10 August, 2015

Where Should and Where Does Real Power Reside?

Michael Coldwell - Westminister (2011)

Democracy is always claimed to deliver effective rule both for and by the people. But, that, of course, such is never the actual case.

It gives the appearance of key decisions being made by the mechanism of elections, yet, if none of the allowed candidates are intending to perform a dedicated service to the people, what then is such an election actually about?

And, what else will determine the positions of elected candidates? Will any at all reflect the real requirements of the majority of the population?

Or, will they all be members of various powerful groups, aiming for state-power to act in favour of their own decided positions? Indeed, will they merely carry out what they (as privileged groups) think is best for their own interests?

Clearly, no ordinary citizen could have anything like the same rights and privileges as the members of these groups.

For, he or she couldn’t just decide to stand, and be accepted as a candidate. The whole process is so big, and completely separated from ordinary people, that to join the election as a candidate would be both too difficult and too expensive, and would confer NO rights or resources to propagate your position to the electorate via the media.

Only those with enough wealth and power can get such privileges.

And, as even Local Authorities now are increasingly forced by financial constraints to dance to the instructions from Central Government, no real independent local route to political activity and publicity exists.

Let us be clear, no matter what interest groups form and agitate for particular policies, they have absolutely no power to do anything about it.

There were such groups, not so long ago, that could, indeed, do so: they were called Trades Unions, and they could en masse withdraw their labour to affect decisions, with regard to their members rights, conditions and remuneration. But, increasingly, in the decades since Margaret Thatcher, the Unions have been rapidly emasculated in pursuing that sole, powerful right of Working People, the Strike!

Now, it gets more and more difficult as the governments pass laws against such rights.

Yet, many years ago in a large European country, the people were in revolt against a World War and dictatorial central power, and they invented their own answer. Wherever they lived, and whatever their job, and even where they lived, they began to form Councils, or as they termed them in their own language – Soviets.

These were never allocated from on high and handed down – ready-made by those above. On the contrary, they were totally devised from below, and differed markedly, depending upon circumstances.

But, everyone was allowed to speak, and decisions were made by simple majority votes. Anyone elected within the Council to do particular jobs, were both elected to do it, and also mandated to carry out actions on a whole series of issues, and trusted to act, as the electors would desire, if other issues arose.

Yet, any mounting disagreement with what such an appointee was doing, would allow instant recall, and an elected replacement by another allowed, if a set threshold were surpassed by those against the actions of the erring incumbent. There was never a carte blanche to such people: they had to act in the interests of the majority of their electors.

Now, this isn’t what Stalin did, later on, in Russia! For he decided from the top-down what Soviets were and what they could and couldn't do. But, what the people had done in their own Soviets, whether they were workers or soldiers or peasants, was designed to always reflect their demands.

A Key Event occurred in 1917, for, by the usual top-down methods, those in charge had organised a statewide Constituent Assembly (a Parliament), at exactly the same time as the people were gathering in their own countrywide Congress of Soviets. Both claimed sovereignty and were sitting simultaneously.

Who would actually win power?

The Bolsheviks had attained leadership of the congress of Soviets, and simultaneously stormed the Winter Palace where the government were sitting, and immediately arrested the whole Provisional Government. At the Congress of Soviets, Lenin stepped onto the rostrum and stated, quite calmly, “We shall now construct the Socialist Order!”

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