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European News and Poland Thread 3


Atch 20 | 4,154
19 Jun 2023 #151
The problem is that if PIS hold a referendum, they set a precedent. The public will then begin to expect and demand referendums on other potentially sensitive or divisive issues, the results of which may not go the government's way. If PIS, in order to avoid that, refuse to hold referendums on those issues they may lose support from their existing voter base eg. those who wish to see abortion abolished completely would be very upset if PIS said 'no, we can't decide this by referendum.'
OP Novichok 4 | 8,179
19 Jun 2023 #152
If PIS, in order to avoid that, refuses to hold referendums...

If the government can refuse to hold a referendum, the country is not a democracy. In a democracy, the constitution allows the voters to compel a referendum by the required number of signatures, with the government being powerless to stop it.

This, my dear children, is democracy. All else is a pretense - just as I can pretend to be a woman when I feel like it.
Atch 20 | 4,154
19 Jun 2023 #153
the country is not a democracy.

Poland is not a democracy, any more than the USA is. Poland is what they call a flawed democracy. But Poland has some excuse, given its history. There's none for the USA.

And please stop with this 'dear children' nonsense. You never mentioned referendums at all until I told you about Ireland -and don't say you phoned the Swiss embassy back in nineteen splash-dot and found out about them, because if you had done so, you'd have used that as an example of a democracy when you were asking people here to define democracy.
Joker 3 | 2,419
19 Jun 2023 #154
, any more than the USA is.

Thats because were are not a democracy, we are a constitutional republic:)
mafketis 37 | 10,851
19 Jun 2023 #155
not a democracy, we are a constitutional republic

That uses representational democracy (people elect decision makers and unelect them if they're not happy with them).

It has problems of course (not restricted to the US you get exactly the same problem in most of Europe... the main parties agreeing with each other against the wishes of the population).

Not many states have a history of referendums, California is the most famous (called propositions that appear on the ballot on regular election days) and considering how that works out... not many other states are interested in following suite.
Paulina 17 | 4,469
19 Jun 2023 #156
Thats because were are not a democracy, we are a constitutional republic:)

Poland is a unitary parliamentary republic and a representative democracy. One doesn't exclude the other.

Poland is not a democracy

?

Poland is what they call a flawed democracy.

Still a democracy though.
OP Novichok 4 | 8,179
19 Jun 2023 #157
Poland is ... a representative democracy.

The USSR was a representative democracy. They had elections, too.

Still a democracy though.

Yes. The USSR was a flawed democracy.

I never thought that talking to naive idiots will be so much fun.
Paulina 17 | 4,469
20 Jun 2023 #158
The USSR was a representative democracy.

No, it wasn't.

The USSR was a flawed democracy.

No, it wasn't. Because:

"Flawed democracies are nations where elections are fair and free and basic civil liberties are honoured but may have issues (e.g. media freedom infringement and minor suppression of political opposition and critics)."

The USSR had a totalitarian system with the Communist Party of the Soviet Union being the only party permitted by the Constitution. That was nowhere near a democracy.
mafketis 37 | 10,851
20 Jun 2023 #159
USSR was a representative democracy. They had elections, too.

How many opposition parties were there?
amiga500 4 | 1,529
20 Jun 2023 #160
talking to naive idiots will be so much fun.

Still defending your scumbag communist father i see.
Paulina 17 | 4,469
20 Jun 2023 #161
@Novichok, I have a newsflash for you - the fact that a totalitarian regime will call itself a "democracy" - it doesn't mean that it is a democracy. The fact that a totalitarian regime will set up something that they will call "elections" - it doesn't mean that those elections are free and fair. Also, the fact that the ruling regime will say that the elections organised by them were "free and fair" - it doesn't automatically mean that they were "free and fair". Just like when some man will tell you that he's a decent guy and he'd never rape you doesn't mean it's a good idea to believe him on his word and go to his place with him. Get it?

