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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 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@andigross.ch
An overview of my
presentation:
I.     Some definitions for a common understanding
II.    A first answer
III.   A first conceptional precision
IV.    The double crises of Democracy - a double
       challenge for Socialdemocrats
V.     Two main reform perspectives
      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 !
    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
              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 democracy’s are more representative
       and the citizens have more to say
         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 !
            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 !
  Socialdemocrats can not
defend a “Democracy” which
  excludes the citizens and
ignores it’s social conditions
  That’s 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
The democratization of Democracy
   is an ongoing, never ending
            process:
  Democracy was reduced to represent. Democracy in
 a time, where most people couldn’t read or write and
 were enable to make political judgments !

  Today modern citizens know often as much about
 politics as MP’s: 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 !
 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 !
 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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posted:2/10/2013
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