Openness and Business

During the first years of Demoex in politics the public debate became more open. We wrote letters to the editor in a local newspaper and complained to democratic deficits and the leading politicians responded to us.

This was in a period of vast privatization unprecedented in the municipality’s history. Inspired by neoliberalism the idea was to sell out public property. The heating plant was sold, the sewage system was incorporated, and so on. The residents did not get information until the deals where basically done.

Business between public domains and private companies are not easy, and they should not be. Laws protect against corruption by requiring openness. Transparency is a core of democracy and a precondition for citizen’s participating.

When the municipal center buildings were for sale for the first time attentive citizens stopped the deal. At the next attempt the politicians negotiated in secret and remained silent until the last moment to avoid unnecessary attention. The silence did not only exclude the public, but also Demoex.

for_sale

“Maybe business work this way, but silence and lack of information hurts the democracy”, we wrote in the local newspaper. We wanted the governing politicians to inform the citizens and argue for their privatization proposal. “Put all the cards on the table before the deal, and let us have a public debate worthy of the name”, we said.

The governing politicians responded in the newspaper. They admitted that they where discussing and “trying out different options” before deciding. “But to say that we cover up, or not put all cards on the table, is almost a bit silly”, the leading politicians said. “Moreover, we welcome an open dialogue with voters, but we don’t want to replace the representative democracy as Demoex want”, they argued.

Demoex is a direct democratic injection into the system of representative democracy that in fact presupposes other parties. The leading politicians did not want to understand the concept of Demoex, they tried to make us foolish instead. A good thing came with it – their misunderstanding forced us to reply and explain, and so the public debate continued.

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