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Is there a clash between the individual citizen and democracy?

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Is there a clash between the individual citizen and democracy? Keynote speech for the JMK/FES - Conference on Values of Social Democracy yesterday, today and ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Is there a clash between the individual citizen and democracy?


1
Is there a clash between the individual citizen
and democracy?
  • Keynote speech for the JMK/FES - Conference on
  • Values of Social Democracy yesterday, today and
    tomorrow
  • by Andreas Gross (Switzerland)
  • Director of the Scientific Institute for Direct
    Democracy in St-Ursanne, Swiss MP Leader of the
    Social-Democrats in the Parliamentary Assembly of
    the Council of Europe (PACE)
  • Tallinn, 19th of November 2010
  • www.andigross.ch info_at_andigross.ch

2
An overview of my presentation
  • Some definitions for a common understanding
  • A first answer
  • A first conceptional precision
  • The double crises of Democracy - a double
    challenge for Socialdemocrats
  • Two main reform perspectives

3
Socialdemocrats have to overcome the banalisation
of the terms Freedom and Democracy
  • Democracy is more then a choice
    it enables us to be free.
  • Freedom means, to act together on our common
    life
  • ( Life is not a destiny )
  • Democracy constitutes the rules, rights and
    proce- dures in order to enable us to solve the
    ordinary children of freedom, conflicts,
    without violence !

4
Democracy Since 1789 a ongoing and never ending
process and project
  • The people is the only source of
  • legitimate political power
  • To be able to participate in all decisions
  • which concern you !
  • Freedom is not a privilege !
  • Democracy is also a promise A fair distribution
    of life chances as a base for all to be able to
    be free

5
Democracy A political order to empower as well
as protect the citizens
  • For the people, with the people and by the
    people
  • Human (Fundamental) Rights protect the
    individual citizen against the state/power No
    tyranny of the majority
  • Modern democracies are more than representative
    democracies By direct-democratic elements
    representative democracys are more
    representative and the citizens have more to say

6
You can not consume Democracy and Freedom
Citizens have to act in order to be free and to
strengthen Dem.
  • Alone you can only despair, you can not be
    free.
  • In order to realise your power to make a
    difference, you have to be able to meet and to
    organize with other likeminded citizens
  • We need to strengthen a positive notion of
    power Hannah Arendt, not Max Weber alone !

7
Democracy The sphere to think and argue about
what could be the common interest
  • Democratic engagement is more than the defence
    of private interests
  • The common/general interest is more then the sum
    of all private interests
  • The public sphere, where such arguments and
    discourses have to be considered, can not be
    based on private media !
  • Otherwise our Democracies can not produce their
    most important products Integration and
    collective learning !

8
Socialdemocrats can not defend a Democracy
which excludes the citizens and ignores its
social conditions
  • Thats why we are confronted with the double
    crises of the democracies of our times
  • For many citizens there Democracy looks like a
    Democratic absolutism Exclusively
    representative.
  • Our democracies are too national only National
    democracies can not civilise transnational market
    forces, on the contrary Trans-national markets
    lead to the erosion of the social bases of the
    national democracies

9
The democratization of Democracy is an ongoing,
never ending process
  • Democracy was reduced to represent. Democracy in
    a time, where most people couldnt read or write
    and were enable to make political judgments !
  • Today modern citizens know often as much about
    politics as MPs They feel frustrated that ID
    excludes them and reduces them to objects instead
    of the subjects of politics.
  • A society in which citizens feel excluded looses
    a enormous amount of creative potentials, misses
    collective learning options and undervalues
    itself !

10
A bit more Direct Democracy means that you share
better and more power with the citizens
  • Nobody should have so much power, that he or she
    has the privilege not to have to learn...
  • Sharing the political power, that means, giving
    2 of the citizens the power to ask for a
    Referendum on a law voted in the Parliament or a
    legisl.change they propose to the society, means
  • Everybody has to listen more -
  • Everybody tries to convince and to discuss
  • Politics become softer, more inclusive and more
    communicative !

11
When citizens are able to overcome their
homemade alienation/exclusion from Democracy,
they find the power to build up a European
Democratic Citizen Movement for
  • For a real European (Federal) Constitution (of
    Decentralisation) of the EU in order to empower
    citizens also on the transnational level.
  • Such a democratically constituted EU would be
    able to defend the social conditions every
    Democracy needs.
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