Independent Citizen’s Assembly

Direct democracy cannot substitute for parliamentary democracy. If it confines itself to abusing and criticising parliamentarianism it will simply remain a second clientele for the corporate mass media, to be pitted against the parliaments in a «divide-and-rule» game refereed by the media. The «indignados» must move on and propose a system of organized competition between direct democracy and parliamentary democracy, to be enshrined in new constitutions. There is a general recognition even in the mass media today that the liberal democratic political system is in terminal crisis and that what is needed are new forms of citizens’ democracy, direct democracy, deliberative democracy.There are many names for it. What one unfortunately never sees, though, is specific, easily understandable blueprints of the forms that this citizens’ democracy might take, what its relationship would be with the existing forms of multi-party liberal democracy or parliamentary democracy, what its relationship would be with existing forms of direct democracy, such as referenda, plebiscites, the activity of citizens’ groups, non-governmental organizations, and so on. The Swiss model is often cited and here I think it is worth a mention that the forms of democracy that exist today in the Swiss confederation, and indeed Swiss neutrality, are … Continue reading

Democracy’s Cradle, Rocking the World

SOURCE YESTERDAY, the whole world was watching Greece as its Parliament voted to pass a divisive package of austerity measures that could have critical ramifications for the global financial system. It may come as a surprise that this tiny tip of the Balkan Peninsula could command such attention. We usually think of Greece as the home of Plato and Pericles, its real importance lying deep in antiquity. But this is hardly the first time that to understand Europe’s future, you need to turn away from the big powers at the center of the continent and look closely at what is happening in Athens. For the past 200 years, Greece has been at the forefront of Europe’s evolution. In the 1820s, as it waged a war of independence against the Ottoman Empire, Greece became an early symbol of escape from the prison house of empire. For philhellenes, its resurrection represented the noblest of causes. “In the great morning of the world,” Shelley wrote in “Hellas,” his poem about the country’s struggle for independence, “Freedom’s splendor burst and shone!” Victory would mean liberty’s triumph not only over the Turks but also over all those dynasts who had kept so many Europeans enslaved. … Continue reading

Democracy vs Mythology: The Battle in Syntagma Square

SOURCE I have never been more desperate to explain and more hopeful for your understanding of any single fact than this: The protests in Greece concern all of you directly. What is going on in Athens at the moment is resistance against an invasion; an invasion as brutal as that against Poland in 1939. The invading army wears suits instead of uniforms and holds laptops instead of guns, but make no mistake – the attack on our sovereignty is as violent and thorough. Private wealth interests are dictating policy to a sovereign nation, which is expressly and directly against its national interest. Ignore it at your peril. Say to yourselves, if you wish, that perhaps it will stop there. That perhaps the bailiffs will not go after the Portugal and Ireland next. And then Spain and the UK. But it is already beginning to happen. This is why you cannot afford to ignore these events. The powers that be have suggested that there is plenty to sell. Josef Schlarmann, a senior member of Angela Merkel’s party, recently made the helpful suggestion that we should sell some of our islands to private buyers in order to pay the interest on these loans, which have … Continue reading

Ukrainian participation in the Capodistrias-Spinelli-Europe conference

V.T.The Ukrainian Ambassador in Greece, Mr. Valerii Tsybukh, took part in the function programmed by the Municipality of Aegina for Ioannis Capodistrias. On Saturday 20th June 2009 the General Meeting of the members of the Capodistrian Cities Network was held on the premises of the Capodistrian Kyverneio of Aegina (Historical Archive). Participants in the network are the Greek cities of Aegina, Corfu, Nafplio, Famagusta in Cyprus and Koper-Capodistria in Slovenia. The General Meeting was inaugurated with a performance by the ANIMA string quartet. Subjects discussed during the meeting included further expansion of the network following assumption of the presidency by Aegina, the entry of new members, participation in activities and actions such as the European Programmes. The second part of the function also had a musical introduction in the auditorium of the Hotel Danae, again with the ANIMA quartet, followed by speeches of welcome from the mayor of Aegina Panagiotis Koukoulis and addresses by Georgios Tsatiris, President of the Aegina Council, on the subject of the Capodistrias Cities’ Network, by Andreas Koukos, historical researcher, on the subject of the Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle (1818) – “The European vision of Capodistrias”, by Nikolaos Kourkoumelos, Doctor of Contemporary History, on “From Secretary of the Septinsular Republic to the Congress of Vienna”, by Vassia Tsokopoulou, Historian, on the subject of “The General Interest of Europe – Ioannis Capodistrias as Mediator”, by Alexis Krauss on the subject of “Citizens’ Europe”, by Panos Trigazis, economist, on the subject of “Capodistrias-Spinelli, the stages of European Integration” and Ioannis Coccalas Deputy Director of Athens Office of the European Parliament on “From Altiero Spinelli’s Draft Treaty to the Treaty of Lisbon”. See a videoed extract here.