Swiss Referendum and a World without Politicians

In March 2012, Switzerland voted in a series of referenda, some on the federal level, and others on a cantonal or local level. The media reported: “Some of the key questions of these referendums were (the referendum results are in parenthesis) : – LONGER HOLIDAYS: (Rejected by about 66%) Federal level vote on whether to extend annual holiday entitlements from four weeks currently to six weeks. Union Travail Suisse had put up the proposal as it found that a third of employees were suffering from stress at work, and that two extra weeks of holidays could remedy the problem. Travail Suisse collected 125,000 signatures two years ago to demand a referendum on this issue. It expressed disappointment at the result, but said it was proud it had raised the issue of workers’ anxiety. Swiss Justice Minister said this plan did not answer the question of ‘who will do the job of those who are on vacation?’ Posters in public places warning that more holidays would mean fewer jobs – HOLIDAY HOMES: (Accepted by about 51%) Federal level vote on whether to limit the construction of second homes in communes to 20 percent. The issue is particularly pertinent for ski resorts, many of which have seen a building boom. But proponents say such building frenzies ‘disfigures the landscape’ and lead to unaffordable homes for locals -FIXED BOOK PRICE: (Rejected by 58%): Federal level vote on the Fixed Book Price (FBP) that is a form of resale price maintenance applied to books. It commonly takes the form of an agreement between publishers and booksellers which set the prices at which books were to be sold to the public. It’s in force in about half the EU – GAMBLING REVENUES: (Accepted by about 87%) Federal level vote on whether to allocate all lottery and gambling revenues to public use such as in cultural, social or sports activities – PROTEST RESTRICTIONS and increased fines: (Approved !!) Geneva canton vote on whether to impose tougher restrictions on demonstrations. The proposed amendments see fines of up to 100,000 francs on anyone who demonstrates without permission [!!] and who does not abide by agreed conditions – PROSTITUTION GARAGES: (Approved) Zurich city vote on whether to build dedicated garages where prostitutes can ply their trade, in a proposal aimed at moving streetwalkers away from residential zones. The site would be open from 7 pm to 5 am and would have an alley where prostitutes and clients can cruise along and garages where they can carry out their transactions!”. In today’s world, Switzerland has become a synonym for Referendum and Direct democracy. Many Swiss laws result from referenda. Some say: “The important difference between the Swiss system and the ‘indirect’ democracy of Britain is that citizens are entitled to put almost every law decided by their representatives to a general vote – if they want. For this to happen, members of the public need to gather 50,000 signatures (approximately one per cent of the electorate) within 100 days of the publication of a new law. In fact, in Switzerland the elected lawmakers know that their work will be seriously checked by the public”. Of course, it doesn’t mean that Switzerland is a direct democracy, or the Swiss people are happy with their system and their politicians. The Swiss people have many problems with their politicians. But at least the Swiss people can change or reject some of their stupid laws in a way that many other nations cannot. The Iranians, Syrians, Libyans, etc even can’t have a referendum for getting rid of a brutal dictatorship, and tens of thousands of people should be killed and tortured because of asking for a referendum. In Iran, and many other countries, even asking for a referendum is a serious crime ! The Chinese, Russians, Greeks, and many other nations can’t get rid of their corrupt system and their corrupt politicians, as well. Even the Americans and Europeans are not free from corrupt politicians, corrupt media, and corrupt corporations and can’t ask for real change. Unfortunately, many don’t think about the real solutions, for example, about “a World without Politicians”. We have already written about politics, power, conflicts, and a world without politicians . The number one enemy of “real Democracy” is politicians. The shameless politicians say: “Democracy is not about mob rule”, and the funny people answer: “Yah, Democracy is about jerk rule, politicians rule”.

