Thursday, January 18, 2007

Feedback

This concept is a work in progress. Even after the United Democratic Nations is in full operation, it will still be a work in progress. Feedback is much appreciated. -- gary

P.S. Let me know if you want to be added to the petition on the last page.

32 comments:

Sqotty said...

a work in progress is a good place to start. Keep moving with it.

gary said...

Thanks!

gary

Rajshekhar said...

A great initiative Gary. My all best wishes for working towards a truly democratic world!!!

clearthought said...

What's your goal for this blog?

gary said...

Hi clearthought,

To elicit feedback for my United Democratic Nations concept. And the purpose of the concept is to propose a roadmap for creating a more peaceful world. How's that for a lofty goal? And more importantly, what is our alternative?

gary

Bs As Theo said...

Gary, i got to admire your goals and idealism, but I am going to have to disagree with the basic premise. While I believe you agree advocating a change in the system from a top down approach (i.e. global democratic organization), I think that a change is only going to come from the bottom up, starting in local communities and only later reaching national and international levels. Still, you can count on my support as it certainly a noble and positive effort. Thats my 2 cents...

gary said...

Bs As Theo,

I consider myself to be 'bottom', so I'm perfectly fine with the bottom up approach. It doesn't sound like you're really disagreeing with the basic premise, but rather how best to achieve it....correct?

gary

Bs As Theo said...

You are right on, I am all for the premise, I just meant that you are advocating an organization of national gov't in an international body. For me change needs to happen at a more local level before the focus can be on the international level. Still, two different paths towards the same goal, more or less.... I have your expertvoter.org site linked on my blog now. Keep it up, you have my support.

gary said...

theo,

I think calling a United Democratic Nations a "government" might be too strong. For instance I'm not currently of the belief that it should even have a standing army. The UDN might work better as an advisory committee.

So what is the change that you think should happen at the local level first?

gary

Bs As Theo said...

I just think that democracy has to come from below, at the local level and extend upward. I don't see this happening in the U.S. Issues that have popular support are not on the table, ie national health care, nuclear disarmerment, elimination of poverty, ect.. The U.S. clearly has the power to address all these issues, so why does it not happen? Because there is a narrow group of people that have access to power and they have a strong interest in keeping the status quo... I think the way to change it is for the people to take the power and make the nation truly democratic. In this I am in the line of thinking of Trotsky and others. Does that help at all?

gary said...

I think the way to change it is for the people to take the power and make the nation truly democratic.

How? Can you be more specific as to how we can actually do this? So far I'm only hearing theory.

gary

Bs As Theo said...

Well if you really want to know, by revolution. Revolution of the proletariat, led by the advanced workers in the organization of the party. The party is essential for this to happen, its role is to be at the vanguard of the workers. I would imagine it would probably be violent, not because it is inherent in socialism, but because I cannot really see those in power willing giving it up. I would certainly rather have it be peaceful, but we must be honest with ourselves about this. The task before us right now is to organize and educate. Give people a forum where their voices can be heard, i.e. popular local assembly. The roots are already in place, albeit the position is very marginal in most areas right now. We must work to expand it.

gary said...

Bs As Theo,

What party? Are you proposing a socialist system?

gary

Bs As Theo said...

Bingo, It doesn't really matter what particular party it is, rather what it stands for. For example, where I am (Argentina) there is a rather established party, MST - Movimiento Socialista de los Trabajadores (Socialist Workers Movement). It is different in the States, the movement is very small and marginalized for a number of reasons, but has been growing as of late.

Bs As Theo said...

Gary, did I scare you off with socialism?

gary said...

bs as theo,

I'm afraid so. Socialism is more government than I can stomach. By definition "government" is an inefficient process and needs to be applied sparingly.

gary

Bs As Theo said...

Ahh...an anarchist, I see now where you are at. Although I do not agree with you on that front, I think we have common cause in making a change for the better. I think we both are against the "state", but I do think we need governance by the people of the people in a truly democratic fashion, ie all people having an active role and participation in the general well being.

gary said...

Demoratic governance is a good thing when not excessive. I'm certainly no anarchist. An anarchist wouldn't make organizational proposals.

gary

Bs As Theo said...

Gary, thanks for the good discussion that we have been having. Although we disagree on some of the finer points (you may say larger points) I am all for supporting you and your initiative. I hope you took no offense about the anarchist comment, certainly none was intended. When I said anarchist, I simply meant one who is against all state or government inference, but I don't think anarchist are necessarily against organizations. In fact historically they have taken a broad role in labor union organizing, well some groups of anarchist at least. The term encompasses many different views, much like the term socialism. But I don't think this feedback board is the place to continue this discussion. I will still post though if some pertaining to the UND comes to my attention.

gary said...

Bs As Theo, I don't think "anarchist" means "against all state or government interference", but rather someone opposed to the existence of government at all, which is more extreme than your definition.

Take a look at these...