Of course, even a kid can understand that. Even when I went to school I understood what democracy is about and how totalitarian and authoritarian regimes were lying and giving out the pretence of democracy in order to look like they have a legitimacy. So what is wrong with you? Are you really such a moron? Or do you waste people's time on purpose because you're a troll?

I never thought that talking to naive idiots will be so much fun.

But we're not the idiots here - you are. And I have to say that your idiocy is either of gigantic proportions or you are a really obnoxious (and boring) troll.
jon357 74 | 22,387
20 Jun 2023 #162
The USSR was a flawed democracy

Was it not supposed to be a 'dictatorship of the proletariat' as Lenin called it.

the fact that a totalitarian regime will call itself a "democracy

Quite. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea is t democratic and National Socialism wasn't Socialist.

Poland is what they call a flawed democracy

I'd say that all democracies are flawed, though instead of flawed it's perhaps better to say that they all have their unique characteristics.
Atch 20 | 4,154
20 Jun 2023 #163
Still a democracy though.

I was being a bit pedantic Paulina. Like a tiresome child, Novi repeatedly asks for a definition of a democracy (well, he used to until he discovered referendums and now he repeats that like a parrot). There are actually accepted definitions for, let's say, grades of democracy and what makes a country a full or true democracy. Very few countries can tick that box, even within the EU. Poland is classified as a flawed democracy as is the USA. I remember when I first lived in Poland back in 2006, one day I actually realised that although Poland was in the EU it wasn't really a democracy, as I knew it. Back then I wasn't aware of the definitions for democracy but the interesting thing is that Ireland is one of the few countries classified as a true democracy so I was coming from that background and I could see the difference between the two very clearly.
Paulina 17 | 4,469
20 Jun 2023 #164
instead of flawed it's perhaps better to say that they all have their unique characteristics.

I disagree. "Flawed" means that they're lacking in something that democracy should have. That's democracy not being "unique", but flawed. When you start boiling down lack of media freedom and suppression of political opposition and critics to some country's/nation's supposed "uniqueness", you'll end up like Putin calling what he set up in RuSSia "sovereign democracy" lol.

And what they have in reality in RuSSia is:

en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Putinism

There are actually accepted definitions for, let's say, grades of democracy and what makes a country a full or true democracy. Very few countries can tick that box, even within the EU.

I think that majority of countries in the EU are what I would call normal, real democracies ("real" as in not pretended, like some authoritarian regimes like to pretend that they're a democracy). Maybe each and every of them are not an "ideal" example of democracy, but I think you know what I mean.

I'm not sure what you mean by "full or true" democracy then. "Perfect"? "Ideal"? Or what exactly does that mean?
Atch 20 | 4,154
20 Jun 2023 #165
Flawed democracy:

"Flawed democracies are nations where elections are fair and free and basic civil liberties are honored but may have issues (e.g. media freedom infringement and minor suppression of political opposition and critics). These nations have significant faults in other democratic aspects, including underdeveloped political culture, low levels of participation in politics, and issues in the functioning of governance."

Full democracy:

"Full democracies are nations where civil liberties and fundamental political freedoms are not only respected but also reinforced by a political culture conducive to the thriving of democratic principles. These nations have a valid system of governmental checks and balances, an independent judiciary whose decisions are enforced, governments that function adequately, and diverse and independent media. These nations have only limited problems in democratic functioning."

Here's a list of the ten most democratic nations in the world.

Norway (9.87)
Iceland (9.58)
Sweden (9.39)
New Zealand (9.26)
Finland (9.25)
Ireland (9.24)
Canada (9.22)
Denmark (9.22)
Australia (9.09)
Switzerland (9.03)
Paulina 17 | 4,469
20 Jun 2023 #166
Here's a list of the ten most democratic nations in the world.

OK, so those countries are "the most" democratic countries in the world. Does that mean that there are no countries outside of that list that are "full or true" democracies? What makes a country "full or true" democracy? Having a 9? What about Canada with it's 8.9 (on another list)? ;)
jon357 74 | 22,387
20 Jun 2023 #167
I disagree. "Flawed" means that they're lacking in something that democracy should have.

