Three Steps to Heaven

Anyone reading these words already knows our political systems are broken beyond repair. They already know that trying to patch them up by changing one political party for another every few years merely conforms to Einstein’s definition of insanity: ‘Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.’ The great man also said something else worth reapeating: ‘We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them … We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.’

Given that we know things are broken, surely the debate must now move on to what exactly should we DO about it?

The purpose of this essay is to publish some new thinking, to provoke debate, and to describe three simple steps that anyone could take to properly fixing our broken systems.

George Orwell pointed out more than sixty years ago that our rulers deliberately distort language so that everyday words are used by them in a manner exactly opposite to what they are supposed to mean. Like Ministry of ‘Defence’, for example, which has nothing to do with defence, and everything to do with beating up anyone it can thousands of miles away from home. Terrorists actually mean freedom fighters and vice versa; anarachists are really liberators and liberators anarchists. ‘Encouraging free competition in the market place’ is better translated as ‘promoting tyrannical corporate monopolies’… and so on. However, perhaps the most sinister misuse of everyday language by our rulers is their interpretation of the word ‘democracy’.

Nothing better demonstrates the success of all this elitist propaganda than the fact that the majority of citizens living in the western world seriously believe they have ultimate control over their leaders. The proof of this is the fact that they keep on turning up at elections; they have not yet learnt that it doesn’t make a shred of difference who they vote for — so there’s really no point in bothering. Tom Paine, writing more than two hundred years ago, clearly saw it when he penned:

‘Change of ministers amounts to nothing. One goes out, another comes in and still the same measures, vices, and extravagance are pursued. It signifies not who is minister. The defect lies in the system. The foundation and the superstructure of the government is bad.’

Fixing the job is not easy. Not because of the problem of coming up with a better system, but because of the considerable vested interests of those powerful forces benefiting from the existing system, and who will therefore fight tooth and nail to keep it just the way it is. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. Indeed, we cannot really look the future in the eye unless we try. Identifying and publicising the problem is an important start; but we must now use that knowledge to evolve a solution.

Although ‘democracy’ as we know it is admittedly better than Stalinism say, it is nevertheless a very long way from good government. The best that can be said for it is that it’s better than any other existing type of government. But we can improve it. After all, we can send people to the moon, and bring them safely back, analyse all the proteins in our bodies, and perform surgery on them; communicate instantly with anyone anywhere on the planet and watch them while we do so — why should we not be able to improve a system of administration that was known to be broken two hundred years ago?

I’ve spent most of my adult life trying to do exactly this. The system I devised is called Free Democracy, because I believe that freedom is the most important human condition, and that real democracy (not the existing Orwellian kind) is the most perfect form of government.

Free Democracy is very simple. Its central premise is this: any citizen, properly informed, should be able, if she chooses, to make the decisions of her government. If you start with this basic absolute and then try to devise an administration that delivers it, you’re taking the most important first step to improving what we have.

The most common objections to the notion are:

1. Ordinary people are too stupid to understand the complexities of government, and be entrusted with the responsibility of its proper administration.

Stupidity has never before barred some people from gaining awesome decision making authority — therefore even if this was a legitimate concern (and I don’t believe it is for the reasons shown below), it’s no worse a situation than what we already have.

Truly stupid people are actually quite few in number, and would either be too disinterested in the business of government to bother taking part, or be so heavily outnumbered by reasonably bright people that the effect of any damage they may cause would be cancelled out (unlike our existing system where the actions of truly stupid people cannot be cancelled out by brighter beings, and are therefore regularly catastrophic).

That the citizen should be able to make rational and responsible decisions in a Free Democracy is, of course, essential. This hinges on three conditions: good education, good information, and simple, cheap, trustworthy communications, all of which are perfectly deliverable (although considerable improvements to what we have in all these fields will be required).

Contrary to popular belief there is actually quite a lot of hard evidence for the success of trusting ordinary people to make big decisions. The first example with which we in the west are all familiar is trial by jury. Trial by jury is trusted more than any other form of justice because it relies on ordinary people. Less well known is the Swiss government, which has for hundreds of years routinely had its decisions made by ordinary Swiss citizens. My final example is the almost entirely unknown Summerhill School in England which, for about a hundred years, has been almost entirely run by its pupils whose ages range from 6 to 16, and who manage without any difficulty at all to leave school as well balanced, well educated young people.

