Relevance of Partyless Governance in today's world

Location: Chennai, India

Guiding principle: 'Know That, knowing which, you will know everything that is to be known'.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Climate Change and Democracy

At first sight it may appear ludicrous to link climate change with the quality of democracy. But on deeper consideration it will become obvious that there is a clear link between the two, as explained in the previous posts on this blog.

To recapitulate, truer the democracy the more the policies of the government would be in tune with the actual needs of the people - safe shelter, clean air and water, basic hygiene, meaningful employment and a polity that facilitates the further refinement of human faculties.

Instead in the present kind of democracy, people have no choice but to accept the model of development that is imposed by those in power. The people are made to believe that growth oriented development model that inevitably causes exploitation of natural resources, would eventually bring peace and happiness to all.

Such an approach has only led to environmental degradation and an imminent catastrophic climate change.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Pseudo-Democracy is the bane of our times

Democracy has happened in several countries of the world in the 20th century and is continuing to flourish in the 21st. Conducting periodic elections to legislative bodies is recognized as a civilised method of dealing with the voices from different segments of the society.

However as the phenomenon of democracy has spread globally, we find that the elections are conducted only for namesake and the true spirit of democracy is missing in matters of governance at the local, state, national and international levels.

In a democratic setup (governance of the people, by the people and for the people) we would expect the local people to give priority to local issues, whatever be the state, national or international compulsions. For example 'good health' may be a priority and given a choice the people would ensure - good shelter, food and water supply; basic education including hygiene; and adequate income through meaningful employment. They would ensure that their village/town is well connected by roads and would see to it that they have adequate preventive and curative health services available to round up their 'health' needs.

Such a methodical people-driven approach is possible from the local upto the national/international level provided true democracy is operating. But what we have now is a rather primitive form of democracy based on political parties which has resulted in the true voice of the people being suppressed and instead the middlemen - the political parties and their leaders ruling the roost. The result has been that non-issues occupy the centre stage in political debates. For example the need to improve the growth rate (of GDP) to say 6,8 or 10% is repeatedly emphasised for getting rid of poverty and investments invited from all over the world to start more industries (more industries = more jobs = more wealth). This top-down approach is supported by the IMF/World bank. But even after decades the villages and towns are languishing with lack of basic needs for 'good health'.

This cycle of wrong priorities failing to fulfill the real needs of the people and instead aggravating the living conditions of people around cities where the industries tend to get concentrated and deprivation in villages/towns from where the people tend to migrate in search of job opportunities, continues...

Monday, May 08, 2006

Having an integrated view is the need of our times.

Today we have a divided world. People and Nations are divided on the basis of race, religion, ideology, language, developed/developing, nuclear/nonnuclear and so on. These differences are manmade and are perpetuated and exacerbated by the party-based political systems that thrive on these differences.
Yet the people by and large wish to have peace and hope for a world where nations co-exist on the basis of mutual understanding. Thus if we could have a political system that can have a integrative, rather than a divisive effect on the minds of the people, then, gradually the wish for a peaceful world will become fulfilled.

When the heart, which instinctively seeks peace, is made the centre of all political processes, then the process of integration would start. Partyless Democracy, where the individual's heart rather than ideologies and other considerations, determines whom he or she is going to vote, would be the political process that would fulfill this requirement.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Voluntary Socialism

The ideal model that would ensure both Democracy and Socialism in equal measure in societies is Voluntary Socialism. Noam Chomsky has advocated this idea as a solution for the problem's of today's world:
The problem is to make this model a reality. A mechanism by which this can be achieved in a peaceful way, acceptable to all concerned would be through the means of Partyless Democracy. Voluntary Socialism through Partyless Democracy can be made into a reality if people are sufficiently enlightened about it.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Democracy and Socialism

Democracy offers freedom of choice to the individual, a most cherished goal for the human being. Democracy in economic activity is expressed as capitalism.

Socialism offers dignity to every individual, no doubt a must for every individual. Socialism in economic activity expressed itself as communism.

Democracy and Socialism being basic requisites for the society, the problem is to have a model that will offer both. Both capitalism and communism have by themselves proved to be bad.

Democracy by itself can be meaningless: capitalist exploitation, endless bickering among political political parties, dominating ideologies or personalities progressing to authoritarianism or dictatorship, can all come with it.
Socialism by itself, in the form of communism has fallen into disrepute since the individual's freedom is curtailed. What then is the ideal model which will ensure both Democracy and Socialism?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Why Nehru's Socialism could not succeed

Nehru wanted to modernize India quickly, the idea being that India should become free from poverty, become prosperous and happy. He wanted the benefits of development to reach all sections of the society. He was attracted by the socialism of the Soviet Union and wanted to combine it with the freedom offered by Democracy.
Socialism and Democracy, both are noble ideas. He adopted the 5 year plans based on the Soviet model and tried to achieve the goal. But after a decade or so it was clear that his plans went awry. Poverty persisted and the rich-poor divide was increasing. What went wrong?
In spite of a Constitution that guaranteed a life of dignity to all of its citizens, results were not forth-coming. The politician's were more self-centered, the bureaucracy tied down to the political bosses and the poor and the needy, in effect, were left uncared. The rich continued to become rich. Democracy and Socialism were not enough to achieve Nehru's dreams.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Why Gandhi's vision of Partyless Democracy was unacceptable

Most persons today would say that political parties are a necessary evil. In India, it is clear to the general public that political parties and politicians leave much to be desired and yet very little can be done about this matter.

Mahatma Gandhi foresaw this situation soon after India's independence in 1947; he felt that soon the voice of the people would be forgotten. He contemplated a system of partyless democracy so that the elected representative would be directly accessible to the voter.

The political genius of Gandhi, which put an end to the British raj non-violently and brought the curtains down on the colonial era would have ushered in a new, vibrant form of democracy. But this was not to be.

Gandhi could have convinced Nehru and other leaders about the grassroots transformation partyless democracy would bring about. Gandhi's emphasis on the development of villages was possibly a hindrance. No doubt 80% of the population lived in villages. But Nehru wanted to modernize India quickly and he was perhaps not attracted by Gandhi's proposal of 'Village Swaraj'.

Grass roots transformation is not antagonistic to modernization. While Gandhi saw spiritual transformation preceding material development, Nehru saw the need for urgent material development to end widespread poverty and party-based democracy was apparently not a hindrance. But times were such that a in-depth discussion between them on the pros and cons of partyless democracy was not possible.

All that was needed was a formulation of partyless democracy in terms that would be attractive to both the spiritual and the modern mind.