cj#654> Elias: an agenda for democracy


Richard Moore

Date: Mon, 17 Mar 1997
Sender: Elias Davidsson <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re: cj#645> TWA - Intentional Fire scenario

I wish to comment on the 'friendly fire scenario'.

Although one can make such constructions, mentally, and show that a
scenario could have been designed, the rationale for such actions - namely
to push through some legislation in Washington, seems a bit far fetched.
There are at any one time many legislative and executive proposals pending
and I don't see why the US government would embarass itself with such
dubious acts as shooting down a civilian aircraft to push through
legislation.  There are numerous other ways, much more mundane and
traditional, available in corporate-controlled US to make legislation
acceptable to the public.  I think the whole TWA affair is, from the point
of view of analyzing corporate US and global US power, of no relevance.
Let's not run after red herrings.

The system-analysis of corporate US rule is not dependent upon proving this
or that scenario in the TWA case. The evidence of corporate rule, of media
collusion, of interlocking power, of global strategic thinking of the US
leadership, is all publicly available. What we need is to make this
evidence widely known and understood and propose a resistance strategy, or
even an alternative.

For my part, I have no package-deal to offer, no Messiah, no 'new society',
etc. Having said that, I think that it is of great value to reassess what
people generally consider basic human rights and needs, define core values
that any 'system' should respect and evaluate our current economic and
social order according to this yardstick.  By such a method one can better
identify the bad parts of the system without rejecting the good ones. Let
us not forget that modern capitalism is not ALL bad. The idea of allowing
individuals leeway for private initiative is great, the egalitarian nature
of capitalism (which treats every consumer as a king, regardless of ethny
and color) is a progressive trait of this system. Money has no ethnic or
racial identity.  Therefore I believe that it is necesssary to reign
capitalism to the peoples' needs rather than combat it frontally. How to
reign monopoly capitalism is of course a big task and not an easy one,  I
admit. But we have conceptual tools to do that and there is a wide
consensus agreeable to reigning capitalism, which does not exist for Utopia.

I would like to see a multi-track approach to dealing with today's
fundamental crisis of democracy:

1. The struggle for increasing the transparency and public accountability
of all major social and economic institutions, regardless of ownership.

2. An increased use of Individual Criminal Responsibility in the realms of
gross economnic crimes against The People.  Thus, I believe that while you
cannot make directors of large companies personally liable to pay
reparations for torts their company inflicts, because often such sums
cannot be raised by one person at all, there is a need for more penal
liability of individuals in top positions, both in economic and political
life.  This would restrain gross misuse.

3. The increase in the public space available to the general public
(Commons) for free expression, free communication, free movement and
squatting.  By privatizing public space the area in which individuals can
move or stand or sit freely is reduced. The day might come when there will
be hardly any public space available any longer for people to meet on
'neutral' ground. Any space would have to be purchased and thus the idea of
free expression will be totally undermined.

4. Increased direct democracy on public issues. This includes attendance of
any concerned parties in committee discussions, the right of any party to
partake in the debate and make proposals. For some classes of events,
public referenda will be organized. While it is not practicable to have the
general public vote on every single issue (people have neither time nor
interest in all issues), there are quite many issues that the public should
decide upon, issues of major political or economic relevance for the public
concerned.  Here I'm not talking upon phoney opinion polls but about full
access of the public to ALL the details needed to make a decision.

5. Education. Part of today's and tomorrow's education should be what we
might call EMPOWERMENT.  This means the art and science of understanding
and modifying human society and power relations in society.  A dynamic
modern society needs people who question and are able to analyse
independently complex situations, not people who passively acquiesce.
Western society's strength is partly due to this basic attitude to free
individual enterprise, which monopoly capitalism is now destroying.  Thus I
see a correlation between empowerment, free individual enterprise and the
struggle against monopoly capitalism (which for me has similar effects as
totalitarian regimes).

The ideas here above are not written in any order. They are just thoughts
that require refinement and critical evaluation. I invite comments.

Elias Davidsson, Iceland

Elias Davidsson - Oldugata 50 - 101 Reykjavik - Iceland
Tel. (354)-552-6444     Fax: (354)-552-6579
Email: •••@••.•••     URL:  http://www.nyherji.is/~edavid