Richard Moore

Dear cj,

I apologize for the queue of reader inputs that has been accumulating
recently -- contributors please be patient.  I've been hit my several
deadlines all at once.  One of the deadlines is an article for New Dawn on
"The Police State Conspiracy", which you'll be the first to see.

Meanwhile, I'll be sharing a sequence of postings that I hope you'll find
of interest.  Do please keep responding with patience -- in many cases the
delayed batching of responses will keep the thread alive longer while
minimizing boredom from too-frequent repetition.

Good news!  The piece on "Globalization and World Systems" is being
translated for "Venezuela's most widely read newspaper", and Bob Djurdjevic
published the "Who is the enemy?" piece in Truth In Media, generating a
storm of responses (they're in the queue).  My "message" (and I must admit
to having one of those) is directed at the global community generally --
and our need for solidarity -- and I'm gratified when diverse audiences can
respond to it.

If anyone out there would like to contribute to "the cause", has some extra
energy, and is good at selling articles to magazines, please drop me a



                            25 Nov 1997
                 Copyright by Richard K. Moore, 1997

When one thinks of "democracy", there are, based on the examples from our
historical heritage, two primary models for us to choose between.  The
first is constitution-based, or representative democracy, and the other is
plebiscite-based, or majority-rules democracy.

I would like to suggest however that there is at least one additional
primary democratic model -- one that has been employed extensively in
practice with considerable success -- but one which for various reasons has
not been commonly perceived by historians as being democratic.

Before I reveal my third democratic model, allow me to expand on the two
traditional models, and to argue that fatal flaws have generally
characterized both in practice -- and that this failure is inherent in the
models themselves.

By "representative" I mean a system like that of the USA or the UK, where
contending parties field career candidates on a competitive basis, and
where elected officials are granted in effect "unrestricted constituency
proxies" during their tenure.  The de facto goal of a career politician is
typically to get re-elected, and thus official loyalties which should in
constitutional theory lie with the constituency exclusively, in practice
are split between the influences of constituencies, party politics, and
whichever societal factions might influence re-election possibilities (eg,
campaign-fund contributors, the media).  The system does not function as
advertised in constitutions, and it does not deliver
constituency-responsive democracy; instead it provides an arena in which
factional struggles among special-interest groups can be played out.

By "plebiscite-based" I imply that policy-making is accomplished by means
of at large plebiscites: individuals express choices from a ballot menu,
votes are then totalled, and the outcome leads to the implementation of
specific policy measures.  Such a system is obviously unsuited to the
general governance of a larger-than-town entity, and has never been
seriously considered in such terms -- notwithstanding the recent pollyannic
fashionability of direct-democracy schemes.  Plebiscites _have_ with mixed
success been employed for relatively small numbers of high-profile issues.

The potential of democracy, it would seem, can be duly doubted, if limited
to the two standard models.  The mysterious third model, is one that I
refer to as "proto democracy" (ie, "primitive-society democracy").  Not all
proto (primitive) societies can be characterized as democratic, but some
can, and I'll explain why.

I refer in particular to such proto-societies as the Sioux "Nation" of the
19th Century U.S. Mid-West, a system of autonomous tribes which was stable,
adaptive, egalitarian, and anarchic.

If a chief wanted to lead a raid on a nearby tribe, for example, he had to
to sell his scheme to the braves in his tribe, and they each had the
voluntary choice to participate or not.

The same pattern repeated when tribes collaborated: if necessity arose,
tribes would come together in pow-wows, and each had the free choice to
join or not in any proposed community endeavor.  And once agreed, they kept
their word, not just to the letter, but in spirit.

The Sioux approached the political process with respect, made their word
their honor, encouraged every voice to be heard, recognized the value of
sound leadership, but took decisions by group consensus -- and this system
worked effectively in practice under demanding and changing circumstances.

I suggest that it would be appropriate to use with some admiration the
adjective "democratic" in reference to the Sioux and many other proto
societies sharing similar characteristics.

Do these proto-democratic forms have nothing to teach us?  Are their
principles entirely incapable of application in ultra large societies?
Were they _necessarily_ tied to small-scale or static cultural patterns?
Are there no significant principles that can be mapped usefully onto
current conditions?

