30 . Dez. 2012

Delo, Slovenia

Demonstrations and protests:
This is the language of the best citizens!

Demonstrations and protests in democratic society: what's the role of them and how the government must react to them?

This is the language of the best citizens! Best, because they care about each other and the society and are neither cynic nor indifferent. The government has to listen to them, answer their questions, concerns and propositions and have to change the realities in a way that these citizens have less concerns and do not speak up anymore.

The message of protests is that the democracy and state were stolen from the people but prime minister Jansa doesn't want to hear it and he is speaking only about the reforms which are terrible. (Like in Hungary. He received Orban few weeks ago in Ljubljana.)

There is a point these protesters’ case has: Todays democracy’s are in a crises, because they only reach the nation state and cant reach anymore the transnationally functioning economy. But the substantive promise of democracy is to enable the society to organise fair life chances. But this a national only democracy can not realise anymore. That’s why the Slovenian government should be engaged for the making a real transnational, at least European democracy which’ s heart would be a European federal which means in the German culture decentralised constitution ! This you have to explain to the citizens, to those who protest as well as those who do not protest, because a European Constitution is only possible when the majority of the Citizens agree to it.

How to return democracy and state back to the people? People want more direct democracy. How to achieve this?

And the people are right! There are two ways to overcome the crises of todays form of democracy which is not a questioning of the principle of democracy as such: You need to go transnational, so that the democratic legitimacy also reaches the economic decisions again. And you have to make representative democracy more representative by strengthening the direct democratic, participatorial elements: So you need in Slovenia reforms which also introduce the constitutional referenda and do not allow the parliament and especially not the parliamentary minority to block the peoples will. To get this reforms the engagement of the citizens have to increase and they should show, that they are not willing anymore to elect politicians and parties who oppose these reforms to democratise todays democracy.

The role of referendum in crisis? The government is trying to stop all referendum initiatives (about austerity measures) and is scaring the people with Brussels and unelected troika (EU Commission, ECB, IMF). They even stole some signatures for one of referendum initiative. The opposition is trying to interpelate the interior minister because of this.

If this is true, then the government does exactly the opposite of what it should. You have to help the people to express their sentiments and wishes and critics by referenda and initiative, when you want to bring them from the street. If you take away these democratic rights of the citizens or weaken them, then you get more violence, because violence is always the last resort and the last protest-language of the citizens when they have lost or when all the other languages or forms of political articulations have been taken away from them. There are structural imbalances within the Slovenian direct democracy and between direct and indirect democracy in Slovenia which you have to improve! I try hard to realise similar reforms in Switzerland too!

Democracy and capitalism: are they compatible? What to do when they are not?

In principle they are compatible, but the condition is that the capital actors accept a state who is able to set limits to the capitalist actors when the people wish this and show this will by democratic decisions. From 1945 until 1990 in Western Europe this was the case. Today I am not so sure anymore. Today the capitalistic actors are undermining the national democracy by going transnational without letting democracy to develop similar transnational structures. This would make both incompatible. But this would also lead to the self-destruction of capitalisms because they need a institution who corrects dangerous developments the capitalist with a selfish and one-sided view of the society do not see. Capitalism lives from conditions and rules it does not reproduce on its one. This can only be done by democratic legitimated authorities who have to do this also on the transnational level, because all national rules can be undermined today by the economic actors.

Representative democracy is in crisis in Slovenia. People don't trust deputies anymore. How to improve it? Early elections are not the solution without new political movements and parties? People are fed up with the politicians who are in power for more than 20 years and who are far away from reality and from the people.

When the old parties are not able anymore to satisfy the needs, interests, hopes and visions of the citizens, these citizens have to create new ones. The better they manage to do this the old parties will change and reorient themselves. Then democracy is also the best environment for learning processes. When you listen, then you are to learn. If you are not ready to listen you should be democratically outplaced and replaced by new representatives who do listen to all voices, also the extra-institutional ones. But you have to have the courage to speak up and out, to openly critic and build alternatives – you should not turn your back to politics, because like this you leave it to those who are the problem and not part of the solution of the problem. That’s why it’s so important to listen to the protesters because they express themselves and they want to be heard, they care of the society and do to turn their back to the society and politics. But if you do not listen to them they would do this and then you are responsible that the society is less and less able to tackle the problems we face.

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