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Real, direct democracy must be established

The call for real, direct democracy is ensconced in the principles of the Alliance for Democracy, which also describes the way to achieve it.
Real, direct democracy means: Control over politics, i.e. over parliament, even with the possibility of overturning laws that have already been passed by the parliament, by corresponding plebiscites or referenda.
We are of the opinion that this form of democracy must be established! We are also of the opinion that there is no alternative to direct democracy with plebiscites and referenda. This is proven by the mismanagement of the last 60 years or more, and the enslavement of 92.5% to 95% of the overall population by the remaining 5% to 7.5% of the population.
This has been recognised not only by the Alliance for Democracy, no, even party-politics is increasingly speaking out against it. The Greens developed draft legislation as early as 2009 _demokratie-print~1.html and the SPD is calling on its leader, who in any event was prepared to give some attention to a survey by the magazine “Stern”, which found that most Germans are in favour of referenda at the national level.
Our Austrian neighbours were even cleverer, and succeeded in prompting a debate on direct democracy, and were very active in presenting their actual intentions on paper -oesterreich – instead of becoming disgruntled, such an adroit rhetorical move would at least have been very political, and would perhaps have pacified one or the other of the tame SPD supporters in Germany.
The opinions of the CDU/CSU and FDP on the subject are very reserved. As early as 2006, the CDU/CSU nailed its colours to the flag of parliamentary democracy. It was probably with great pain that the party dealt with proposals on direct democracy, although it ultimately rejected all the proposals. In this sense the steps of Mr. Kauder are crazy, who said that direct democracy in Germany is not opportune, although consideration should be given to it, and the statements of Mr. Kirchhof > Euro.html, who said that the Germans should vote on the Euro. We will now examine what move stands behind this statement.
With regard to the FDP, it once supported this opinion, and then again that of the other coalition partner. And as usual, the “Perspectives of Liberal Democratic policy” approved in 2010 also fell between two stools. These state that the party intends to try to fill the void between the people and politics: it only remains questionable as to how this is to be done.

Since everything is always better with our neighbours, and the Austrians appear to be a little more disposed to direct democracy that we Germans, the corresponding passages of the respective party programmes apply to the subject.

The “Kronenzeitung” (17.3.2012) printed the statement by Helmut Ehold on real, direct democracy, which we would like to reproduce here, because it corresponds fully to the ideas of the Alliance for Democracy, which we would like to see implemented here in Germany:

“Direct democracy

There must be no rest, again and again, the political parties must acknowledge that very many people in Austria have had enough of representative, parliamentary democracy, because in the way that it has been practiced for far too long, it is nothing is more than relatively well camouflaged, but always easily recognisable dictatorship of the political parties. We want a democracy in which the members of parliament are representatives of the people in the true sense of the word, and do not simply follow the orders of their respective party headquarters in the exercise of their mandate.

We want a democracy in which it is not possible for politicians to make such far-reaching, fundamental decisions without asking the people, as has been done in the past regardless of the people, but in blind obedience to the EU. We call for a true democracy, because it is our right to have a say when it comes to issues that significantly affect our quality of life and that of our children and grandchildren. We call for the direct democracy!”

In Germany, since Willy Brandt, there has been much talk of risking more direct democracy, most recently by the parties CDU/CSU and FDP, all three of which represent the Federal Government of Germany. Ferdinand Kirchhof, Vice-President of the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe, member of the CDU and as a judge in the Federal Constitutional Court well-disposed to the party and quotas, expressed his shock over the growing accumulation of rescue package commitments, and even warned that things could not continue in this way. The Springer publications Hamburger Abendblatt and Welt online /deutschland/article13850704/Verfassungsrichter-fuer-Volksabstimmung-ueber-Euro.html, following an announcement of the dpa, printed interviews with Kirchhof, and presented his reform plans based on direct democracy. The subject was unfortunately only one of those which drove the public to the newspaper stand – the reverberation: Projects such as Stuttgart 21 remain a matter of public interest, even public opinion, and are then subject – through adroit party-political propaganda – to party-political interests. And so the case of Kirchhof and his call for more direct democracy can only be seen in this way.

