direct democracy

Many thoughtful people of world are now concerned deeply about aggravation of several serious problems led by life-threatening environmental problems and accumulation of weapons of mass destruction. At the same time they realize that the earlier problems of inequalities and injustice are also worsening in many contexts. As life-nurturing conditions of our planet are also threatened there is greater urgency now than ever before for public action to check these most serious problems.

However there is considerable disagreement regarding what forms these social movements can take which in turn leads to avoidable divisions among some of the most concerned people. With the aim of increasing possibilities of greater unity and increasing focus on the most urgent issues, the JEPESD approach is presented here.

This is based on five basic commitments-

Commitment to Justice and Equality—JE

Commitment to Peace and Disarmament-P

Commitment to Environment Protection-E

Commitment to Protection of All Species-S

Commitment to Democracy and Transparency-D

These five commitments are seen here as non-negotiable essentials which need to be combined in highly decentralized ways in keeping with the requirements and needs of various cultures, countries, societies and communities.

In terms of historical experience as well as evidence-based understanding of present-day needs, these five commitments are seen to be essential and important for the welfare of all living beings and are also mutually supportive of each other. The challenge is to define and combine them keeping in view the needs of various times and situations.

This should be the basis of very broad-based social change. Of course people have the freedom to link up with such change in their own way subject to their inclination, ability and constraints. So some of them may like to contribute more at individual level while others become very active participants in social movements. All are welcome to contribute in their own way.

People who are involved in bigger social movements have the very challenging, creative and involving task of combining and applying JEPESD in their social conditions, but at the same time they have to also apply these principles in the conditions of their personal life. As millions and then tens of millions of people engage in the highly creative and engaging exercise of living their own life in conformity with these principles, this in itself becomes the means of bringing much protection and increasing much happiness in our world.

This also involves improving human relationships at all levels—our relations with each other, with community, with nature, with other species, with the next generation. We may discover and be initially frightened by the extent to which these may be based on an inclination towards dominance and self-interest, but this realization is worthwhile if it paves the way for the deeper happiness and enhanced welfare that comes from shifting towards relationships of cooperation and protection at various levels.

Our efforts should be for a  realization of deeper form of happiness, fulfillment and relevance in personal life and closer relationships, together with a firm faith in this also leading towards higher social goals  of re-organizing the world on the basis of justice and equality, peace and disarmament, protection of environment and all species, democracy and transparency. This is the essence of the JEPESD approach.

This approach to social change can be taken up in any country and there can be cooperation and mutual learning among such movements of various countries, contributing to wider changes at world level.

Initial difficulties can easily arise for anyone choosing this path as the social values and thoughts that are dominant in most societies are not in conformity with this path. However these difficulties can be overcome with patience, thoughtfulness and determination.

At the same time efforts to change dominant social values should be made at the level of family, community, school and college as well as at other levels. Simple messages that need to be discussed and spread can include—avoid causing any distress to any living being, all people are equal and there should be no discrimination, basic needs and dignity of all people should be respected. Rich discussions around such simple themes can be created with focus on whether this involves bringing any change in our own life, thinking and everyday behavior. This can facilitate in many ways the spread of JEPESD based social movements.

We have a rich heritage of great women and men contributing to similar ideas in the course of human history. These inspiring experiences and ideas should be more widely shared in the form of books and booklets, films and audios or videos.

Bharat Dogra is Honorary Convener, Campaign to Save Earth Now. His recent books include Planet in Peril—People’s Response the Way Forward, Man over Machine—A Path to Peace, Protecting Earth for Children and Earth Without Borders. Contact-bharatdogra1956@gmail.com


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