Monday, June 10, 2013

On Majority Rule

<Draft> Majority Rule Hi Hi Charles,
Last I checked this thread you asked me the question, “Art, without a majority rules principal how will the organization/party/government come to actionable decisions?”
This is a very good question. I have given some thought to this quite a bit over the past year, and I will likely continue to give thought to this for many years to come, but I will try to answer this humbly to give it the justice it deserves. I did not mean to imply to throw the baby out with the bathwater, but I realize I should better clarify my position.
This is not just a question about majority rules, it is about democracy, democracy of party organization and democracy of state—both of which I view as needed to be separate. Many so called “socialists” view these as the same thing, a tradition that dates back decades and decades due to the embryonic workers rule of the early Soviet system (I don’t think it advanced beyond embryonic before degeneration).
First, what is “Majority Rules”?
“Majority Rules” usually implies a simple majority of 50%+1 votes of an organizational body to come to a decision. So, majority rules may be better described not as a principle but as an organizational device. Are there variations? Certainly, just as there are variations of consensus which implies 100% agreement or votes by an organizational body on a decision of which I also view as an organizational device.

What the fuck is Democracy?
Some people believe that “Majority Rules” is democracy, and some believe that consensus is democracy—others believe that rule by their specific organization or ideology is a democracy. Currently capitalist parliamentarian and representational systems with a constitution are widely called “Democracies”— but it is likely that no one with a deep level of class consciousness is willing to accept this definition. Democracy is a vague term with many, many definitions, so for the purpose of this response I don’t think this term is helpful or meaningful in any way. I will attempt to avoid it in order to discuss the concrete.
For the purposes of this write-up I will be using “Democratic” as synonymous with “Fairness” characterized by the principle of “political, economic and social equality for all.”
Primary Guiding Principle & Mission of ALL organizations that we create:
The organization we build must be an organization that fights for working class rule. That will be the life and death difference between our systems of organization, and the bourgeois systems of organization. All tactics, devices, means and methods must be scrutinized through the lens of our guiding principle.

Democratic Rights
Because working class rule is our guiding principle, we must also fight for democratic rights of freedom of speech and organization. Freedom of speech and organization must be protected because they are the democratic rights that will allow the masses to hold those in positions of power accountable. They are the rights that all other rights will rest upon. When I describe these rights as being protected, I mean in very concrete ways using various organizational and technical devices, not simply just jotted down on a paper (even if it is hemp paper).
Now one thing I’m not quite sure is if freedom of organization implies is protection of minorities, so for the hell of it I’ll put emphasis on this as well (would like thoughts on that). Protection of Minorities and minority rights are important because for years to come we will be the minority. Far too often have I seen radical groups shrug this important democratic trait off because the most radical and militant members held majority while reactionaries and idiots held minority—but unfortunately it is possible to flood an organization that recruits new members with idiots, reactionaries, social democrats and other fools who will actively subvert the primary mission. Some of the Anarchists have proposed the solution to this is to not recruit new cadre—but I say “Good luck building a mass movement for revolution, and have fun in your tree house.”

So by studying minority rights we can have a greater understanding of “Majority rule”:

1) Sometimes Majority Rule may be in the favor of the mission for workers rule

2) Sometimes Majority Rule will not be in the favor of the mission for workers rule

Will this always be the case? No, I think it won’t always be the case, as revolutionists who advocate workers rule, majority rule will likely become more favored as those with a deep level of consciousness become a stable majority, however there will likely always be a need for minority rights and protections, as well as freedom of speech and organization!
Will all organizations we build be organized the same way? Will they use the same organizational devices?
No, they will not all be organized the same way, they will not all use the same organizational devices. These organizations will be built and organized to meet the present and future needs of their primary and secondary missions. A secondary mission might be for example, to study a book with the intention to learn from it and apply what we learned to our work. Or, a secondary mission might be to journalize exposures for propaganda. The former example may be done with a high degree of informality and lack of “policy,” but the second may require more formality and “policy” in order to be more effective.

Furthermore, the former may get by on majority rule for quick decisions,  such as how to organize the study group, or an action; but it may require broader consensus for decisions that require nearly unanimous support such as risky major actions or public statements. The second example may be set up in a way where articles require only to meet policies enacted through majority rule or consensus—but articles may be vetoed to be decided by majority rule if it is believed that they violate the primary mission (hypothetical example). In some cases it may be in everyone's interests to allow decisions to be made by a minority such as specialists under special or extreme circumstances.  When your house is on fire, the firefighters do not wait for those within the building to come up with a decision to leave or not--there is simply an immediate evacuation decision made by the firefighters.

In any case, I do not believe in a “one size fits all” cookie cutter system, but I think I have hit on some of the key points. I would appreciate feedback on these thoughts.

[TMO 3/6/2013 B]

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