The Alliance for Democracy would like to point out expressly that the so-called “Kirchhof” direct democracy is no real, direct democracy. Kirchhof is concerned with a democracy that is seemingly closer the wishes of the population. In the vote on the Euro, the people should receive the impression that it is determining the Federal Government’s spending. But in fact, this is not intended; actually it is a matter of using public opinion to cover up party-political failure.

The course of events: The enormous guarantees and subsidiary liabilities in the form of rescue package obligations entered into by German politics for the rescue of the Euro serve only for the party-political preservation of power. The additional debt obligations and the related mountain of explicit and implicit debts are only for the benefit of big business - only in this way will they be able to carry on conducting interest rate transactions. Big business makes the people liable, turning them against their will into gamblers. Politics covers these machinations - the Alliance for Democracy has reported on this in many articles.

Having arrived at such a point, there is no longer any discussion basis for preserving parliamentary democracy. It is therefore good to know that the basic law is “open” to direct democracy. Article 20 II GG states:

1All power of the state originates from the people. 2It is exercised by the people by votes and by special organs of legislation, the executive power and jurisdiction.”

“Votes” in contrast to “elections” should be understood as an act of direct popular voting. Real, direct democracy is therefore provided for – at least theoretically – in the basic law on an equal footing with indirect democracy – “election” and “voting” stand side-by-side without further evaluatory classification. This “promise” of direct democracy occupies a prominent position: Art. 20 GG defines the basic constitutional principles. Art. 20 GG bears the heading: “Constitutional principles”.

The constitutional reality and the political practice however look very different. The “voting” mentioned in Art. 20 II 2 GG simply does not exist. In the reality of the Constitution, it is not the people, but a parliament of professional politicians which holds the sovereign power. The basic law contains more detailed rules on the elections and the powers of the elected institution of the Bundestag. There are no rules on voting or referenda. The Basic Law does not keep its own promise of Art. 20 GG.

The way to real, direct democracy can therefore only be through a constitutional amendment or supplement. The conditions, the procedure and the effects of “voting” or referenda therefore require regulation. The basic law does not preclude this. On the contrary, the basic law calls for direct democracy - the constitutional principle of Art. 20 II GG should finally be reflected in actual constitutional reality.

Why therefore have we not long since had direct democracy? Because the parliament and government and the political class do not want to surrender their power! The Constitution can only be amended by parliament – but why should politicians agree to an amendment of the Constitution which restricts the so convenient power of politicians?

Nothing can be expected from politics. Germany needs a second revolution that echoes the call of the East revolution “We are the people”.

Mr. Kirchhoff therefore, when he demanded direct democracy, only meant that the people should decide about the Euro because the political decisions have such disastrous consequences that no one can take responsibility for them. “Kirchhof” democracy would therefore have allowed the people to vote on whether they want the Euro or not. The questions would probably have been whether the Germans would grant the Greeks a further tranche of the rescue package, or whether the Euro should be retained at all. The Germans would then have voted: No to Greece, but yes to the Euro, because the politically biased press said, Yes, the Euro is good. Then the government would have had a long-term plan on how to pursue its Euro policy at discretion, and if the people had grumbled, it could have said: It was you who decided on it.
That would not have damaged the Euro policy, but would have put an end to the delicate attempts at popular joint determination. The question is whether this would have been to the taste of Angela Merkel.
Fortunately, hardly any of the press followed the Kirchhof proposal and fortunately this attack on the popular will was therefore not really at issue. The case shows how threatening real, direct democracy is to parliamentary democracy; it also shows the essential importance of political awareness and education, opinion and political debate. It is more than time that we no longer trust that those “up there” do everything right - they do everything wrong, and ever since the founding of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1949!
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