. Project Gutenburg: Project Gutenberg Self-Publishing.
  13. ^ Henderson, J. (1996) Comic Hero versus Political Elite pp. 307–19 in Sommerstein, A.H.; S. Halliwell; J. Henderson; B. Zimmerman, eds. (1993). Tragedy, Comedy and the Polis. Bari: Levante Editori.
  14. ^ Elster 1978, pp. 1–3
  15. ^ a b c d Vincent Golay and Mix et Remix, Swiss political institutions, Éditions loisirs et pédagogie, 2008. ISBN 978-2-606-01295-3.
  16. ^ a b "Referendums". ch.ch – A service of the Confederation, cantons and communes. Berne, Switzerland: Swiss Confederation. Retrieved 2017-01-09.
  17. ^ Julia Slater (28 June 2013). "The Swiss vote more than any other country". Berne, Switzerland: swissinfo.ch – the international service of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2015-07-27.
  18. ^ Duc-Quang Nguyen (17 June 2015). "How direct democracy has grown over the decades". Berne, Switzerland: swissinfo.ch – the international service of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2015-07-27.
  19. ^ Trechsel (2005)
  20. ^ Bryan, Frank M. (15 March 2010). "Real Democracy: The New England Town Meeting and How It Works". University of Chicago Press. Retrieved 27 April 2017 – via Google Books.
  21. ^ The Federalist No. 10 – The Utility of the Union as a Safeguard Against Domestic Faction and Insurrection (continued) – Daily Advertiser – November 22, 1787 – James Madison. Retrieved 2007-09-07.
  22. ^ Zagarri 2010, p. 97
  23. ^ Watts 2010, p. 75
  24. ^ Recall of State Officials, National Conference of State Legislatures (March 8, 2016).
  25. ^ Statute affirmation, Ballotpedia
  26. ^ M. Knapp, A. Flach, E. Ayboga and J. Biehl, Revolution in Rojava: Democratic Autonomy and Women's Liberation in Syrian Kurdistan, London, Pluto Press, 2016, p. xv.
  27. ^ Biehl, Janet (2015). Ecology or Catastrophe: The Life of Murray Bookchin. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 317. ISBN 9780199342495.
  28. ^ M. Knapp, A. Flach, E. Ayboga and J. Biehl, Revolution in Rojava: Democratic Autonomy and Women's Liberation in Syrian Kurdistan, London, Pluto Press, 2016, p. xvii.
  29. ^ a b M. Knapp, A. Flach, E. Ayboga and J. Biehl, Revolution in Rojava: Democratic Autonomy and Women's Liberation in Syrian Kurdistan, London, Pluto Press, 2016, pp. 87-91.
  30. ^ Abdullah Öcalan, Democratic Confederalism, Cologne, 2011, bit.ly/1AUntIO, p. 26.
  31. ^ M. Knapp, A. Flach, E. Ayboga and J. Biehl, Revolution in Rojava: Democratic Autonomy and Women's Liberation in Syrian Kurdistan, London, Pluto Press, 2016, pp. 43 and 63.
  32. ^ M. Knapp, A. Flach, E. Ayboga and J. Biehl, Revolution in Rojava: Democratic Autonomy and Women's Liberation in Syrian Kurdistan, London, Pluto Press, 2016, pp. 64-76.
  33. ^ M. Knapp, A. Flach, E. Ayboga and J. Biehl, Revolution in Rojava: Democratic Autonomy and Women's Liberation in Syrian Kurdistan, London, Pluto Press, 2016, p. 71.
  34. ^ Tax, Meredith. "The Revolution in Rojava". Dissent Magazin. Retrieved 3 September 2015.
  35. ^ a b Ross 2011, Chapter 3
  36. ^ Stokes 1998
  37. ^ Even Susan Strokes in her critical essay Pathologies of Deliberation concedes that a majority of academics in the field agree with this view.
  38. ^ Jarinovska, K. "Popular Initiatives as Means of Altering the Core of the Republic of Latvia", Juridica International., ISSN 1406-5509 Vol. 20, 2013. p. 152
  39. ^ Fishkin suggests they may even have been directly mobilised by interest groups or be largely composed of people who have fallen for political propaganda and so have inflamed and distorted opinions.
  40. ^ membership Cmte. "Young Communist League USA – Frequently Asked Questions". Yclusa.org. Retrieved 2010-05-02.
  41. ^ Burgh, Gilbert (2006). Ethics and the Community of Inquiry: Education for Deliberative Democracy. Cengage Learning Australia. p. 98. ISBN 0-17-012219-0.

