CDRSB Research Policy 2011

The Campaign to Defend the Right to a Secret Ballot (CDRSB) was formed in 2002 to oppose the unlimited use of postal ballots. The 1872 UK Ballot Act was designed to protect this right by requiring that voters be officially witnessed to cast their vote in secret at polling stations. Postal ballots could only be used in the UK throughout the 20th century by voters unable through absence from home or illness to cast their vote in a polling station. In this way employers and landlords were prevented from demanding that their employees and tenants vote under their scrutiny. Unlimited use of postal ballots undermines the right to a secret ballot: it also leads to an increase in electoral fraud.

These restrictions - to persons absent from home or ill - were first lifted in Oregon in 1992 and since then in over 20 USA states and European countries, including England, Scotland and Wales. It is the Left who are the chief advocates of reforms aimed to encourage voter participation by lowering standards of integrity in regard to the electoral process. The CDRSB held a conference on this matter at the UN in New York in 2006. Preparations for the second conference include research on what the first conference recognized to be the main underlying cause of electoral fraud and malpractice: the conflict between conservatism and radicalism.

It may be reasonably stated that most conflict in the last two centuries arose ultimately as a consequence of the failure to fulfil the aspirations of American revolutionary radicalism in the regulation of inherited wealth and the development of non partisan forms of political participation and decision making most especially in regard to their role in facilitating ongoing systemic change. This failure may be attributed principally to two main factors: first, the incompetence of French revolutionary radicalism; second, the insufficient strength of American revolutionary radicalism in overcoming single-handedly the forces of global conservatism following the French defeat. The reasons for these shortcomings are rooted in the comparatively more backward level of French and European social and political development.

Democratic progress may therefore best be assured by reaffirming the main achievements and aspirations of American revolutionary radicalism. These are first, the Bill of Rights as constitutional safeguard against government tyranny; second, the principle that the earth belongs to the living in its implications both for ongoing systemic change and the taxation of inherited wealth; thirdly, the further development of sortition by way of the jury form of democracy.

The development of sortition as a complementary form of election and appointment needs to be developed both in regard to its merit in promoting egalitarian methods of democratic participation and also in regard to its merit in helping to constrain the influence of factions, most especially secret factions, on the political process. Suspicion regarding secret factions gripped the public imagination in the formative years of the American republic and led to the formation of the American Antimasonic party. Such fears were exploited by extremism in World War Two, and remain of continuing importance in the modern era. Since the demise of Marxism in both its openly Leninist as well as its dictatorial, Stalinist expression career Leftism has increasingly favoured the secret factional methods of Fabian strategy: stealth, spin, infiltration and deception. Obama, Blair and even Saul Alinsky’s Tory disciple David Cameron are leaders who have all acquired somewhat suspect reputations in this context.

The European Union is largely a product of such tactics and is based on an assemblage of numerous treaties, constitutional claims and so called ‘human rights’ laws which are remarkable only by way of the fact that despite their voluminous complexity their authors have still managed to exclude from them virtually all provisions of the US Bill of Rights. Against this background greater use of sortition can help develop a less partisan form of deliberation and decision making complementary to present forms of parliamentary representation but better suited to providing more open, honest, trustworthy judgements on long term systemic change based on practical results, not secretively preconceived, ideologically driven wishful thinking.

If general agreement can be reached in regard to these goals then conflict between radicalism and conservatism may be better contained within the parameters of peaceful constitutional development properly protected against the threat of factional monopolies and attempts to promote tyranny by stealth. These parameters may facilitate multisystemic options in which socialist and capitalist forms of economy can be tested upon an impartial foundation of democratic participation.