Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Losing the vote

Chavez lost his referendum. This is a good thing because it gives him an opportunity to demonstrate a commitment to democracy - it's easy to be in favour of democracy when you're winning all the votes - but what happens when you lose? Call foul? Or accept?

This cuts to the chase of what it means to be a democrat - can you accept defeat? Can you carry out democratically mandated instructions you cannot agree with? In my old political home, the SPGB, there was a device, the party poll, the ultimate decision making process of the party that superceded Executive Committee and conference decisions, and against which only another party poll could suffice to overturn: it was the party membership as a whole exerting sovereignty over the party.

Obviously, it isn't a device for ordinary use, but to resolve great controversy, and to ensure that all members can say that due process and decision making has occurred. It is the sine qua non of membership that its decisions be accepted, and carried out without further cavil.

All party officers are bound to obey or resign - those who could not bring themselves to carry out the decision of the poll - even by voting through any requisite procedural motion - would be branding themself unfit for office, anti-democrats, egoists or power whores.

Of coruse, individual conscience is the device that drives such acceptance, but democracy cannot leave itself at the mercy of such - and so, of course, frequent election is necessary in order that officers and servants of an organisation - or party - can be removed should they so brand themselves unwilling to abide by its constitution, democratic process and collective will.

Much more improtant than term limits, which can stil leave you with someone in power with nothing to lose, is the frequent unleashing of the democratic force of the ballot. And woe betide anyone engaging in shady shenanigens to try and evade the sharp cuts of the ballot paper.



Blogger Renegade Eye said...

I expect term limits to come up again in 2011.

8:15 AM  

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