Bibliography

  • Cary, M.; Scullard, H. H. (1967). A History Of Rome: Down To The Reign Of Constantine (2nd ed.). New York: St. Martin's Press.
  • Cronin, Thomas E. (1989). Direct Democracy: The Politics of Initiative, Referendum and Recall. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  • Elster, Jon (1998). "Introduction". In Elster, Jon. Deliberative Democracy. Cambridge Studies in the Theory of Democracy. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521592963. (Subscription required (help)).
  • Fishkin, James S. (2011). When the People Speak. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199604432.
  • Golay, Vincent (2008). Swiss Political Institutions. Illustrated by Mix & Remix. Le Mont-sur-Lausanne: Éditions loisirs et pédagogie. ISBN 9782606012953.
  • Gutmann, Amy; Thompson, Dennis F. (2004). Why Deliberative Democracy?. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691120188. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  • Hirschbühl, Tina (2011a), The Swiss Government Report 1, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA, Presence Switzerland – via YouTube
  • Hirschbühl, Tina (2011b), The Swiss Government Report 2, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA, Presence Switzerland – via YouTube
  • Hirschbühl, Tina (2011c), How Direct Democracy Works In Switzerland – Report 3, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA, Presence Switzerland – via YouTube
  • Hirschbühl, Tina (2011d), How People in Switzerland Vote – Report 4, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA, Presence Switzerland – via YouTube
  • Hirschbühl, Tina (2011e), Switzerland & the EU: The Bilateral Agreements – Report 5, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA, Presence Switzerland – via YouTube
  • Kobach, Kris W. (1993). The Referendum: Direct Democracy In Switzerland. Dartmouth Publishing Company. ISBN 9781855213975.
  • Raaflaub, Kurt A.; Ober, Josiah; Wallace, Robert W. (2007). Origins of Democracy in Ancient Greece. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 9780520932173.
  • Razsa, Maple. (2015) Bastards of Utopia: Living Radical Politics After Socialism. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
  • Ross, Carne (2011). The Leaderless Revolution: How Ordinary People Can Take Power and Change Politics in the 21st Century. London: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 9781847375346.
  • Stokes, Susan C. (1998). "Pathologies of Deliberation". In Elster, Jon. Deliberative Democracy. Cambridge Studies in the Theory of Democracy. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521592963. (Subscription required (help)).
  • Watts, Duncan (2010). Dictionary of American Government and Politics. Edinburgh University. p. 75. ISBN 9780748635016.
  • Zagarri, Rosemarie (2010). The Politics of Size: Representation in the United States, 1776–1850. Cornell University. ISBN 9780801476396.

