cj#967,rn,sm> Chapter 5 – Democracy: collaboration and harmonization instead of competition and factionalism


Richard Moore


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                    Achieving a Livable, Peaceful World

                            Part II - Chapter 5

                     Copyright 1999 by Richard K. Moore
                 Last update 26 September 1998 - 5780 words
                    comments to: •••@••.•••

Part II - Envisioning a livable world: an inquiry into democracy,
sustainability, and world order
Chapter 5 - Democracy: collaboration and harmonization instead of
competition and factionalism

What is democracy? -- a functional definition
Democracy is, to put it mildly, an overused word. In the parlance of
neoliberal globalization, democracy is equated with laissez-faire
capitalism, as in democratic market reforms. In more general parlance,
democracy is typically equated with multi-party elections, and for that
reason Western nations are generally referred to as democracies -- even
though citizen satisfaction is generally poor and steadily declining.

For our purposes -- envisioning a livable world -- we need a functional
definition of democracy: democracy is not a mechanism; democracy is a
result. If people generally believe that they are involved in their
society's governance, that their concerns matter, and that society is
serving their interests as well as can be expected, then that would be
strong evidence for a functioning democracy. If people are more inclined to
say that government doesn't listen to them, and avoid political
participation out of impotent apathy, that is strong evidence that democracy
is absent. Such a citizens' test would not certify very many Western nations
as being democratic.

Any formal system, whether it be elections, political parties, or
constitutions, can be corrupted and subverted. I have argued in earlier
chapters that Western democratic institutions have in fact been corrupted by
capitalism and that effective power has become concentrated in the hands of
an elite oligarchy. I further argued that Western republics were set up
intentionally to favor established wealthy interests over popular interests.
In a functional survey of modern nations, I submit, the West would show up
in the oligarchy column, not the democracy column.

In this chapter we will look more closely at Western political systems, and
try to identify why they do not lead to functional democracy. We will also
look at other models of governance, ask how they pass the "citizens' test",
and see what they may have to offer us. My goal in this investigation is to
develop enough insight into the dynamics of political systems so that we can
begin to get a feeling for how robust democracy might be achieved in modern
societies. Recall from the previous chapter:

     If livable societies are to be achieved and sustained, the most
     fundamental requirement is that stable, locally-based, democratic
     governance be established. Only democracy is based on popular
     will, only stable democracy can maintain social well being in a
     dynamic society, and only locally-based democracy can adjust to
     local requirements.

Competitive factionalism -- a failed paradigm
There is a rationale for Western political systems, a theory by which they
are supposed to work and achieve a rough-and-tumble version of democracy.
The theory is that political parties will arise which represent various
popular interests, and that by choosing among those parties people will be
able to express their preferences. Competition among parties, the theory
goes, will ultimately result in government agendas which reflect majority

In looking at how these systems work in practice, it becomes clear that they
fail to live up to the theory at every single phase of their operations. The
leading parties in the West are dominated by wealthy interests, and in
recent years the policies of most major parties have converged into a single
stream: corporate globalization. Little real choice is offered to the
voters. Citizen preference itself has become generally meaningless because
public information and debate are controlled by corporate-owned media.
Elections, instead of being a way for policy priorities to be determined by
voters, have become instead a way for corporate-beholden candidates to be
sold to the electorate by sophisticated advertising campaigns. Such are the
mechanisms of oligarchic rule in a paper democracy.

There are so many things wrong with these political systems that a strong
case can be made for reform almost anywhere you want to look. There are
hundreds of citizen groups and organizations in the West pushing for reform
of media, of campaign financing, or of corporate lobbying. There are groups
pushing for proportional representation, others for minor political parties,
and others who want everyone wired into some kind of online system of
electronic "direct-democracy".

The problem with such reformist approaches is that even if they were
implemented, we would still be left with only a rough-and-tumble democracy,
a competitive democracy based on factional politics. In what follows, I will
endeavor to establish that competitive politics is itself incompatible with
functional democracy. Rather than being aberrations, the various corruptions
plaguing Western political systems are inherent in those systems.

