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…


Thursday, October 23, 2008

SOUTH AFRICA: Izimbizo Helps to Fight Corruption

Izimbizo helps to fight corruption in government

Compiled by the Government Communication and Information System
Date: 13 Oct 2008

By Siboniso Ntuli

eThewkini - Government programmes such as national, provincial and local Izimbizo have assisted in the fight against corruption.

Addressing the delegates at the KwaZulu-Natal Anti-Corruption Summit at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (ICC) on Monday, Premier Sbu Ndebele said Izimibizo gave people the opportunity to raise issues of corruption through participatory democracy.

"The fact that the corruption can also be raised through participatory democracy is a sign that our democracy is mature. People can talk openly and freely and this is a major guarantee when compared to dictatorship and tyranny."

The two-day summit, themed: Towards an integrated system promoting good governance with emphasis on anti-corruption and ethics, aims to assess the prevalence and impact of fraud and corruption to service delivery in the province.

Mr Ndebele urged his peers and colleagues to talk to their counterparts who may be involved in corruption practices and find reasoning, if any, behind such behaviour.

"People who do not report corruption are equally guilty," said Premier Ndebele.

Other objectives of the summit include exploring effective preventive mechanisms aimed at combating the occurrence of fraud and corruption.

It also hopes to examine challenges for both combating and preventing corruption as well as exploring avenues for promoting professional ethics, among other things.

KwaZulu-Natal Director General, Dr Kwazi Mbanjwa said government departments should put aside a budget that can be used to fight corruption.

"We need to have an effective system, where members of the public can use to report corruption, without putting their lives at risk," said Dr Mbanjwa.

Delegates attending the summit include MECs, Heads of Departments, Chief Financial Officers, Municipal Managers, Risk Managers, Special Investigation Managers, Security Managers, Internal Control Managers, and other entities active and involved in Anti-Corruption in KwaZulu-Natal. - BuaNews

No comments: