Forward, Direct Democracy, 2.0
© by Stephen Neitzke, 2006.Direct democracy's (DD's) sovereign citizen lawmaking -- initiative and referendum -- is constitutional fact in 21 states (the I&R states) and thousands of "home rule" jurisdictions (city, county, borough, school districts, water districts, etc.). Additionally, many other states have various combinations of the DD governance components -- intitiative, referendum, and recall -- at the state level. In the US, DD is not the "pure direct democracy" of anti-democracy sophistry and propaganda. Citizen lawmaking in the US exists only in combination with represenative govt. Direct democracy (DD) citizen lawmaking (I&R) plus representative government -- DD/rep-govt -- is as American as government can get.
"That to secure these [unalienable] Rights," Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence (DOI), "Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the consent of the governed." Those are governments of representatives dependent on consent of the governed, the sovereign people -- not governments of representatives giving consent of, by, and for themselves -- not governments of representatives who are sovereign over the people.
This very American concept of the sovereign people building and controlling representative government, which is clearly subordinate to the sovereign people, was widely held to be worth fighting for. And, of course, the sacrifices of ordinary Americans -- fighting, bleeding, killing, hating, and dying -- hallowed the DOI's conception of the sovereign people delegating just powers to their governments of public servants in the War of Independence, 1775-1783.
The obvious fact that the DOI's implied promises got the ordinary people fighting and kept them fighting -- it was continually read everywhere people would listen and posted everywhere that people might stop to read it -- was meaningless to the majority of the elites. That majority clearly saw the DOI as a Machievellian deceit that would allow their class to gain and hold social, economic, and political power is a new nation with astounding potential. From the new state constitutions, to the 1782 Articles of Confederation, to the 1787 Constitution, there is not one whit of evidence that the majority of elites ever intended to deliver the DOI's implied promises of founding principles.
Pure rep govt does not grant political equality to all citizens. Instead, it absurdly makes the public servants of the ruling elite vastly superior to sovereign civil society. It does not allow the sovereign people to speak for themselves. Instead, its charlatans, demagogues, and psychopaths get to legitimatly speak lies for, and in the name of, the majority of civil society. It does not allow sovereign civil society to directly elect all of its representatives. Instead, it maintains arbitrary corruption grounds called "the Electoral College" and "the independent judiciary" so that individuals in the highest reaches of power are appointed by the elites and insulated from the sovereign people. It does not allow the sovereign civil society direct access to lawmaking. Instead, it makes whatever convoluted, loop-holed, and unenforceable laws best suit its corruption-on-corruption-in-corruption for profits and power. It does not allow sovereign civil society to freely alter the details of their governance. Instead, it protects all of the arbitrary mechanisms that ensure the power of the psychopathic few against the welfare of the many with vague Constitutional provisions and elites-controlled amendment procedures. It does not prevent violations of citizen rights by zealous majorities, greedy corporations, the corrupting superrich, or government itself. Instead, it is the facilitator for rights violations by all of those societal elements -- for the benefit of the superrich, their corporate predators, and the predator politicians themselves.
The pure rep govt of the national Constitution is a profound disconnect between our DOI's founding principles and the elites' corruption machines that have dominated citizen life since the accumulation of wealth during the Civil War -- and the misuse of that wealth for political purposes.
All rights, freedoms, and liberties -- including especially the rights and powers of DD's citizen lawmaking -- limit illicit gains of profits and power. The country's central political conflict is not between left and right. The central political conflict is between the superrich of the class-race elite and the ordinary people's rights, freedoms, and liberties. It is Hamilton vs. Jefferson throughout our history, right into today.
To the class-race elite, any democracy is excessive democracy. And so we see today the great crippling of the electoral system with the Diebold-ES&S-Sequoia, hack-o-matic vote counting software. Any democracy is excessive democracy.
In the US, anti-democracy sophistry and propaganda portrays DD as a misguided effort to intentionally weaken rep govt. Oh, no -- not weaken rep govt. It's one of the emotional triggers that the elites hope will prevent people from examining the evidence. Examined, however, the evidence shows that nothing could be further from the truth.