Already in the classical Roman Republic, before Roman Emperors arose, most
of the modern Western corruptions could already be seen. Election districts
were rigged to favor wealthy interests, and huge fortunes were typically
expended in carrying out political campaigns. Roman politics evolved from
republican democracy, to oligarchy via corruption, to direct rule by an
Emperor. As we have seen in previous chapters, this same pattern is now
being played out globally, with corporate bureaucracies (IMF etc) instead of
the Emperor and his court, US and NATO elite forces instead of the Roman
Legions, and television instead of circuses.

Competitive politics, by its very nature, invites corruption. The goal of a
political party, or faction, is to win power, and politics becomes a
competition for power among societal factions. Alliances-of-convenience are
formed to achieve majorities, and a politician class arises which is skilled
at making deals and running election campaigns -- the game of politics
becomes the game of power brokering.

Wealthy interests would then be blind not to see the opportunities available
from buying into the power game, concentrated as it is in the hands of power
brokers and politicians, thereby gaining control over society's policy
agenda. A political system based on factional competition ideally suits the
purposes of the best-organized and best-funded faction, and the faction with
the best access to media: the elite oligarchy.

Even if some magical means were available by which such corruptions could be
prevented, competitive politics would still be an unsound basis for
functional democracy. If a majority can dictate policy to a minority, and
ignore the interests of that minority, then a significant portion of the
society, at any given time, is effectively disenfranchised. In a functional
democracy, people generally, not just some temporary majority, must feel
that society is responsive to their interests.

From a societal perspective, the purpose of politics is to adjudicate among
interests and to provide a mechanism by which societal decisions can be made
and societal problems solved.

In a functional democracy, the adjudication process must be inclusive; it
must involve the harmonization of interests, not the defeat of one by
another. As any modern organizational consultant will readily tell you, a
"win-lose" approach to business, or negotiations of any kind, is not as
productive as a "win-win" approach. Overall benefit is greatest when the
interests of all parties are served by an agreement or a contract. Just as
business practices provided useful models for sustainability, so do
organizational practices provide useful models for democracy: a win-win
(inclusive) approach provides the most overall benefit.

Only with an inclusive political process, which harmonizes among diverse
interests, can a functional democracy be achieved. Only then can the
societal problem-solving process take into account the interests of citizens
generally. Ultimately the goal of politics is to enable societal problem
solving. In a functional democracy the problem-solving process must be
informed by the full range of societal interests.

A profound paradigm shift occurs when you start thinking about politics as a
problem solving process rather than a power competition. Any good corporate
manager will tell you that problems are best solved when all viewpoints are
carefully listened to. Often an unpopular minority view reveals problems
that are critical to the success or failure of an endeavor. A competitive
political paradigm suppresses minority views; a problem-solving paradigm
welcomes minority participation.

The contrast between the paradigms of problem-solving and power-competition
can be best understood in microcosm, by comparing the processes of
decision-making meetings in Western politics with those in modern

The paradigm for political decision-making meetings is based on competitive
factionalism, and is embodied in Robert's famous Rules of Order. Discussion
continues, under these rules, until some faction feels that it has assembled
a majority for its side. A vote is then called, and if a majority assents,
the matter is settled and debate is ended. There is no incentive to pursue
harmonization of interests beyond that which is required to achieve a
majority block. And there is no incentive to listen to minority views at
all. The failures of Western democracy can be already seen in the process of
a typical meeting, as it might occur in a municipal council hall or on the
floor of the US Congress. The competitive system, from bottom to top -- from
meetings to elections -- is simply poor at solving societal problems. It
merely provides a forum in which factions can battle over
previously-determined partisan agendas.

The paradigm for a decision-making meeting in a modern corporation is one of
collaborative problem solving. A good manager listens to all views, attempts
to harmonize conflicts, and seeks a solution that everyone can support.
Corporations are in the end hierarchical, and the manager may make the final
decision, even if it's unpopular -- but at least he or she, if competent,
will listen to all views and seek consensus wherever achievable: that makes
for a more effective team. Important work gets done at such a meeting; human
creativity is exercised for collective goals; effective problem-solving is
accomplished in pursuit of agreed objectives.

