Justice and internal democracy.

This post only expresses the opinion of the author

In our last DiD meeting, we faced a potential conflict. As per our own voting procedures, if someone needs more time to debate before making a decision this can be stated, and the entire “Simple voting procedure” can be delayed. The condition, however, is that a case must be made to delay the vote. Someone had requested more time, but had not indicated the particularities to be debated. Hence a decision had to be made. Should the vote be kept open? Should it be closed according to the previously established closing date?

We there and then realized that we were facing a judiciary decision. The law, as generally understood, is written in words. Sometimes it is a code others is just a set of precedent from previous trials. Either way, at a certain point, someone will have to INTERPRET the law, in order for a decision to be made with respect to the facts under consideration. The person or group who interprets the law is the judge or tribunal and without any intention the biweekly meeting attendees found themselves in front of such decision.

It just so happens that most of us had slightly vested interests in the results of the vote (basically, not to lose time which we didn’t think was going to benefit anyone), although it was really not a very critical decision to take, but because of that alone we were not the ideal arbiters of the decision. We were, however, the only ones facing it and we had to proceed one way or the other. Let us say that there was little disparity on our opinions about what to do in this case but surely I would have preferred someone external and neutral to make the decision for us.

DiD is so small that it hardly needs a tribunal, although the right of the meeting attendees to make such decision should be made explicit and approved by the totality of the members. DiEM25, however, is not so small. We are talking about an organization which prides itself of consisting of several tens of thousands, in which there has been already conflicts of interest, and in which executive decisions have been made which have affected the internal dynamics of the movement. There is a constitutional law, the Organization Principles, with its reference to article zero: the manifesto. Who interprets this law?

This is a question which we should ask ourselves, a question which is vital for internal democracy. It is essential that every member of DiEM25 be confident that no one is using executive power inadequately. And for that, a certain organism should exist. Call it Tribunal of Guarantees, call it however you want. Can a triad of members of the AP elected by lottery play this role? Would they accept that? Is that a plausible idea? Should we think of something else?

Democracy needs separation of powers, and that is beyond any doubt. Internal democracy requires internal separation of powers, and that is also beyond doubt. The only question is how to implement it.

Salud, Paz y Democracia


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