2. There’s no guarantee that a Free Democracy would be any better than what we have.

True, but what we have is a leadership obsessed with keeping us engaged in permanent war, and a planet locked into a self inflicted ecological death spiral. How much worse could it be?

3. It’s too expensive to administer.

The taxpayer is already obliged to pay for horrendously expensive government — a government over which he has absolutely no control. There is no reason to believe that a Free Democracy will be any more expensive than what we already have, but at least it would have the virtue of being entirely and directly under the control of the taxpayer funding it.

4. It’s too complicated to administer

Thirty years ago this may have been a legitimate concern. Today, with twenty first century communications at everyone’s fingertips, this issue is not quite so relevant. Although a robust, cheap, simple, secure and trustworthy voting mechanism would indeed be essential, it is not beyond the wit of woman to invent one. We already trust our financial transactions to the telephone system, why not our votes?

The core belief of Free Democracy is that any citizen, properly informed, should be able, if he chooses, to make the decisions of his government.

This belief is all that is needed. No one need join anything or buy anything. All that’s required is that core belief. Designing an administration system that delivers that belief is almost secondary in consideration because the possibilities and various combinations are considerable. Creating a perfect model is not only impossible, it’s also unnecessary. All that’s needed is somewhere to start, an administration system that will then allow the citizen to shape it for himself.

But you have to start somewhere. Therefore the model I designed is simply that: a starting point. It is not meant to be some divine revelation that can never be improved upon. It is, and should remain, a work in progress, a flexible structure permanently open to the people to change as they see fit. Providing the core belief is kept intact, and delivered, Free Democracy will survive no matter how the administration changes.

The particular model I designed comprises two core documents: a People’s Constitution and an Ethical Guide for the Free Democrat. Neither of these is intended as a model of perfection — they are simply suggestions, a starting point.

My People’s Constitution borrows extensively from the Swiss Constitution, which is probably the most democratic model of government in current use. There is much to be learnt from the Swiss. They have one of the richest economies in the world, despite their landlocked position, lack of natural resources, and no empire to plunder. Even though they are clearly wealthy, they nevertheless have a sound welfare system (the preamble of their constitution includes the words: ‘…the strength of a people is measured by the welfare of the weak’), and they have some of the tightest green credentials in Europe, with the use of fossil fuels entirely banned in some areas. In addition they have managed to keep their people free of war for about two hundred years, even when completely surrounded by it, twice.

Switzerland is the only substantial nation I know where the people routinely decide government business, and have done for centuries. Personality politics is almost unknown (do you know who the Swiss president is?) There is much to be learnt from the Swiss — not least of which is that when ordinary people are put in direct control of their government, pretty good things happen.

The People’s Constitution is meant to be the only law the citizen will ever need, a document that outranks any conflicting law and which the citizen could use for herself if necessary entirely unaided by expensive lawyers. It opens with an article on human rights, much of which concurs with the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It then mentions citizens’ duties, for rights must always be conditional to certain duties. The constitution proposes a decentralised system of government with national government serving only to coordinate administration and security when required to do so by local councils. The economy is based on the free market model providing certain safeguards and protections are in place (such as protecting small business and consumer, delivering consumer choice and providing secure employment). Taxation is fixed at 15% (including National Insurance), and taxpayers are able, if they choose, to determine which government departments should benefit from their taxes. Justice is wholly administered by public servants and accessible to all, with tribunals and juries of ordinary citizens determining right or wrong, guilt or innocence. There are constitutional protections for the environment, national heritage and agriculture. Social welfare and contingencies for states of emergency are covered… and so on.

My second core document, an Ethical Guide, is included because I do not believe there is any place in modern government for established religion. Whilst the People’s Constitution ensures that people would be free to practice any religious belief they choose, this must be qualified by ensuring that if and when that practice conflicts with any part of the constitution, the constitution must prevail. So the Ethical Guide borrows the humane practices common to most religions, without accepting any of the dogma. It tries to take the good from religion and exclude the bad. It suggests the way people should behave, not because of the supposed wishes of some supernatural being whose existence cannot be proven, but simply because the values are of themselves widely recognised to be good and right; and being a guide and not a law, is not of itself enforceable in law.