Further reading

  • Arnon, Harel (January 2008). "A Theory of Direct Legislation" (LFB Scholarly)
  • Cronin, Thomas E. (1989). Direct Democracy: The Politics Of Initiative, Referendum, And Recall. Harvard University Press.
  • Finley, M.I. (1973). Democracy Ancient And Modern. Rutgers University Press.
  • Fotopoulos, Takis, Towards an Inclusive Democracy: The Crisis of the Growth Economy and the Need for a New Liberatory Project (London & NY: Cassell, 1997).
  • Fotopoulos, Takis, The Multidimensional Crisis and Inclusive Democracy. (Athens: Gordios, 2005). (English translation of the book with the same title published in Greek).
  • Fotopoulos, Takis, "Liberal and Socialist 'Democracies' versus Inclusive Democracy", The International Journal of INCLUSIVE DEMOCRACY, vol.2, no.2, (January 2006).
  • Gerber, Elisabeth R. (1999). The Populist Paradox: Interest Group Influence And The Promise Of Direct Legislation. Princeton University Press.
  • Hansen, Mogens Herman (1999). The Athenian Democracy in the Age of Demosthenes: Structure, Principles and Ideology. University of Oklahoma, Norman (orig. 1991).
  • Köchler, Hans (1995). A Theoretical Examination of the Dichotomy between Democratic Constitutions and Political Reality. University Center Luxemburg.
  • Magleby, David B. (1984). Direct Legislation: Voting on Ballot Propositions in The United States. Johns Hopkins University Press.
  • Matsusaka John G. (2004.) For the Many or the Few: The Initiative, Public Policy, and American Democracy, Chicago Press
  • National Conference of State Legislatures, (2004). Recall of State Officials
  • Orr Akiva e-books, Free download : Politics without politicians – Big Business, Big Government or Direct Democracy.
  • Pimbert, Michel (2010). Reclaiming citizenship: empowering civil society in policy-making. In: Towards Food Sovereignty. http://pubs.iied.org/pdfs/G02612.pdf? e-book. Free download.
  • Polybius (c.150 BC). The Histories. Oxford University, The Great Histories Series, Ed., Hugh R. Trevor-Roper and E. Badian. Translated by Mortimer Chambers. Washington Square Press, Inc (1966).
  • Reich, Johannes (2008). An Interactional Model of Direct Democracy – Lessons from the Swiss Experience. SSRN Working Paper.
  • Serdült, Uwe (2014) Referendums in Switzerland, in: Qvortrup, Matt (Ed.) Referendums Around the World: The Continued Growth of Direct Democracy. Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 65–121.
  • Verhulst Jos en Nijeboer Arjen Direct Democracy e-book in 8 languages. Free download.
  • Zimmerman, Joseph F. (March 1999). The New England Town Meeting: Democracy In Action. Praeger Publishers.
  • Zimmerman, Joseph F. (December 1999). The Initiative: Citizen Law-Making. Praeger Publishers.

External links

1911 California Proposition 7

Proposition 7 of 1911 (or Senate Constitutional Amendment No. 22) was an amendment of the Constitution of California that introduced, for the first time, the initiative and the optional referendum. Prior to 1911 the only form of direct democracy in California was the compulsory referendum.Since the first state constitution was enacted in 1849, it has been obligatory for constitutional amendments and certain other measures to be approved by voters in a referendum in order to become law. Proposition 7 introduced a form of optional (or facultative) referendum on ordinary statutes. This means that a proposed law passed by the state legislature must be put before the electorate if a specific number of voters sign a petition requesting a referendum. The amendment also introduced the more powerful initiative procedure. This means that a certain number of voters can propose an entirely new statute or constitutional amendment, which then must be put to a vote of the people.

Proposition 7 was part of the Progressive Era of reforms. On the same day voters approved Proposition 4, which granted women the vote, and Proposition 8, which introduced another instrument of direct democracy, the recall of elected representatives.

Alliance for Direct Democracy in Europe

The Alliance for Direct Democracy in Europe, abbreviated to ADDE, was a European political party founded in 2014. It is composed of parties belonging to the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) group in the European Parliament (EP). The dominant national party in the ADDE was the UK Independence Party (UKIP), providing 21 of the party's 27 members of the European Parliament (MEPs) elected in 2014. A further three UKIP MEPs chose not to participate in the ADDE. In 2015 the ADDE was recognised by the European Parliament and its grant maximum from the EP was set at €1,241,725, with an additional €730,053 for its affiliated political foundation, the Initiative for Direct Democracy. ADDE was closed down in 2016 after an auditors' inquiry.

Ballot measure

A ballot measure is a piece of proposed legislation to be approved or rejected by eligible voters. Ballot measures are also known as "propositions" or simply "questions".

Ballot measures differ from most legislation passed by representative democracies; ordinarily, an elected legislature develops and passes laws. Ballot measures, by contrast, are an example of direct democracy.

