All citizens vote on all policies 20th



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For

POLITICAL

equality


All citizens vote on all policies

*

20th Century Power Politics and their 21st Century electronic alternative

Aki ORR

Purpose and Dedication

This book aims to motivate people to set up post-parliamentary direct democracy (DD) enabling all citizens to propose-debate-vote on all issues of society. Every citizen – one vote – on every issue of society. This political equality abolishes Power – the role of deciding on behalf of others – the main cause of violence and corruption in society.
This book is dedicated to those who have acted to promote an earlier version of this aim in the past. To Chris and Jeanne Pallis, Ken Weller, and all members of the British "Solidarity" group, to Cornelius Castoriadis and all members of the French "Socialism Ou Barbarie" group, to Henri Simon and all members of the ICO group, to Debrah Weil, Sally Bellfrage, Lafif El-Akhdar, Tamar Sneh, Vittorio Volterra, Arna Mer-Khamis, Shimon Tzabar, Nissan Rilov, Tuli Kupferberg, Rachel Correy, Hal Draper, C.L.R. James, Rudi Dutschke, Erich Fried, Mario Savio, Abbie Hoffman, P.Grigorenko, Andrei Amalrik, Roddy Barry, Harriet and Colin Ward, Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman, and all who support political equality, enabling all citizens to propose-debate-vote on every issue of society.

And last, but not least, to my grandsons Max and Theo, born in the 21st Century – and to their generation - who may wonder why did certain politicians in the 20th Century decide to start WW1 WW2 and many colonial wars killing 100 million people and may want to read a short book providing an answer.

ISBN 978-965-7484-00-5

(c) Aki ORR

Copyright of books quoted are reserved for their authors and publishers.
See also : www.abolish-power.org and www.akiorrbooks.com “To be” is not merely “to exist” but to decide all issues of one's life. Denying citizens' right to decide all issues of society reduces them to mere political pawns. All citizens have the right to decide all policies.

Introduction



1. Truth is not Reality

4

2. Priority Principles

11

3. Society creates individuality

16

4. Processes produce events

21

5. Means and Ends

6. Marx - right and wrong



29

30


7. WW1 and Lenin's Revolution

39

8. Stalin = industrialization + terror

71

9. WW2, "Cold War", fall of Socialism

10 The May 1968 strike in France

11. Women's Liberation


86

106


135

12. Imperialism transformed.

13. Politics of Poisoning

14. Big business or big government?

15. Post parliamentary non-Party state

16. Politics without Power?

1 17. D.I.Y. DD

18. Summing up

Appendices

Index



141

150


163

176


184

203


207

208


Introduction

20th Century politics were efforts by Big Business (BB) and Big Government (BG) to shape all other societies in their own image. BB won but most people resent it. They also resent BG. As a result politics today are at a dead-end as people resent both BB and BG but see no other system to replace them. However, mobile phones, magnetic cards, TV and the Internet provide the technical means for a new system: a post-parliamentary direct democracy where all citizens can debate and vote on all issues of their society - without any representatives.

* * *

As a non-parliamentary Left activist since 1952, I was inspired by seeing a new generation of activists continuing the struggles against BB and BG of my generation. However, listening to young activists revealed to me three major differences between their generation and mine.



1) We knew philosophy and had a firm philosophical foundation for our activities.

The new generation reads no philosophy. Their politics lack a philosophical foundation.

2) We studied histories of past revolutions and saw ourselves as their continuation. Today's activists hardly know about the Kronstadt uprising (1921) against Lenin's BG or about the greatest general strike in history (France, 1968), or why a BG world superpower like USSR rose and fell. They don't see their activity as part of an ongoing historical process.

