Compendium: Democracy and the Council State (Pt. I of III)

Economic participation and political participation are closely intertwined with each other. It has been established in earlier entries of the SMP Compendium that the State should be proactive in the nation-state’s economic and financial sectors. The goal has always been the realization of Synchronicity between the State’s monetary and fiscal policies. Where there is Synchronicity for the State, there must also be a similar Synchronicity for the people in the form of political-economic participation in the everyday affairs of the State. The growing complexities and intricate organizational structures of contemporary nation-states in the Western world alone necessitate the need for the people to be involved.

“Democracy,” as it is understood within the prism of Western perception, differs immensely from how the Ancient Greco-Roman Civilization had understood it. While the fundamental disadvantages like Demagoguery and Factionalism are shared by the Greco-Roman and Western conceptions of Democracy, the Western version has nuances that are tied to what the Western world has been and continues to be. Unlike the Athenian Democratic or Roman Republican styles of governance, Western Civilization remains stuck between two distinct models of political representation. One version of Democracy favors a “Delegative Representation,” where the representatives act on the will of the people who elected them. The other version upholds a “Trustee Representation,” in which the representatives are free to act on their own accord as part of a political party and sometimes without the considerations of the constituents.   

This divergence on political representation has been going on since the height of the Enlightenment in the 18th century. The result has led to the development of two opposing models of Democracy. Delegative Representation has given rise to Council Democracy, whereas Parliamentary Democracy is supported by Trustee Representation. Socialism is generally associated with Councilor forms of governance. Liberal Capitalism advocates for Parliamentarian governance as part of its concurring support for Presidential Republicanism or Constitutional Monarchism.

Despite both being considered types of Democracy, Council Democracy and Parliamentary Democracy function on a different set of parameters that reflect their affiliations with Socialism and Liberal Capitalism respectively. Those affiliations contributed to why both tend to rely on distinct methodologies that should be differentiated. Knowing those distinctions is crucial for any serious application of the Work-Standard, its Vocational Civil Service (VCS) model of Planned or Command Economies, and its MTEP (Mission-Type Economic Planning). The manner of economic organization that the Work-Standard relies on is correlated to the concurring manner of political organization compatible with Council Democracy.

Organizational Hierarchy

Councilor governance has the people politically and economically organized at the local level first. Unlike Parliamentarian governance, which relies on the Constituencies being organized by electoral districts, Councilor governance has its Constituencies organized according to their professions and economic sectors. What that means is the Constituents are often members of a local labor union or a community-organized guild who elect somebody among their ranks to delegate on their behalf. This delegate and his counterparts are State functionaries who represent their peers as part of a plenary assembly at a local council.

From those local councils, somebody else is elected among them to delegate on their behalf at the regional council, where the process repeats until the national level at the State or Supreme Council. As delegates, these State functionaries must speak on behalf of the interests of their Constituents, who reserve the final authority to recall them if necessary. They are capable of serving in the legislatures, in the executive, and in the judiciary. There is no formal Separation of Powers, where no one branch of government is capable of being more powerful than the other branches. The justification is due to the Delegative Representation that is characteristic of Council Democracy. The problem with the Separation of Powers is that it assumes that the power of a government position is tantamount to laying the groundwork for Tyranny. Unfortunately, the reality is that it matters greatly as to who is occupying that position rather than what the position is or why it exists to begin with.

By contrast, Parliamentarian governance has the people organized into electoral districts that have the choice of voting for political parties as the opposition or as the ruling government. These parties are meant to represent specific sections of a “Civil Society,” where most political and economic concerns are considered to be independent of each other. Private business interests, lobbyists and donors, and those wealthy enough to subvert the legislative process are more likely to sway the outcomes of legislative processes because Parliamentarian governance condones such behavior as perfectly mundane. An electoral cycle is employed alongside term limits to ensure that there will an ostensible number of different personalities and different styles of governance. Even so, these personalities and the styles of governance that they conduct once in power are beholden to the parties and who ultimately backs them.

The Parliament organizes the legislators, the “Members of Parliament” (MPs) or “Members of Congress” in the American case, on a Left-Right Political Spectrum. Everyone on the “Left” reflects the Egalitarian tendencies of Liberal Capitalism, everyone in the “Center” is its Fraternal tendencies, and everyone on the “Right” is its Liberal tendencies. As a reflection of the Enlightenment, the Left will favor faster Progress toward Liberal Capitalism while the Right is inclined a slower implementation of Progress. Anyone who opposes this Progress in general are considered to be on the “Far-Left” (if they are convinced that the people’s livelihoods will suffer) and the “Far-Right” (if they are convinced that the people’s traditions will suffer).

Unicameral versus Bicameral Legislature

Councilor and Parliamentarian governance can be unicameral or bicameral, but how they go about becoming either is where they differ.

In a State Council, it is common for the legislature to be unicameral. However, it is also possible for the legislature to be bicameral, where the State Council has an advisory group that guides the decision-making of the Head of State. This advisory group differs from the Cabinet of Ministers who serve under the Heads of State and Government by leading the various ministries of the central government. They are in many respects very reminiscent of the old Courts of Monarchs who had once ruled the Western world prior to the Enlightenment.