In the United States ballot measures may be established by several different processes which vary amongst the states:

Initiative, in which any citizen or organization may gather a predetermined number of signatures to qualify a measure for the ballot;

Popular referendum, in which a predetermined number of signatures (typically lower than the number required for an initiative) qualifies a ballot measure repealing a specific act of the legislature;

Legislative referral (a.k.a. "legislative referendum"), in which the legislature puts proposed legislation up for popular vote (either voluntarily or, in the case of a constitutional amendment as a required procedure).

In Switzerland, same kind of ballot measures are known as votations.

Climate Action! Immigration Action! Accountable Politicians!

Climate Action! Immigration Action! Accountable Politicians! is a registered Australian political party. It was named Online Direct Democracy until 16 January 2019 and had previously been known as Senator Online.

Democracy

Democracy (Greek: δημοκρατία dēmokratía, literally "Rule by 'People'") is a system of government where the citizens exercise power by voting. In a direct democracy, the citizens as a whole form a governing body and vote directly on each issue. In a representative democracy the citizens elect representatives from among themselves. These representatives meet to form a governing body, such as a legislature. In a constitutional democracy the powers of the majority are exercised within the framework of a representative democracy, but the constitution limits the majority and protects the minority, usually through the enjoyment by all of certain individual rights, e.g. freedom of speech, or freedom of association. "Rule of the majority" is sometimes referred to as democracy. Democracy is a system of processing conflicts in which outcomes depend on what participants do, but no single force controls what occurs and its outcomes.

The uncertainty of outcomes is inherent in democracy, which makes all forces struggle repeatedly for the realization of their interests, being the devolution of power from a group of people to a set of rules. Western democracy, as distinct from that which existed in pre-modern societies, is generally considered to have originated in city-states such as Classical Athens and the Roman Republic, where various schemes and degrees of enfranchisement of the free male population were observed before the form disappeared in the West at the beginning of late antiquity. The English word dates back to the 16th century, from the older Middle French and Middle Latin equivalents.

According to American political scientist Larry Diamond, democracy consists of four key elements: a political system for choosing and replacing the government through free and fair elections; the active participation of the people, as citizens, in politics and civic life; protection of the human rights of all citizens; a rule of law, in which the laws and procedures apply equally to all citizens. Todd Landman, nevertheless, draws our attention to the fact that democracy and human rights are two different concepts and that "there must be greater specificity in the conceptualisation and operationalization of democracy and human rights".The term appeared in the 5th century BC to denote the political systems then existing in Greek city-states, notably Athens, to mean "rule of the people", in contrast to aristocracy (ἀριστοκρατία, aristokratía), meaning "rule of an elite". While theoretically these definitions are in opposition, in practice the distinction has been blurred historically. The political system of Classical Athens, for example, granted democratic citizenship to free men and excluded slaves and women from political participation. In virtually all democratic governments throughout ancient and modern history, democratic citizenship consisted of an elite class, until full enfranchisement was won for all adult citizens in most modern democracies through the suffrage movements of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Democracy contrasts with forms of government where power is either held by an individual, as in an absolute monarchy, or where power is held by a small number of individuals, as in an oligarchy. Nevertheless, these oppositions, inherited from Greek philosophy, are now ambiguous because contemporary governments have mixed democratic, oligarchic and monarchic elements. Karl Popper defined democracy in contrast to dictatorship or tyranny, thus focusing on opportunities for the people to control their leaders and to oust them without the need for a revolution.

Direct Democracy Ireland

Direct Democracy Ireland is a minor political party in Ireland. It has no representation at local or national level.

Established in 2010, Direct Democracy Ireland (DDI) was registered as a political party in October 2012. The organisation was founded by photographer Raymond Whitehead.The party describes itself as neither "left or right, but about balance", seeking to transform the political system from representative democracy to direct democracy. The party has three principal aims:

to allow citizens to petition for a referendum on any issue through the collection of a certain number of signatures.

to allow for the recall of non-performing politicians.

to create realistic economic policies based on public debate.

Direct Democracy Party of New Zealand

The Direct Democracy Party (DDP) of New Zealand (2005-2009) was a political party in New Zealand that promoted greater participation by the people in the decision-making of government. The party's leader was Kelvyn Alp.

