"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves, and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson


We as Americans all remember being taught when we were young about our nation's founders, the patriots who stood up to the tyranny of the crown of England, the drafters of the declaration of independence, the constitution, and the bill of rights, the documents that became the framework for a system of governance that they believed would maintain a balance of power within a truly representative government, that would preserve the basic rights and liberties of the people, let their voice be heard, and provide to them a government, as Lincoln later put it, "of the people, by the people, and for the people."

What we may not be so quick to recall, however, is that there was much debate between the founding fathers as to what model our system of government should follow. Those such as Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, and Patrick Henry on one side favored a pure and direct democracy with the legislative power vested in the very hands of the people, while others such as James Madison, John Adams and George Washington held that a representative democracy would better serve the people than a true democracy because they believed it would protect the individual liberties of the minority from the will of the majority. Alexander Hamilton even went so far as to support the creation of a monarchy. In the end, those favoring representative democracy won the day and that is the system they put in place in the hopes of creating a "more perfect union."

Now we must ask ourselves, what would the founding fathers think if they were resurrected today to see what has become of their vision? One can only assume that they would begin to search for modern day patriots to meet them once again at the liberty tree in order to plan a new struggle for freedom and self governance. Although we continue to praise and honor those who founded our nation and sought to create a truly just form of government for it, do we really stop to reflect on whether we as a nation have in fact succeeded in preserving what they fought so hard to create?

Today, in contrast to our revolutionary ancestors, we as citizens of the United States generally observe politics from afar and the vast majority of us may participate in the political process only to the extent that we go to the polls once a year to vote. Over the decades and centuries we have allowed the erosion of the ideals of the founding fathers and the corruption of the principles which they enshrined in those so carefully conceived documents. We have been left with essentially no real power to influence our "democratically" elected officials. We may write an occasional letter to our senator or representative that generates a form letter in response and a statistical data entry that may or may not be weighed against the influence of some powerful corporate lobby. We may be permitted to participate in a march or demonstration of thousands or even millions, something our patriots of old would have marvelled at, only to be dismissed as a 'focus group' with no bearing on policy decisions.

How then is the government held accountable to the voice of the people? Are the people meant to speak only at the polls when given a choice between a select few candidates that may be equally corrupt? No, as Jefferson and his allies rightly believed, the people should be heard much more than that.

In spite of their good intentions, the system of representative democracy that the founding fathers opted for has been systematically undermined and has ultimately failed in preserving the well being of the people of this nation. Most of us accept this reality as being beyond our control and continue to observe, comment, and complain without aspiring to achieving any real change. Our local leaders and activists in our communities, and even those local elected officials who may have the best of intentions are for the most part powerless to make real positive change happen in our neighborhoods, towns and villages when there is so much corruption from above.

We have become so accustomed to this failed system of representative democracy that it may not occur to us that there are other alternative forms of democracy. In various places around the world participatory or direct democracy has been instituted both in concert with representative democracy, and as a replacement for it. It is a form of democracy that is designed to take directly into account your views, and the views of your neighbors, and to politically empower you to make real positive change possible in your communities. Initiative, referendum & recall, community councils, and grassroots organizing are but a few ways in which direct/participatory democracy is achieving great success around the world.

This site will attempt to explore in depth the concept of participatory democracy and how this grass-roots based form of governance could help bring us back in line with the principles this country was founded upon if it were allowed to take root here. In the hope that one day we can become a nation working together as a united people practicing true democracy as true equals, we open this forum…



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Thursday, January 31, 2008


An initiative is underway in Australia which has led to the creation of a new political party called Senator On-Line. The party is unique in that it is the first internet based party in Australia, and it seeks to elect representatives to office who have pledged to vote according to the will of the people, and not their own personal views. this will be achieved by an internet based popular poll being held for each bill brought before the parliament. The result of the poll will determine the way the Senator On-line senator votes on the bill, effectively creating a mixed direct/representative democracy in which the senator is merely a proxy representative executing the expressed will of the people. The Senator On-line party was officially registered and participated in the 2007 Australian election receiving over 8000 votes even though they entered only 2 months before the election. This bold experiment, if it succeeds, should certainly lead us to consider the possiblity of a similar initiative being implemented in the U.S.A. as a transitional step towards a more direct democratic system. - Editor

Senator On-Line is Australia's Only Internet Based Democratic Political Party

Source: http://www.senatoronline.org.au/

Senator On-Line is not aligned to any other political party… it is neither Liberal nor Labor.

Senator On-Line (‘SOL’) is a truly democratic party which will allow everyone on the Australian Electoral roll who has access to the internet to vote on every Bill put to Parliament and have its Senators vote in accordance with a clear majority view.

How did SOL go in the 2007 election?

Senator On-Line was approved shortly before the 2007 federal election was called. Senate counting continues and given we had only around two months to develop public awareness, spent no money on newspaper or TV advertising, we've received over 8000 votes nationally so far - a reasonable result and better than the national votes for four other parties.

We had over 1000 people who registered with us in the two months and emails offering support are continuing to roll in. We look forward to contesting the next election.



When a SOL senator is elected a web site will be developed which will provide:

  1. Accurate information and balanced argument on each Bill and important issues

  2. The vast majority of those registered on the Australian Electoral roll the chance to have their say by voting on bills and issues facing our country

  3. A tally of all votes which will then count in Parliament

  4. Each person on the Australian Electoral roll will be entitled to one vote and only be allowed to vote once on each bill or issue.

  5. SOL senators will have committed in writing to voting in line with the clear majority view of the SOL on-line voters.

  6. Senator On-Line will enable broader community involvement in the political process and the shaping of our country.

If you like the concept, please register your details and tell others about SOL.

This is the pre-election website. To find out what will be available when SOL wins a Senate seat click here.

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