Greetings from Switzerland! It’s a pleasure to welcome you to Global Democracy Watch on behalf of the Re-Invent Democracy team. We invite you to join us in creating a community of 21st century democracy builders, storytellers and eye witnesses of the ups and downs of building democracies around the world.
Our goal is to create a webspace where democracy builders worldwide can share our experiences, insights and strategies for strengthening democratic institutions and processes, and counteracting efforts to weaken them by authoritarian regimes and undemocratic politicians, political parties and special interests.
These regimes, politicians, parties and interests are undermining and overturning even well-established democracies in post-industrial nations, as well as new democracies in developing countries. They are interfering with the exercise of basic civil, political and human rights, and causing social unrest, political conflicts and political violence to erupt inside and outside their countries.
They are showing just how vulnerable democracies can be to internal and external interferences. More and more governments are failing to protect the people they are supposed to serve — not only from political violence but environmental threats to the sustainability of vast regions of the globe. Governing institutions are proving themselves incapable of building consensus broad and deep enough to solve the life-threatening problems facing ordinary people around the world.
For example, extreme climate disruption is causing deaths and injuries on an unprecedented scale. Political violence is spreading around world faster than ever imagined. These threats are escalating at the same time that ordinary people are facing increasing obstacles to obtaining the income they need to afford basic necessities. Living wage jobs are disappearing, leaving far too many people scrambling to get low-paying jobs that many them below the poverty line. Same goes for obtaining affordable health care, housing, education and long term financial security.
It seems to us that a primary cause of these misfortunes are traditional political parties, especially in the U.S. The two major U.S. parties, and party-backed electoral candidates and elected representatives who should be protecting their constituents appear to spend most of their time colluding to pass legislation that puts them in ever greater jeopardy.
It seems they only take a break from this collusion when they and their special interest backers divert their attention to fighting among themselves. They create conflicts they rarely resolve, causing legislative stalemates and paralysis even when legislative action is desperately needed to overcome life-threatening risks.
To counteract these trends and downward spirals in democratic processes, I am hoping we can put our heads together to identify 21st century strategies for re-inventing failing and failed democracies.
For example, we are confident we can figure out how to leverage emerging web technologies and the large scale collective action power of the internet to pool and mobilize our resources. One of the main leaps forward I anticipate is that we collectively devise new ways to use new technologies to empower ordinary follks at the grassroots to build robust democratic institutions and processes from the “bottom up”.
Our strategizing in this webspace will be supported by the Global Democracy Watch e-News, which is published twice a day and can be accessed through the menu link above. In my Editor’s Blog, I’ll throw in my two cents!. And everyone can use this site’s Democracy Builders’ Blog to share and publicize our ideas, stories, strategies and eye witness accounts of what is transpiring where we live and elsewhere, and what actions we think should be taken. Anyone can register as a blog author or submit blog posts as a guest blogger. Registered bloggers and guest bloggers can submit comments and respond to comments. Blogs and comments will be moderated.
FYI, this website is sponsored by the Re-Invent Democracy Foundation Intl, which I founded in the U.S. several years ago. The foundation is a partner of a Swiss-based company, Re-Invent Democracy International (RDI), which I recently founded in Switzerland because of its neutrality and international peacekeeping role. (FYI, I hold dual Swiss and U.S. citizenship and spent my formative years going back and forth between both countries.)
The company is building a Global Social Network for Voters in Switzerland, which will be the world’s first large scale consensus-building and conflict resolution platform. It will be accessible at reinventdemocracy.ch.
The mission of the network is to provide voters worldwide unprecedented web-based tools and services for building voter-controlled online voting blocs, political parties and electoral coalitions around common transpartisan agendas that are set and voted on by their members. They can run and elect candidates of their choice to enact their agendas, and hold these lawmakers accountable at the ballot box for their legislative actions and votes.
The members of these blocs, parties and coalitions will be able to use the network’s tools and services to build consensus across ideological and partisan lines, resolve conflicts, and grow transpartisan electoral bases large enough to elect democratically accountable governments.
I look forward to getting to know you and working with you to build sustainable democracies around the world that protect everyone’s well-being equitably, and champion the public interest over special interests.
All best regards,
Nancy Bordier, Editor
P.S. I hope you enjoy my photos of Switzerland. It’s a unique country that has distinguished itself by combining direct democracy and representative democracy in order to give its citizens a direct role in proposing and determining what legislation will be enacted. The Swiss constitution mandates that the Swiss government must be politically neutral. It has never attacked or invaded another country!