Functional democracy, I suggest, must be based on a problem-solving paradigm
rather than on competition and factionalism. Once again, sound business
practices provide better societal models than do traditional Western
political practices. This should really be no surprise: in our capitalist
societies businesses are expected to operate effectively, while governments
are set up to be subverted.

Centralism vs. localism
Another essential flaw in Western democratic systems is centralism. By
centralism I refer to two characteristics: (1) the making of most
significant societal decisions at the center -- in the society-wide
governing body, and (2) the failure of politicians to represent the
interests of the constituencies that elected them. In Western societies,
parliaments and congresses have nearly unlimited power to make micro
decisions for all levels of society, and the elected delegates are only
nominally obligated to represent the interests of their constituencies -- in
fact delegates generally represent the interests of party politics and of
the corporate community, which dominates campaign funding.

To survive in politics, a politician must get elected. What this means in
today's world is Can the politician be sold to the constituency at election
time? Achieving an affirmative answer to this question has much more to do
with campaign funding and favorable coverage by media, than it has to do
with the voting record of the candidate. The career imperative of a
successful politician in the West is clear: serve the interests of the
oligarchy, which has unlimited funding and media access available as needed.

Both characteristics of centralism are inherently counter-democratic,
according to our functional definition. By making most decisions at the
center, popular will is diluted; no matter how conscientious the delegates
may be, they must consider problems at the society macro level, and concerns
of minor localities tend necessarily to be overlooked. And with no real
obligation to represent constituencies, there is every incentive not to be
conscientious at all, but to instead represent other interests, interests
that provide greater benefit to the political career of the delegate.

When centralism and factionalism are combined, as they are in leading
Western nations, then functional democracy becomes all but impossible. With
factions vying for power, wealthy interests busily buying influence,
political power concentrated in a central governing body, and delegates free
to support whatever policies they choose, it is little wonder that the will
of the people plays little role in societal decision making and problem
solving. One can hardly imagine a system better suited to the usurpation of
power by an elite oligarchy.

In the previous chapter, when focusing on societal feedback mechanisms, I
argued that democracy must be locally based. Unless the solutions to local
problems are agreed to locally, society lacks the feedback necessary to
sustain democracy, to pass the citizens' test. In a functional democracy, we
can assume that there must be some system of local governance which is
inclusive of all local interests, employs a collaborative approach to
problem solving, and which has considerable sovereignty over local affairs.
Such local governance eliminates one of the characteristics of centralism:
the making of most decisions on a society-wide basis.

There are, however, many problems which cannot practically be dealt with
locally. Transportation, communications, energy, allocation of scarce
resources, trade policies, finances, and others, require society-wide
problem solving, albeit with room for local variations in the implementation
of solutions, and perhaps local approval of proposed solutions. After
perhaps intermediate levels of government, there must be some kind of
society-wide governing body that has responsibility for addressing
society-wide problems.

In a functional democracy, the problem-solving approach used by this central
body must be aimed at harmonizing the wishes of the various localities, as
represented by their delegations. The delegates do not come to the central
body firmly committed to particular solutions, but rather with an informed
understanding of the desires and requirements they are bringing to the
discussion. If each delegate reliably represents their constituencies in the
central deliberations, then the consensus solutions that are arrived at are
likely to successfully harmonize the overall interests of society.

But how to assure that delegates reliably represent their constituencies? In
today's systems of democracy, delegates are selected, theoretically, on the
basis of character, judgement, experience, integrity, intelligence, good
sense, and other personality traits. When a candidate is elected, the
presumption is that the electorate trusts him or her personally to do the
right thing for the constituency. Needless to say, this system does not work
very well.