DD origninated in the Reform Era's drive to strengthen rep govt against the corruption machines that were making rep govt a farse. Reform Era citzens who supported DD, and there were many tens of millions of them, wanted -- demanded -- the strong rep govt promised in the Constitution. It was clear to those citizens that corrupt rep govt could only be made just if the sovereign people checked and balanced the three branches of govt with sovereign citizen lawmaking, brought to bear when needed. (See especially, The National Economic League's 1912 book, The Initiative And Referendum: Arguments Pro And Con By A Special Committee Of The National Economic League. © 1912, J.W. Beatson. Published at Cambridge, MA: Caustic-Claflin Co., Printers.)
In 1912, SCOTUS formally and legally ended predator claims that pure rep govt is the only legal and proper government. The predators, on their corruption machines, demanded that SCOTUS rule that citizen lawmaking violates the Constitution's guarantee of a "republican form of government" in the states. They argued that pure rep govt was the only republican form of government. They asked SCOTUS to pretend along with them that the historical examples of republics mixing citizen lawmaking with rep govt did not exist. They asked SCOTUS to sanctify their corruption machines. SCOTUS didn't play nice. The Court ruled that, based on the history of republics, the mix of rep govt plus any and all direct democracy governance components is a republican form of govt intrinsic to the Constitution.
See especitally, Robert G. Natalson's 1999 issue paper for the Independence Institute, Are Initiatives & Referenda Contrary to the Constitution? See also, David B. Magleby's 1984 book, Direct Legislation: Voting On Ballot Propositions In The United States. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
The people, SCOTUS said indirectly, are free to fight corruption with their own sovereign law. It's as it should be, in a constitutional republic. After all, the 400 years of DD/rep-govt in Republican Rome, BCE, gave the world the Greco-Roman culture -- a culture whose accomplishments still yield many important legacies, including direct democracy.
The sovereign people are free to check and balance their public servants in the three branches of govt, which, in times of wide-open and pervasive corruption -- e.g., the Guilded Age of the late 1800s, and now -- conspire with each other to reject as much of the Constitution as possible, especially the checks and balances between the three branches. When powerful, arrogant individuals in the three branches of govt collude to overwhelm the Constitution and place themselves above the law, only the sovereign people can hammer them back into their places as public servants under the law.
The people were able to gain enough leverage during the corruption fighting of the Reform Era, circa 1877-1918, to hammer the public servants back into place. However, the public servants did not stay hammered. The people mistakenly walked away from their wins with no institutions in place to control future corruption. Predator elitism's corruption machines snapped back quickly.
By the end of WW1, infused with wealth beyond imagining, the predators collapsed social justice for women and children, gaining cheap labor and driving the 1920s business boom. They bought out US national government, running one wild-eyed, money-mongering scheme after another until their corruptions collapsed the stock market in 1929. Flashing their collective psychopathic personality, demonstrating a complete lack of concern for the lethal harm that their corruptions had done to ordinary people around the world, they waved fops at the people and drove their destructive, money-power-first policies on for another three-plus years, steadily worsening the Great Depression into 1932. As with psychopathic murderers everywhere, they did not stop until they were incapacitated -- by Election 1932 and FDR's presidency.
We'd better get a firm grip on that historical lesson. If we fight the corruption machines today -- if we don't sit on our hands waiting for govt to save us -- we'd better remember that predator elitism is never defeated. The past failures of greed teach no lessons to the greedy -- ever. Give them any latitude, and they will build up from their corporate fascism, plan for thirty years, and then march their fascist despotism right back over the top of us to grab their obscenely excessive profits and power again.
In 1934, Nebraska citizens stepped around the corruptions of party politics and created the first nonpartisan unicameral legislature. Citizens used their initiative powers and rights to reduce their corrupt partisan bicameral to a demonstrably incorrupt nonpartisan unicameral, whose first session was in 1937. It is the only nonpartisan institution anywhere in American state government. Its 69 years of straightforward success adds nonpartisan representative government to the American mix and to the corruption-fighting legacy of direct democracy's I&R citizen lawmaking.