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Almost all politicians are like a British politician, Chris Patten, who said: “I think referendums are awful. I think referendums are fundamentally anti-democratic in our system”. The politicians hate referendums and direct democracy, mainly because they hate democracy and the people power. They know that if the people become aware and want to change the world, the politicians should go to hell. They try to pretend that ‘politics’ and ‘politicians’ are equal to “order” and “peace”. But in the real world, ‘politics’ and ‘politicians’ are equal to “war”, “exploitation”, “corruption”, “lie”, “hypocrisy”, etc. In the human society, managing and resolving the conflicts is the main issue, not the power and the dirty politics. Why do we need the politicians who always betray the people? We only need a group of experts to manage and resolve the global and local conflicts. We dont need politicians, who are corrupt, mean, hypocrite, and so stupid. In the age of the Internet and the digital world, we dont need any representative, and we all can be representative of ourselves. Why do we need a representative, while we ourselves can vote and can participate in making collective decisions? In fact, “Direct Democracy” can solve many problems. We just need a group of scientists and experts to manage and resolve the global and local conflicts. They can be psychologists, historians, or sociologists, not politicians. Yes, a World without Politicians seems like a very long-term goal, but the Swiss direct democracy, with certain modifications, can be a good short-term solution. Unfortunately, in many countries, including many Western countries, a referendum must be initiated by parliament. In the West, many referendums are non-binding. But Referendums can be either binding or non-binding. A non-binding referendum is merely consultative or advisory, and it is left to the government or legislature, i.e. the politicians, to interpret the results of a non-binding referendum and it may even choose to ignore them!. It’s really shameful, and reminds many of some stupid Arab stats that don’t have any parliament, and just have a consultative parliament. The situation in the West is not good. Some say: “National referendums in the Netherlands are not possible by law. However, from 2002 until 2005, there was a Temporary Referendum Law in place, which allowed for non-binding referendums. A referendum in 2005 was the first national referendum in the Netherlands in 200 years !, and it was the result of an initiative proposal by an Iranian-Dutch parliamentarian Farah Karimi ! The Norwegian Constitution does not mention referendums at all, and as such, referendums are not a part of Norwegian political practice. The Constitution of Sweden provides for referendums. But just 6 referendums have been held in Sweden: the first was about alcohol prohibition in 1922, and the most recent was about euro membership in 2003. All have been non-binding, consultative referendums. In the UK, although Acts of Parliament may permit referendums to take place, but almost all British referendums are non-binding referendums. In the UK, major referendums are rare. In Australia, a bill must first be passed by houses of Parliament, and is then submitted to a referendum. Referendums are rare in Canada and only three have ever occurred at the federal level. A referendum can occur at the provincial level. The 1980 and 1995 referendums on the secession of Québec are notable cases. In 2011, British Columbia held a referendum against a newly imposed HST tax, and became the first province to overturn the HST taxes. In the US, there is no provision for the holding of referendums at the federal level in the US; indeed, there is no national electorate of any kind. The US constitution does not provide for referendums at the federal level. A constitutional amendment would be required to allow it. However, the constitutions of 24 states (principally in the West) and many local and city governments provide for referendums and citizen’s initiatives. In the US the term referendum is often reserved for a direct vote initiated by a legislature while a vote originating in a petition of citizens is referred to as an ‘initiative’, ‘ballot measure’ or ‘proposition’“. It’s really tragic that even in the West the people don’t know their main problems, and don’t care about their powers and their rights, or don’t ask for their rights. Instead of the stupid OWS movement, with unclear demands and goals, they can have a movement for serious issues like “direct democracy”, and they can ask the people to “Stop living like Sheep”, “Stop repeating history”, etc.

