The Demarchy Manifesto


Demarchy exploits the possibilities of modern communications to give new role to public discussion. It takes the initiative in formulating policy on each specific problem out of the hands of political parties and into the hands of those most strongly affected by that particular problem. John Burnheim explains why this needs to be done and how it can be done by voluntary initiative without constitutional change.



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The Author:

John Burnheim  taught philosophy at the University of Sydney from 1960 to 1990. His book Is Democracy Possible? (1985) explored the possibilities of filling certain public offices by lot as a democratic alternatives to voting.  He argued that the flaws of modern democracy — partisan power struggles, wheeling and dealing and the overwhelming influence of money — could only be addressed by a return to aspects of classical Athenian democracy.



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    – Hon Geoff Gallop, Premier of Western Australia 2001–2006
    ‘John Burnheim’s Demarchy Manifesto isn’t just an insightful and deeply pragmatic inquiry into the legitimacy and effectiveness of contemporary representative democracy but also a handbook for citizens looking for a meaningful way to bring new energy and much needed relevance to the way we determine public policy. He puts skin on the bones of what it means to find the public good by arguing for a community-based transfer of policy making from political parties to deliberative councils representative of those most directly affected in the case at hand.’

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