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Redefining Democracy Bottom Up

By       Message Theresa Paulfranz     Permalink
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                            How Does One Define "Democracy"

I think and have read that much of the world's power is in the hands of a few big companies and that they run the government. Eisenhower told us to look out for the "military industrial complex." It has now grown to be the military industrial pharmaceutical agribusiness university complex. Everything seems to get sucked up into an upside down pyramid with more and more power at the top. Every time the Democrats get in they clean up the mess so that the Republicans can come in and use the good work to their benefit. Why fix things when the fix only benefits the fat cats eventually? Why not back off and let the mess self-destruct?

I once was talking to an Indian man and I told him I thought that the ways of the Indian culture were horizontal egalitarian and cooperative with almost totally shared property. (the Indian tribe was also a tribal matriarchy and our system is a civil patriarchy). I told him I thought that the way of the white man's culture was vertical, elitist, competitive and believed in almost exclusive private property. I told him that I thought that if the two culture's mixed we would have a perfect androgynous or liberated or double-sexed culture. It would be a horizontal/vertical, egalitarian/elitist, cooperative/competitive, system, with shared and private property. And, it would be both matriarchal and patriarchal. The Indian man told me that the Indians had already thought of that. If so, it is a pity no one listened.

In addition if one has a locally-alive small group like a tribe or new-age community, then one has a one-person-one-vote system that works because the small organization enables everyone to know who they are electing. If government starts at the bottom and works slowly up from communities acting together to city and state and country, it might actually be possible to elect the best person in the country to the office of president.

As things are, the one-person-one-vote is largely a sham, as all too often you are given a choice of one of two paid puppets of the big corporations. If representative government is arrived at after a simpler one person one vote, (on a level such that the elected person is known by the elector), then the representation can be real.

A government "of by and for the people" is possible. But without the fundamental bottom up democracy of one-person-one-real-vote, the top down democracy or representative democracy has to be a sham.

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It is absolutely essential that the country be an integrated whole where power is not added but multiplied. Ten plus ten is twenty and ten times ten is one hundred. A vote that is like ours, our American way of voting, is a mere sum of votes, and is not powerful. A voting system where people vote from the context of small living democratic units or communities, enables the power of multiplication. When each community elects its best, (and in a small community you know who the true leader is) then all these fine people go to the city and elect the best of the best and on and up. The power of multiplication has worked and democracy becomes real. At the top, the elected leaders then truly represent the people and a bottom-up/top-down democracy can be circular and self-sustaining.

The cyclic power of true government would have such a multiplying kind of momentum that when it finally takes root on Earth there will be no stopping it. With the little guy truly empowered (his bottom up democratic power) and many others like him elect a true representative of the people, then such a person could then do the job of real top- down -representative- democracy, and then you are in business.

Until we have a synthesis of the ways of third world peoples, like the Indians, with the ways of the now-dominant white man's ways, we will not have anything remotely resembling true democracy.

Therefore, my interests are with trying to start a small real local community. Many others are doing the same. I read that there are, in the U.S., 100,000 people living in "community" today. I feel this is the only hope of this planet.

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I am a hippy that never dropped out. I have held on to impossible idealism and will not give up. I think the human race is a ticking time bomb and we are at the last tick. So what is the good of slow careful pragmatism that allows time for it all to (more...)
 

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