See especially, "The History of Nebraska's Unicameral Legislature", on the legislature's site, at http://www.unicam.state.ne.us/learning/history.htm
In Nebraska, as in 22 other active I&R states, the people can speak for themselves through the initiative and referendum processes. They have no need for a bicameral's House of Representatives or its corrupt majority of predator politicians. Our hopefully pending Constitutional renewal should make that a fact of political life in all states.
As soon as FDR was gone, the US homegrown corporate fascism began eroding everything that the nation had worked for in terms of social justice. The Nixon Era, the Reagan Era, and now the Bush Era have all been high points of American and globalized corporate fascism, each of them eroding social justice as much as the traffic would bear -- to maximize profits and power to the superrich, their corporate predators, and the predator politicians themselves.
The Bush-Cheney Usurpation, null and void from its inception under the principles of constitutional government and the rule of law, is nothing less than a 3-branch fascist despotism. Its interbranch collusions have lifted the fascist depotism above the law, obstructing justice for any of the criminal, Bush-Cheney players.
We have lost our constitutional republic, at least temporarily and possibly forever. Those of us who see the needed remedies that will get our nation back into the hands of the sovereign people are dismayed at the people's historical and civics ignorance, political incompetence, support or indifference for Bush-Cheney, and lack of impulsive organizing to bring their power to bear against this blatantly criminal and treasonous government.
We know that the fascist corruption machines can easily handle any recovery attempts that we might make within the institutions of pure rep govt. We know that the Reform Era legacy of DD's citizen lawmaking, plus the move to nonpartisan representative government spearheaded by Nebraska, is the answer.
Party politics will not get our country back. They are among the corruption machines that took it from us. The horizontally organized, nonhierarchical power of direct democracy is far greater than any political party.
So we look to the founding principles -- not of the Constitution, but to the Declaration of Independence. Those principles are the basis for the DD and nonpartisan rep govt that we collectively developed in the early 20th Century -- and that we need now to help us get our nation back.
The following text is in the sidebar here at DD Revival, under the title, "Executive Summary of Direct Democracy". Comments are not possible in the sidebar, so this post is being used to create a comments section.
Executive Summary of Direct Democracy, 2.0
The 7 Governance Rights
Our patriot founders fought the 1775-1783 Revolution for the extraordinary rights of Americans implied in the Declaration of Independence. Those seven fundamental governance rights are --
(1) Individual citizens have the right to be politically equal with all other citizens.
(2) The sovereign people have the fundamental right to speak for themselves, in their voting majorities.
(3) The sovereign people have the fundamental right to be their own sovereign masters, democratically and directly electing all of their public servant representatives.
(4) The sovereign people have the fundamental right to remove any elected representative, for cause, without interference from government.
(5) The sovereign people have the fundamental right to control the output of legislation by formulating their own, by vetoing law made by government, and by affirming existing law in such a way that government is barred from amending it -- at every jurisdictional level, without interference from government.
(6) The sovereign people have the fundamental right to alter details of their governance, without interference from government.
(7) The sovereign people have the fundamental right to protect themselves from themselves by establishing the powers within government to administratively, legislatively, and judicially prevent zealous majorities, greedy corporations, the corrupting superrich, and government itself from violating individual and minority citizen rights, as given in the constitution and laws.
The predator elites were willing to bait the people into fighting for the DOI's rights, but they were not willing to deliver on their implied promises. All evidence -- the war-time state constitutions, the 1782 "Articles", and the 1787 "Constituton" -- shows that the DOI was pure deceit, pure Machiavellian deception, on the part of the majority of the American elites.
The elites greedily wanted as much social, economic, and political power as they could make off the backs of ordinary Americans. They were not about to give the rabble the rights that would limit elites gaining and increasing the profits and power that belonged only to the elites.
The elites were true to their class, not to their nation.
The 8 DD Rights
Ordinary Americans had to live with the ever-ratcheting corrupiton machines until long after the Civil War. Then the corruption machines became so oppressive, to so many people, that it raised the citizen backlash known as the Reform Era. The urban Progressives crashed into the systemic problems of the elites' half-republic.