The problem is not that the wrong person might get elected in these systems,
but rather that localities are focusing on delegate selection rather than on
problem solving. In order for the locality to be represented properly in the
central body, the locality must take the time to consider what position it
wants taken to the central body for the important issues of the day. Without
local deliberations on societal issues, the delegate lacks the information
necessary to adequately represent the locality in central deliberations,
regardless of how responsible and conscientious he or she might be.

Even at the local level there are diverse interests, and no one person
embodies the knowledge and needs of the whole community. Problem solving at
the local level requires the participation of the whole community. Only by
that means can the locality even become aware of what position it wants to
be represented centrally. If the locality has no awareness of what it wants,
as a community, then how could any elected official possibly be expected to
represent its will? For this reason alone, it is no wonder that Western
societies are not democracies.

Local deliberation of society-wide issues is a necessary feedback mechanism
in a functional democracy. The local governance system, then, is concerned
with solving local problems itself, and with identifying its priorities
regarding wider issues, as its contribution to society-wide governance. The
role of a delegate in this system is clear: it is to take the local agenda
to the central body and to represent it in the deliberations. It is not the
judgement or character of the delegate which is of central importance --
although poor judgement or character would hardly be a recommendation -- but
rather that the delegate can and will represent the local agenda, as
articulated locally.

In today's democracies, people represent localities, and society-wide
policies are determined by the dynamics of centralism and factionalism; in a
functional democracy, agendas represent localities, and society-wide agendas
are harmonized from those through the collaboration of delegates. At the
local level, a community agenda is harmonized from the interests of all; at
the central level, a societal agenda is harmonized from the various local
agendas, with the process possibly repeated at intermediate levels. This is
the meaning of localism in the context of a functional democracy, and
localism eliminates the counter-democratic characteristics of centralism.

Functional democracy -- is it a utopian vision?
So far this chapter has been an investigation into functional democracy, an
attempt to identify why Western systems fail to be democratic, and an
attempt to identify the processes necessary for functional democracy. In
this investigation, perhaps ironically, models from sound corporate
management practices have proven to be particularly useful.

In this investigation, I have not simply invented models -- my goal is not
to be a creative designer of societal systems. What I have tried to do is to
look closely at the problems to be solved, based on the requirements of
functional democracy, and to seek to identify how similar problems are
routinely solved in today's societies. I have tried to follow a scientific
approach: analysis followed by synthesis, with each step carefully argued
and substantiated by due consideration of all relevant issues.

An interesting question at this point can be asked regarding the uniqueness
of the solutions that have been articulated. Are there other systems which
would be equally promising or more promising, in the achievement of
functional democracy? In some sense this question is difficult to answer --
who can guarantee, in any situation, that better approaches might not come
along? But in another sense, I don't think there is that much room for
fundamental variation in solutions to the problem of achieving functional

Our citizens' test is a very strong requirement, and certain basic
characteristics must be present in a society for that requirement to be

     Necessary characteristics of a functional democracy
     If a general sense of participation is to be assured to the
     members of society, then local communities must, as communities,
     have a similar sense of control over their own destiny. In order
     for communities to develop such a sense, the people must work
     together as a community in addressing the problems they face as a
     community. In order that the wider society include the needs of
     all in its problem solving, localities must work out their agendas
     regarding society-wide issues and those agendas must be
     represented at society-wide (central) collaborative sessions.

It is difficult to see how functional democracy could be reliably achieved
without at least the above fundamental characteristics being present in the
solution. If any one of these characteristics is not in some way satisfied,
there is a clear feedback problem: the information necessary to achieve
functional democracy either won't be generated, or it won't be reliably
delivered to where it is needed, or it won't be appropriately incorporated
into societal problem solving.

If indeed we have succeeded in identifying the essential and necessary
characteristics of a functional democracy, several questions naturally
arise. There is the question that heads this chapter: Is functional
democracy itself, along with the characteristics that have been identified,
utopian? Or can such systems be realistically implemented, and will they
function as intended? These kinds of questions can only be answered
empirically -- by testing in the real world.