I promised at the start of this essay to describe three simple steps to fix our broken political systems. For anyone reading these words that is true; but for most there is one other step to take. Anyone reading these words already knows the system is broken, and therefore doesn’t need to learn it – however, almost everyone else does need to learn it, because the little darlings really don’t know. So the first step (of four) for most people is simply to learn how their world really works. Then they can catch up with the rest of us.

Step One/Two

Become a Free Democrat. This does not mean joining anything or buying anything. It simply means accepting that any citizen, properly informed, should have the right, if they choose, to make the political decisions that affect their life.

Step Two/Three

Join with other Free Democrats and draft a People’s Constitution that could actually deliver Free Democracy to the people.

Step Three/Four

Either stand in elections yourself as a Free Democrat, or refuse to vote in elections unless there is a Free Democrat candidate standing for whom you could vote.

I have stood in two elections, with very minimal publicity (I am unemployed so cannot afford expensive advertising). So far I have not been elected, but the last time I tried (last year) I received one in every eight votes cast, and that was on a campaign budget of about £50.

At first glance it may appear that just one Free Democrat elected to office is not going to achieve much. I would dispute that. Simply competing this way promotes the ideal of Free Democracy, which, to an electorate who has never even considered such an alternative, is a move in the right direction.

When I am eventually elected I will be able to canvass my constituents about any forthcoming council debates and then use my votes in those debates according to the majority wish of those constituents — even if I personally disagree with their wishes. Crude I know, but it would be a start, because although admittedly it would be pretty ineffective, it would be hugely symbolic: it would be the opportunity to start delivering to the voter the service we know they should have — direct control over political decision making.

We CAN fix things. We CAN use the existing system to replace it with a better one. It is time to start doing so.

John Andrews is a writer and political activist based in England. His latest booklet is entitled EnMo Economics. Other Non-Fiction books by John are: The People's Constitution (2018 Edition); and The School of Kindness (2018 Edition); and his historical novel The Road to Emily Bay Read other articles by John.

27 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. bozhidar balkas said on September 1st, 2008 at 10:34am #

    i do not oft if ever use the word “democracy” to label such governances as UK, US, canadian.
    the best description i have is to say that the above three governances differ from one another.
    in one aspect, in the three (and many others) systems, they are same or similar: rich people rule while others have a close to or zilch military-political power.
    only in US we have a one-party governance. it was set-up as one party system long time ago.
    however, vast number of amers believed that in US they had a two-party system.
    and as rosemary says, 90% + of them will vote this one-party system.
    to set up a second party, the Left may stop politicking. rightwing politics differ significantly from the Left’s.
    one way to break a party is to talk about politics/religion.
    this is the key to more understanding/amiability/trust betwn the Left and the Right.
    we need solely to dwell on building a two-party system and see what develops.
    the second party shld be as apolitical as possible.thank u

  2. Giorgio said on September 1st, 2008 at 12:08pm #

    Mr Andrews,
    You sound to me as advocating the same principles as Ron Paul has.
    Why don’t you join his Freedom Movement and take it from there?

    “Although a robust, cheap, simple, secure and trustworthy voting mechanism would indeed be essential, it is not beyond the wit of woman to invent one. We already trust our financial transactions to the telephone system, why not our votes?”

    In addition, if we trust the banking ATM to draw cash and easily accessible within walking distance, why not use it also as a voting booth, too?

  3. Donald Hawkins said on September 1st, 2008 at 1:40pm #

    ‘We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them … We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.’ For some reason Bush and Cheney and these neocons and many heads of corporation’s haven’t been tried for high crimes and misdemeanors. Just on the chance it could happen and found guilty a fitting punishment might be for eternity these people must listen to this song over and over and over again.

    Blowin’ In The Wind

    How many roads must a man walk down
    Before you call him a man?
    Yes, ‘n’ how many seas must a white dove sail
    Before she sleeps in the sand?
    Yes, ‘n’ how many times must the cannon balls fly
    Before they’re forever banned?
    The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind,
    The answer is blowin’ in the wind.
    How many times must a man look up
    Before he can see the sky?
    Yes, ‘n’ how many ears must one man have
    Before he can hear people cry?
    Yes, ‘n’ how many deaths will it take till he knows
    That too many people have died?
    The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind,
    The answer is blowin’ in the wind.
    How many years can a mountain exist
    Before it’s washed to the sea?
    Yes, ‘n’ how many years can some people exist
    Before they’re allowed to be free?
    Yes, ‘n’ how many times can a man turn his head,
    Pretending he just doesn’t see?
    The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind,
    The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

    We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.’

