Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Dennitzan Democracy

I am very impressed with Dennitzan democratic institutions. What I want to see is customs and practices whereby the population can take action not only against unelected officials but also against their own elected representatives if necessary.

Each of the two species has brought organizational forms from its home planet: human Parliament; Merseian Vachs. The Merseians, although more recent immigrants and a planetary minority, are represented in a third House of the Parliament but sometimes also a large demonstration of zmayi (citizens of Merseian descent) has marched into the Chamber, demanding to be heard.

"...no clash came. Despite what they told [Flandry] when the move was being planned, he'd more or less awaited behavior like that when a gaggle of demonstrators wanted to invade a legislative session on any human planet he knew - prohibition, resistance, then either a riot or one of the sides yielding. If officialdom conceded in order to avoid the riot, it would be grudgingly, after prolonged haggling; and whatever protesters were admitted would enter under strict conditions, well guarded, to meet indignant stares."
- Poul Anderson, Sir Dominic Flandry: The Last Knight Of Terra (New York, 2012), p. 558.

I have never been in Tahrir Square but I have participated in enough sieges of local City Council or management-union meetings to know that what Anderson gives us is (as good as) an eye-witness account.

Dennitzans have also institutionalized, without fully legalizing, the ispravka, direct citizen action, without riots or lynching. Since every able adult is a reservist, they are able to move under discipline either to expel offenders or to detain them while spokesmen demand action from the authorities. Such actions can bring down governments. When Imperials arrest the Gospodar, Terrans and other servants of the Empire are rounded up into certain buildings as hostages. Although the civil authority denounces the action and sends in police, the people guard the buildings and no shots are fired (yet) while hundreds march to intervene in a joint session of Parliament.

Thus, individual Dennitzans participate in an action affecting planetary policies.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, Paul!

The fact that "ispravkas" were not fully legalized needs some stressing, IMO. It shows that some Dennitzans were not fully happy with it, because it could so easily lead to open violence, even a civil war. Otherwise, yes, I agree in finding much to admire or respect in Dennitzan political institutions.