Fortunately, there are real-world examples we can look at, and even better,
the examples are current ones. There are societies today in which the
fundamental elements that have been identified above have in fact been
implemented, and where very promising results have been achieved in terms of
functional democracy and certification by the citizens' test.

The first example is one most readers have probably never heard of, and the
second example is one that most readers have heard about frequently in the
mass media, but most of what they've heard has been untrue. The first
example is a participatory budgeting project ("PB-POA") that has been going
on since 1989 in Porto Alegre, capital city of Rio Grande do Sul, the
southernmost state of Brazil. The second example is the political system of

These examples will be presented in the two following sections. Both are
based on local citizen collaboration in problem solving, both have achieved
remarkable results in terms of sound societal operation, and in both cases
general citizen satisfaction with the system is very high. These examples
demonstrate that the principles of functional democracy developed in this
investigation are neither utopian nor limited to theory: the principles can
be implemented, they can perform as intended, and they can achieve
functional democratic governance.

The claim being made in this chapter is a rather strong one: There are
certain principles of democratic governance, enumerated above, that are both
necessary and sufficient to achieve functional democracy, provided that the
principles are appropriately implemented, and that surrounding conditions
permit them to operate effectively. In other words: functional democracy is
achievable, its implementation must incorporate certain essential
characteristics, and those characteristics have been identified.

If this claim is a valid one, then these characteristics can be of
considerable value in informing a movement to overcome elite domination and
move toward livable, sustainable societies. The characteristics can guide
the operation of the movement itself, making it both democratic and
effective at solving movement problems. And an understanding of the
requirements of democracy and of sustainability informs the political agenda
of the movement, so that it can focus its efforts on achieving systemic
societal transformation, and avoid the pursuit of reforms which may be
superficially appealing, but which do not lead to functional democracy, and
hence can never overcome elite domination nor achieve sustainable societies.

PB-POA -- local democracy in Brazil
Following the adoption of a new Federal Constitution in 1988, and spurred by
the inability of the central government to provide adequate services, Brazil
has experienced an unprecedented period of decentralization during the
nineties. There has been a strengthening of civil society and a good deal of
innovation in the development of local, participatory, democratic systems.
[footnote to be provided to a paper by Zander Navarro]

Of particular interest to this investigation are the experiences of the
Participatory Budgeting project (PB) in Porto Alegre. In this project,
community associations and other organized social sectors were mobilized to
solve the problem of how to best utilize municipal funds. The project has
been a considerable success in several different ways.

First, the mobilization itself was successful. The level of participation
has been high enough that the entire city feels itself involved in the
process. Second, the problem-solving process used is collaborative and
inclusive, rather than factional. Mechanisms have been developed so that
city-wide policies can be harmonized from the requirements determined by the
various constituencies. Third, the results for the city were outstanding.
Porto Alegra has a solid record of healthy financial management, and
municipal services are indeed carried out according to the democratically
determined priorities.

In this example, the functional democratic process occurs outside of the
electoral political system. The various community organizations, and the
overall PB organizing structure, have no official governmental mandate. They
are institutions of the civil society, and the validity of the budget they
develop arises solely from the fact that everyone knows that it expresses
the will of the people generally. The elected city officials routinely
accept the PB-developed budget; any other course would make little political

Porto Alegra is an example of what we have been calling a locality within
the larger Brazilian society. Within its borders, and within the domain of
budgeting, it seems fair to say that Porto Alegra has achieved a functional
democracy, and one that has the essential characteristics previously
identified. The system in Porto Alegra is multi-level, so it even
demonstrates, in microcosm, that it is possible to harmonize problem-solving
among several smaller localities by appropriate use of delegates. If Brazil
as a whole employed a similar system. Porto Alegra would be well-prepared to
make its contribution to problem solving in the larger society by sending a
representative delegation.