  4. Most Americans are suffering said on September 1st, 2008 at 7:39pm #

    USA is the worst country of this world to live in, if you are not rich. USA is a failed state, society and way of life. This country has 2 options: either a radical divorce and revolution from the old consumerist, greedy lifestyle and system or self destruction and balcanization into 3-5 different independent nation states

  5. Most Americans are suffering said on September 1st, 2008 at 7:50pm #

    America has 2 options: Socialism or death of USA and the world. Capitalism breeds wars and nuclear armageddon. Socialism will be the next stage in human development

  6. Israel did 9-11 said on September 1st, 2008 at 8:01pm #


    The only clear beneficiary of the Bush war agenda is Israel. It removed its main adversary in the region and cut off the political and economic support it gave the Palestinians. Petras points out that Iraq along with Iran and Syria comprised the core resistance to Israel’s expansionist plans to crush the Palestinians (one down, two to go), ethnically cleanse them from their homeland and seize their land as one part of a long-term goal for a greater Israel and unchallengeable dominance in the region. Israel is the only country in the world with undeclared borders. It’s kept that status to give itself maximum latitude to annex all the territory it can toward the goal of a greater “Eretz Israel” Zionists want that includes the ancient lands of “Judea” and “Summaria,” the West Bank biblical parts of Israel Palestinians claim as their homeland.
    With US help, Israel removed one threat to its plan for regional supremacy, but it still faces determined resistance from the Palestinians in spite of having crushed its democratically elected Hamas government. It also faces a resilient Hezbollah in Lebanon that humiliated the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) in the summer war there as well as opposition from Iran and Syria. In addition, there’s internal opposition within Israel over its war and colonization agenda because of its enormous cost plus the added insecurity it causes. It’s resulted in a level of out-migration now exceeding new arrivals as well as an erosion of the nation’s social programs because the state needs the resources for its aggression and annexation agenda. It’s much like what’s happening under the Bush administration where the people pay the price for imperial wars abroad and the moral decay and authoritarianism at home.
    Obstacles and setbacks aside, Israel has pursued its goal to “democratize” the region through a belligerent policy of neutralizing its enemies in it by force. The plan they crafted is for a series of wars with its US ally taking the lead and the eventual goal of joint US – Israeli control over the entire region. Making it work depends on getting US administrations to go along, which so far hasn’t been a problem and has never been easier with the Bush administration in power and the high-level pro-Zionist officials in it with long-standing ties to Israel. They have the most important policy-making positions in government or are closely associated with the ones who do. These officials have a history of dedication to Israel’s interests even when they conflict with those here at home. They’re in the administration, the Congress as well as in the most influential Jewish organizations and lobbying groups like the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, the Anti-Defamation League and what some observers believe is the single most powerful lobby in Washington – AIPAC.
    Committed support for Israel also comes from the “Jewish Diaspora” that comprises thousands of dedicated activists here – doctors, dentists, philanthropists, key individuals on Wall Street, the major banks and the Federal Reserve and other key segments of business, the major media, the clergy and academics and journalists given special prominence because of their willingness to corrupt their integrity in return for the handsome benefits they get for their unconditional public support and contrived rationalizations for the US -Israeli agenda. This kind of influence and support has made Israel by far the largest recipient in the world of US financial aid that amounts upfront to about $3 billion a year with more forthcoming any time as needed in added funding, weapons transfers and large low or no-interest loans that may never have to be repaid.
    Israel also gets the unheard of advantage of receiving the latest and most advanced US arms and technology, unrestricted US market access for its products and services, free entry of its immigrants, unconditional support for its aggressive wars and colonization of the Palestinians and South Lebanese, and guaranteed US vetoes in the Security Council against all UN resolutions unfavorable to its interests. It’s also able to get prominent Washington officials and the dominant corporate-run and funded media to label all criticism of Israel anti-semitic and freely uses this ruse whenever it serves its purpose. Israel is allowed to get away with its intelligence operations here as well including its covert penetration of military bases, the FBI, IRS, INS, EPA and many other government agencies. In addition, it’s believed its agents knew in advance about the 9/11 attack but withheld the information knowing it would serve its interests to let it happen. There’s also considerable evidence high US officials either knew about it themselves or were complicit in carrying it out because they also knew it would allow them the kind of reckless free reign at home and abroad they never could have gotten any other way. This is a story that won’t go away nor should it, and one day we may finally learn all the parts of it we can only speculate about now.
