Real Democracy



in my last three videos I have talked about democracy why it's impossible under a state why the systems not broken but works the way it was designed and why democracy as we know it is not that different from dictatorship except that we have a little bit more freedom in this video I'd like to move past the critique and look at how the people around you and you can take back your freedom without having to beg for it from the people who stole it in other words we'll talk about real democracy I'm Chris and this is what had to be said I'd like to start by laying down the difference between government and governance it's pretty simple governance really just means any way of making and enforcing social rules all human societies have had some kind of governance government is a form of governance where a small minority of that society centralized or concentrate power over everyone else they make and enforce rules in their own interest if you're anything like me you don't want that kind of governance you want freedom you want justice and you don't trust the state to give them to you so how could things be more democratic what if instead of letting our so-called representatives do all the voting we voted for things directly so you know every time there is a bill or a law we all get a vote on it maybe there could be an app where we get a notification that there's a vote coming up and we vote yes or no that sounds democratic but I still don't like it if politics were still conducted on a national scale we'd still have people who don't know each other imposing their will on others and if anyone could just put forward a bill that would govern everyone else at some point people would get weary of voting and just ignore it maybe there's a better approach do you know about Dunbar in the 1990s anthropologist Robin Dunbar suggested the number of stable social relationships an individual can have caps out at about a hundred and fifty in other words we can know about a hundred and fifty personally and well but not much more than that others have said the number is somewhere between a hundred and two hundred and fifty and it probably varies with the individual and since we're talking theoretically here let's just go with Dunbar and assume 150 it seems that whenever groups of our hunter-gatherer ancestors got too big they split that way no tribe would get so big you couldn't have a personal relationship with the rest of its members now let's translate that to modern life a country of millions of people is not a tribe you you couldn't possibly know everyone in it so when decisions are made for an entire nation state there's really no way to take the views and concerns and interests of everyone into account true democracy in such a situation is impossible so no one even asks for your consent anymore but what if we made decisions in groups of 150 or less think about where you live do you live in an apartment complex maybe a neighborhood of houses how many people live there do you think they might be interested in making their own decisions it might take a year or two of convincing but if they're interested they would be a great unit of governance there are several ways of building small-scale democracy including in the workplace perhaps with a cooperative where people own and operate it together without hierarchy or in a union and all social movements should be non hierarchical and inclusive or else they won't lead to a non hierarchical inclusive society democracy in the workplace or in social movements are whole other topics and I'll be making videos on them at some point for sure but of course there's a lot online already that you could look at on starting cooperatives or unionizing or starting a social movement I shouldn't be your only source of information on these subjects anyway right the more of these properly democratic organizations the better but I think the most important vehicle for democracy is the community Murray Bookchin once said in 2001 I think it was the overriding problem is to change the structure of society so that people gain power the best arena to do that is the municipality the city town and village where we have an opportunity to create face to face democracy so why does the community have so much potential for democracy well it's in the those last few words they're face to face the first reason is you know each other that's important most people usually don't want to take advantage of and hurt the people they know and if it's a small group of people who know each other it probably won't take long to identify those one or two people who are heard second if in some unforeseen way someone becomes a neighbourhood tyrant it's easy for the rest of the people to just remove that third you live close together as such your decisions will be on local matters like how to fix potholes how to stop flooding mmm how to talk to the guy who's noisy dog barks all night it what to do if there's an armed communist uprising new your home whenever having a party yeah just like that exactly so everyone in the community could agree on and sign a charter or constitution when someone dies or moves away they no longer have a vote and changes to the rules are fine you just need a consensus among those the Charter applies too if new people want to come to the neighborhood they need to sign up to that way people would opt in to this system of rules rather than being forced into it how would you enforce rules well if you value freedom justice compassion friendship and community you aren't likely to set up a jail to cage people just because their music is too loud there would be procedures to deal with these issues so for example maybe the first time someone plays loud music all night you knock on their door and ask them to stop maybe the second time they get a written warning signed by all the adults in the community the third time they get a fine of some kind and the fourth time you kick them out and if you have a better way of solving the problem great write it down propose it at your neighborhood constitutional Congress and argue your case you're on your way to an autonomous sovereign community and the thing about governance on a small scale is most of what we would call in forcement of rules just takes care of itself people internalize rules especially the ones they believe in most of these rules are just norms I mentioned in a video a month or two ago I I support your freedom to rock to walk around naked in public but most people don't so imagine if you really did go downtown naked people wouldn't let you in places they would shout at you or at the very least point and laugh that's their way of unconsciously enforcing this norm or rule regardless of what the law says on paper a community can