André Rebentisch on Mon, 28 Jan 2019 17:42:55 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> notes from Brexania in limbo...

Thank you Heiko for opening this discussion. Three anecdotal observations:

1. We had a referendum whether to keep Tegel Airport open. Citizens of
Berlin got a letter from the government urging them to vote against. I
think this should not happen as a matter of principle and is an abuse of
executive powers, however the legal base is a right of the city to
inform. I filed a complaint that was dismissed with reference to a court
case of another party. When public officials can't see that direct
participation in public opinion building cannot be financed by state
funds, that casts a bad light on the governance of this city. Of course
there is a difference between information and the transgressing call to
vote in a specific way. In general politicians seem increasingly unable
to grasp the difference of taking a stand as a partisan politician and
in an official function.
2. Dictatorships usually use a referendum to lend legitimacy to an abuse
of power or an anti-constitutional state of emergency.
3. Tempelhof referendum: Here the public voted for a maximalist stance
because in a referendum there is virtually no compromise. As a result
one may not build *anything* on Tempelhof air field. The counter
proposal was a modest construction permit at the outskirts of the field.
Political decisions in Parliament on the other hand are always compromises.

Other remarks
- There is no written UK constitution.
- On Brexit we find a radicalization of the outcome.
- For me democracy means the right to contest a rule to which voting is
only an instrument at your disposal. The purpose of these instruments is
to make citizens the master and to educate the institutions to be their
servants. A perfect servant does not ask you unless required but does
what you want.

As illustrated by a comedy classic:

- The notion of sovereignty recently became subject to delusional right
wing state concepts which are ultimately ahistorical. Framed as a
unrestrained right of the people to govern their own affairs we also
find it in left wing discourse and populist criticism of the financial
markets. Ultimately democracy also finds its limits in the laws of
physics when a democratic majority might suggest icarus deserves his
right to fly.


Am 28.01.19 um 03:39 schrieb Heiko Recktenwald:

> "Direct democracy", is this a fashion of politicians without
> responbibility or a principle of constitutional law of the UK? Like the
> sovereignty of parliament. Maybe we should rethink democracy once more.
> Is direct democracy good in all cases? Obviously not.

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