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The people should know and use their power, and should not give it to a small group. Only ignorant or stupid people who live like sheep, need a shepherd and can’t decide about their life. In the past, the rate and the number of illiterate and ignorant people was so large, and that’s why many philosophers and thinkers thought that the humans need shepherd and the human society needs politicians. Of course, even the ancient philosophers and thinkers knew that politicians become corrupt, and cause great disasters. And that’s why Plato and others thought that the main issue is “Who should rule?” And they answered: the wisest, the best or the philosopher-kings. They thought politicians should be philosopher-kings, and in this way ‘political power is like divine power’, and
“philosopher-kings” can be good shepherds and good dictators. Plato and other ancient thinkers were stupid and defended dictators, dictatorship, and politicians. In the recent centuries, many thinkers were just a little wiser than Plato. They said: “‘The wisest should rule, but the wisest in his wisdom can find that not he but the best should rule, and the best in his goodness can decide that the majority or the representative of the majority should rule”. But you can’t blame Plato and other old thinkers, because at their time, when 99%, 90% or 80% of the people were illiterate and ignorant, “representative system” or even a good dictatorship could be a good solution. In fact, when the ordinary people are so stupid and ignorant, they are like sheep and need a shepherd. But now, when 99% , 90% or 80% of the people in many parts of the world are literate, the situation is not like the past centuries. The younger generations in all around the world are not as stupid and ignorant as their ancestors. And the young thinkers can start to think about “a World without politicians”, or at least about “Direct Democracy” or “Swiss Direct Democracy for all people”. Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712- 1778) was a Swiss (Genevan) thinker that some think the Swiss System is based on his works. But Rousseau, like Plato, Hegel and others, thought political power is good, and the main issue is that we should get this power into the best hands. In fact, almost all thinkers thought, and still think, the main problem is: Who should dictate? the capitalists, the workers, the philosopher-kings, the Church, the religious leaders, the democrats, the kings, the majority, etc?. But the main issue is not who should rule, or who should dictate. The main issue is how we should resolve our conflicts and how we can make collective decisions. When we talk about “a World without politicians”, it doesn’t meant that the majority should rule, or the experts should rule. In the age of information and the internet, we all, not special groups or politicians, should participate in making collective decisions about our life, our community and our world, and we don’t need politicians. The type of government in the past and present time is clear. Karl Popper said: “We can distinguish two main types of government. The first type consists of governments of which we can get rid without bloodshed -for example, by way of general elections. The second type consists of governments which the ruled cannot get rid of except by way of a successful revolution. I suggest the term democracy as a short-hand label for a government of the first type, and the term tyranny or dictatorship for the second“. It’s the best brief description of the type of government. And as many thinkers said, it’s so obvious that “even a bad policy in a democracy is preferable to the submission to a tyranny, however wise or benevolent”. The wisest thinkers talked about “an institutional control of the rulers and the politicians, and of an institutional balancing of their powers“. They said: “there can be no absolute and unrestrained political power”. But in the 21st century, we can say: “there can be no political power. We don’t need politicians”. The Swiss democracy for all people, can be the first step for having a better world. Of course, it doesn’t mean the Swiss people don’t have any problem, or the Swiss history or the Swiss system is good or glorious. The Swiss system is just better than other current systems. In 1765, Rousseau took refuge in Britain with David Hume, because his assertion in “the Social Contract” that true followers of Jesus would not make good citizens could be equal to a death sentence in Geneva. The Swiss fanatics wanted to kill him. Some say: “Even in the 19th century, Switzerland was politically split between fanatics and liberals. In 1847, the tensions culminated in a civil war. In 1848, they had their first referendum, but for several decades after 1848, the fanatics and the Radicals enjoyed political hegemony in Switzerland. In 1891, the government finally conceded and placed before the people an amendment introducing the partial constitutional initiative”. They also add: “In about 150 years with more than 250 proposed changes to the constitution, about 10 times the majority of the Swiss electorate did vote yes while a majority of cantons said no (In Switzerland, both a majority of the total Swiss electorate as well as a majority of the cantons [federal states] should accept the new federal constitution) -and in these cases the majority was always very small (about 51% vs. 49%). There has been an increase in referendums in Switzerland towards the end of the 20th century, partly because of an increase in laws ‘produced’ by the parliament, and also less willingness of Switzerland’s political parties to compromise”

