(from Pamphlet: “IRISH CITIZENS, WE MUST EMPOWER OURSELVES!”)
At the moment everything in Ireland seems to be upside down.
The current political system is one of rule over the people by a system of political parties. These parties do not just implement the policies of the powers-that-be at home in Ireland but when they lose their way they simply bow to the dictate of more powerful foreign powers-that-be – the interests of the few are equated with the interest of the people as a whole.
There is no basis for the idea that we, the people, should be ‘given’ or ‘granted’ our democratic rights by political parties or a government made up of political parties.
With the political parties, the rights of citizens are ignored but the so-called rights of bond holders and other gamblers are protected. Private investor debts have become sovereign debts by a sleight of hand.
Everything is reduced to the language of the market, people do not matter. Citizens are referred to as “customers” and “clients” by the State agencies.
The political parties justify their existence by claiming to be the creators of policy to meet the needs of the people, society and the State. But in reality we, the people, already have those basic policies which, simple stated, are for schools, hospitals, child care, infrastructure, care of our aged, business supports and a sustainable economy that engages the skills of all our people and provides for our needs.
It is not policies we are lacking but the implementation of measures to make a reality of them.
How did this come about?
From the beginning the Dáil was transformed into a cabal of political parties of vested interests. By use of the Constitutional provision which says that the Dáil should legislate for how elections are held, a system in favour of political parties (and their backers) was developed and thus the Constitution was subverted.
They even managed to remove the rights of the people to initiate policy and call a referendum on any matter that was a part of the original Free State Constitution.
It is the aim of The People’s Convention to seek the removal of all laws which place the system of political parties in the ascendency over the people.
Have political parties no rights then?
Political parties are an expression of the right of free association and organisation of like-minded citizens in the society to advocate any democratic policy for the advance of society or, even more narrowly, their own advancement or some section of society whom they may represent.
The rights of political parties should be recognized and protected in so far as they are an expression of a right of citizens, but not to the detriment of the rights of all citizens, the majority of whom do not subscribe to their organisations.
No political party has as its objective the empowerment of the people. None currently accepts the principle of selection, election, recall, mandate, control and supervision by the citizens – therefore they are fundamentally undemocratic, irrespective of their stated policies.
We should not allow such narrow organisations, albeit of fellow citizens, to have the final say in the affairs of our State.
Do political parties have any legitimate function in the life of the State and its citizens?
They may do, but this function must be understood for what it is (in its limitations) and given its proper place, recognizing that each party is proceeding from a narrow position.
Political parties can inform the debate, can carry out research and publish opinions to enrich the conversations and debates that take place amongst the citizens on how to direct our affairs.
So, should we have no politicians, no political leaders then?
If we want to ensure that politics truly serves the interests of the people, we the citizens must become the politicians with each playing our part, according to our ability and means, in deciding and implementing policy at all levels of the State, local and national.
We should oppose the doctrinaire “we need strong leaders” thinking that is often brought up at times of crisis. This is the thinking that is put about by the powers-that-be when they want to foist their party political system and their leaders on us, we do not need dictators, benign or otherwise.
Leadership is going to emerge from policy debated and adopted in Convention which binds people to a common purpose. The people will elect office holders to carry out these policies and will check up on its implementation. This is exercising leadership. The role of any individual is subservient to the effort of the people acting through their Convention.