No, I disagree with you on that.

The misused term flawed simply implies that they have characteristics which do not fit a particular model of democracy. It isn't a religion with hard and fast rules about what is correct and what isn't. It's an evolving political concept.

It's also a highly Eurocentric concept which tends to exclude consensus models of society which have been developing in other parts of the world for far longer than the concepts we consider to be under the umbrella term that in English we call democracy.
cms neuf 1 | 1,743
20 Jun 2023 #168
Not sure about that list of the 10 most democratic societies - some of them like Ireland and NZ and Australia went very hardcore on the masks and lockdowns. I think there are probably still some people walking round Auckland in n95 masks trying to get a beer. I would honestly have preferred to spend lockdown in Poland than in one of those places
Paulina 17 | 4,469
20 Jun 2023 #169
Btw, Atch, I don't mind grading democracies, having indexes, lists, etc. But either a country is a democracy or it isn't. There is a difference between a democracy or an authoritarian and totalitarian regime. So, I'd be careful with saying such things, like "Poland or the US isn't a democracy", because in this way you're giving ammo to such demagogues like Novichok and other Putinists, who can then claim things like: "Oh, if Poland and the US aren't democracies then they have no right to criticise RuSSia or any other country for not being democratic!"

The misused term flawed simply implies that they have characteristics which do not fit a particular model of democracy. It isn't a religion with hard and fast rules

And I disagree with you again. It isn't a religion, but it has fixed characteristics that make it a democracy and not... something else. If there are some problems with some of the democratic principles in some country (like Poland or Hungary or Italy - it doesn't have to be a country in Africa, you know) then I see no reason why not to call it "flawed". Especially that it still is a democracy, just flawed.

It's also a highly Eurocentric concept

Well, democracy originated in Europe (ancient Greece), or so I was taught at school. Then why don't other parts of the world think of something else and call it something else. Democracy is a democracy...

(a disclaimer, just in case - jon357, I'm not disagreeing with you to argue with you - I actually can have a different opinion than you, OK?)
Luke1410 - | 167
20 Jun 2023 #170
"Full democracies are nations where civil liberties and fundamental political freedoms are not only respected but also reinforced by a political culture conducive to the thriving of democratic principles. These nations have a valid system of governmental checks and balances, an independent judiciary whose decisions are enforced, governments that function adequately, and diverse and independent media. These nations have only limited problems in democratic functioning."

So a democracy is a country that is ruled by an unelected independent judiciary?
jon357 74 | 22,387
20 Jun 2023 #171
It isn't a religion

For some, it may as well be one.

Well, democracy originated in Europe (ancient Greece)

If anything, in America, since the ancient Greeks only has a form of people's government for a short time and that was far from being successful or sustainable.

You could argue that Britain, who had the first written constitution in modern Europe pioneered it, however as with the Polish constitution a century or so later, it was short lived.
Paulina 17 | 4,469
20 Jun 2023 #172
since the ancient Greeks only has a form of people's government for a short time and that was far from being successful or sustainable.

It doesn't matter - that's where the concept of democracy (and even the *word itself) originated - ancient Greeks were first.

(*from Ancient Greek: δημοκρατία, romanized: dēmokratía, dēmos 'people' and kratos 'rule')
jon357 74 | 22,387
20 Jun 2023 #173
It doesn't matter - that's where the concept of democracy

I did know the etymology, thanks.

And it's an over-romanticisation since only a tiny proportion of people took part in government. You could also argue that the number of people in Attica as a whole at that time was tiny. Democracy? Certainly flawed and Solon the Arbiter was at best a dictator,

I do sometimes roll my eyes when people describe the Polish 3rd May Constitution as the 'first in modern Europe' which it very much wasn't. Britain had two before that. Like the K3M they were unpopular with more autocratic states and didn't last long.
Atch 20 | 4,154
20 Jun 2023 #174
Ireland and NZ and Australia went very hardcore on the masks and lockdowns.