be a great basis for self-defense we're afraid of small-scale crime like assault or theft right strong communities take care of people so they don't need to steal they raise children collectively so they don't have the long-term detrimental effects of insecurity and stress so many of us have grown up with they make joining a gang unnecessary they care for addicts or people with mental illnesses or disabled people it's really only in the past couple of hundred years since capitalism has forced its way into every street in every home that community in this sense of the word has been lost but maybe that's not self-defense strictly speaking so much is preventing violence so maybe there's some kind of neighborhood watch it's an easy task nowadays to alert others if there's a reason to worry most of these are details that the individual community would work out for itself would democratic communities need prisons prison is a state construct it doesn't exist because there are millions of evil people in the world who need to be locked up in cages it exists because the state needs its threats of violence to have real consequences prison is a threat and a punishment and it destroys families and it destroys lives compassionate and free societies do not lock people away just to punish them all kinds of prevention and Reconciliation need to be tried before we resort to prison Prison should only be for that very small number of people who are incorrigibly violent and then it still needs to be a facility for care not for sick citizens to watch as sick guards assault and abuse sick prisoners it could be more of a challenge to a free community if there's a real invasion an aggressive external enemy trying to take over your community and forcibly incorporate it into a state or Empire any given community could fall prey to that so how do we deal with a full-scale invasion the short answer is Confederation Confederation means the decentralization of power and decision-making in this context it means communities working together in solidarity pierre-joseph prudhoe wrote of a confederation of Confederations communities working together across all borders to solve any problems they needed to even if there were only a few hundred autonomous communities around the world which there might already be incidentally they still might be able to defend each other from invasion and at the same time help other communities get free and join them most of the decisions we take in our lives are or at least should be personal I don't ask my community who I'm allowed to date or what I'm allowed to eat community decision making is for issues that affect everyone in the community but I don't they envision a municipality that just provides another level of state power I envisioned communities around the world the challenge state and corporate power that resist encroachment on their freedom and independence and on sensitive ecological sites around the community and because there are still a few things that need to be done globally I can imagine millions of communities working together to do anything Norm's tend to spread around the world and norms of governance are quite typical that way if a few communities go sovereign others will too if some free communities choose compassionate methods of reconciliation other communities can learn from them and adopt their practices but decision-making on the scale of a confederation could take us right back to the problem of the unn representative state so how would we avoid the old pitfalls mom how about one person from each community is a delegate and instead of holding power over the community like a politician the delegate can only do what is sanctioned by the community I could imagine a conference where delegates have the choice to vote yes or no on all kinds of proposals and the delegate from your community votes no because you agreed that's what they would do that said there are apps we could use to avoid even having to go to a conference the confederation proposes changing this rule community 7b over here has a meeting and then votes no by pushing a button it doesn't have to be harder than that maybe some decisions made by the Confederation are taken by consensus while other kinds of decisions are taken by majority like the community it would have a constitution agreed to by its constituents then communities can opt out if they don't want to participate now on a final note if any of these proposals sound hopelessly utopian to you I urge you to think a bit more about them the only thing that makes them really unrealistic is the state currently stands in our way humans are quite capable of such organization they demonstrate that every day as they create new organizations and associations and social movements even people apparently divided by the ruling class can work together when necessary remember the uprising in Egypt in 2011 within a 48-hour period at the end of January every community in Cairo had organised for self-defense and many of those community organizations became the autonomous communities we're talking about or at least they did for a while until the Egyptian state shut them down this was a group of people who had lived under authoritarian rule firm how many years thousands and yet they understood freedom cooperation and self-defense just as well as everyone else and they organized they found an opportunity for self-governance and they took you'll have that an opportunity like that too so I hope you're prepared thanks everyone see you next week




Comments
  1. Please check out the channel of my friend John Spritzler who is an author that writes about the same things you propose. This video of yours is really awesome. Thank you.

  2. Do you know à governance model for companies called Holacracy? The central decision making is negotiation until no objection is met instead of voting yes or no. I think this could be applied to a community.

    On another line, do you know John Spritzler and his No Rich and No Poor Egalitarian movement? If not you guys should discuss.

  3. 4:40 you are very good at articulating. When you said this something went off in my brain; I realized I had thought this before but had no way of putting it into words

  4. None of this seems utopian to me. It honestly seems like common sense.
    14:39 I love this idea. Delegates not being certain individuals who have power over those they “represent” but instead having the same democratic power as the community and being held accountable by others. There would be no gambling or lottery and individuals would not have to take a risk hoping that whoever they voted for would not throw them under the bus once a corporation starts giving them money.

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