Some readers may be skeptical at this point, asking themselves if there is a
dark side to this Brazilian story, if there are failures in this PB system.
There may be some failures, but that misses the point. No system is perfect,
but a system that has the basic formula right is capable of being improved
over time. A system that has the basic formula wrong, as do Western
democracies, can never be made right, although there are infinite
opportunities for would-be reformers to expend their energy in pointless

Cuba -- functional democracy on a national scale
I must assume that many readers, when they see the name Cuba, immediately
think "dictatorship" and "refugees". To such readers it must seem absurd to
cite Cuba as an exemplary democratic system. I can only say that Cuba has
been the subject of decades-long disinformation campaign, particularly in
the US media. The successes of socialist Cuba show the lie of capitalist
rhetoric, and a defamatory media campaign has been the chosen rebuttal,
along with embargoes and all other manner of harassment by the US.

From sources outside the mass media one gets a quite different picture of
Cuba, one that can by no means be characterized as a dictatorship. One
particular observer, Charles McKelvey, has investigated Cuba's political
system and discovered remarkably effective democratic processes at work. He
is a Professor of Sociology at Presbyterian College, in Clinton, South
Carolina, and has been to Cuba several times. He describes his experience as

     "I have been to Cuba four times since 1993. Last summer, I was
     there for ten weeks, and my activities included in-depth
     interviews of university professors and leaders in the Popular
     Councils concerning the political process in Cuba. In addition, I
     talked to many different people that I met informally, sometimes
     through families with which I was connected and other times with
     people I met as I traveled about Havana by myself. I do not
     consider myself an expert on Cuba. I would describe myself as
     someone who is knowledgeable about Third World national liberation
     movements and is in the process of learning about the Cuban case.
     My general impression is that the revolutionary government enjoys
     a high degree of legitimacy among the people. Occasionally, I came
     across someone who was alienated from the system. There
     disaffection was not rooted in the political system but in the
     economic hardships that have emerged during the "special period."
     The great majority seemed to support the system and seemed very
     well informed about the structures of the world economy and the
     challenges that Cuba faces. Many defended the system with great
     enthusiasm and strong conviction. I had expected none of this
     prior to my first trip, recalling my visit to Tanzania in 1982, by
     which time many had come to view "ujamaa socialism" as a faded
     dream, at least according to my impressions during my brief visit.
     But to my surprise, I found much support for the revolutionary
     project in Cuba. I could not help but contrast this to the United
     States, where there is widespread cynicism in regard to political
     and other institutions.

     "The Cuban political system is based on a foundation of local
     elections. Each urban neighborhood and rural village and area is
     organized into a "circumscription," consisting generally of 1000
     to 1500 voters. The circumscription meets regularly to discuss
     neighborhood or village problems. Each three years, the
     circumscription conducts elections, in which from two to eight
     candidates compete. The nominees are not nominated by the
     Communist Party or any other organizations. The nominations are
     made by anyone in attendance at the meetings, which generally have
     a participation rate of 85% to 95%. Those nominated are candidates
     for office without party affiliation. They do not conduct
     campaigns as such. A one page biography of all the candidates is
     widely-distributed. The nominees are generally known by the
     voters, since the circumscription is generally not larger than
     1500 voters. If no candidate receives 50% of the votes, a run-off
     election is held. Those elected serve as delegates to the Popular
     Councils, which are intermediary structures between the
     circumscription and the Municipal Assembly. Those elected also
     serve simultaneously as delegates to the Municipal Assembly. The
     delegates serve in the Popular Councils and the Municipal
     Assemblies on a voluntary basis without pay, above and beyond
     their regular employment. " [source document to be noted]

For those who remain skeptical regarding Cuba, I can suggest looking at some
of the material in the bibliography. Especially notable are the achievements
of Cuba in the areas of human rights, health care, and education. My own
conclusion after reviewing material from many sources, is that McKelvey's
report above can be essentially accepted at face value. On that basis, it
appear that Cuba has achieved a general functional democracy at a national
scale. It passes the citizens' test, and it has each of our essential
characteristics: local problem solving, delegation to central bodies of
agendas instead of personalities, and a collaborative, harmonizing approach
to solving societal problems.