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarchism
dictionary.reference.com/browse/anarchy

And definitely, no offense taken!

gary

Glen Kendall said...

Gary, I agree the Un could use a makeover, including getting rid of the security council and the right of any member of it to veto. But as they say, it's much more complicated than that. For example, why should the US with 300 million people have only one vote when Switzerland with 9 million has the same one vote. It is not at all clear that democracies are less likely to make war, look at the US for example. But keep up the good work and maybe we'll find a solution for a more effective UN. Glen

Andy D said...

The United Nations is a loosing deal for the United States. We should send the UN overseas, rent out the building, and do something else with the money.

gary said...

Andy D said...

>The United Nations is a loosing deal for the United States.

I agree.

>We should send the UN overseas, ent out the building,

The UDN would shift headquarters, so no unfair burden on any country.

>and do something else with the money.

We're certainly not getting the appropriate return for what we're spending, so I must agree.

gary

Jana said...

Gary please contact David Kilgour and David Matas at

team@organinvestigation.net

View their work at

http://investigation.go.saveinter.net/

An Independent Investigation into Allegations of organ Harvesting of Falun gong practitioners in china
by David Matas, Esq. and Hon. David Kilgour, Esq.

They have traveled the world in the last year to bring to the worlds attention the Live organ harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners. David Kilgour in particular is known for his maverick righteousness and strength with Human Rights issues.

He was also a Canadian cabinet minister and state secertary for Asia South pacific until he resigned in Jan 2006.

These kinds of human beings will be the future leaders of nations.

So if they are interested they can direct you where and how..

All good People with righteous thoughts about the way the world should be will survive to the future to manifest a new better world.

Truth Benevolence and Forbearance

kindest regards Jana

http://www.atruechineserenaissance.blogspot.com/

gary said...

Hi Jana,

Thanks for the info, but I honestly don't have time to track down specific CCP abuses. Like I said I've already reached the conclusion that China would be better off as a democracy, so any additional abuses would only reinforce what I already believe.

gary

Jana said...

HI Gary , Thats not what I was suggesting sorry for any confusion. David Kilgour champions many causes and is a well know Human Rights leader.
I believe that he will be a leader in the future not of any one country but something like your UDN organization.

I was suggesting that you contact him to inform him of the UDN and engage his interest.

Nihilist said...

Sorry but what is so great about Democracy ? In the US it has given you Bush, in the UK we got Thatcher; neither could be considered 'Democrats' in my view.

Consider these views by historical heavyweights:-

"Democracy is the very worst form of government ... apart from all the others ..." - Winston Churchill

"Democracy is two wolves and a sheep deciding on what to have for lunch; liberty is a well armed sheep showing up to contest the vote" - Benjamin Franklin

"Democracy is nothing more that 51% of the people removing the rights of the other 49%" - Thomas Jefferson

Personally I am a Christian minded Buddhist and a benevolent Anarchist. As the Hippocratic Oath states "I do no harm", as Jesus said "I do unto others as I would have them do unto me". But the fact is that the 'simple majority' of Democracy only creates an 'elective Dictatorship'.

OK your goal is OK, but it is very naieve to imagine that a Democratic world would actually work when countless billions of people only really care about No 1.

gary said...

Nihilist,

It would be a mistake to assume that democracy can only be as good of a system as represented by the US and the UK. And the point of a United Democratic Nations would be to improve existing democracies, not just create new ones.

Your quote from Winston Churchill really says it best. To rephrase, it's the best system we have. What system do you prefer? If anarchy, isn't that basically the system of somewhere like Somalia?

As for Jefferson's quote, he is pointing out the extreme case of democratic rule, but he still preferred the system of democracy.

Personally I am a Christian minded Buddhist and a benevolent Anarchist. As the Hippocratic Oath states "I do no harm", as Jesus said "I do unto others as I would have them do unto me". But the fact is that the 'simple majority' of Democracy only creates an 'elective Dictatorship'.

So again, what system do YOU prefer? And please site an example. And if there is no example, explain why there isn't one.

OK your goal is OK, but it is very naieve to imagine that a Democratic world would actually work when countless billions of people only really care about No 1.

Consider it a case for education.

gary

Nihilist said...

Actually Gary I admire your effort, but I am just pessimistic about it ever taking off. Ironically it would surely take some sort of Anarchic 'Universal Declaration' to get anywhere.

The sad fact is that currently I do not see any nation/state with an active 'Democracy' in the true sense. I most certainly believe that British style Parliamentary Dictatorship/Rule [or US style Presidential/Senate/Representative 'rule'] is very un-democratic; since the 'masses' are never 'consulted' beyond an artificial election campaign period.

OK, in theory they are able to influence their 'delegates' all through the period of office, but in practice surely it is mainly only 'powerful organized special interest groups' who get heard.

So for me firstly some form of proportional representation is theoretically much more representative than any '1st past the post 'simple majority' rule'; since with those systems there is no room for subtlety. it is a 'winner takes all' approach which I personally loathe.