    Because of Israel’s unparalleled ties to the centers of power and dominant media, Petras notes it’s able get back $50 in return for every dollar it spends. That’s how it’s able to finance its military and colonial settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) on annexed land. The Jewish networks here support these practices as justifiable compensation allowed victims of the “Holocaust” (the ones noted author John Pilger calls “worthy victims”) and circulate that ideology in the corporate media. They also reinforce anti-Muslim hysteria labelling all Arabs untrustworthy, radical Islamic fundamentalists or Islamo-fascists (”unworthy” victims for John Pilger), claiming the right to arrest, torture and mete out summary justice to them in military tribunals or just attack and kill them in imperial wars of “liberation.”
    The result for Israel and its people has been disastrous because the Palestinians have refused for almost six decades to accede to this abuse and have waged two Intifadas to end it. With little more than a fierce determination, their bodies and crude weapons, they’ve fought back with suicide bombings and attacks on public facilities in Israel knowing what harsh retaliation they’ll face afterward. People in the US have also paid a heavy price in the erosion of democracy and freedom. It’s evidenced by the Bush administration’s harsh legislation beginning with the infamous USA Patriot Act passed in short order right after the 9/11 attack, followed by other repressive laws and practices allowed like illegal surveillance and secret renditions of anyone targeted to torture-prisons with court acquiescence or silence about most of them.
    Petras points out that none of this deters powerful supporters of Israel who raise billions of dollars to support the country’s war machine and finance its colonization of annexed Palestinian land plus the Golan Heights (with its invaluable water resources) seized and never returned to Syria after the 1967 war. Israel’s economy is not self-sufficient, and without this aid, it would have to make unacceptable cuts in social services, reduce its military budget and curtail its expansionary plans. With it, plus the $3 billion a year direct US contribution and lots more help, US taxpayers (like it or not) have the burden of funding Israel’s belligerence and colonization agenda.
    Petras itemizes what it all costs:
    – $3 billion annually in direct aid.
    – Billions more in loans as needed.
    – Millions annually for resettlement help for Soviet (now Russian) and Ethiopian immigrants.
    – a $10 billion loan guarantee in 1990 and a further $9 billion one in 2004 plus billions more for the asking and to be forthcoming to pay the costs of the 2006 Lebanon and Palestine wars.
    – Since 1981, economic aid made in cash transfers, and since 1985 military aid done the same way.
    – $45 billion in repayment waved loans since 1974 and billions more for the asking – free money at US taxpayer expense.
    – Since 1982, ESF cash transfers in one early in the fiscal year lump sum with no strings attached while other countries receiving them are paid quarterly with their use monitored. Israel invests the money in US treasuries costing US taxpayers millions more annually and also gets special FMS funding arrangements costing US taxpayers well over $1 billion since 1991.
    – Other privileged benefits include financial aid to develop Israel’s defense industry, transfer of state-of-the-art technology and the latest US weapons, US guarantee for Israel’s access to oil, and the likely massive aid still to come to defray the country’s “special costs” for its Gaza “disengagement plan” morphing into the colonization of whatever parts of the OPT Israel wishes to annex for new settlements US taxpayers pay for.
    – Add to this some $22 billion Israel got over the past 50 years through the sale of its below-market interest paying bonds that have financed half of its development – meaning the colonization of annexed Palestinian lands and military funding for its predatory imperial wars.
    Petras explains the Zionist power structure in the US makes it all possible, but its reach extends well beyond the so-called “Jewish Lobby.” He identifies a “Zionist power configuration (ZPC) that includes AIPAC as one part of a “complex network of interrelated formal and informal groupings, operating at the international, national, regional, and local levels” unconditionally supporting the state of Israel and all its policies including its wars, colonization and oppression. It’s power is like a cancer infecting the highest levels of government and all the other centers of power and influence as already explained. It controls the selection of political candidates and can defeat incumbents or aspirants daring to criticize Israel. It also shapes the reporting on Israel in the mass media suppressing any of it that’s unsupportive or critical. And it’s powerful enough to get “uncooperative” journalists, and even some academics, fired and banished from the mainstream for daring to step out of line.
    Petras reports the power of the ZPC was evident in the run-up to the Iraq war and the Gulf war before it in 1991. Going back to the GHW Bush administration, the US wanted regime change in Iraq, but that decision was heavily influenced by the ZPC that considered Saddam a mortal enemy of Israel who had to be removed. He managed to survive through the 1990s despite our efforts to destabilize the country and bring it to its knees. But once the GW Bush administration neocons took over in 2001, the ugly business of war planning and occupation took hold to complete what the Gulf war left unfinished, and powerful Zionists (like Paul Wolfowitz and Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman – the senator from AIPAC) in key policy-making positions invented the threat to bring it about in March, 2003 – all based on lies, deceit and subservience to Israel’s imperial agenda.