The party challenged the current monetary system and promoted solutions to what it called "irredeemable debt." It aimed to establish a system of binding referendums (similar to the Landsgemeinde used in parts of Switzerland) for all major decisions. The party also advocated for a New Zealand Constitution to protect and enshrine the rights and freedoms of the people.In 2005 the Direct Democracy Party was registered as a political party. It fielded 32 party members in the 2005 elections, and won 782 votes (or 0.03% of the total vote), failing to get any MPs into parliament.The party did not apply for broadcasting funding in 2008, nor did it submit a party list. The official results for the party vote in that year's election recorded no votes for the DDP.The party's registration was cancelled at its own request on 30 June 2009.Alp founded the OurNZ Party in 2011.

Direct democracy in Oregon

The U.S. state of Oregon is one of the many states in the United States that has direct democracy in the form of initiatives and referendums. Oregon residents introduced this system in 1902 with a ballot measure. Nationwide, referendums and initiatives became known as the "Oregon System" of direct government.Recall elections are also allowed in Oregon's system.

Direct election

Direct election is a system of choosing political officeholders in which the voters directly cast ballots for the persons, or political party that they desire to see elected. The method by which the winner or winners of a direct election are chosen depends upon the electoral system used. The most commonly used systems are the plurality system and the two-round system for single-winner elections, such as a presidential election, and party-list proportional representation for the election of a legislature.

Examples of directly elected bodies are the European Parliament (since 1979) and the United States House of Representatives. The MPs (members of parliament), MLAs (members of legislature) and members of the local bodies are elected by direct election.

By contrast, in an indirect election, the voters elect a body which in turn elects the officeholder in question.

In a double direct election, the elected representative serves on two councils, typically a lower tier municipality and an upper tier regional district or municipality.

E-democracy

E-democracy (a combination of the words electronic and democracy), also known as digital democracy or Internet democracy, incorporates 21st-century information and communications technology to promote democracy. It is a form of government in which all adult citizens are presumed to be eligible to participate equally in the proposal, development, and creation of laws. E-democracy encompasses social, economic and cultural conditions that enable the free and equal practice of political self-determination.

Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy

Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD or EFD2) is a populist Eurosceptic political group in the European Parliament. The EFDD group is a continuation for the Eighth European Parliament of the Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD) group that existed during the Seventh European Parliament, with significant changes to group membership.

In 2017, it was one of the seven political groups of the parliament. This group is opposed to European integration. 24 out of its 47 MEPs were from the United Kingdom, representing the UK Independence Party. Until January 2017, the group had two co-presidents: Nigel Farage; an independent, and David Borrelli; from the Five Star Movement. However, David Borrelli had to resign the co-presidency after a failed attempt of the Five Star Movements MEPs to change to the ALDE group.

Flux (political party)

Flux is a political movement which aims to replace the world's elected legislatures with a new system known as issue-based direct democracy (IBDD). Flux originated in and is most active in Australia, but it is also active internationally, with groups existing in the United States and Brazil.IBDD is similar to liquid democracy, though there are differences. In IBDD, voters would still have the right to vote directly on every issue or delegate their vote to someone else, but unlike in liquid democracy, voters can choose to forego votes on one issue to use on another issue. This creates opportunity cost between issues and allows voters to specialise their votes on the issues that are more important to them. This specialisation of votes allows citizens to participate effectively in issue-based direct democracy without having to focus on every issue as they would in regular direct democracy.

Software to implement IBDD is being developed by SecureVote, a startup company set up by Nathan Spataro and Max Kaye to bring Blockchain-based voting to Governments, Businesses and Token Ecosystems.

Freedom and Direct Democracy

Freedom and Direct Democracy – Tomio Okamura (Czech: Svoboda a přímá demokracie - Tomio Okamura, SPD) is a hard Eurosceptic, anti-immigration and pro-direct democracy political party in the Czech Republic. The party holds 22 seats in the Czech Chamber of Deputies.

Green Left Party

Green Left Party (Turkish: Yeşil Sol Parti) is a left-libertarian and green party in Turkey. It was founded on 25 November 2012 with the name Greens and the Left Party of the Future (Turkish: Yeşiller ve Sol Gelecek Partisi) as a merger of the Greens Party and the Equality and Democracy Party. The party changed its name in April 2016.

