CDRSB Research Policy Statement 2013

The Campaign to Defend the Right to a Secret Ballot (CDRSB) was formed in 2002 to oppose the unlimited use of postal ballots begun by the Blair government in 2000. The 1872 UK Ballot Act protected this right by requiring that voters be witnessed to cast their vote in secret at polling stations. Postal ballots could only be used 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. It is the Left who are the chief advocates of reforms supposedly 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 treaties which exclude virtually all provisions of the US Bill of Rights.

This is the background against which the conflict between conservatism and radicalism is now escalating. If however general agreement can be reached in regard to the above 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. These principles of approach can divided into two parts.

Part A: These are constitutional requirements which are clearly necessary as ultimate goals for minimum international standards in relation to democratic development upon an increasingly integrated global scale. These requirements rest upon self evident truths of common sense and accordingly do not necessarily require testing in practice: first, all government and administrative decisions affecting individual liberty should be subject to appeal to and review by a jury; second, taxation policy should include recognition that inheritance tax is the most socially just class of taxation.

Part B: These are constitutional innovations which should be examined through pilot projects but which we are not promoting as necessary without testing in practice. We propose that long term policy and ongoing systemic change in regard to environmental, economic and other matters of a systemic nature may be better facilitated by instituting in parallel to and complementary to existing electoral arrangements a longer term cycle of elections to assemblies of randomly selected citizens. Their chief purpose would be to decide upon long term policy changes. Details of how best these decisions can be coordinated with existing democratic decision making procedures can be arrived at through experience over time.