  7. Israel did 9-11 said on September 1st, 2008 at 8:11pm #

    John: Your motivation, energies, education and your encouragement is impecable. I like your articles a lot, because it shows you have motivation, inspiration and energetic drive to seek for a change in this country which is totally wrong (plutocratic fascism). We need a real socialist participative democratic system for the people. I know we are too far from that goal, because for that we need a United Socialist Large Front, and americans are so divided, so closed minded, so sectarian that’ its hard to unite people for a change.

    But we have to think positive. Thanks for your articles

  8. john andrews said on September 1st, 2008 at 11:58pm #

    Thanks everyone for your comments. Much appreciated.

  9. Andres Kargar said on September 2nd, 2008 at 12:04am #

    In a class society such as the United States, democracy, just like anything else in the society is class-based and means different things to different classes.

    To corporations, for example, democracy means the freedom to raise prices and cut wages and benefits with total impunity. To the working people, democracy implies the right to a living wage, free education, universal healthcare, and the right to a clean environment.

    One of the features of the class society is the tug-of-war between the rulers and the ruled, the outcome of which determines the health of the society. In Western European countries, for example, where the working peoples’ instruments of power, such as the trade unions are stronger and better organized, the people have managed to win rights, such as free healthcare, long-term paid maternity leave, etc. In the lawless United States, where unions have been brutally destroyed and emasculated by the bosses, the people have no rights, and in some cases are much worse off than poor third-world countries, albeit the immense corporate and government propaganda that conceals the facts and shows the opposite.

    The tug-of-war between the owning classes and the working people has never been alleviated through peaceful means. Even in Western Europe, social democratic parties have made a habit of stabbing the workers in the back in the name of “labor”. Look at Britain’s so-called “Labour” Party. The poor British citizens must be totally confused in trying to decide which is worse, the “Labour” or the Tories.

    Alas, in these lawless United States, we don’t even have any signs of those back-stabbing “social democrats” who might pretend some semblance of popular representation in parliament. All we have are the Democratic and the Republican factions of the same owning classes and enough of a brain-washed population that continue giving them legitimacy. Every so often, the good and the bad cops switch places and promise the disillusioned masses glory and greatness.

    Do you think the good and the bad cops will give up power peacefully? Will the bosses who have ruled for two hundred years and massacred millions in the process yield power to the citizens without major resistance? Or will their brown-shirts start a blood-bath before they, themselves, drown in it?

  10. bozhidar balkas said on September 2nd, 2008 at 6:00am #

    well, we will never know if the rulers wld give up their unlimited powers.
    but to me second party is on its way. it’s a start. we’ll see what develops!
    thank u

  11. anthony innes said on September 2nd, 2008 at 6:11am #

    John do not want to denigrate your article one iota and am passionate about the need to move beyond Plato’s republican model for the basis of the social contract .

    Further the concept of rational sustainability for all human activity is urgently required . While I agree at first glance the Swiss model is way out in front of what we have here in Australia a couple of key points should be considered re the Swiss : they were very late giving Women the franchise; I have a bibliography that proves that without the connivance of the Swiss banks the Nazi war effort would have lasted 6 months; and finally the lack of transparency in those banks enables some of the most vile human activity worlwide .
    When we see the ICC with complete juridisdiction and acceptance by all Nations a brighter day may evolve . At best we are embryonic ,larval ,infantile and victims of our mythologic propensities .

    If the IMPEACHMENT agenda does not get up and clean out Congress and send the message around this planet that Corporate Law is answerable to Civic governance the collapse of the USA will likely destroy peoples raw faith in money breaking the frail financial distribution system that underpins human society . That we are back at a point of nuclear brinkmanship relects the accuracy of what you are saying and really we are all hanging on the thin thread of the WWW for any hope of Transparency ,Justice and Rule of Law.
    Thanks for your thoughts.