3) We had a clear political goal: to replace an economy run by private owners for private



profits by an economy managed by all employees - not by the state - to serve all in society,

Our goal inspired our initiative and motivated us to act independently of what our rulers did. After USSR’s collapse (1991) all ideas on public ownership of the economy fell into disrepute. Left activists today have no new alternative to privatized - or nationalized - economy. While Capitalism (and Communist China) act, Left activists merely re-act. They protest against “outsourcing”, “privatizing”, or “globalizing” but Capitalism has the initiative. The reason? Today’s activists see no new alternative to Capitalism/Socialism/Rule by Representatives (RR). They offer no new political system. People who have an alternative act to achieve it, people who lack it - protest. My generation acted to achieve an egalitarian economy. Today's activists don't. This motivated me to write this book offering the new generation of activists three themes: 1) A philosophical foundation for their activity. 2) A brief history of 20th century politics. 3) A new political goal: to set up political equality, post-parliamentary direct-democracy so all citizens can propose-debate-vote all issues of society.

* * *

Some readers may find the book chaotic. They may wonder: Is this a book about Philosophy? about History? about Politics? My answer: This book is a toolbox of ideas for direct-democracy activists. It provides ideas useful to those acting to create a post-parliamentary direct-democracy. Pick up any of its ideas - use it and develop it: at home, at work, in school, in politics, in everyday life. As I never have a final version of anything this book is not a Bible but a tool to inspire your innovative thinking on every issue of society.



* * *

Chapters 1 to 6 provide philosophical ideas useful for changing societies, states, and politics.

Chapters 7 to 14 summarize 20th Century politics.

Chapters 15 and 16 describe direct democracy and answer common criticism.

Chapter 17 suggests how to promote direct democracy in today’s societies.

* * *


Thanks are due to A. Hallel and Prof. F. Pirani for correcting errors in the text, to Harriet Ward for her editing, to Ken Weller, Claude and Henri Simon, Prof.Y. Nitzan, Dr. S. Bichler, A. Neuman, H. Zucker, John Walsh, Sharon Orr and Jon Parish, for comments and criticism.

They are not responsible for the book’s ideas and errors. I am responsible for both.

Aki ORR. 2007

1. Truth is not Reality
Anyone who has seen a detective film knows it is easy to decide whether the assertion "K is dead" is true, but not so easy to decide whether the assertion "K was murdered" is true, and quite difficult to decide whether the assertion "L murdered K" is true.

The first assertion can be verified by just looking at K. To assert the second requires some detective work. The third is usually decided in court after hearing witnesses, lawyers and consulting the law. What is easy when dealing with a single fact becomes difficult when dealing with history and politics consisting of many facts.

At the time of writing this book (2006) the US Army still occupies Iraq so let us start by using as an example three TV teams coming to Iraq to film documentaries about the situation there. Suppose they come from three different countries. A CNN team from the USA, an Al-Jazeera team from Qatar, and a team from French state TV.
Let us assume all teams do an honest job, which means that they do not stage any scene and do not film untypical scenes. Even so they will produce three different TV documentaries of the situation in Iraq. CNN will produce a pro-US film. Al-Jazeera - a pro Iraqi film and French TV - a film critical of both US and the Iraqis.
Which film shows the truth about Iraq, and which films distort it?

As cameras do not lie and no scene was staged we must conclude that all films show true scenes. Does this mean all three films show the truth?

As they are all different we wonder - Can there be three different truths?

If the answer is no then which one is the objective truth - not depending on people's bias - and why so?

If the answer is yes then which of the three truths should we prefer?

On receiving the Nobel Prize for literature in 2005 British playwright Harold Pinter, said: "There never is any such thing as one truth to be found in dramatic art. There are many. These truths challenge each other, recoil from each other, reflect each other, ignore each other, tease each other, are blind to each other."

This is also the case in politics and history. But there is logic in this blindness.

None of the three films is objectively true yet none is lying, as they are all made by subjects, by people, and whatever is made by people depends on those who made it. All descriptions of historical or political events are subjective. This does not mean they distort reality and depend on one person’s bias. Most people's belief for thousands of years that the sun moves around the earth did not depend on one person’s bias and was considered "Objective Truth". Today most people know this was never a truth, but not many realize it was never "Objective". It was a belief not of one “subject” but of many “subjects”. "Objective" means "not depending on subjects".

