Updating Formal Democracy for the New Millennium

part of Post-ISO Reflections: Essays and proposals on democracy and organization

We need direct democracy, period.  No more representatives or delegates – we can still have national meetings but voting should be for everyone.  This is the year 2014 and the Internet is everywhere.  Organizational proposals should henceforth not be voted on by the delegates or representatives at some party congress, but the entire organization, even if distantly.

People may make arguments like this is “undemocratic” because the distant voters do not get to be part of the in-person discussions at the congress/conference/convention/national decision-making meeting.

This is a really bad argument.  Those party congresses are more thoroughly, one-sidedly owned by the organization’s apparatus than any other facet of an organization.  It’s their house, they own the house, they moderate the same debate that they march into as a faction via joint proposals, and their power and influence are on full display.

Pretty much everyone acknowledges that, despite the fact that a narrow formal majority agreed with the British SWP leadership to close their eyes, cover their ears, and put the sexual harassment charges behind them, that this did not represent a true democratic decision because of the one-sided pro-leadership circumstances that dominate every party congress.  So why can’t we simply admit that this same analysis can be extended to every group?

Socialist organizations are run far less democratically than the very 1917 model of immediately recallable delegates and local direct democracy that they all celebrate.  But this is not acceptable.  The age of the Internet is also the age of Direct Democracy.  Someday we will vote on state policy from smartphones.  Socialists should lead the charge on this revolution, not play catch-up.

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One thought on “Updating Formal Democracy for the New Millennium

  1. Pingback: Post-ISO Reflections: Essays and proposals on democracy and organization | spreadtheinfestation

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