cj#566> re: Saving Democracy / national focus


Richard Moore

Dear cj,

        Below is a forward from WSN, of a thread generated by the Saving
Democracy piece.

        The piece was distributed by American Reporter, and will be
published by New Dawn magazine.  Allow me to recommend New Dawn to cj
                New Dawn
                GPO Box 3126FF
                Melbourne, VIC 3001, Australia


From: •••@••.••• (Richard K. Moore)

8/13/96, Warren Wagar <•••@••.•••> wrote:
>Of course I don't agree with
>your insistence on the nation-state as the framework for organizing a
>broad coalition of progressive forces.  The megacorporate interests and
>the states that front for them pay less and less attention to that
>framework, and antisystemic movements must follow suit if they wish to be

Dear Warren,

        The "states that front for them" need to stop fronting for them --
and that requires people to take control of their on-paper national
democracies.  Global solidarity and cooperation among national-based
movements is indeed important, as I said in the posting, but it is national
democratic institutions that provide the potential infrastructure for
popular empowerment.

        You might say national governments are fortresses which have been
occupied by the enemy (corporate power).  If we "storm the fortresses"
(take control of our institutions), then we have a power base, an
infrastructure (a fortress), designed and evolved for the (potential)
purpose of governing society according to democratic principles.

        You use "antisystemic", evidently, to describe any program for
significant change.  I say it is folly to ignore systems -- one must use
them and work within them, if even to change them.  The systems which offer
us the most hope are the democratic-national-government systems.  They exist
and operate, and their controls are within our grasp if we have the
necessary political will and competence.

>  There is no reason why a global party could not have national
>chapters active in national politics, but if the focus of each national
>segment of the world party is largely national, and each segment gets
>embroiled and swallowed up in national issues, and there is no
>supranational party structure coordinating all efforts at the regional,
>national, and local level, megacorporate globalization will just proceed
>on its merry way.

        The necessity of "coordinating all efforts" is not obvious, and I
disupte it.  Mutual solidarity and support is not the same as being
"coordinated" from above.  Your "supranational party structure" --
if it is to make detailed plans for every nation and locality -- sounds like
a rehash of a Soviet Communist Party system.  Too big, too bureaucratic,
too centralized, too arrogant, too distant from the needs of the people.

        Decentralization, I believe, is essential to democracy, and the
nation state is not too-small a unit to deserve decentralized autonomy.

>  The sine qua non, for me, is a world political movement
>that is firmly set on a course toward a global democratic state.  Such
>internationalism, in 1996, is not "premature."  The real problem is that
>It may already be too late.

        To seek a "global democratic state" at this time in history is folly
in the extreme, folly for a whole host of reasons.

        First, in the face of the corporate-sponsored campaign for a
techocratic world state -- corporate "free-trade" feudalism -- any public
sentiment for world government will be inevitably co-opted into the
corporate designs.  It would be all to easy for the corporate globalists to
spouting progressive rhetoric PR.  They'd show "revelation" footage of
dictatorship abuses, and explain how only their corporate-sponsored
"minimalist" world government can be "the final solution".  Indeed, that's
exactly what the whole Germany-USA-managed Bosnian crisis is all about.

        Second, the problems of designing a world government -- and
achieving consensus on its structure, and making it democratic instead of
autocratic -- are formidable in the extreme.  What kind of consitutional
convention would
be necessary?  What models would be entertained for consideration?  There
are endless questions.   You may think you have answers to all of them, but
don't see this as a feasible path.  Far more practical to take control of
national systems than to embark on a moon-shot global government design,
especially given today's balance of power in favor of corporatism, and
their control over the media.

        Finally, and to my mind most important, The World is simply too large
a unit for us reasonably to expect democracy to function effectively there.
The Greeks thought the city-state was the ideal size for autonomous
democracy.  In their day they might have been right; and if the global
political balance-of-power shifts dramatically (in favor of "the people"),
then the day
of the city-state might return.

        Democracy inherently works better at a smaller scale, rather than
larger.  After all, democracy is in some sense "a group of people trying to
collaboratively manage their society".  The larger the society, the more
problematic it is to set up systems that enable such collaboration, the
more difficult to keep them from becoming bureaucratic, remote,
authoritarian, and corrupted by determined special interests.

        So the choice of scale, for democratic activism, is crucial.  One
can debate the virtues of various scales, but in today's world, given
multinational corporations and all other factors, I firmly believe the
national level is the most promising focus.   It is operational, it is
accessible (potentially), and it is of sufficient size to stand up to the
corporate elite, if it has popular will behind it.

        If a majority of First-World governments were to become genuinely
progressive, then imagine how productive international conferences could
become!  Delegates would really be chartered to seek effective remedies to
world hunger, poverty, human rights, pollution, etc.  It's not a world
government that's needed, it's governments which actively pursue the
betterment of human welfare instead of corporate enrichment.

        If you feel it's impossible to reform national governments in this
way, then I say it's ten times as impossible to force these reforms from
some nebulous global forum.



    Posted by Richard K. Moore  -  •••@••.•••  -  Wexford, Ireland
     Cyberlib:  www | ftp --> ftp://ftp.iol.ie/users/rkmoore/cyberlib