I suggest otherwise.  I suggest proto political systems in general should
not be dismissed as valueless, and further I suggest that our usual
dismissal of proto models is attributable to the very social conditioning
that has been necessary to the ongoing evolution of larger scale societies.

Just as Christianity pointedly buried the memory of nature-religions in the
satan/serpent-inhabited Garden of Eden, so have societies needed to
discount earlier societal forms as being barbaric.  When proto societies
have been encountered, the barbarians were very seldom perceived as having
anything of socio-political value to be borrowed.  They might be exploited
or they might be protected, but rarely emulated.

The discounting of earlier political forms has always been part of the
matrix of centralizing glues (along with military force, religion, economic
benefit, factional domination, etc.) that have held larger scale systems
together.  As societies have co-evolved, the historical necessity of each
new regime has always become part of the new societal mythology.

We can see this systematic discounting process going on today in such
condescending terms as "underdeveloped" and "subsistence economy".  The
Third World needs guidance, but never emulation, says the common wisdom.
And, ironically, it is the consequences of colonial impact (eg, puppet
regimes, foreign-owned resources) which typically make such condescension
appear justified.

Historical democracies can be traced to very early sociopolitical origins,
but those origins do not go back nearly so far as proto democracy itself.
The Greek and Egyptian historians, for example, were unaware of or failed
to perceive proto democracies.

Latter-day democratic threads started late, after merchant factions,
despots, aristocracies, warlords, and others had long-ago buried all memory
of all proto systems under layers of change and mythology.  The latter-day
democratic thread came about when power stalemates forced one controlling
faction or the other to turn to previously suppressed constituencies --
granting power to them in exchange for alliance in the factional struggle.
When the population of enfranchised constituencies reached fifty per cent
or so, historians began to identify the society as a "democracy". But, as
the song goes in Porgy and Bess: "It ain't necessarily so".

The constituency-recruitment pattern can be seen in Constantine's alliance
with Christianity -- that vigorously suppressed and sizable constituency
was overnight made part of the establishment, with its banned religion now
officially sanctioned, in exchange for critically needed support for the
imperial center.

Similarly, as part of the American Revolution, large constituencies which
had been effectively disenfranchised under British rule were at least
partially enfranchised under American democracy, in return for help in
removing royalty, nobility, and clergy from secular power.  But the power
of the American electorate has never been fully sovereign in practice: the
wealthy elite, ever since the framing of the Constitution, have been a
potent power faction within American politics against which popular
interests have always had to struggle.

The point is that latter-day democracies arose in the context of centrist
power struggles, had no awareness of long-forgotten proto scenarios, and
did not benefit from whatever lessons there might have been.

Today we fortunately know quite a bit about the spectrum of proto societal
forms because of the rapidity of Euro expansionism.  As the colonizers
fanned out, they encountered an amazing variety of functioning
proto-societies, theretofore innocent of large-society influences.  That
heritage which had been submerged in the colonizers own past mythological
debris was suddenly made available, and a substantial and enlightening
literature is available to us today.

In my research into proto-societies, I focused specifically on the question
of democratic lessons, and I believe I have identified some general
structural principles that can be of considerable benefit to our current
political predicament.

I suggest to the jury that this possibility be entertained sympathetically
for the moment -- that you suspend with me the pro-progress conditioning
that we've all been subjected to as part of our culturalization into modern

If you will hold that thought for a moment, permit me to establish a
motivating point -- that democracy, of some achievable and effective
variety, is in fact critically necessary for any human society which wishes
to retain any acceptable degree of fundamental human values such as
dignity, freedom, general prosperity, stability, community, and social


The plain fact is that today's globalization process has substantially
destabilized most of the societal structures that had been dominant up
through 1945, and those rapidly decaying structures are being digested into
a new system in which nearly everyone will be disenfranchised -- abruptly
reversing a twentieth-century Western trend toward ever-broader democratic
inclusion into the mainstream of power-sharing.

