The purpose of "A Theory of DD" and the current state of the DD movement
G. Sagi
December 2000

Humanity is approaching a dangerous period in the history of civilization. Rational considerations indicate that only true democracy or direct democracy could save the world from major economic and violent catastrophes. These predictions are supported by this Study. Special attention has been paid to the categories of human ‘needs’, unbridled human ‘wants’, greed and special ‘group interests’. These are inherently connected to the declining aspects of representative systems. Growing polarization between the rich and poor nations and uncoordinated growth lead to the inescapable conclusion that representation by career politicians cannot protect the future of civilization. Democracy has to be practiced and protected directly by the people.

World economy is dominated by giant multinational global corporations. These are supporting carrier politicians who dominate national politics, and compete for global dominance. The main motivations are: profit making, enrichment, and power. These are the underlying causes of the dangers.

Another grave concern is that a great part of the globe is impoverished and underdeveloped. In contrast, others live in relative luxury. Millions of people have insufficient food supplies and many are starved to death. This anomaly does not have to exist. In spite of the abuse of the environment, the world is capable to producing enough food to feed all of humanity. The rich industrially developed countries could assist poor nations in raising their living standards. Meaningful help may turn out to be their self-interest. Effectual help would create export and employment opportunities in the rich countries. It would also diminish the probability of violence and terrorism by desperate and by fanatical individuals. In the long run, there is a slight chance that self-interest may enlighten world leaders to voluntarily begin massive, truly democratic, transformations.

If the growth of production will continue, its inherent problems will surface. Within two decades, the global market will be saturated and dominated by three or four fiercely competing trade blocs. This could lead to global recession and large-scale armed confrontation.

The possibility of mounting large-scale destruction by fanatical individuals causes a parallel danger. Global injustices have been leading to violent uprisings and reprisals. Unjust world order will increase global polarization and cause increased resentment. New, undetectable, and easily portable, sophisticated means of mass destruction will predictably be used in retaliation. The use of these harmful substances could not be defended by enforcement or massive high-tech military armament.

Political representatives cannot stop the decline. The common wisdom of the people could only save humanity from a perilous future. The crucial question is: how do we transform political democracy and its declining representative systems into well-provided and peaceful democracy?

Pioneers, calling themselves ‘direct democrats’ (DD), want to educate people to make the required transformation. They want to distinguish their movement from politically based ‘indirect’ representative democracy. Direct Democrats believe that, if given a chance, the people would be rational and would protect humanity from destructive econopolitical forces and protect future generations. This Study presents a set of principles and one method that I believe to be, gradually, and peacefully, achievable in industrially developed countries.

There are other theories and models of direct democracy, and a few of those are referenced within the Study. Some of the DD leaders believe that democratic improvements within the representatives system will be sufficient to protect the basic needs and primary interests of the people and the future of humanity. These divergent opinions create disagreements and splits in the DD movement.

Two major categories exist. Most of the so-called ‘moderate’ category of Direct Democrats wants political representatives to enact citizens rights to initiate referendums. These are commonly referred to as I&R rights to be granted by the politically motivated government. When a sufficient number of citizens legally signify an initiative to enact a referendum, the policy-making body would then be compelled to put it for voting by all citizens. Thus, old policies and laws could be modified or discarded, new ones could be enacted, and undeserving representatives could be recalled.

The so-called ‘radical’ DD pioneers don’t believe that the future of humanity could be saved by the representative system. The facts demonstrate that political representation itself is the very cause of the threat. They believe that the sustenance of civilization is self-interest of the people and thus self-governances by the people will protect the future.

Radical democrats support all progressive efforts to enhance contemporary democratic systems. They realize that peaceful transformations towards DD can only be achieved gradually, step by step. Their long-term mission is to assist the people to establish self-governances first in countries, and finally globally. These far reaching goals are ridiculed by politicians without becoming informed about DD principles and methods. Unfortunately, some moderates also share this opinion.

Direct Democrats also believe in various leadership methods. Most moderates belong to informal group organizations. They are communicating via uncontrolled Internet mail servers as ‘subscribers’. Another group is formed by a president or chairman and the moderates join such hierarchical organization. Policies and activities are essentially controlled by the leader of the organization. There are no formal criteria for membership, except fees. Since the members are located in many countries, they have little direct influence on the policies of the Chairman of this global movement. A corporate type president or chairman makes most decisions by himself. He does not need public approval. He does not need even the consent of his scattered executives. The success or failure of DD depends upon the abilities and moral strength of such a hierarchical leader.

In spite of the modest goals and questionable success, radical DD members are supportive of all efforts to improve the representative system. However, they don’t think that political representatives will ever let the people govern themselves. It is highly unlikely that politicians could protect the future of civilization from major catastrophes. The radicals believe in a formal cooperative movement. They express their goals in a collectively formulated ‘Mission Statement’, declaring the right of the people to govern their own society. They have formal membership criteria and rules of moral conduct. Their members are also living in many countries of the world; but they discuss policy issues collectively through the Internet.

The radicals think that decisions carried by 50% + 1 vote is not truly democratic because the other half of the voters are simply ignored. They become defeated, their concerns can be ignored by the majority in power, gained by a single vote.

Once a sound principle or a method of implementation is found, the radicals open it to other DD groups in the world and to the people at large. The movement is led by its ‘Coordinating Committee’ (CC), bound by the same rules of conduct. Their decisions are made collectively. This is a bottom-up truly democratic management method. The CC elects ‘facilitators’ for certain functions and it collectively assigns certain tasks. Decisions, preferably, are made unanimously. Since the members live all over the world and are not always available, 2/3rd of yes votes carry decisions.

Grass-routes collective leadership is better than corporate type hierarchical leadership. Decisions made collectively by the leaders have a great likelihood to be approved by votes of the people. The radicals also maintain an informal DD discussion group through the Internet, partly to listen to a broadly based input, and partly to disseminate their own principles and decisions.

The urgency of transformation toward true democracy is paramount and worldwide. In each country, the pioneers of the DD movements must organize locally. This is true, regardless how intensive are their contacts through the Internet or how often they can meet personally at conferences. The required corrections are different in each country, thus they cannot be controlled centrally like a corporation.

These Studies begin with the seemingly unrelated topics of the primary concerns of individual and societal life. The basic needs of sustenance have paramount importance for both. Human needs and egotistical drives strongly affect the leaders of human civilization and their organized group activities. Direct Democrats are no exceptions. These parts are essential to understand the moral frailty of human beings. It is hard to resist the challenges of power and the influence of money. The lack of unity and the ongoing struggle between different DD groups can also be understood in the light of these Studies. Dedicated true democrats, the radicals, must provide sound protection against egotistic drives within their collective ranks. Protective safeguards against betraying the mission, discussed in the last part, are essential for making successful truly democratic transformations.