Do you approve of Pantisocracy as a Constitutional foundation for Asgardia?

Total number of votes: 9

55.6% Yes

44.4% No

Feb 13, 17 / Pis 16, 01 17:31 UTC

[POLL] Pantisocracy: A foundation for the Asgardian Constitution!  

NOTE: Please read at least part of this before voting in the poll!

Pantisocracy could be described as a system of government where there is no formal government structure in place, and where people are organized only insofar as people organize themselves. It could be described as a happy medium between the traditionalist democratic republic advocated by some, and the Anarchistic Free Market Socialist society advocated by others.

It was adopted by great thinkers such as Sir Francis Bacon, and it most certainly can work for Asgardia.

I believe that Pantisocracy is an acceptable foundation for the constitution because it assumes, as a fundamental position, that all beings are equal. The adage "Complete Power Corrupts a Person Completely" is also very true, and living the luxurious lifestyle of a member of government corrupts even the most moral person.

That's why I suggest that the "government" roles have the following properties.

  1. The government can be easily dissolved.
  2. The government is always in the view of the people and participating with the people on a regular basis (See the "Assembly" set-up below).
  3. There is no particular financial reward for being in the government; people participate in the government only out of a sense of duty to Asgardia. Whether or not the government receives a salary will be a resolution for the Assembly.

Asgardia will use a process called "Sortition", which was once used in ancient Greece, to determine a random chairperson among a list of declared candidates. It makes use of the "Assembly" function, in which people physically gather in one place and everyone gets one vote. This assembly will consist of anyone who chooses to attend. The chairperson is then responsible for choosing the topic of discussion within 15 minutes of being selected. The Assembly would then discuss and decide on the topic, formally called the "resolution", through direct democracy principles and through debate. The Assembly room would have limited seating reserved for individuals of particular importance, but all Asgardians would be able to vote using their mobile devices as an alternative. No "political parties" or organizations will be established, other than for two opposing delegates / opinions to arise out of the collective conversation.

The chairperson will lead the Asgardian National Assembly, which will essentially be the government caucus. The chairperson would be responsible for moderating the meeting and to ensure that the conversation stays on track. The chairperson's role would be "annulled" at the conclusion of the Assembly, and another chairperson would be chosen during the next assembly.

The assembly would take place Monday to Friday, at the same time and the same location, and anyone can attend.

There would also be a yearly election to determine the Ministers, Judges and Head of Country / Leader / President / Prime Minister among a list of proposed candidates. If the candidate list is excessive, eight candidates will be randomly selected from the pool. All government members chosen during the yearly elections MUST be present during the Weekly Assembly and will be given only one warning before being removed. A bi-election Assembly will be held to replace Ministers who derelict in their duties, who have been identified in a resolution as "corrupt", and / or Ministers who do not attend the Weekly Assemblies.

Just to clarify, the "head of state" would be a figurehead position. He or she is an organizational nexus point rather than an individual with real power over anyone else.

Regardless of the government members' opinions of the decisions made during the Weekly Assemblies, elected government will be given the responsibility of carrying out the resolution on the legislative and judicial levels.

The process for governance during a "pre-government" scenario like this (or a post-crisis scenario) would be as follows. We would organize ourselves into the ministries that are already established--anyone who wants to join that ministry may join it. We would then immediately commence an Assembly. People would verbally declare their candidacy to the chairperson, and then sign a slip of paper to be placed in a cube. They could also use their mobile devices. When the chairperson is decided, that person would conduct the Assembly for the elections. There would be ELEVEN (11) MINISTER POSITIONS AVAILABLE: one for each of the ministries. There would also be ELEVEN (11) JUDICIAL POSITIONS AVAILABLE, with each judge being informally tied to a Minister and Ministry.

Candidates for the minister positions would then be solicited. The candidates are then voted on during an election assembly. It would be well-organized and may also include opportunities for specific candidates to challenge each other to debates.

Once the election is finished and the Ministers are selected, they would be sworn in and would have an opportunity to meet with the Head of State and other elected officials.

The voting process itself would be this. People may vote "Yes", "No", or "No Confidence" to each candidate. There would be multiple different ways to vote in order to respect accessibility concerns. Each Assembly Election would be organized in advance, with the most populous Ministry going last and the least populous Ministry going first.

