Tuesday, September 22, 2009
DEMOCRACY COUNSEL (not Council)
Document of Resolve
Democracy Counsel is not a political party, nor an organization, nor a NGO.
Democracy Counsel is a commitment.
Democracy Counsel is a commitment to strong convictions advocating principled adherence to Democracy (Not "Real" Democracy, "True" Democracy, "Sham" Democracy, "Basic" Democracy; but just plain and simple, Democracy).
Democracy Counsel is Pakistan-specific in its genesis but takes inspiration from all democratic struggles in the world and resolves active solidarity with the same.
Democracy Counsel has no organization, no leader, no office bearers, no members, no signatories, no names to be exclusively identified with the Counsel. In fact, the very first act of anyone claiming exclusive rights to the Democracy Counsel, will forfeit his or her right to identify with the Democracy Counsel, right then and there.
People identifying themselves with Democracy Counsel cannot hold any formal meetings, congresses, press conferences, public rallies or any public expression as an organization or party using the name of Democracy Counsel, nor can they publish or distribute any document or paper (or create a website) under the name of Democracy Counsel, except this document of resolve and the spirit of Democracy Counsel. Doing any of these by anyone would forfeit the right of that person to be identified with the Democracy Counsel. People identifying with Democracy Counsel can only distribute or issue this document of resolve and the spirit of Democracy Counsel.
People identifying with Democracy Counsel are free to join any party, left, right or centre, secular or Islamic, any organization, any NGO.
People identifying with Democracy Counsel are allowed to identify and meet each other and exchange ideas and discuss strategy, but cannot build a concerted or organized effort using the name of Democracy Counsel. Doing so would forfeit the right of these persons to be identified with the Democracy Counsel.
However, there cannot be more than one version of Democracy Counsel because there can be no deviation, by the people claiming identification with the Democracy Counsel, from the following basic principles and objectives of the Democracy Counsel:
1. Uphold the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan (the only legitimate collective democratic consensus of the people of Pakistan) in its originality and parliamentary continuity, untampered by the amendments introduced by military rulers. Any constitutional amendment or Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) brought in by a military usurper, even if gotten approved by a parliament, to be considered illegal, illegitimate and hence redundant
2. Advocate the Supremacy of Law (Specially the political aspect. Not even a military usurper being above the rule of the law of Pakistan). Exposing the illegality and intellectual dishonesty of the "Law of Necessity"
3. Advocate the existence of a Strong Civil Political Government (Democratically Powerful Executive)
4. Uphold and advocate the Supremacy of Parliament in all legislative and constitutional matters
5. Advocate and ensure the Independence and Integrity of the Judiciary
6. Identify and counter all overt and covert manoeuvering and machinations of the Military
7. Struggle for the Independence of the Press
8. Advocate constitutional guarantees for full human rights and democratic rights (including Universal Adult Franchise and the universal, unconditional right for everyone to be elected for as many terms as constitutionally provided)
9. Identify and discourage Foreign Lobbying and Intervention
10. Advocate Economic Growth, Concentration of Capital, Development of State Infrastructure and Self-Reliance in the country
11. Mould Political Economy of Pakistan in favour of strong entrepreneur and capitalist class, with emphasis on the conversion of feudals into capitalists. Non-antagonism between the urban capitalist class and the rural progressive feudal class
12. Work for the Audit and Scrutiny of all business institutions set up by the military and their integration into the civil legal setup. Divorce the military from their business interests
13. Reprimand of all acts of military usurpation and their condonement by the judiciary. Placing these acts in the true historical context of democracy
14. Struggle against corruption, autocracy and fascism of democratically elected rulers
15. All the above, regardless of whether it would favour Secular or Islamist forces
People identifying with Democracy Counsel are free only to, verbally and with practical actions, advocate and achieve the above mentioned basic principles and objectives of the Democracy Counsel.
Democracy Counsel requires of its adherents to use their personal influence and capacities for the attainment of the above mentioned basic objectives of the Democracy Counsel and to convince the people of Pakistan, to whichever school of political thought they may belong or not belong, of the trueness and righteousness of the above mentioned principles and objectives of the Democracy Counsel.
Democracy Counsel believes that it is required of all political parties or groups to recognize, appreciate and support the correct stand of even a political rival, if it advances the cause of democracy and service to the people of Pakistan. A politically hateful figure can also be right on a certain issue and should be supported, if so.
Democracy Counsel believes that it is not a vice to be rich or to support parties led by the upper classes of Pakistan, if it advances the cause of democracy, national sovereignty and economic progress of Pakistan, bringing prosperity to the people.
Democracy Counsel believes that if the engine of economic growth is on the wrong side of the law, let the courts and the law take their course, but unless there is a conviction no one should be allowed to slander/defame/persecute/arbitrarily arrest/subvert the economic engine.
Democracy Counsel believes that it is only through democracy that the independence, sovereignty, progress and right to self determination of the Pakistani people can be realized. All else would lead to subservience to foreign powers and a colonialized economy without growth and self-reliance.
Democracy Counsel has no limitation of time or any kind of objective conditions. Its spirit should live on in the hearts and minds of all upright, honest and freedom loving people, however much imperfect they themselves might be.
The Spirit of Democracy Counsel
Democracy is the representation of interests of the major social groups of society. Any attempt at selective democracy, keeping out representation of major social groups leads to a divorce from on-ground historical realities. This can prove to be a recipe for possible disaster, as was the bitter harvest of "basic democracies" and "the one unit", reaped in 1971. Attainment of social cohesion is the job of politicians, intellectuals, activists, thinkers, philosophers and spiritual leaders, the apex of which is the fairly represented parliament. No person should be disqualified from running for parliament on the grounds that the person may be in exile or in jail. Let all candidates run for election and be elected if they retain the confidence of their respective social group. So be the wish of the people.
The problem with the condoning of military usurpation of political power is not only the professional compromise of an impartial state institution, but also running the permanent risk of democracy, elected governments and the rule of law being sabotaged with the muzzle of a gun. A military usurper, once condoned, shows the way to his successors that civilian and democratically elected rule can always be toppled with the barrel of a gun and get away with this too. Respect of law disappears from the land and no amount of constitutional guarantees to the military or a National Security Council, can save the nation from the cracking of the whip, the previous and next time, this whip may being held by a lunatic or power hungry General.
Democracy can never stem from the law of "Might is Right". Democracy is built only by force of argument, the will of the majority and the protection of the minority.
People of ideology, wealth or power find it easy to break the law, for they consider that their ideology, wealth or position of power gives them the historical right to bypass the consensus of collective democratic wisdom, which is the law.
In face of undemocratic rule, the democrat may not abide by the laws made by the undemocratic order. The democrat, under all circumstances, carries forward the consensus of collective democratic wisdom that was in rule when undemocratic order last took over. It is only by upholding the laws of democratic rule that the democrat can bring down the undemocratic order.
A nation of more than 160 million people does not deserve to be ruled by a coterie of a few hundred thousand of the nation's servants, just because the servants wield their guns on their own masters.