Prominent members include Murat Belge, left-liberal political author and columnist for Taraf; Kutluğ Ataman, filmmaker and contemporary artist; and Ufuk Uras, former Istanbul deputy and president of the Freedom and Solidarity Party.

The party is one of the participants in the Peoples' Democratic Congress, a political initiative instrumental in founding the Peoples' Democratic Party in 2012.

The party has formally acknowledged the Armenian Genocide.

History of direct democracy in the United States

The history

of direct democracy amongst non-Native Americans in the United States dates from the 1630s in the New England Colonies. Many New England towns still carry on that tradition in the form of open town meetings.

None of the Above Direct Democracy Party

The None of the Above Direct Democracy Party (NOTA; French: Aucune de ces Réponses Démocratie Directe Parti), formerly and still unofficially called the None of the Above Party (French: Aucune de ces Réponses Parti), is a minor political party in the province of Ontario, Canada. It is named after the expression "none of the above" and was founded in 2014 by Greg Vezina in response to his disillusionment with the current major political parties. The party aims to "elect independent MPPs who are not bound by party control and who truly can represent their constituents first". It supports the use of referenda, term limits and recall elections.NOTA nominated candidates in eight ridings in the 2014 provincial election: Vezina ran in Mississauga—Erindale, Vezina's wife Kathleen ran in Mississauga—Brampton South, Vezina's son Alexander ran in Mississauga—Streetsville, Vezina's brother Matthew ran in Parkdale—High Park, Andrew Weber ran in Mississauga South, Amir Khan ran in Scarborough—Rouge River, John Ringo Beam ran in Niagara Falls, and Bob Lewis ran in Lambton—Kent—Middlesex. None of the candidates gained a seat in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario and the party received 0.09% of the popular vote.

Participatory democracy

Participatory democracy emphasizes the broad participation of constituents in the direction and operation of political systems. Etymological roots of democracy (Greek demos and kratos) imply that the people are in power and thus that all democracies are participatory. However, participatory democracy tends to advocate more involved forms of citizen participation and greater political representation than traditional representative democracy.

Participatory democracy strives to create opportunities for all members of a population to make meaningful contributions to decision-making, and seeks to broaden the range of people who have access to such opportunities. Since so much information must be gathered for the overall decision-making process to succeed, technology may provide important forces leading to the type of empowerment needed for participatory models, especially those technological tools that enable community narratives and correspond to the accretion of knowledge. Effectively increasing the scale of participation, and translating small but effective participation groups into small world networks, are areas currently being studied. Other advocates have emphasised the importance of face to face meetings, warning that an overreliance on technology can be harmful.Some scholars argue for refocusing the term on community-based activity within the domain of civil society, based on the belief that a strong non-governmental public sphere is a precondition for the emergence of a strong liberal democracy. These scholars tend to stress the value of separation between the realm of civil society and the formal political realm. In 2011, considerable grassroots interest in participatory democracy was generated by the Occupy movement.

Referendum

A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is invited to vote on a particular proposal. This may result in the adoption of a new law. In some countries, it is synonymous with a plebiscite or a vote on a ballot question.

Some definitions of 'plebiscite' suggest that it is a type of vote to change the constitution or government of a country. However, some other countries define it differently. For example, Australia defines 'referendum' as a vote to change the constitution, and 'plebiscite' as a vote that does not affect the constitution. In Ireland, the vote to adopt its constitution was called a "plebiscite", but a subsequent vote to amend the constitution is called a 'referendum', and so is a poll of the electorate on a non-constitutional bill.

Semi-direct democracy

Semi-direct democracy is a type of democracy that combines the mechanisms of direct democracy and representative government. In semi-direct democracy, representatives administer daily governance, but citizens keep the sovereignty, being able to control their governments and laws through different forms of popular action: binding referendum, popular initiative, revocation of mandate, plebiscites, and public consultations. The first two forms—referendums and initiatives—are examples of direct legislation.

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