  Last edited by:  Shawn Crawford (Asgardian)  on Feb 13, 17 / Pis 16, 01 18:08 UTC, Total number of edits: 3 times

Feb 14, 17 / Pis 17, 01 01:00 UTC

After reading your proposal of Pantisocracy being a foundation for the Asgardian Constitution, I quite like it and do agree with you that it certainly can work for Asgardia.



Feb 14, 17 / Pis 17, 01 01:28 UTC

I am opposed to unconventional government systems. There are two primary reasons for this:

  1. Experimental systems are experimental and people regard them as such. We need a government that Asgardians can immediately be confident in for securing the survival of every single Asgardian who is actually residing on the space station as well as fairly executing the laws of all citizens.

  2. We need a government system that everyone can immediately understand. Asgardians are extremely diverse and many of us do not come from democratic countries. It sounds silly, but participating in a democracy is a skill like any other and it requires understanding of the system and practice to make it work. Even a simple democratic system is not immediately obvious in its functioning, what with the registration processes, the ballot procedures, the public hearings and meetings, the paperwork for filing for election\referendum, etc. The more complicated the system, the more likely a significant portion of Asgardians will not be able to fully participate out of the gate and may need months or years before they feel confident to fully utilize the system, and that's assuming clear government instructional efforts and that all language barriers are overcome effectively.

Feb 15, 17 / Pis 18, 01 16:48 UTC

Thank you for your feedback, sammich.

I would respond by saying that Asgardia itself is an experimental concept, and so using unconventional ideas and wisdom is not dissuaded, but encouraged. We do need to ensure the survival of Asgardians, I 100% agree. However, we need to be pragmatic in our approach. There is an immediacy in the fact that some Asgardians are living in poverty right now, and these are problems that we can solve without the need for a full democratic assembly. The democratic assembly apparatus is only going to be used for particularly important questions concerning the government. Everyday survival will be a collective responsibility, not just something that we rely on the government to do for us.

With regard to understanding the democratic process, I agree with what you're saying. It can be confusing. I've heard "direct democracy" being mentioned, but it's a lengthy process to make decisions and it's generally far too inefficient. Maybe there's some sort of instructional multi-language flier or handout that could be created to be distributed to the assembly participants?

I don't think the process is difficult to understand. It's essentially three steps: choose a chairperson, hold the meeting / debate, vote on the resolution.

Feb 15, 17 / Pis 18, 01 17:44 UTC

Pragmatism is generally paramount. That's why I don't think we should try to force experimental government systems. If they were clearly practical, they wouldn't be experimental.

The government is a tool to solve problems too big for individuals to handle. Deferring government responsibility to private individuals and organizations of individuals effectively removes these responsibilities from public accountability and control. The plight of Asgardians is moot for the purposes of this discussion. There is no government and no citizens yet. I'll refrain from my spiel on why charity doesn't work for non-emergency ongoing problems, as it is moot.

If you are concerned that direct democracy is too inefficient and lengthy, then I should warn you that pantisocracy would be much worse in that regard. The problem is in the first two simple steps. Direct democracy, as it is usually implemented, handles the first two steps quickly and easily through petitions with pre-set requirements for size and submission deadlines. Referenda are called through a near automatic process and then citizens simply vote to approve or deny. In a pantisocracy, it begins with an argument for who should be chairperson, which can last indefinitely ("Why is it by lots? This is tyranny!"). Then it continues with a meeting where there is no clear order in which participants speak, so an argument must first be held to decide. Whether the decision binds the following assemblies is another argument. And so on and so forth until either it becomes as ineffective as the Athenian assembly became or evolves into something resembling a more usual town hall style assembly.

It should be noted that the Athenian system worked primarily because it was an evolved system and tailored to the particulars of Athenian society. Very few people were eligible to vote and nearly all of them were the wealthiest citizens. Even among voters, literacy was rare, so the government could not effectively function in writing. Voters did not generally work full time and the assembly hall was conveniently located near the city center where their ordinary business was typically conducted. Assemblies were held during normal business hours, so that voters could come and go throughout the day. In many ways, the Athenian system was meant to share power between the most powerful citizens in the simplest way to force consensus, by getting enough interested powerbrokers to agree so that the rest of the powerbrokers would not bother resisting. Many Athenians laws placed burdens on people who had no suffrage at all, which helped to keep the system functioning.