I don't know how the people of NZ felt about it but there was a lot of support in Ireland for the lockdown during the first year of Covid. Now of course business people were very concerned, especially pub owners but the general public were largely supportive of the measures. There is a strong sense of moral responsibility iin Ireland, especially in small communities, for the welfare of the elderly and nobody wanted to be responsible for old Paddy down the road catching Covid. Then there was the awareness that the hospitals were already under strain before Covid and there was a very real danger of the health service collapsing. Finally the public were kept extremely well informed with daily televised press conferences by the Chief Medical Officer. The public were able to phone in and talk to various members of the health executive and the policy makers. People didn't really feel that stuff was being imposed on them by nameless, faceless bureaucrats which I think made a difference.

What makes a country "full or true" democracy?

Well I did actually give you the definition but for me it's partly about the government and public representatives being accountable to the people and the amount of direct power the people have over policy and legislation. I mean in Ireland Paulina, laws on divorce, abortion, same sex marriage etc. were all decided by the people through referendums. In Poland the government basically does what it wants to without any consequence. The people are quite powerless.
Luke1410 - | 167
20 Jun 2023 #175
'National Socialism wasn't Socialist'

You can try and distance yourself from this, but the fact that it had socialism in the title is pretty damning, Rebecca Long Bailey at the last election even called for a kind of national socialism without realising what she had said.
Paulina 17 | 4,469
20 Jun 2023 #176
And it's an over-romanticisation since only a tiny proportion of people took part in government.

As I wrote already - it doesn't matter. I know that it wasn't the kind of democracy that we know today and that the British and Americans were "next" and that it developed, etc. etc. We did have history classes at school :)

But, as we were taught at school (and explained that it wasn't the kind of democracy as we have today, etc. etc - don't worry :)), ancient Greece is still a place where the concept and the word for democracy originated. Democracy evolved over time, of course, but that's where it has it's origins (even if "primitive", etc.) - ancient Greece.

en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy

"The term democracy first appeared in ancient Greek political and philosophical thought in the city-state of Athens during classical antiquity. The word comes from dêmos '(common) people' and krátos 'force/might'. Under Cleisthenes, what is generally held as the first example of a type of democracy in 508-507 BC was established in Athens. Cleisthenes is referred to as "the father of Athenian democracy"."
jon357 74 | 22,387
20 Jun 2023 #177
that it had socialism in the title is pretty damning

For them. They were of course resolutely capitalist. Nothing Socialist about them at all.

Rebecca Long Bailey at the last election even called for a kind of national socialism

Becky? She didn't though, did she...

I know that it wasn't the kind of democracy that we know today and that the British and Americans were "next

It was a step in that direction at best. If anything closer to Syndicalism, a much underrated political model. We often forget that we're talking about collections of villages.
Paulina 17 | 4,469
20 Jun 2023 #178
It was a step in that direction at best.

Well, as I wrote... it developed over time to what we understand as "democracy" today.

In Poland the government basically does what it wants to without any consequence.

Not entirely - there is some consequence - they can lose elections :)

I mean in Ireland Paulina, laws on divorce, abortion, same sex marriage etc. were all decided by the people through referendums.

Oh, I'd love that... And I'm guessing many Poles would too :))
Kashub1410 6 | 689
20 Jun 2023 #179
@jon357
For an ideology called "National Socialism" that blamed the tragedy and crisis of Germany and Europe on Capitalism (the crack in U.S.A) and for Jews being behind. I would hardly call it capitalistic...

Read up on capitalism, will you?
Luke1410 - | 167
20 Jun 2023 #180
morningstaronline.co.uk/article/f/there-no-contradiction-between-patriotism-and-socialism

Sorry you are right, it was 'progressive patriotism'. I think it was the spectator that interpreted this as another phrase for national socialism hence my mistake.


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