Ordinary people had known from the beginning -- no citizen lawmaking, no republic. But they had been overwhelmed by the elites' sweet-talking liars. Then, in the butcheries of the Guilded Age, they saw that Aristotle's "false good" of giving too much power to the rich had turned into Aristotle's "true evil" of destructive constitutional encroachments by the rich.
True Progressives of that period didn't try to stop corruption by playing inside the box of the elites' corrupt rep govt. They didn't waste their time rebuilding some mega-corrupt political party that was demagogically promising to end the corruption machines and save the republic. They went outside the corrupt rep govt box and rammed DD's citizen lawmaking down the elitist throats of at least 19 state constitutions, arguably more.
The Reform Era was the greatest democracy movement of recorded history. Many tens of millions of ordinary Americans demonstrated that we the sovereign people have the power to rip the guts out of the corruption machines. They devised the greatest corruption-fighting package ever created by ordinary people against elitist domination and butchery of ordinary people for profits and power.
The eight DD rights sort themselves into three categories --
(1) The people's direct election of all representatives; done in open, fair, and peer-reviewed referendums called 'elections' (most Americans have been so propagandized into ignorance that they do not recognize "elections" as being either referendums or direct democracy), and
(2) the people's recall of a public official's election who has violated the public trust or simply offended too many citizens; done by petition process.
(3) The people's constitutional amendment initiative, to propose amendments to our consitutions without government interference; done by petition process;
(4) the people's statute law initiative, to propose statute law without government interference; done by petition process;
(5) the people's statute law veto, now known as the "referendum" (should be changed to the "remand" to minimize confusion), to reject statute law made by representative government; done by petition process; and
(6) the people's statute law affirmation to bar government from amending a law that the people do not want changed; done by petition process.
(7) The legislature's statute law referral to the people's referendum, and
(8) the legislature's constitutional amendment referral to the people's referendum.
The worst of the state-level corruption machines promptly disappeared into the smoke and mirrors of national govt. It looked like the people had won.
And then the civil society's political sophistication failed them. They made a horrendous mistake. They too-quickly turned away from their wins, returning to their own pursuits. They left no citizen institutions to watch over what they'd won.
The elites quickly, quietly, and deceitfully created their own "Take-Back Era".
In every I&R state, they overwhelmed the people's wins with unconstitutional statutes, using "separation of powers" violations and unlawful "binding judicial review of proposed law" to delay, alter, and/or reject citizen-proposed law that was offensive to money-power. Those unconstitutional, felonious, and treasonous manipulations of citizen-proposed law continue to this very day, largely undiscovered.
However, the Reform Era DD legacy for corruption fighting lives on, locked away safely in the constitutional law of many states, where no representative can go. The greatest corruption-fighting package ever devised is just sitting there -- ready for us to clean up and use today.
Note, please, that the "Unity America" action plan -- a plan for springboarding off regional and national citizen action group (CAG) organizations to come -- incorporates use of the CAI in 17 states to reduce corrupt bipartisan bicamerals to relatively uncorrupt nonpartisan unicamerals. This assertion of our sovereign DD rights will take us a long way toward getting our country back.
It would make civics lessons flow like water across the country, increasing the people's political sophistication back toward what it was during the Reform Era.
The 17 target states are Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, and South Dakota.
The "Unity America" action plan is outlined in the post, "Open Letter To Susan--Making Bush-Cheney Null & Void", 13 September 2006, on this blog.
When we become sophisticated enough, and have gained control of our arrogant and corrupt governments, our sovereign citizen lawmaking will allow us to resolve our many critical political problems. One of the first should be the abolishing of the unconstitutional, felonious, and treasonous Federal Reserve system. See especially, "The Fed -- Jekyll Island Monster", 07 July 2006, on this blog.
No sustainability economy will be possible until the private corporation Federal Reserve and its treasonous "fractional reserve banking" usury are dead and gone forever. The Fed is the overarching corruption machine that makes every other in the globalized, omnibus corruption engine possible.
(Last modified, Wed 27 Sep 2006, at 11:45am CDT.)