  12. Andrew Filis said on September 2nd, 2008 at 6:16am #


    you eulogise the Swiss but I’d be interested to know the number of wars to which their banking system is wholly unconnected. I suspect they’ve bankrolled a war or ten, and would also suspect that their vaults acted as repositaries of gold during the WWII, in the manner that contemporary Turkey had.

    Your proposal, though laudable, appears is skillful in tiptoeing around the massive elephant in the room, viz., Capitalism. Your proposal seems to be silent on private property, wealth and profit – the economic realm surely has driven developments in the cultural/political realm of human society and to disregard the workings of Capitalism is analogous to building a house in Antartica but failing to make any provisions to insulate against the elements – that’s to say, failing to insulate against the forces that make that very poor semblance of democracy we ‘enjoy’ in the West amenable to the ends of Capitalism.

    The French Revolution overthrew the autocratic rule of the contemporary political elite which to the monied-but-power-deficient elite became increasingly arbitrary. And so the pie was then shared by an extended elite. The point, surely, is to forego the pie altogether rather than compete for a slice and to construct a more equitable system arrived at by employing the scientific tools based in a sound materialistic understanding of the world, scientific tools that Marxism offers, rather than forever be obfuscated by ideology and utopia.

    What you propose, although capable, in it’s elemental state, of further refinement, is wide open to being highjacked by the very crafty beourgoisie – the devil has the best tunes and soon the hordes of voters increasingly convinced – look how economic neo-liberalism and the free market are extolled in all (that count) international fora. I am doubtful in the extreme about ever relying on any sophisticated technological voting system (it cannot even be trusted under the sole custody of the state lest it be highjacked by the any likely proxy of the beourgoisie in the public sector) , given the scope for ever present corruption. I struggle to see how your plan would cure the ills that I am convinced only a proper application of a system firmly rooted in Marxism is capable of doing so.


  13. bozhidar balkas said on September 2nd, 2008 at 6:17am #

    wld it be more accurate/adequate to say that israel’s interests come before the interests of the working class and not before sacerdotal-politico-plutocratic class’?
    i do not think that rich amers give money to anyone, including israel.
    or if plutos give money to israel; then, there is some payback for the plutos.
    recent events in georgia; destruction of palestine, afghanistan clearly show that WH is being paid back.
    thank u

  14. john andrews said on September 2nd, 2008 at 9:02am #

    Thanks for all the comments guys – I love it; it’s great to get this particular debate going.

    I don’t especially eulogise the Swiss – merely point put that in my view they seem to have the best working democracy on offer so far; and sure, banking is the mainstay of their economy and has a pretty murky past. I accept that. Nevertheless, there is still a lot to be learnt from the way their democracy works.

    As for tiptoeing around capitalism, Andrew, it was only because it wasn’t especially relevant to this particular article. My dictionary defines capitalism as: ‘The possession of capital or wealth; a system in which private capital or wealth is used in the production or distribution of goods.’

    I don’t have an issue with that. In my view wealth is not the problem – it’s the link between wealth and power that’s the problem. Our rulers have taken a pretty innocuous word and deified it, corrupting it as extensively as they’ve corrupted the word ‘democracy’.

    Wealth per se is harmless, like a gun. The problem is when you put it in the wrong hands and legitimise any way its used.

    Your point that the rulers would do their utmost to vandalise Free Democracy (or anything else they didn’t control) is well made and true. I guess the point is this: it will be impossible to create a flawless, vandal-proof model of any system and simply implement it; but you could evolve one, you could start with a pretty robust model – the best you can do; something that the people can control pretty well, and then improve it from there.

  15. bozhidar balkas said on September 2nd, 2008 at 9:39am #

    i have often said in my posts that the swiss have either the best or one of the best rules in the world. so i’m glad that you also think so. some swiss, jews, amers are bankers. and what else can you expect from bankers. they will definitely finance also wars. than k u

  16. AaronG said on September 3rd, 2008 at 6:10am #

    The article and subsequent debate above is encouraging. However, the system cannot be dismantled by humans with a ‘bottom-up mentality’. Even if we can, all we achieve is to replace a human ‘ism’ with another human ‘ism’ and that’s not a ‘new manner of thinking’, as Albert said. This experimentation with all sorts of human philosophies has been going on for centuries. It ain’t working.

