Mirosław Matyja 2019 – Introduction
While some people consider it a utopia, others see it as a real chance for a better future for Poland and hold to the idea as fast as they can. The idea we are talking about is direct democracy, a direct form of exercising power and a political system in which it is the citizens (the sovereign) that have the deciding voice regarding Poland’s crucial issues.
It is generally believed that the Polish nation is not equal to this form of governance; that Poles are foolish and incapable of making binding decisions. According to this belief, they have no clue about politics, and all they do is consume goods secured for them by the ruling class, i.e., politicians whose most important quality is that they are a part of the system, regardless whether they lean left or right. The people in power are considered different than citizens – they have proper qualifications, experience, they bear responsibility for the country, and, above all, it is them who were elected in order to govern.
The idea of the average citizen deciding on the matters of the state is at odds with Polish reality. That is why direct democracy is considered here a utopia… But is that exactly the case? And where did the idea of direct governance, which a growing number of citizens considers as a chance for a better future, come from?
Well, politics is similar to sports: impossible is nothing. We remember perfectly that even in the ‘70s virtually no one in Poland believed that we would free ourselves from the chains of communism. Central planning and everyday dullness were meant to last forever. In the end, it turned out that the change of the political system – and the form of governance – was in fact possible and became a reality.
Sadly, however, the very concept of political authority is grossly misunderstood in Poland. It is generally believed that the ones in authority are unique individuals, the chosen ones, or celebrities elected to decide about our fortune or misfortune. Yet, the concept does not simply refer to individuals or cliques in power, but to a process of domination of one group over other. That is why Polish society could, and should, be its own authority since it is the sovereign and the owner of the Polish state.
Why is it then that in Poland 40 million people are ruled by a small, exclusive group?
The aim of this book is to propose a model of direct governance in Poland and to show that it is not a utopia, but (maybe) a historical chance for our country. It is important to mention here that we are not arguing for a revolution, but rather for an evolution of the Polish political system. It is an attempt to find a better and more efficient form of functioning of the Polish state that would make it closer to citizens.
The current Polish semi-democracy is criticised every day, and rightly so. Up to now, however, there has not been proposed any model that would include Polish society – as the sovereign – in the decision-making process and provide an alternative to the elitist, top-down mode of governance.
The goal of this work is to present a complementary model of the political system for Poland that introduces forms of direct democracy. The project is based mainly on the experience of the Swiss direct democracy, which means that the proposed solutions have already been tested and certainly are not utopian.
While reading the book, please do remember one thing: sharing the political power with citizens is not a charity on the part of the ruling class – it is a democratic right of the sovereign, i.e., the citizens.
To be continued…
© Mirosław Matyja