On July 24th, the thematic group of Direct Democracy in Syntagma Square was allocated, by the Popular Assembly of the Square, to compose a document on the “Principles and Theses of Direct Democracy.” This document was presented to the Popular Assembly of Syntagma Square, on September 3rd and is pending to be voted. Τhe thematic group of Direct Democracy in Syntagma Square, wishing to contribute to the dialogue for the state change, which has globally started taking place, makes this document public to all popular assemblies, in Greece and the rest of the world, for consultation and contemplation.
Principles & Theses
Why did people from different origins take the squares all over the world?
What is the underlying cause that unites them and sidesteps what separated them?
Why is the phenomenon spreading rapidly in many countries?
Because, the crisis, which the system sowed to humanity, drove the human being, society and nature to their limits of endurance and tolerance, as this is evidenced by the current barbaric Greek reality.
We have lived through the era of blatant inequality, we deified money and we enslaved ourselves to the banks and multinational companies. Human relationships have been imbued with competition and self-interest. We have tolerated the exploitation of humans as we have tolerated the rape of nature in the name of development. We left others (leaders, rulers, MP’s and their financial backers) to decide for us.
Now is the time of overthrow.
From the first day, on May 25, in Syntagma square, we set off direct democracy into an imperative project and started putting it into everyday practice deciding to take our life into our own hands. The power rises from the people, but so far it is practised only in the name of the people, while in reality, it is actually practised in absentia and against the people. The people, instead of being sovereign, have surrendered and delegated sovereignty.
Citizenship exists when the citizen exercises politics. Citizenship is not transferable, but it is exercised personally by him/her. The granting of citizenship through representation means the loss of the citizen’s freedom. The individual becomes a citizen, when during his/her participation in the community public affairs, overcomes the “private” and “individual” and goes over to “collective.” The exercise of politics itself is what educates citizens to become citizens and be able to manage community affairs.
As a consequence to all stated above, the citizen must vigorously protect his/her political position against any attempt of external definition, derived either by mechanisms of “developing public opinion” (mass media), or by political parties that turn people into fans, voters and customers. Within the same context of citizenship removal, the elections and all supposedly legalizing referendums or electronic forms of governance – which are “cultivated” from above, only to create a false impression of deepening democracy- are clearly integrated.
In the state of governance of Direct Democracy, the only kind of real democracy, it is safeguarded that the people themselves hold the power, derived from their popular assemblies. Every popular assembly, as a legislated body exercises each and every power, in the domain of its responsibility and jurisdiction. The people hold all powers, since:
They are independent and self-governed, as far as they themselves hold the Government Power (that is, they themselves consult on everything that is of concern to them and they themselves make all the relative decisions, of either domestic or foreign affairs) and on the other hand they exercise the Executive, by implementing the decisions they have made, in an organizing, managing and executive level.
They are autonomous; they exercise Legislature, by giving themselves all current legislation, which they need.
And by taking the laws into their own hands, they themselves hold the Judicial Power.
The popular assembly might make a mistake, but since it’s the same body that makes the mistake, the same one can make amends.
Direct Democracy comes as a necessary imperative project that puts priority for a radical overthrow of the system of representation, of commercialization of everything, of people’s deposition into a tool of bringing more wealth, opposed to a creative development of society as a whole and of each and every individual, separately.
It presupposes and it means that there is constant and energetic participation of society as a whole, in public affairs. Direct Democracy is simultaneously a process of consultation, of making decisions and of putting them into practice; it is a state system and a way of social coexistence. The substance of all this is the autonomy of society which itself creates its legislations and is directly governed by free and equal citizens.
This way of social organization does not leave space for any kind of hierarchies, leaders, governors and political parties. It gives space to citizens who experience and practise politics and at the same time they are practised within it. It is for all people, who experience the joy of personal initiative, of collective try, of solidarity, as well as, of love.
Exactly at the very core of today’s crisis lies the fact that anthropos is a medium, disposable, at the service of the dictatorship of the markets and money. But, shouldn’t society have the exclusive word on what, on how and on who for it produces? In order for Direct Democracy to exist in its complete meaning, it needs society not only to hold economy into its own hands, but also to adjust economy in dimensions that respond to human standards, to social targets and environmental commitments. Based on this, all resources of our common life and the means to satisfy our common needs, cannot be but common, into the hands of society itself, which, with no need of any kind of mediation, decides an equal distribution of them, for all, with respect for the environment. And this happens, since, anthropos can neither be a medium nor can the ecosystem be thought as inexhaustible and expendable.
The principles of Direct Democracy differ from the principles laid down in the past, which were open to all sorts of violations, by the fact that the guarantee for their implementation is the constant supervision of all citizens. These principles, derived from what we experience in Syntagma Square and from similar historical experiences are:
1. Freedom 2.Equality 3.Solidarity 4.Autonomy
The theses or stands of direct democracy based on these principles are:
1. All public space is open to everyone’s participation and it also belongs to everybody.
2. The equal participation of everyone in shaping, making and implementing of decisions, as well as the control of their application, both in the political and the economy field is a fundamental prerequisite. All people both control and are under control for self-improvement and improvement of society’s functions.
3. All necessary representations have strictly coordinating or executive nature and not mediating, representative or decisive character.
4. All representatives are drawn, either directly from the body of the popular assembly or from a prevoted list by the assembly, when certain skills or expertise are required. In any case all representatives are always recallable, accountable during the exercise of their duties and are judged on their account, by the end of these tasks.
5. The existence of many local assemblies (in neighborhoods, municipalities, workplaces, schools of education, etc.), that communicate with each other, is the cornerstone of Direct Democracy. Participation in these assemblies is not occasional, but it is as responsible and regular as possible. Communication between local assemblies creates a horizontal (non-hierarchical) network, which serves to coordinate the required theses and acts.
We stand before a historic turning point, facing the challenge and the unique privilege to take our destiny into our own hands, by subverting this busted system of values and institutions, which exploits our life.
We want everything for everyone. We are history in motion.