One particular faction has devised a scheme to rule the globe without being
dependent on peer alliances with any other faction.  That emerging
hegemonous faction is the capitalist elite, and it controls the reins of
the wealthy and powerful mega-corporations.  These corporations are the
functional equivalent of mega-slaves: huge self-enriching machines which
can brainwash populations, finance nations, and dominate governments --
while always remaining under the centralized control of elite-dominated
boards of directors.

The only chink in the armor of this new order armada is its very
exclusivity: by abandoning even its long-faithful First-World middle class
allies it is rapidly destroying those structural bonds that have long
enabled the elite to engineer winning electoral slates by exploiting
genuine relative advantages of various classes (divide and conquer).

As nearly all constituencies are becoming equally disenfranchised,
traditional societal divisions are becoming _fundamentally bridgeable_, and
the elite is depending increasingly on pure propaganda techniques, backed
up by manufactured dramatic "problems" (eg, Iraq, Iran, Libya, North Korea,
drugs, over-armed criminal gangs), to maintain societal divisions and
major-party hegemony over the democratic process.

In the meantime, the elite is rapidly embezzling national assets and
sovereignty and signing them over to elite-dominated globalist
bureaucracies so that control of the democratic process will soon become a
universally moot point, as it already is in those countries which have come
under the domination of IMF directives.  Who wins elections in such
countries can no longer make a substantial difference to local societal
welfare; the governments have been by debt emasculated, and the countries
have become corporate free-fire zones as regards investment practices,
salaries, taxes, environmental impact, labor treatment, etc.

If the capitalist elite have a fatal flaw, it is their shared culture of
self-righteous greed.  As they get closer to "having it all", they are
beginning to grasp too quickly for their self-assigned concrete rewards;
they are revealing their intentions by squeezing people everywhere too
aggressively; they are sowing the seeds of a massive counter-coalition
(everyone else united against the elite) before they have in fact fully
consummated their historic power grab.

They have created a window of vulnerability -- the potential for an
imaginative organizing cadre to forge a very broadly based coalition of
grass-roots organization of all stripes, focusing on their shared need to
overcome corporate hegemony and make government responsive to popular
preferences and needs.

Perhaps awareness of such rebellious potentialities is behind such
elite-initiated phenomena as the World Bank's recent embracing (even if
only rhetorical) of more humane and flexible economic guidelines, or the
EU's highly publicized regard for counter-trend green-labor-consumer
interests.  Such initiatives shrewdly retard the formation of a grand
counter coalition without sacrificing any long-term elite objectives -- in
the long run the World Trade Organization's blunt corporate agenda is
positioned to supersede all other jurisdictions and to deliver the last
laugh to the elite.

Elite control has become heavily dependent on very skillfully produced
mass-media propaganda, and the coalition would need to develop its own
communications infrastructure (pyramided through constituent
organizations), leading eventually to an alternative "public
consciousness", one that is participatory rather than corporate
manufactured.  Printed newsletters have served such purposes in the past,
but Internet could potentially accelerate the organizing process immensely.

Perhaps awareness of this potentiality partly explains the prevalence of
Internet scare-stories in the mass media and the eagerness of governments
to get into the content regulation business, as well as the motivation for
transferring control over most national communications policy into
corporate hands with the passage of the Telecom "Reform" Bill of 1996.

With awareness of the importance of communications, the coalition
organizing process can begin whenever adequate leaders step forward and
take the initiative.  Coalition building involves the development of a
common core agenda among exiting grass-roots organizations, and initial
successes in recruitment and consensus could be expected to accelerate
rapidly: the pent-up frustration of the citizenry against corporate
domination has the potential energy of a political volcano.

The coalition would be well advised to avoid becoming a political party as
such, but should view elections as _one of_ the activities it engages in.
This strategy avoids organizational deflation following electoral
victories, and prevents being co-opted by factional politics.  This is how
the Christian Coalition and the National Rifle Association operate in the
U.S -- and their organizational stability (if nothing else) is to be

If the coalition is able to bring together all those constituencies which
are flexible enough to get off their special-interest focus, it would be in
a position to endorse candidates at all levels of government, who could
then run effectively without needing major-party or mass-media endorsement:
their message would be distributed widely via the coalition's internal
communication network.  Candidates would presumably be selected on the
basis of such criteria as sincere loyalty to the hard-won consensus agenda,
personal character, skill in win-win negotiating, and relevant professional
skills -- not public showmanship and demagogic talent.