In courts we swear to tell “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth".

"The whole truth" is a description of total reality. Of reality in its entirety. To give a complete - unedited - description of reality one must document every detail of it including every atom and cell in every living organism. Why? Because they are all part of reality and any description omitting them is not all the truth. But most atoms are not relevant to the particular issue. Yes, but this means that someone must decide what is relevant and what is irrelevant. When someone edits out 'irrelevant” parts, the description depends also on the editing - not on facts alone. Who edits?


Describing all details of historical reality is impossible. No one can document everything. Some details, like deliberations of political decision-makers are usually secret. Even if one could describe every detail, it would take many lifetimes to record - or view - all details. So every description of Reality is - unavoidably - edited by someone. No recording of reality is "ALL Reality". It is an edited version of reality.
Every documentary film Director decides what will be filmed - and how; what will not be filmed, and what will be cut in the cutting room. No documentary film is lying as it shows actual scenes but each is edited according to the priorities of its Director. Even if all recorded details are true none is a description of total reality, as they are all edited. They differ in their editing.

The documentary "Weapons of mass-deception" on the Internet discusses this point.


It is impossible to produce a complete, unedited, description of anything.

All documentation is edited and every film-maker must decide which parts of reality are "relevant" and should be shown and which are irrelevant and can be omitted.

"Relevance" is determined by an editor, not by reality. Editors decide according to their priorities. Deciding what is irrelevant, and how to join the relevant parts into a coherent whole picture determines the nature of the documentary. A TV documentary may be true, but it is not reality. "Truth" differs from "Reality" and "Historical Truth" differs from "Historical Reality". Historical Reality is the totality of what happened, not an edited description of this totality. "Historical Truth" is an edited description of historical reality and depends on its describer. .

Reality does not depend on its describers or its editors. "Truth" - does.


To reduce misunderstanding let me emphasize that there exists a historical reality that does not depend on its describers and can therefore be called "objective". The Universe is a reality that existed long before Life, let alone Consciousness, emerged. It exists even if no one describes it. "Truth" is not "Reality" but an edited description of this reality and editing depends on editors and is therefore "Subjective" We can describe only what we are aware of, and each description is edited by its describer. Every description is by some "Subject" and is a particular interpretation of reality. Therefore no description is "Objective". There is an "Objective Reality" which does not depend on people, but there is no "Objective Truth" because Truth depends on its describers and is always subjective. This does not mean it depends on a single person. The belief that the sun moves around the earth was shared by millions. They were sure it is "Objective Truth" but it was an interpretation of millions of "subjects". The fact that every "Truth" is subjective does not mean it is unreliable, or that "anything goes" or that all descriptions are equally unreliable. It only means that "Truth" is never final. It must be tested repeatedly and can always be disproved and improved.

There can be different versions of "Subjective Truth" even when their creators have the same priorities. Not all versions have the same validity. Some are valid while others are not. Valid versions of "Historical Truth" must pass three tests:



1. Integration. Does the version integrate all known facts in its domain into a single, coherent, whole, like a completed jigsaw puzzle, giving a clear picture, or do some known facts fail to fit into the whole pattern in a coherent way?

The more facts fit into the coherent pattern, the more valid the version.

If even a single significant fact fails to fit the coherent pattern the version is invalid.

2. Prediction. Reality changes non-stop. A valid version of reality enables us to predict future events. A version whose predictions are confirmed has more validity than one that fails to predict future events or whose predictions are wrong. However, even a version whose predictions are confirmed must never be accepted as final since further events may refute some of its predictions. A version unable to predict anything is untrustworthy. This is the case with many "Historical Truths" that are descriptive but not predictive. They face the past, not the future. They try to explain what happened, but are unable to predict what will happen.


