We as citizens of the United States observe politics from afar and the vast majority of us may participate in the political process only to the extent that we go to the polls once a year to vote. We may endeavor to follow the news accounts of our nation's politics as they unfold, and of the consequences those political actions yield, but we have little power to influence our "democratically" elected officials. Perhaps we write an occasional letter to our senator or representative, but we almost inevitably receive a vague and impersonal response explaining why they will vote in our opposition.

Over the decades, our representative democracy has been systematically undermined and has ultimately failed in preserving the well being of the people of this nation. The system that the founding fathers painstakingly devised in order to best serve the interests and the will of the people has been corrupted and the systems of checks and balances on power that they instituted have been stripped away. Most of us accept this reality as being beyond our control and continue to observe, comment, and complain without aspiring to achieving any real change, without any hope of instituting a new system of governance that would instead take directly into account your views, and the views of your neighbors, and would empower you to make real positive change possible in your communities.

This site will attempt to explore in depth the places in the world where people are successfully bringing about that type of change in the face of similar odds, where an alternate form of democracy, which is called participatory or direct democracy, is taking root. Initiative, referendum & recall, community councils, and grassroots organizing are but a few ways in which direct/participatory democracy is achieving great success around the world.

Our system of representative democracy does not admit the voice of the people into congressional halls, the high courts, or the oval office where our rights and our liberties are being sold out from underneath us. Our local leaders and activists in our communities, and even those local elected officials who may have the best of intentions are for the most part powerless to make real positive change happen in our neighborhoods, towns and villages when there is so much corruption from above.

In places like Venezuela, Argentina, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Brazil, South Africa, India, and the Phillipines, new experiments in grass roots community based governance are taking place. There is much to be learned from these and other examples of participatory democracy from around the world when we try to examine how this grass-roots based governance could begin to take root here in our own country in order to alter our political system so that it might better serve the American people.

In the hope that one day we can become a nation working together as a united people practicing true democracy as true equals, we open this forum…


Saturday, August 2, 2008

SOUTH AFRICA: SACP African Participatory Democracy Conference




To: All Interested Organisations in Africa


In the context of fluid global developments and both challenges and potentialities of mass democratic participatory politics in localized processes, the South African Communist Party and the Left Party of Sweden (Vänsterpartiet) through the Left International Forum are engaged in a collaborative effort to host a Southern African conference on Participatory Democracy which will be held in Soweto, Johannesburg in South Africa.

We hope to assemble an array of regional and international civil society activists, social movements, scholars and campaigners in various fields with social, political and gender orientation as well as representatives of rural and indigenous movements with extensive expertise in grassroots mobilization and politics of democratic mass participation. We want to focus on the experience of people’s participation, expanding the democratic space, developing an alternative peoples economic, political, social and cultural agenda, as well as of alternative forms of popular governance.

This conference is a continuation of an International Conference on Participatory Democracy held in Stockholm, Sweden, in 2004 and a Latin American Conference on Participatory Democracy held in Caracas, Venezuela, in 2005. Documentation from these conferences is available at our website,

We are inviting all South African and other African interested organisations to register their participation for the congress.

By June 2008 a conference programme will be available for distribution on our website. For more information, please don't hesitate to contact Mr. Mothusi Mongale, Tel +2711 339 3621, Fax: +2711 339 4244, Fax +27866 179 105, Mobile: +2783 2600 392, ,

Dr. Blade Nzimande Eva Björklund
SACP General Secretary Left Party Board, in charge of international relations

Conferencia Africana sobre democracia participativa 14-16 agosto de 2008, Soweto, Johannesburgo, Sudáfrica

En el contexto de desarrollos fluidos a nivel global y los desafíos y posibilidades de políticas participativas, democráticas y masivas a nivel local, el Partido Comunista de Africa (South African Communist Party) y el Partido de Izquierda de Suecia (Vänsterpartiet) a través del Foro Internacional de la Izquierda (VIF), están colaborando en la organización de una conferencia sobre Democracia Participativa, que tendrá lugar en Soweto, Johannesburgo, Sudáfrica

Deseamos reunir a un gran número de activistas de la sociedad civil regionales e internacionales, de los movimientos sociales, académicos y activistas en diversos campos con orientación social, político y de género, así como representantes de las zonas rurales y los movimientos indígenas con amplia experiencia en la movilización popular y la política democrática de participación de masas.

Esta conferencia está incluida en una serie de conferencias internacionales sobre democracia participativa organizados por el VIF que empezó en Estocolmo 2004, siguió en Caracas 2005, en Manila 2007, en Diyarbakir y Zagreb 2007. Documentación de estas conferencias están a su disposición en nuestra pagina web

En la pagina web también pueden, a partir de Julio, encontrar el programa de la conferencia en Soweto. Para más información por favor no tarde en contactar al Sr Mothusi Mongale, Tel +2711 339 3621, Fax: +2711 339 4244, Fax +27866 179 105, Mobile: +2783 2600 392,, o

Dr. Blade Nzimande Eva Björklund
SACP Secretario General Foro Internacional de Izquierda

Para ver más detalles del programa visita la pagina siguiente:

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