Instead of residing in the factional competition of parties, the democratic
process would reside in the internal process of the coalition itself: the
society will be democratic if and only if the coalition itself is both
generally representative and democratic.  Thus our task devolves to
creating a democratic coalition, growing it to dominant proportions, and
insuring that it will remain both organizationally sound and democratically
responsive in the long run.

Elected officials define policy on a a day-to-day basis, but the overall
policy framework has usually been set by extra-governmental entities.
Traditionally, each party has had a platform, and the winning party's
platform became the policy framework of the next administration.  The
policy-making process within the party itself was the business of the party
leadership and its members -- an extra-governmental process.

More recently, as corporate globalization has become the common agenda of
all major parties (at least in the U.S. and the UK) , the global corporate
establishment has become the extra-governmental entity that sets the
framework of policy.

The coalition would continue the pattern of developing policy in
extra-governmental channels, but -- if it fulfills its democratic vision --
it would stay firmly focused on achieving democratic responsiveness: not
selling a corporate agenda or trading special favors for campaign funding.
The policy-setting process within the coalition would be based on the
win-win establishment of agendas common to all its constituencies -- not on
the power-brokering of some faction-sponsored compromise program.  And as
candidates' messages would be distributed via the coalition's network,
there would no need for massive campaign funding, and one common cause of
corruption would be nipped in the bud.

The corporate establishment is backed up by ongoing elite-controlled
institutions, such as the Council on Foreign Relations, Tri-Lateral
Commission, G7, WTO, IMF, think tanks, etc.  The people as well need
back-up institutions, and the coalition and its constituent organizations
can fill that need.

Our task of societal salvation has thus devolved to the problem of
fashioning a grass-roots based, organizationally coherent, non-hierarchic,
scalable, constituent-responsive democratic coalition.  I've suggested
certain strategies above for our coalition to consider, based on what I've
learned from studying various political movements (both historical and
personally-observed).  The proto-democratic scenario, as exemplified by the
Sioux, is well-represented in what I've put forth.


Let's return now to our proto-democratic scenario, review how some of it's
lessons have been already incorporated, and see if additional lessons might
be forthcoming.

Sioux proto-democracy, if you recall, was characterized by a "nation" of
autonomous tribes: internally tribes were democratic and consensus
oriented; collaboration among tribes occurred at "pow-wows" based on
voluntary consensus; honesty and trust -- even honor -- were nurtured by
this system (unlike today's systems which are based on deal brokering and
which reward more manipulative talents); the system exhibited remarkable
stability over time.

In addition, the Sioux were blessed with a stable economic base -- ever
available bison -- and this stability was presumably one of the critical
pillars supporting the overall stability of the nation.

Now -- at last -- as promised, I will endeavor to show that the
proto-democratic structures that have been outlined do indeed provide
general principles of remarkable value to our present day circumstances.
This proto-democratic model turns out to be considerably more useful to us
today than the models that have come down to us through our own historic
cultural evolution.


My suggestions for consensus process within the coalition, for example,
were modelled largely on how that process was successfully used by the
Sioux.  My emphasis on win-win negotiating was based directly on the
honorable Sioux political ethic of trust, openness, and listening carefully
to all voices.

I view the constituent grass-roots organizations ("constituencies") as
being the analog of autonomous tribes: hence they should be invited to
participate voluntarily as peers in coalition business (pow-wows), but
encouraged to retain their operating autonomy and and their individual
organizational styles: they should _not_ become chapters of a centralized
organization.  Thus we may hope to maintain a stable, bottom-up, democratic
process, learning once again from the proto-democratic experience.

Tribes did, when the urgent need arose, collaborate with great
effectiveness and commonness of purpose.  In our case the urgency of the
globalist threat is dire indeed, and as our platform begins to stabilize,
each constituency -- based on its own self-interest -- will have every
incentive to act energetically in solidarity, based on the agreed coalition
agenda.  The dynamics of the proto-democratic pow-wow model are thus echoed
in coalition dynamics.