Secondly as I understand history the original Greek 'Demos Cratos' [rule of the people] was very Elitist, in so far as it only listened to Citizens; ie. landowners, and not common people, and certainly not 'slaves'. But it did at least give those Citizens a 'vote' on matters as they arose. They were not forced to hand over total control to an even more Elite group, then 'mind their own business' until 4 or more years later.

So given our 21st century hi-speed Internet, the perfect means to listen to ordinary peoples views; then surely some gradual change might be feasible whereby ordinary people expressed their views; and [a revolutionary thought here] they were actually listened to.

It is surely feasible that 'panels of citizens', [perhaps organized in much the same way as a Jury] could be built into the present systems to permit feedback from ordinary folk. In some ways that does happen, but without any compulsion for the 'rulers' to listen. That is the key flaw in my mind. Democracy is a fake, it is not 'rule of the people'.

In a simplistic way that is what you and I are doing right here. But of course nobody is obliged to listen, and we few bloggers are unlikely to affect the billions any time soon. Sorry but there I go being Nihilistic again ;}

Perhaps I am unable to fully explain my views, but my attempt to do so is intended constructively. As I have plainly said I do not believe in 'raw crude Democracy' as it is modelled so far in the world. BUT clearly it is damn sight better than what preceded it; ie. Feudalism.

However, sadly if one looks really closely at so called Democratic Governments then Feudalism is simmering just under the surface. The 'job titles' are different, but the actual implementation is very little changed beyond token gestures to nominally protect the 'rights of individuals'. But in all cases said Governments rides roughshod over all individuals in pursuit of their aims; all the time claiming a democratic mandate.

Postscript: I live in Thailand where we have recently had six months of a 'rebellion' against a 'Democratically Elected Government'. Except that said Government was 'Bought' by the ex-PM/Billionaire/ruling party. Politics here is extremely corrupt, but perhaps not so very different from the UK/US since 'tax cuts'/bribes are routinely handed out in those 'Democracies' too.

OK, so anytime you want to create a Revolutionary change then count me in. However I have to admit that I am more Anarchist/Socialist than you would probably care to know. It is a real pity how touchie some nationals are about Socialism ;}

No major offence intended but 'you Americans' should really consider how your own society was created - wasn't the 'Declaration of Independence' an overt act of Revolution/Rebellion/Anarchy ?

re. what system do YOU prefer? And please cite an example. And if there is no example, explain why there isn't one.
Have you stopped beating your wife ? Answer Yes or No only!

Or to put it more simply, just because there is no existing 'ideal society' does not make the objective improper, or unattainable.

gary said...

Nihilist,

I understand your pessimism, especially when progress seems so slow, even backwards these days, but if you take the longer view, the degree of democracy is greater now than a hundred years ago. And even greater than a thousand years ago. So the trend, even if frustratingly slow, is towards democracy. It's really the ONLY hope for bringing peace to the world. As for the US and British governments, I certainly wouldn't argue that we're anywhere near perfection, but at least we still vote. Bush was a terrible president IMO but unlike a dictatorship, I'm entirely confident that he will NOT be in charge next year. Most of the problems with the US are the fault of the citizenry, making poor choices in the voting booth. A democracy can only be as good as it's citizens. One of my favorite quotes...

Democracy is a device that insures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.
-- George Bernard Shaw

If we get very lucky, someone in power (Obama, etc) will come to the same conclusion I have with regards of bringing democracy to the UN. If we're not so lucky it may take a few nuclear wars and dire times before people decide a different approach is needed. I personally have extremely little influence in such things, but I'm confident the idea I'm proposing WILL eventually be discovered by reasonable people.

To your points...
firstly some form of proportional representation is theoretically much more representative than any '1st past the post 'simple majority' rule'; since with those systems there is no room for subtlety. it is a 'winner takes all' approach which I personally loathe.

Can you give an example of this? I don't understand.

Secondly as I understand history the original Greek 'Demos Cratos'

No argument. But I'm not proposing we adopt a primitive pseudo-democratic process from the past.

As for the internet, I see it as the single most important tool in spreading democracy in the last thousand years. And I don't believe governments will succeed in crushing it.

'panels of citizens'

I understand that you don't entirely trust pure democracy, but that's where I disagree. In my opinion, the more the better. Another favorite quote...

The cure for the evils of democracy is more democracy.
-- Mencken, H. L.

Regarding your rebellion in Thailand, is this a government that most people legitimately voted for? If so, you shouldn't put "Democratically Elected Government" in quotes. You should be blaming the citizens for putting them there.

gary

Emma said...

I am deeply looking forward to this project. The U.S and other western powers should not be involved in a multilateral organization where Sudanese, Iranian, and Russian dictators set international law.

gary said...

Hi Emma,

Let me know if you want me to add your name to the petition I have on the last page.

gary