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Forum Post: A major problem with the OWS political conception, and a proposed alternative

Posted 2 years ago on Nov. 1, 2011, 2:09 p.m. EST by Thrasymaque (-2138)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

One of the main premises of OWS is that the government cannot be trusted so the people should be the ones who form the government as a whole. According to them, true democracy can only be achieved when everyone takes an active voice in decision making. A government for the people, by the people. To show us an example, they have formed general assemblies which purport to make decisions using this process thus giving us an example of "pure democracy", or democracy at its finest.

This concept seems great at first glance. Is it not wonderful that everyone can be a part of the government? In reality, there are many flaws.

Foremost, it becomes evident that this concept simply cannot scale. It might work well with a small number of individuals, but it's unimaginable that it would work for a country with millions of citizens. The logistics involved an untenable.

Many people do not have time to participate. They have jobs, and other matters to take care of. In OWS, an apparent problem is that only the truly dedicated with time on their hands show up day after day for the general assemblies meaning they have more voting power than the rest.

Another problem is that many people are not interested in politics, or simply not knowledgeable enough to take part. Some are uneducated, some are mentally ill. Others want to be writers, musicians, businessmen, etc...

With a system proposed by the OWS people who are involved and knowledgable must deal with the opinions of those who are not knowledgeable. This is a waste of time for everyone. We can see it on these boards. How many posts are written by people who lack fundamental understanding of politics or finances? How much time is wasted by OWS protesters explaining to each other why they are wrong and why their theory or plan is inefficient or incomplete?

I believe true democracy needs to have a leader. A leader picked by the people who is constantly kept in check with a good system of laws. A system that keeps his actions and those or his representatives and the opposition transparent. With this in place, trust in the government can be regained and we can go on with our business.

A major current issue is the preponderance of conspiracy theories that exaggerate the negative aspects of the government and which are aimed at demonizing this institution. Area 51, Icke's idea of Lizard-men in the government, 9/11 conspiracies, etc... These do us no good as they are not the fruits of logical thinkers, but of crooks who want to make a few bucks from our naïveté. In the process, they erode our trust in the government to the point where none is left. In such a situation, it's no wonder OWS is lobbying to overthrow the government and the banks.

I agree the government and the banks are corrupt, but I believe this has been highly exaggerated and that we need a way to regain trust in our government. This is essential. There must be a bridge between the government and the people. People must be skeptical and keep the government in check, but there must be a basic trust or else nothing can be done. I believe the system has a good base, and that with certain amendments, rectifications, and additional laws, we could create a more honest government.

NOTE: I ran out of space, so I continued in the comments. Sorry for the long post!

3 Comments

3 Comments


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[-] 0 points by Thrasymaque (-2138) 2 years ago

Note: Continued from main post.

One of my ideas is to have a website which connects people together with their representatives. A website owned by the government (by the people) who has one goal of making all activities of the government transparent and accessible in near real time.

In Canada, where I am from, all discussions held in the house of commons are viewable on TV. This is great, but one has to sit through a lot of nonsense to get to the good stuff, and no one has four hours a day to spend watching the assembly. On the site I am imagining, there would be note takers paid by our tax dollars who's job would be to put all this information on the web and organize it so it's easily searchable and readable. The whole transcript of an assembly could be viewed, but it would also be organized in sections and subsections so one could quickly sift through it. This would be done for all the levels of the government. Each regional, city, state, and national assembly would be inputed into the system.

Another aspect of the site would be for the people to have a chance to form groups of concerned citizens to discuss issues in their neighborhoods, region, state, or at the national level. You can go in person to your city's assembly, but this would give you the chance to discuss the issues every day with other citizens. Issues could be brought up and discussed, and editors paid by the government could organize the ideas presented in this type of forum. Posts that have duplicated information would be combined, etc... This would make it easier to search and understand. The system could also connect two or more groups which are discussing a similar issue. A city in Nebraska is dealing with a certain problem and one in Maine is dealing with a similar one. The system knows and connects them together somehow so they can share in their observations and solutions.

The site would also provide a way for representatives to interact with their citizens. A system like this would favor and encourage transparency by representatives. Representatives who communicate with its citizens would gain more power and votes. Those who are less transparent would lose in favor.

The site could also contain all public data available in the country so anyone could easily browse it from their homes. There is so much data that is currently only available in parliament, or badly organized on various websites.

The idea still needs a lot of refining, but I truly believe we have reached the technology to make this possible and that the next step in democracy is having a tightly coupled social system with which we can interact with our government.

[-] 1 points by stevilism (130) 2 years ago

All this is great. I think we have most of this stuff in place (think CSPAN). I feel the #OWS movement is equally a protest and as an information bank. The #OWS is making the topic of corruption in government and business a relative topic. It is drawing attention to flaws - which you have mentioned - in the current system. I am not sure what changes will come out of these protests...but be certain that change will occur.

[-] 0 points by Thrasymaque (-2138) 2 years ago

C-SPAN is great, but I'm imagine a much more interactive system which doesn't use a journalist as the middle man. A well planned system could make it easy for people to search the information themselves and discuss issues with one another and with their representatives. Journalists could still participate and would still be valuable, but my idea is more for a sort of Wikipedia/Facebook social platform designed for politics between people and the government.

OWS is drawing attention the the fact that there are flaws, but, in my opinion, it's not doing a good job at clearly identifying those flaws and proposing clear solutions. The problem is there is no leader and we have to waddle through tons of info by all kinds of different people with their different theories. People knew about these flaws before, what OWS did is simply get us all to agree that we must do something about it now. We just don't know what exactly.