The avoidance of centralized power is critical to the maintenance of the
bottom-up proto-democratic process.  For this reason, the operatives of the
umbrella coalition infrastructure should always be viewed as humble
"pow-wow caterers", not "supra-tribal authorities" -- as an at-large
support staff, not a leadership cadre.

Thus all the primary structures and democratic virtues which functioned so
successfully in the proto-democratic model have been appropriately mapped,
I suggest, so as to support similar successful functioning in our modern
democratic coalition.

By my reckoning, the only essential analog of the proto-scenario that is
still missing from our neo-proto model is the beneficent and reliable
presence of the bison herds: proto-democracy succeeded with the help of a
stable, extra-political economic base -- one that tribal politics didn't
need to burden itself worrying about.  Without a reliable and worry-free
economic base, we cannot have confidence that our neo-proto-democracy can
be expected to remain stable.

But take heart, there is indeed help for us in this regard, and it comes --
with profound irony -- from a most surprising quarter indeed!  I suggest
you sit down before reading further, as I am going to brashly suggest that
our stable economic base can be provided by none other than _the corporate
establishment itself_ !

Far from wanting to dismantle corporations or seize their operations, I
suggest that we want and need the corporate community to keep the
industrial and economic wheels rolling.  We want and need them as allies,
but on our terms, which will presumably include the acceptance of a fair
corporate taxation burden and a reasonable code of legal behavior (ie.
tough-love regulation).

The corporate elite, although they will certainly rise up in paranoid
defensive furor at our first voicing of political rebellion, need not in
fact be backed into a hopeless corner.  They simply need to be firmly
guided toward a negotiated attitude somewhere in the vicinity of
traditional Scandinavian corporations, which long managed to perform
admirably while living within strict socially-imposed constraints.  This
would be difficult but not impossible to achieve given a determined and
flexible negotiating team commissioned by the recently elected coalition

We could hope to reach out to corporate leaders as human beings -- they
can't really want their children to live in the kind of world globalization
promises.  They're prisoners of the impersonal mechanisms of corporate
greed as much as everyone else, and perhaps they will see the wisdom of
collaborating in the effort to work out a transitional strategy toward a
sustainable world and a more stable, equitable economy.

Collaboration is a much more productive model than is win-lose
confrontation.  It would be wise to negotiate a participatory role on
corporate boards for responsible representatives of workers, consumers, and
other groups affected by corporate operations.  These participants need not
have  a vote -- the intent is not to disrupt company operations -- but
their presence would open important lines of communication, monitor
compliance with regulations, and encourage a more collaborative
relationship between corporations and the people they interact with.

With such a corporate strategy, we may reasonably hope to achieve economic
continuity and increasing stability as our coalition gains political
ascendency and our platform begins to come online.  Such a continuity-based
approach turns out to be a strategic political necessity: any agenda which
calls for abrupt economic restructuring (eg, outright socialism) would be
justly perceived as threatening by the many constituencies that are already
feeling economically insecure under globalization.  Such an agenda would be
unlikely to ever get off the ground.

Corporations are our coalition's bison herd: corporate self-interest can be
expected to provide a stable economic environment for society and for
coalition members.  It is only the reins of the corporations that need the
influence of a more democratic hand; the corporate machine itself is every
bit as capable of operating as a beneficent mega-genie as it is a
destructive one.

I suggest that the proto-democratic scenario has now been satisfactorily
mapped into current circumstances, and that this line of investigation is
showing some real promise.


This then is my best current understanding of our democratic crisis:

        We face a dire and urgent danger in the form of corporate
        globalization; we have a window of opportunity during which we
        might forestall this danger, a window created by over-reaching
        elite greed; an effective democratic process is the only feasible
        way to exploit that opportunity window, and proto-democracies provide
        us with the best models for such a process; those models may well
        be adaptable to our needs, as suggested in this article.

I look forward to responses from those who find hope in this vision: let
the collaborative consensus-seeking process begin!

Warm Regards...


Posted by Richard K. Moore - •••@••.••• -  PO Box 26, Wexford, Ireland
         www.iol.ie/~rkmoore/cyberjournal                   (USA Citizen)
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