Their recent ‘Presidential Election‘ failed to get 50% of eligible voters even turn out, a major failure for any democratic system. Despite non-voters being threatened with large fines. Despite voting being open for a full 3 days.
Yesterday was the 25 year anniversary of the June 3-4 massacre in Tiananmen Square, China.
The massacre was the Chinese governments response to ongoing protests by students and pro-democracy activists who had been agitating for several years by then.
Students had previously protested in Tiananmen Square on New Years Day in 1987, with 24 ‘troublemakers’ being taken away by police. Then Communist Party General Secretary Hu Yaobang is said to have resigned ‘as a result of the [recent] student demonstrations‘.
It was Hu’s death in 1989 which provided the initial impetus for students to march on Tiananmen Square, beginning on the night of April 15. On the night of April 17 thousands of students met and occupied the square.
To fully understand what follows in this article, you should probably read his first. What Austin proposes represents a pathway toward replacing ‘representative’ democracy with ‘direct’ democratic participation in decision making, through allowing electors to choose positions on actual policy proposals before they are voted on.
While I support direct democratic participation as a desired end-goal I do not believe we are yet at a place in history where we can achieve this, despite rapid technological advancement. On the other hand, contained within Austin’s suggestions are other very practical methods for reforming the way political representation is determined within a parliamentary system, to allow increasing levels of citizen participation and ensure more equitable representation.
Part of this is achieved via making the vote ‘fluid’ – giving the voter the power to change who they support as their representative at their own demand. But that part will become a post of its own.