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Switzerland is not utopia, and the Swiss people have many problems, but at least they don’t have many problems that Iranians, Russians, Chinese, Americans, Europeans, and many other nations have. In today’s world, referendums are used by politicians to avoid making difficult or controversial decisions, but referendums and direct democracy can be a useful tool for getting rid of the politicians during a gradual process. Of course, for having a world without politicians, or even for enjoying direct democracy, we need many wise and educated people. The number of ignorant or stupid people should decrease. The children need to learn how they can think independently. They should understand how to reason. They need to learn how they can avoid living like sheep. In today’s world, many politicians are stupider than the children, but it doesn’t mean that today’s generations are wise. For having a better world, we don’t need politicians or mass media. But we need many people who don’t live like sheep. We need Khar Fahm sazi (a funny Persian term that means: the process of becoming aware, until when even a donkey can understand the problem). The world history shows us that before any serious change in the society, the vast majority of the people, including the dumbest people, should understand the necessity of the change, and should ask for change, that means for each and every serious change you need Khar Fahm sazi, and it takes a long time, mainly because politicians try to resist the change, and try to create many problems. But in “a world without politicians”, these bastards can’t create further problems. It’s so obvious that “a world without politicians” will not be a perfect world, and Khar Fahm sazi still takes time and has its own problems, but at least the number of problems decreases. It’s like comparing the Slavery age with our age, or comparing the Swiss system with the Mullah system. The Swiss system has many problems, but it’s much more better than the Mullah system (and many other systems). Some say: “Swiss voters can demand a binding referendum at federal, cantonal and municipal level. It is not the government’s choice whether or when a referendum is held, but it is a legal procedure regulated by the Swiss constitution. In Switzerland, the most important -but a relatively few- issues are decided by the people, important matters by parliament, and the least important but very numerous issues by the government. Any federal law, any change to Swiss law, and almost everything may be subject to referendum if at least 50,000 people or eight cantons have petitioned to do so within 100 days. It’s called Facultative referendum. In many cases, the mere threat of a facultative referendum is enough to make the parliament adjust a law. In Obligatory referendum, constitutional amendments are proposed by the parliament or by the cantons or by citizens’ initiatives. Citizen’s initiatives at the federal level need to collect 100,000 valid signatures within 18 months, and must not contradict international laws or treaties. Often, parliament elaborates a counter-proposal to an initiative, leading to a multiple-choice referendum. Very few such initiatives pass the vote. The politicians and the media can brainwash the people, and citizens’ initiatives are usually not passed”. In fact, the Swiss system has many problems, but it’s better than other systems. Public ignorance is still a big problem in Switzerland. They still reject or accept weird or stupid things, like approving the bill on “PROTEST RESTRICTIONS”, or rejecting the bill on joining in the UN. The Swiss Xenophobia, and people’s fear and hatred of foreign people and foreign things is a big serious problem in Switzerland. But the Swiss system can raise a good question: “Why we should let a small group of stupid politicians decide about our life and our rights? Parliament and representative system is better than the tyranny and the reactionary systems, including the Communist system and the religious system, but today’s world shows us that this system has many problems”. The wise people warn: “Do not let these 1000 people or these 2000 people decide about your life“, and it’s very important. It’s so obvious that instead of typical parliament and representative system, we can have, for instance, “people assembly” and “people parliament” in the cyberspace. Some wise guys say: “Who has lined up against the open internet? Those who want division in the world: The Politicians on all sides west and east. They don’t want people to communicate with one another. They don’t want information to travel. They don’t want to be exposed. Availability of information gives greater freedom and power to make the decisions that people actually want to make“. The open internet can help us to have a better world, and a world without politicians. The media, the mercenaries and the fake intellectuals, who sleep with the politicians, try to pretend that the people still need (elective) shepherd. But the sheep need shepherd. The humans don’t need politicians. The wise people should try to raise public awareness. The people have the real power, and they should not transfer their powers to a small group called Politicians. The political power is equal to corruption, and those who have unlimited powers are the most corrupt people. They are the brutal dictators. “Politics in America has often been equal to ‘organized money’. Big Money from a narrow and self-interested elite group of donors distorts democracy and produces tyranny or disaster. The special interests and lobbyists can offer a politician multi-million dollars in cash. It’s the logic of power”, some wise Americans say. The lobbyists have become a serious problem, mainly because we give our powers to the politicians. We, the ordinary people, have the real power and we should try to use our rights and our powers.

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