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Thursday, November 22, 2012

The need for democracy

Instead of the mantra; “Discipline, discipline, discipline”, unions, parties and other political organisations of the left should march to the beat of; “Discussion, debate and democracy”.
 True united action by an organisation of people fighting for their rights can only be guaranteed by real agreement and understanding that what is decided is the best way for the organisation to further its aims. Such agreement and understanding cannot be assumed, or imposed from above. Discussion, debate and democratic decision-making are needed to ensure “buy in”.
Democracy is not an expensive overhead. It is essential to build progressive mass movements. It is the way an organisation establishes and maintains its links with the people it represents. Without the infusion of energy and enthusiasm from new members and the wider and wider politicisation of the mass of the people with a new vision of the future, left organisations ossify.
Without democratic participation, inspiration and enthusiasm are extinguished as the organisation degenerates into a bureaucratic nightmare; such organisations can wither and die.
Real strength comes from the support and participation of the mass of the people for and in the implementation of progressive policies. This is what must be fought for. Who is going to join, or build, an emancipating political movement that does not give its members the right to decide what that organisation does?
What is needed is a form of organisation where the leaders advise and the members decide.

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