The two tests above are value-free and apply also to theories of Nature, like physics, astronomy, biology, geology. Theories of human history must pass one more test.
3. Consequences. Versions of past history shape people’s responses to current reality and must be evaluated by what they motivate their believers to do. For example: The Nazis saw human history as a struggle between races where the superior race dominates all others. This motivated them to try to eliminate races they considered inferior. They built death camps to exterminate "inferior" races. This was. a direct consequence of their version of history. Communists believed they posses the “Laws of History”. This justified their rule by “History experts”, the political bureaucracy. Theories of history must be evaluated by the consequences of the acts they motivate their believers to enact. Likewise, all theories of society and of economics must be evaluated by what they motivate their believers to do and by the outcome of their acts.
There can be no "Objective truth" as all truth is subjective, but this does not mean all subjective truths have equal validity or that all are untrustworthy. Those that pass the Integration-Prediction-Consequence tests can be accepted as currently valid.

Current validity must be repeatedly tested and can always be disproved or improved.

All said above applies to sequences of related facts, to historical and social processes.

It applies also to TV documentaries and to all interpretations of historical reality - including all social and scientific theories, and also to our thinking. Our mind (not our brain) edits the data it receives from our sense organs to prevent us from drowning in an ocean of data. A tiny part of sensory data becomes "information" and is shaped into "concepts". Concepts must be tested repeatedly, and improved.


So much for descriptions of reality but what about reality itself? Contrary to uncritical impressions "Reality" is not a set of well defined, fixed, facts; it is more like an evolving cumulus cloud with new shapes appearing in it. The shapes allow us to impose various definitions on them but no shapes - or definition - is final. The "Reality Cumulus" itself evades final definition and constantly evolves in two ways:

1. Our awareness of reality expands. Neutrinos and Antarctica were not shapes in the "Reality Cumulus" of the ancient Greeks/Egyptians/Chinese/Babylonians, who were unaware of their existence. What we are unaware of we cannot include in "Reality".

2. We create new shapes in “Reality Cumulus” - mobile phones, Internet, States, Canals, satellites, birth-control pills, etc. Each creation becomes part of reality. Before the Suez and Panama Canals were built they were not part of reality. Mobile phones did not exist before 1970 so they did not appear in the 'Reality Cumulus'. USA did not exist in 1775, so it wasn't part of the "Reality Cumulus" either. Constant growth of Reality invalidates "Absolute Truth" about reality. Our additions are innovations, not repetitions. What keeps growing in unpredictable ways cannot be "Absolute".
In the 19th Century most people believed "Absolute Truth" about Reality exists even though we can never reach it. "Absolute" means eternal, complete, and final. A complete and final description of reality cannot change. However, what evolves cannot be final, complete, or eternal, nor can a description or definition of it be eternal, complete or final. "Absolute Truth" - being eternal and final - is a phantasm.

Religions - and some scientific theories - claim to be Absolute Truth. Believers of all faiths believe their faith is Absolute Truth, hence their belief in the infallibility of the central figure of their faith. They see their "Holy Book" as Absolute Truth. This belief is false - and harmful as the following bit of history illustrates:

On June 22, 1633 the Catholic Church sentenced the father of modern science Galileo Galilei to imprisonment " For holding as true the false doctrine taught by some that the Sun is the center of the world and immovable and that the Earth moves, and also with a diurnal motion; for having disciples to whom you taught the same doctrine; for holding correspondence with certain mathematicians of Germany concerning the same; for having printed certain letters, entitled "On the Sunspots," wherein you developed the same doctrine as true … following the position of Copernicus, which are contrary to the true sense and authority of Holy Scripture"

In 1600, Giordano Bruno was burnt at the stake for similar charges.

