what is democracy? Being a language teacher, I believe in the conservation of the original meaning of words. The word "democracy" comes from the Greek and means exactly "government of the people" (demos = people; kratos = rule, strength). Actually, that is a bit too general. What does it really mean? Well, basically, it is a system where the people have the power to choose, to take decisions and govern. Taken literally, this system does not exist, it is just theory. In practice, it is totally different. What we have had in the world in everyday life since world war II can hardly be defined as "democracy", in any part of the world. I would like to show you what democracy really is. The following are the main principles of democracy. I took them and translated them directly from the website Officina Democrazia which is an appeal to all Italian citizens who believe in these principles. My previous post contains the same text in Italian but I felt I needed to translate it for the ones who do not speak Italian, as these are maybe the most important principles we should fight for. Here they are:
A – The sovereignty belongs to the people, who should be able to exercise it in a direct and appropriate way. The popular sovereignty can be delegated, provided the right of the people to the change or removal of the delegation. In particular, the legislators must not legislate on themselves, their powers, the ways they can be elected, the relations between their power and other powers, without going through the consent, directly expressed, of the will of the people.
B – Decisions taken under the will of the people, directly expressed, may be amended only by the will of the people.
C- All citizens should be encouraged and enabled to responsibly and effectively control the actions of the delegates.
D – Indifference and isolation must be fought by encouraging participation in all forms of aggregation and association. They are precious means in our society, because through them the people experience social life and democracy. All initiatives for the logistic and material support of all forms of association are therefore supported, provided they respect the universal human rights.
E- The powers of the state control organs in civil and economic life must be consolidated and made effective.
F – Free and independent information must be pursued and defended. The governing bodies of public media shall be appointed by popular election rather than through party nomination. The private monopolies should be prevented in all fields and particularly in the media.
G – The highest transparency in political life and in the sources of funding of political parties, associations, movements, and the media must be achieved.
H – Easy access to knowledge and the freedom of the Internet should be preserved and promoted.
I – The "collective good" must be pursued. The "collective good" is what corresponds to the greatest welfare of the community in respect of the environment in which that community lives.
L – The choice of candidates in elections is up to the citizens and not to parties or other organizations. The representatives should be and feel responsible only to the citizens.
M – No citizen can be a candidate if in a state of conflict of interests, or subject to prosecution for offenses affecting the collective or public interests or convicted for such crimes.
N – A constant attention and openness to new proposals, to criticisms, to competence and merit must be guaranteed within the political organizations in public institutions with attention to the rotation of office and setting limits to reeligibility and to the duration and overlapping of mandates
O – We must constantly look for consent and be ready to share, through the constant confrontation of wills and ideas while respecting the views of minorities, with the absolute commitment by all to pursue the common good and to see the vote as extrema ratio.
P – All fundamental human rights must be protected and respected.
Q – All of these objectives should be pursued only by peaceful and non-violent means.