The first condition for a political catastrophe is a new paradigm, a new
but still vague idea about the organisation of a future society that is
based on principles that differ fundamentally from the old paradigm. In my
fourth article about political catastrophes
I hinted at the activity of alternating involved minorities in
contradiction to the predominantly inactive majorities in the present
Active involved alternating minorities are independent groups of
interested masspeople that during a limited time period act
together on a specific social problem. The action includes the exerting of
pressure on members of the elite to make clear that the judgement of
involved masspeople is at least as important as the ideas of
elitepeople. When the problem is solved, masspeople withdraw
in their private life till the moment a new compelling problem arises.
Then can than again become active by forming a new group often with different
Some elements of the new paradigm can be found by analysing the old
paradigm. In my book "The Scarists", especially chapters 5 and 6 about democracy
and elections, I give several arguments
against the democratic organisation of our society and why I think
democracy obstructs further progress. The monotony of democracy becomes
evident in the lack of any utopia, it does not give people any
inspiration. There has to be something better than democracy!
In "The Power of an Autonomous Human"
I give more arguments against the elitist democracy in which small groups of
elitepeople take all decisions. When democracy was still young it was a
progressive feature that changed society but now it has become
conservative because leading groups want to keep what they have, they want
to maintain their privileges. Decision-taking has to be expanded to all
people who are interested and involved.
A possible change in the political paradigm can be found in the e-zine
“In today's context, revolution occurs when people stop believing one
thing and start believing something else; when people discard their old
ways of living, and begin to live in new ways. When enough people lose
faith in an institution and begin to act as if it did not exist, that
The organisation of society is however only partly determined by the way
people live but also by the possibility how and where people can exert
influence on their own life and on society. There will be no profound
change when people withdraw from society for example by making their own
music. The centralised power must be undermined and thus people have to
become active in social struggles. This power structure is personalised in
elitepeople who use the democratic system to keep control. The
influence of common citizens is limited.
By using a new paradigm more people (all of them?) will become active in decision forming, making and taking. This cannot be
achieved by withdrawing from society. In our
complicated and interrelated society this is impossible because the
environment, which is partly determined by the dominating old paradigm,
influences everybody. Communities that have tried to live according to new
principles often succumbed because greed and the compulsion to be better
than other people overwhelmed them. But even when some people secure a
place in which they can live in a different way, the rest of the world
will not change. That happens only when people act according to the
principles of a new paradigm. The right way to think and to act
successfully is more important than to live now already completely in a
new kind of society.
The participation of citizens in our democracy is limited. Only a few
leaders are elected at a moment leaders
determine. In the elitist democracy emphasis lies on majorities. In a new society activity of small groups, minorities, must become more important than a majority that mostly follows
leaders. In the system of alternating minorities people can live their own
life and sometimes, when they are deeply touched by something, they can
join other people to get influence on the solution of problems.
The present social struggle is mostly organised by big organisations with
a professional leadership on which members (or participants in e.g. demonstrations) have hardly any influence.
The leadership of big social
organisations is oligarchic and reflects the ‘normal’ organisation of
our society in which elites decide. In political parties the party elite
has a predominant influence on candidate lists. Elections take place on
the time others decide and after the voting the influence of party members
and voters becomes minimal. Citizens transfer their electoral power to
chosen representatives who hardly consult voters. Actions nearly only take
place when leaders decide it is time to act. Elections give citizens
hardly any influence and the autonomy of individual citizens is
The new paradigm gives citizens the possibility to exert influence on the
time, the place and the situation THEY decide. People want to live
their life and only become active when something happens that influences
that life. When the problem is important many small independent groups of
citizens will come into existence and together, but mostly without knowing
each other, they will exert a decisive influence on decision takers. This
activity of many independent and involved minorities cannot be
stopped by the votes of a non-involved majority that is mostly under the
spell of professional leaders. In the present society the centralised
power makes the rules and common citizens can nearly only exert influence
when they take complicated and expensive juridical steps.
Under the new paradigm only small independent groups of involved people
will carry out actions. Massive demonstrations in which people often
participate out of solidarity with third persons will become obsolete.
Actions not only intend to make the will of the people known but also put direct pressure on leaders that take wrong decisions. In this power
struggle alternating involved minorities from the people will actively
confront alternating minorities from the decision taking elite. The modern
means of communication as Internet have opened the possibility to find
like minded persons.
Direct actions that put pressure on members of the elite will mostly
remain within the boundaries of the law. In mass actions as demonstrations
and strikes other common people are also bothered (and the police when
clashes occur) so the elite can call on the police to intervene. In the
struggle between alternating minorities the police will be a non-involved
onlooker. They will not be touched or hurt by the actions and they will
often be sympathetic towards the goals. So they will be less inclined to
act against activists than in the present situation when they often become
A catastrophe will come nearer when more and more small actions take
place. In the appendix of my book "The Scarists"
you find some simple mathematical background. The Theory of Chaos tells us that a small
can have a devastating influence on a complex system as human society. The
Theory of Catastrophe says something about the method how to get close to the
moment that such a huge change can occur that repressing institutions will
vanish. This happens when the elite, that wishes to maintain the existing
situation, cannot continue to live as it lived before because people from
the masses exert too much pressure. This is the result of the increasing
direct contact between mass and elite with the help of the kind of
activities I have recorded on my site. After the change the same people
will see things in another way, so it is not needed to remove all old
elite persons (though some will still not understand the new society).
During this catastrophic process the minds of many elite members (and also
the mind of the masses) will change and they will act differently in
a society that is based on the new paradigm. The continuing activity of
alternating mass minorities will prevent the rise of a new elite. In this
way history will not repeated as was the case the Soviet Union and elsewhere where after a revolution
a new elite arose that was very similar to the elite that was removed.
I do not say much about the future. I propose a new method to
cause a fundamental change that will remove the inequality in wealth and
power and that at the same time will unleash the now restricted creativity
and autonomy of human beings. When masspeople successfully can influence leaders
they will become really free.
A last remark. The elitist democracy is not the best social system
possible though citizens in our countries have slightly more influence on
their own life than the masses in the Third World where democracy hardly
exists. I write about a possible change in the political system in rich
countries, the Third World has still a long way to go not in the least
because general knowledge (general literacy) is not widespread.
Democracy is coming to an end, let’s try something else.
Joost van Steenis
(December 31 2001)
See also a later article called "Alternating
minorities versus a democracy based on majorities".