In a Parliament, the norm is for the legislature to be bicameral by having a Lower House and an Upper House. The Lower House comprises of the representatives elected by the people at the national level. The Upper House are similar to the advisory group on legislative matters, but they are often appointed in the case of Constitutional Monarchy or they are elected as in Presidential Republic. In both cases, these advisors do not serve the interests of the Heads of State and Government and may instead further the interests of their own Constituents, parties and special interests as demonstrated by the Senate of the American Congress.

A bicameral Parliament will maintain a number of Committees and subordinate Subcommittees in its Lower House or both Houses. These Committees will be associated with a specific set of issues that are of concern to the nation-state. The Subcommittees are more specialized variants of the Committees, focusing on more specific tasks that pertain to broader field of interest. It is particularly under those conditions that lobbyism and favoritism tend to proliferate among the Committees and Subcommittees because what goes on there is of no concern to the rest of the Parliament until a new proposed bill is allowed to materialize.

All of these factors can be traced back to the notion of the Separation of Powers. The Heads of State and Government in a Parliamentary Democracy and the Upper House do not necessarily have to be supportive of each other’s interests or even the national interest. It can be argued that the differences found in Parliamentary Democracy are related to the prevalence of the Division of Labor within the economic realm. The Separation of Powers in this sense can be seen as complementary to the “Separation of Church and State” and “Separation of State and Economy.”    

The Heads of State and Government

The Head of State under Councilor governance can be appointed on an elective basis by the Supreme Council (the ‘State Council’) in the cases of the Soviet Union and the PRC or they can be appointed on a hereditary basis as in the cases of Cuba and the DPRK. The procedure bears close resemblance to the Prince-Electors who formed the Electoral College of the First German Reich (or the Holy Roman Empire) and the Sacred College of Cardinals of the Vatican. In all six cases, there is always the existence of a central body of electors who appoint the next Head of State (and in the Catholic Church’s case, the next claimant to the Papacy). In the case of the Catholic Church, the appointment of the next Pope in a papal conclave is a lifetime decision. A similar trend also exists in the appointment of the next Supreme Leader within the DPRK and in the Ayatollah’s Iran.  

Unfortunately, the American Electoral College in its current form under the Liberal Capitalist influences of Jeffersonianism and the Democratic-Republican Party does not qualify for this definition. The problem is that the States that constitute the American Union and the central committees of political parties hold an unfair sway over who is allowed to be the Electors. The Electoral College, as Hamiltonianism and the Federalist Party envisaged it in The Federalist Papers, was actually meant to be organized by the Federal government rather than the States themselves and the parties. In essence, the electors are meant to be ‘Federal Electors’ involved in the affairs of the Federal government. All of the problems related to that Electoral College, from the 1800 and 1876 Presidential Elections to the 2000 and 2016 Presidential Elections, are tied to the electors themselves being beholden to the interests of the States and the parties. This is the same reason why US Presidential Elections have an “Electoral Vote” and a “Popular Vote,” with the Electoral Vote deciding who becomes the next President of the United States.

The Head of State under Parliamentarian governance is often elected by the people as either part of a political party or else as an apolitical independent. In Liberal Capitalist regimes like the United Kingdom or post-1945 Japan, the Head of State is usually a Monarch who has little or no authority on the political-economic affairs of the nation-state. At best, they are considered as nothing more than ceremonial figureheads. Regardless of whether the Head of State is elective or hereditary, their involvement in the government is minimal and this is indicative of Liberal Capitalist ideology’s rejection of proactive governance in political and economic realms. The real political decision-making is conducted by the Head of Government as the Prime Minister and the Parliament itself, in addition to whoever is backing them as constituents and lobbyists.  

Furthermore, the Head of Government under Councilor governance is tasked with leading the State Council within legislative procedures. It also serves the role of ensuring that the Head of State’s decisions and authority are exercised as national policy through the coordination of the Cabinet and the State Council. The Head of Government can potentially become more influential and wield greater clout than the Head of State in political-economic policies under Councilor governance as opposed to Parliamentarian governance. Such a personality figure under Parliamentarian governance tends to occur more often under Constitutional Monarchy, where the Head of State exists as a figurehead.  In a Presidential Republic, however, it is often the Head of State who receives the most attention and influence.

The three preceding sections here within this entry are examples of the fundamental differences between Council Democracy and Parliamentary Democracy. Granted, these should not be considered to be the only ones as the two versions have their subsets and their own peculiar methodologies in formulating and executing political-economic policies. A follow-up entry will be written to address the various nuances of Councilor and Parliamentarian governance, including discussions related to “People’s Democracy” within Marxism-Leninism and “People’s Democratic Dictatorship” of Maoism. Concluding this series of entries in the SMP Compendium is a discussion on the procedural rules of the Council Democracy and why it is necessary for the Work-Standard to function as intended.

Categories: Compendium, Philosophy, Politics

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