However on 31/10/1992, Pope John Paul II published a pseudo-excuse for the Church's behaviour admitting indirectly that the Earth was neither stationary nor the centre of the universe. Belief in "Absolute Truth" is shared by all religious believers. Many atheists who no longer believe in God still believe in "Absolute Truth". In the 19th Century most people, including scientists, believed that scientific theories verified by experiments are “Absolute Truth”. This is a residue of religious belief.

An ever evolving reality can never fit a final and eternal description.

As reality - and our knowledge of it - evolve non-stop, so do our descriptions of it. There can never be a final - Absolute - description of what evolves by new creations - and destructions. Creation is not reproduction of what already exists. It generates entirely new entities, qualities, rules and patterns, different from all existing ones.

Every description of reality must take into account constant creation and destruction.

Does this mean that our knowledge of reality is unreliable? Not at all.

It means that our knowledge is relative, not Absolute, and transient - never final.

The validity of our empirical knowledge and our theories must be tested repeatedly.

If we use our knowledge to build a rocket to land people on the moon, and the people land on the moon, we prove the validity of our current knowledge of the moon, of space, of rockets, of Physics and Physiology. Our Knowledge is valid but never final.

If we predict a storm - and it occurs as predicted - we can trust the knowledge on which the prediction was based, even though it is not final and can always be disproved by predicting another storm/earthquake/war/revolution - that fails to occur. Repeated testing enables us to improve truth.

Many believe that scientific research approaches ever closer some "Objective Truth". By this they meant a description of the "Reality Cumulus" that does not depend on people. Testing a theory by repeatable experiments can produce results that do not depend on the experimenter, but the design of experiments and their interpretations always do. Though experiments and their results are repeatable it does not mean they do not depend on people. For thousands of years all saw every day the sun rising in the east and setting in the west and interpreted this to mean the sun moves around earth. Neither the facts nor their interpretation depended on a particular individual. Their predictions were confirmed. All believed it was ‘Objective Truth’. It wasn't.


Different theories of reality are not constantly approaching "Objective Truth". They originate from different interpretations of reality. When pro-Nazi and anti-Nazi photographers photographed Hitler they produced different portraits. Using different lighting, angles, and lenses, they created different images. None was "a lie" and none was "closer to reality". They differed like portraits made by different painters, not like rungs on a ladder. While "Absolute Truth" does not exist "Absolute Lies" do. They describe occurrences that did not occur, and are invented by people trying to gain something by producing false descriptions of reality.

Edited descriptions of reality do not necessarily mislead but false ones always do.

The critique of "Objective Truth" and "Absolute Reality" above is an example of what is known as "Philosophy". In English-speaking societies "Philosophy" usually means "Overall View". This is not what "Philo-Sophia" ("Love of Wisdom" in Greek) meant in ancient Greece where it was invented. In Academic circles today "Philosophy" is the study of what thinkers like Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Hume, Kant, or Hegel wrote. I define philosophy as “Thinking about thinking” or” A creative critique of thinking eliminating misleading assumptions and inadequacies and improving thinking.”. I reject the finality of all interpretations of reality. This does not mean current interpretations are false. It means they can always be improved. Ordinary thinking investigates the world; philosophy investigates our thinking about the world, our concepts and reasoning. It liberates us from enslavement to all our mental creations revealing their limitations and creating better means for thinking.

Examining the difference between "Truth" and "Reality" reveals errors in the concepts of "Objective Truth" and "Absolute Reality" but it does not invalidate the concepts of "Truth" and "Reality". It replaces "Objective Truth" by "Subjective Truth" and "Absolute Reality" by "Transient Reality". It reveals that truth is always subjective, and reality is ever evolving, never final. It reveals "Truth" as an edited interpretation of reality that changes when reality - or the interpreter - changes.

Thinking shapes doing. Flawed thinking shapes flawed doing. In Politics flawed thinking shapes doing that often kills millions. In later chapters we shall see how belief in "Objective Truth" caused thinkers like Hegel and Marx, and leaders like Lenin and Trotsky, to make mistakes that ruined their projects.



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