    Below is also not a ‘new manner of thinking’, in fact it’s about 2500 years old:

    The Bible book of Daniel, chapter 2, verse 44 explains in clarity that God will very soon destroy all traces of the current corrupt power structures (beginning with religious, followed by political and corporate) by ‘crushing’ them, then replacing them with his own global ruling structure or government. Sounds like just what the doctor ordered……….

  17. Lloyd Rowsey said on September 3rd, 2008 at 7:41am #

    Test. Am I a person to the DV editors? Or is being a person the problem?

  18. Lloyd Rowsey said on September 3rd, 2008 at 7:42am #

    Does this article contain ANYthing about global warming? Anyone?

  19. Lloyd Rowsey said on September 3rd, 2008 at 7:43am #

    Does DV still post comments with links?

  20. Lloyd Rowsey said on September 3rd, 2008 at 7:45am #

    All Right, please see


  21. Lloyd Rowsey said on September 3rd, 2008 at 7:46am #

    Deleted again.

  22. Lloyd Rowsey said on September 3rd, 2008 at 7:46am #

    And again

  23. Lloyd Rowsey said on September 3rd, 2008 at 7:46am #


  24. Glenelg Smith said on September 3rd, 2008 at 4:12pm #

    I have an alternative proposal which might be of interest. The first step is exactly the same as yours, the second is almost exactly the same.

    Step One/Two

    Become a Free Democrat. This does not mean joining anything or buying
    anything. It simply means accepting that any citizen, properly informed,
    should have the right, if they choose, to make the political decisions
    that affect their life.

    Step Two/Three

    Join with other Free Democrats and draft a People’s Constitution that
    actually delivers Free Democracy to those people.

    Step Three/Four

    Take it upon yourself to be the legitimate Government of those people, and govern according to your People’s Constitution.

  25. john andrews said on September 3rd, 2008 at 11:28pm #


    One small problem: the existence of God cannot be proven.


    No, there’s nothing in this article about global warming. Neither is there anything about the new war in Georgia, the old war in Iraq or fairies at the bottom of my garden. This article was about one subject: that the citizen, properly informed, should be able, if she chooses to make the political decisions that affect her life.

    I have my doubts about the global warming thing. Obviously the planet is warming up – but its climate has never been constant since it was formed. Is the global warming frenzy just another managed distraction intended to divert our attention from permanent war?

    But since you ask, I think the answer to the planet’s ecological problems is population reduction.

  26. Josie Michel-Brüning said on September 4th, 2008 at 7:37am #

    Dear John,
    I appreciated your article and the following discussion it has initiated very much, however, at this point I can’t help objecting, despite of my poor English.
    If your suggested system would have worked already you would have known better about the man made global warming. Warnings of scientists had been depressed for a long time – at least since the 1980s – by those profitting directly from exploiting our planet’s resources and causing disbalance in our environment. – Well, my husband has worked for more than 20 years in the research of environment. He and his colleagues were allowed to measure and to publish theire results in scientific newpapers etc. but the industry ignored as long as they could, and although Germany seems to do more fore protecting environment than the U.S., it is still too less, and they are far from accepting or applying every one of the already proved results.
    Apart from this, I want to remind at the interview by Rick Smith with Doug Morris, Cuba and the Struggle for Survival, Part 1 and 2, as you can read there, Cuba is trying since fifty years – against his big enemy in the North – your suggested model of democracy.
    “Ceterum censeo”: Please, help to free the Cuban Five unjustly incarcerated in the USA since nearly 10 years, see .

  27. siamdave said on September 4th, 2008 at 9:13am #

    The writings of a good man with good ideas, I hope you continue – every single person who starts to understand the things you have, and has the courage to stand up to the current rulers and get on the path of true democracy is to be encouraged. I would note that you seem to have thought not enough yet about economics in general, specifically our money. You refer to taxation – taxation is only a tribute from the people to the rulers, made necessary because the faux-democracies in which this tribute is exacted do not control their own money – they allow private banks to control their money supply, and thus their countries. You can learn more about this here – Banketeering – how the banks have been stealing trillions from you, and the tap is still running – it is written from a Canadian context, but the same principles apply in every western country.