Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Participatory democracy vs corporate media

I watched a video which CPAC put up of the new Green Party leader Annamie Paul speaking with reporters.



I became increasingly annoyed at the number of times reporters asked the same form of question. In their corporate minds, Annamie Paul was just placed as the CEO of the corporation called the Green Party of Canada. They wanted to know the many different ways that she would dictate commands to those the media insisted were subordinate to her, whether that be staff at the party, elected members of parliament, or candidates.  She had to constantly remind them of what a "healthy democracy" looks like.

Many of the biases of these reporters were obvious, even though these reporters would likely falsely claim they weren't biased.

As I have watched Canada's democracy decline over my lifetime, I have noticed that rather than the corporate media holding politicians to account that they are only making things worse.  Rather than recognize that democracy is more healthy the more decentralized it is, the corporate media has constantly manufactured fake scandals when any group displays healthy democratic traits by having disagreements in a bottom-up rather than top-down fashion.


The Global Greens Charter sets out the principles that bind Greens from around the world together:

  • Participatory Democracy
  • Nonviolence
  • Social justice
  • Sustainability 
  • Respect for Diversity
  • Ecological Wisdom


My greatest critique of Elizabeth May and the current federal council has been their willingness to abandon the first principle (participatory democracy) in order to appease Canada's anti-democratic corporate media or align themselves with the corporate structured parties.

I believe Elizabeth Mays support of "party proportional representation" (measured via the Gallagher index) was itself an abandonment of this first principle. Political parties are merely corporations, and a centralizing focusing on corporate brands over participants or representatives is unhealthy for democracy.  While Canada needs electoral reform in the form of ranked ballots in single and/or multi-member districts to make representatives more representative of citizens, electoral systems focused on corporate proportionality only makes the existing corporate focus worse.

I also believe the idea of having a leadership 'vetting committee' was an example of the problem.  While I strongly oppose the adoption of US-style primaries as it is unhealthy for Canadian democracy, having a top-down group deciding who is allowed to be nominated makes this bad situation worse. While the party may sometimes need a media spokesperson separate from the caucus elected leader (especially whenever there isn't an elected caucus), that person should never be falsely treated by the media as some sort of CEO.

It is beyond time for reporters employed by Canada's corporate media to recognize their harmful role within Canadian democracy.  The media can't oppose a healthy democracy and then be surprised when fewer and fewer people are willing to go to them to find out what is happening in Canada.  If they want public support, they need to switch to offering the public service of holding politicians to account.  This means treating elected representatives as accountable to citizens, not acting as if MPs were employees working within "elected" corporations (IE: political parties).

While I support participatory democracy over representative democracy, lets at least ensure that elected representatives are never expected (or preferably even allowed) to have loyalty to corporations over citizens.

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