Reclaiming Democracy: Real Democracy Is Not in the Ballot Box
Demos (“common people”) - kratia (“a power, authority”)
Reclaiming Democracy: Real Democracy Is Not in the Ballot Box
By Kevin Buckland / filmsforaction.org

Whatever you are feeling now, it is powerful. Embrace that, cultivate it, learn from it - emotion is where power comes from. We should feel disillusioned, but not with politicians but with the democratic process. What democracy has granted us is the understanding that we are all collaborators in the world we co-create, but electoral democracy has diminished that to a single act of voting. This is the danger of representational democracy - it encourages people not to engage in political life by providing the illusion that others will do it for you. 

November 9th, 2016 marks a turning point for the world. I voted, it was rather easy - I ticked a few boxes and went on my way. But, democracy is not just a ballot box - this illusion has sedated millions into thinking that voting is our only means of contributing to shaping a better world. This assumption is convenient for the parties who maintain the political status-quo, but what this election has seen is precisely a rejection of this assumption that a ruling elite should be empowered to make decisions for us. This is an honorable intention, though horribly, horribly misplaced. As neoliberalism marches ever further right, we must be organizing to pick up the people who fall through its cracks. As more and more become disillusioned by corrupt political systems, let us work to provide empowering local alternatives, rather than just alternative candidates. The populist fervor that surrounds the personality politics of electoral democracy is never far from fascism so instead of looking to new leaders let us look to lead - by creating meaningful and empowering spaces for all those disenchanted with the status-quo. The 2-year political circus cycle has destroyed our political attention span, we must regain this focus on longer-term work and start engaging in the deep work of co-creating our own communities. The bi-annual spectacle of constantly changing political candidates has only impeded us from growing deep roots that do not advocate for, but instead creates, deep social change. Let us aspire that November 9th marks a turning away from the disempowerment of representational politics and towards new forms of direct democracy. Democracy is a process that requires constant attention. It is intended to activate a population and give us agency and ownership over co-creating our own collective future. Let us reclaim the understanding of democracy a relationship between ourselves and our communities: in the streets as we protest together, in the marketplaces when we speak to our farmer, in our neighborhood assembly, in our building’s annual meeting, in our block party. It is these hyper-localized parts of democracy we need to be cultivating and strengthening on a daily basis; it is in our own backyards that the empowering work of creating and embodying real change happens. Its not easy work, but in the very process of discussing alternatives new ideas will develop, opinions will change and new relationships of trust will be built upon which further projects may grow. If we all spent the next four, eight, twelve or sixteen years building local autonomy and political community, for each election we would already have our networks built and the hardest part of our work done for us. We could all just hold an event or pull together some door-knocking brigades, go tick a box and then get back to the real work turning and empty lot into a park, re-municipalizing the town’s water, divesting our mayor’s pension from fossil fuels or actively resisting the new shopping center that nobody besides the developer seems to want. There is no shortage of work to be done, and no presidential candidate knows better than you do what your community needs. 

I like to think about mycelium, the vast underground networks of mushrooms that are among the worlds largest living organisms. Occasionally they send up visible mushrooms, and this is all we see. But it is the dark underground is where the future is born, let us cultivate this fertile ground. Let this election be a wake-up call to reimagine democracy: no one will solve your problems for you: we are the one’s we’ve been waiting for. What is your role in the experiment of democracy? 

0.0 ·
0
What's Next
Trending Today
Dakota Access Pipeline Permit Denied
Nika Knight · 10,945 views today · 'For the first time in Native American history, they heard our voices.'
How Romanticism Ruined Love
5 min · 5,322 views today · The set of ideas we can call Romanticism is responsible for making our relationships extremely difficult. We shouldn’t give up on love; we should just recognize that it’s more...
All the News Is Fake!
3 min · 3,630 views today · Jonathan Pie finds nothing new in the idea of fake news.
93 Documentaries to Expand Your Consciousness
Films For Action · 2,956 views today · There are over 800 documentaries now cataloged in our library of social change films. That's probably way too many for any mortal to ever watch in a lifetime, let alone a few...
90 Inspiring and Visionary Films That Will Change How You See the World in Profound Ways
Tim Hjersted · 2,933 views today · The world today is in crisis. Everybody knows that. But what is driving this crisis? It's a story, a story that is destroying the world. It's a story about our relationship to...
How Mindfulness Empowers Us
2 min · 2,899 views today · Many traditions speak of the opposing forces within us, vying for our attention. Native American stories speak of two wolves, the angry wolf and the loving wolf, who both live...
Why Are Media Outlets Still Citing Discredited 'Fake News' Blacklist?
Adam Johnson · 2,329 views today · The Washington Post (11/24/16) last week published a front-page blockbuster that quickly went viral: Russia-promoted “fake news” had infiltrated the newsfeeds of 213 million...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 1,649 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
Lifting the Veil:  Obama and the Failure of Capitalist Democracy (2011)
114 min · 1,560 views today · This film explores the historical role of the Democratic Party as the "graveyard of social movements", the massive influence of corporate finance in elections, the absurd...
United Natures: a United Nations of all Species (2013)
103 min · 1,314 views today · United Natures explores the Rights of Mother Earth, Environmental Philosophy, Wisdom, Spirituality and the potential for a Neo-indigenous future for humanity. Directed and...
The Orwellian War on Skepticism
Robert Parry · 1,185 views today · Official Washington’s rush into an Orwellian future is well underway as political and media bigwigs move to silence Internet voices of independence and dissent, reports Robert...
Post-Brexit Visions of The Possible: It's Time to Imagine a New European Community
Martin Winiecki · 1,157 views today · We live in the beginning phase of a global revolution which will turn societal conditions upside down. We cannot stop this transformation, but we can influence where it will...
Projext X: Using Leaked Documents to Reveal the NSA's New York Spy Hub, Hidden in Plain Sight
10 min · 1,123 views today · A top-secret handbook takes viewers on an undercover journey to Titanpointe, the site of a hidden partnership. Narrated by Rami Malek and Michelle Williams, and based on...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 994 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
The Fight for Clean Water (#NoDAPL)
2 min · 992 views today · Clean water or Corporate profits? What’s more important? #NoDAPL Energy Transfer Partners: (214) 981-0700 U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers: (202) 761-0010; (202)...
Where Do You Draw the Line? (2016)
60 min · 942 views today · Why is the Ecuadorian government proposing to extract oil in an area frequently classified by ecologists as one of the most bio-diverse rainforest regions left intact on earth?...
Twelve Things To Remember After The US Election, From Front Line Organizers
Bill Quigley · 830 views today · When you find yourself in a suddenly darkened room, what do you do?   Some rush blindly to where they think the door might be.  Others stand still, let their eyes get...
Law Professor's Epic Response to Black Lives Matter Shirt Complaint
Social Design Notes · 823 views today · A first year law school student wrote a complaint about her professor having worn a Black Lives Matter T-shirt during class. The professor’s response is priceless. Scans of...
After Historic Protests, Army Corps of Engineers Blocks Current Route of the Dakota Access Pipeline
3 min · 605 views today · The $4 billion dollar project could still be approved by President-elect Donald Trump who is heavily invested in the pipeline. Help support The Real News by making a donation...
This Short Film Plays Out Like an Epic Movie That Will Shake Your Soul - But the Movie Is Real, and We are The Actors
6 min · 485 views today · For next year, we need a resolution capable of confronting the crisis we face, and making a future worth fighting for. This short film looks back on the crisis and confusion...
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
Reclaiming Democracy: Real Democracy Is Not in the Ballot Box