Functional democracy -- how can it be achieved in the West?
For Western nations, the situation is comparable to Brazil: there are
pre-existing electoral structures around which a functional democratic
process would have to be created. In the West, then, the path to functional
democracy is the path of a strong civil society. As in Brazil, local
organizations need to be mobilized and frameworks need to be created so that
these constituencies can collaborate in addressing local and societal
issues. These structures then need to be repeated at various levels, right
up to the national level.

The output of this process is the development of a comprehensive policy
agenda for every level of governmental policy, an agenda which has the
overwhelming support of the society generally, and which includes variation
in solutions depending on local needs and preferences.

The role of Western elected officials, given a strong and universally
supported civil society, would simply be to implement the articulated
agenda, in the same way that the officials in Porto Alegre implement PB's
budget. The role of an elected official becomes that of a civil servant,
with a job to do; the game of power-brokering disappears and with it the
professional politician. Candidates would presumably be active and
recognized participants in their local civil societies, and their loyalties
would be firmly in line with the consensus that had arisen from the
collaborative process.

The problem of achieving functional democracy in the West is not a technical
one. As described above, and as exemplified in Brazil, there is no inherent
reason why a strong civil society cannot be developed and operate
harmoniously within existing constitutions and electoral systems. And as
exemplified in Cuba, the processes of functional democracy can work
effectively even when there are several intermediate levels of government
involved. The problem in the West is not technical, it is motivational and

Before people in the West can achieve functional democracy, they must be
motivated, they must feel an urgent need to change the existing system. (It
is noteworthy that both of our examples were developed only under great
pressure -- the poverty of Brazil and the US enmity which confronted Cuba.)
If a sense of general urgency does develop in the West, then the creation of
the civil society structures will be a formidable organizing task. These
observations suggest directions for the efforts of those citizens,
activists, leaders, and writers who are already motivated to achieve
democracy, and who would like to bring about the conditions necessary for
the creation of strong civil societies.

In order to generate societal motivation for change, the problem is one of
public education. People need to be made aware that global capitalism is
destroying our societies and that economic and social conditions are only
going to get worse. They need to understand that national sovereignty is
being transferred to corporate-dominated bureaucracies, and that police
state laws and infrastructures are being systematically developed to control
populations. They need to see that the little democracy we have in the West
is being rapidly taken away, and that only a brief window of opportunity
remains in which to rise up and make our democracies work. Most of all, they
need to realize their own empowerment, to become aware that they have a much
bigger role to play in running society than to mark a ballot every once in a
while. All their lives they've been told they are a free people; it is time
for them to believe it.

Organizing the civil society is a task that can begin immediately, and what
it amounts to is primarily a shift in perspective on the part of those
activists and organizers who are already involved in the hundreds of
reformist movements and citizens organizations currently in existence. Their
perspective needs to be strategically informed: there can be no small
victories over the capitalist system; there can only be a general victory.
Activist energy must be directed toward the development of collaboration
between different organizations, and the creation of the infrastructures of
a civil society.

Education and organizing contribute synergistically to one another. As more
people become motivated, their participation strengthens existing
organizations, and as organizations begin to collaborate with one another,
the growing movement begins to take on the characteristics of a strong civil
society. Presumably a point of critical mass will occur, a turning point,
where the wider society becomes generally aware of the budding civil
society. After that, the movement could be expected to grow very rapidly,
and the quality and integrity of the infrastructures developed would be put
to the test.

In Chapter 7, the problems of movement building and public education will be
investigated in more detail. For now I would like to summarize the results
of this chapter's investigation:

     Functional democracy is achievable, and it must be based on the
     principles of localism, collaborative problem solving, and
     inclusive harmonization of all societal interests. In Western
     societies, the process of functional democracy can be achieved
     through a well-organized civil society, working within the
     constraints of existing constitutions and electoral systems. In
     order to move toward the achievement of functional democracies,
     people in the West need to be educated as to the dire threats
     posed by capitalism and globalization, and activists and
     organizers need to focus their attention on building the
     infrastructures for a democratic civil society.



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