People, issues, methods – Happening for our Democratic Culture

People, issues, methods – Happening for our Democratic Culture


Direct democracy introduces a certain element
of uncertainty into the political game and thus can act as a kind of gatekeeper. It can act as a security valve and can be
used for mobilizing the people. I don’t agree with what you’re saying, I don’t think national consultations should be interpreted as a tool for direct democracy. In a formal classification, it could be seen
as such, but actually, the questions presented to the people can be manipulated or even simply
be lies. So, I think consultations are not a form of
direct democracy, but we did forget two important elements: demonstrations and direct non-violent actions by citizens. These are very important and actually, I think
we are in the greatest wave of opposition and civil disobedience, since the regime change. Actually, we agree on this. I was saying that national consultation is
a manipulation and not a tool of direct democracy. It is a symptom of the government trying to
circumvent the real direct democracy. And for me direct democracy should be much
more than technical tools used for it. Yes of course there is the idea that we should
get more people to go and vote, either in elections
or in a referendum, but to achieve this, we need to have the proper set-up of institutions with low entry levels. And you could do this, by for example using
a referendum for simple and major issues, complex issues are better served by institutions
for deliberation. Whenever we talk about democracy, we either
choose direct democracy or representative democracy, but these are issues that should
be integrated. I think these are thinking tools to help us concentrate on direct, representative and participatory democracy, but as ideal types. These are three dimensions, if we can
unify the three approaches then we would beable to understand better what democracy should
be. We have a responsibility to take action in
participatory, direct and representative ways. We as citizens, or as thinkers, we have to
emphasize all three aspects. Ringgespräch, a conversation circle, means
that people meet in a circle, but only because they want to. And so that it
would become a real exercise, the Ringgespräch, in my opinion, should take place every week,
at the same time, in the same place. So that the people who don’t participate can know that it is taking place. Anyone can bring something into
the conversation: an idea, a question or just listen, if they want to. There is absolute freedom. And so the big phrase ‘every man is an artist’ comes up. Everyone has the task to work on
a common image, on a common sculpture, of Europe in this case. And inside of us concepts, such as ‘freedom’, ‘democracy’, ‘economy’ or ‘socialism’, these concepts are already known to us. They are already in our heads, but now have to submerge, and so to say go through our own warmth, like hatching an egg, so that they can re-emerge.

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