Part of the surviving fragment of the broadside of the Declaration of Independence sent to George Washington on July 6, 1776, by John Hancock, President of the Continental Congress, which copy General Washington had read to his assembled troops on July 9 in New York, where they awaited the combined British fleet and army. (Image source: Library of Congress)

Lessons in Democracy


Related sites:

DICTATOR WATCH
ACTIVISM 101
UNIVERSITY OF LIFE

Notice: Lessons in Democracy is 100% blocked in China, according to the website Greatfire.org. If they ban you, they are afraid of you. We are delighted that our humble efforts have evoked fear from the tyrants who rule China.


Lessons in Democracy Arabic Proposal

Lessons in Democracy is part of a family of websites, the objective of which is to promote positive social change. By way of introduction, the prerequisites for accomplishing such change include that the steps taken to bring it about must be (1) consistent with human nature, not based on an unrealistically positive appraisal; (2) voluntary; (3) grounded in education; and (4) ethical. The importance of education derives in part from the fact that enduring and widespread change, global change, will require a mass opting-out of the present social system. Only education, about a better alternative, will motivate a critical mass of the population to break free of our current oppressive structure.

Lessons in Democracy is an in-depth description of our goal, a truly democratic society, including with an analysis of the many pitfalls that exist to establishing and maintaining such a society.

Lessons in Democracy also includes a short book about the worldwide economic recession - What Really Happened: The Financial Crisis Guide.

The University of Life was created to help you understand the mysteries of life, and to be the person that you have always wanted to be. Please spread the word.

Activism 101 gives an education about the tools of dissent, which is the essential expression of popular power by which we both throw off authoritarian rule, and preserve the vitality of our democracy once we are free.

Dictator Watch advances the theory of global social change, which is grounded in the field of mathematics known as chaos theory. But, while this might sound daunting, the basic ideas and their application to human societies can be understood by anyone. Dictator Watch also works as a front line activist group, on those cases where the need for change is most pressing.


Lessons in Democracy translations

I recommend this "Lessons in Democracy" to our Chinese friends both inside China and overseas.  We are sending you this simple textbook which is brief but to the point.  The author Roland Watson is an American writer and activist, who spent years helping people under dictatorships to gain their freedom and democracy.  The Chinese version of "Lessons in Democracy" is translated by the Wei Jingsheng Foundation.  This brief textbook is particularly suitable for the freedom and democracy striving people in the developing countries to read.

The special characteristics of this "Lessons in Democracy" is that it is easy to understand and concise, unlike many formal academic works which are often voluminous yet obscure.  It is not an attempt to explore abstruse theory, or to debate issues of uncertainty.  It simply lets people learn the mature modern democratic system as it has developed over the past few hundred years, in an effort to provide a general understanding of the essence of democracy.

- Wei Jingsheng, winner of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Human Rights Award and the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.


Radio Free Asia footage of the Chinese translation launch in the United States Capitol (LID author Roland Watson speaks at 4:25)


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Lessons in Democracy

Full Book pdf

Table of Contents

Preface

Principles of Democracy

1. What is democracy?

2. Equality, and freedom

3. Personal responsibility

4. Uncertainty, and value

5. Ethics

6. Power

7. Rights

Roles and Responsibilities

8. The people in a democracy

9. Dissent and rebellion

10. Leaders

Institutions of Democracy

11. Social checks and balances

12. The rule of law

13. The constitution

14. Federalism

15. Elections

16. Political parties

Challenges of Democracy


17. The dilemmas of democracy

18. The military

19. The police

20. Capitalism and corporations


What Really Happened: The 2008 Financial Crisis Guide

Table of Contents
Full Book pdf

Individuals convey their savings to businesses in the hope that they will earn a return on the savings in the form of business profits. In this process, the funds are converted by the individuals into "investments." They are now "investors," and their money in turn is considered "investment capital" by the businesses. The channeling of the funds occurs through "capital markets." It is this process and the existence of these markets that is the essence of capitalism.

For capitalism to function, the basic requirement is that the process be fair. The capital markets need to be transparent and carefully regulated so that the savers/investors are guaranteed that they will not lose all or part of their money other than through poor performance of the businesses in which they invest. If they do not believe that the markets are fair, that they are at risk of theft or fraud, they will refuse to provide their funds and the system will collapse.

Due to centuries of economic growth and savings, capital markets have become huge. Another class of participants has arisen, "financial intermediaries," who devise ways to channel the funds from the savers/investors to the businesses. These intermediaries, such as banks and investment funds, have become very large and sophisticated.

They now engage in many activities, including through which they invest on their own behalf, which individuals simply cannot duplicate. This is unfair. Further, certain forms of intermediary behavior, such as "high-frequency trading," have become so massive that they have shifted the character of the capital markets, from conduits for funds from individuals to businesses, to clearinghouses through which the intermediaries speculate.

Anything that a sophisticated financial intermediary such as Goldman Sachs can do, that individual investors cannot, is fundamentally disruptive of the capital markets and should be banned. It constitutes a new type of "insider trading," the more traditional forms of which are already illegal. Goldman Sachs, et al, are committing a crime, but they are doing this with impunity because the government has yet to pass laws making such behavior illegal.

The financial crisis started because the government refused to regulate the intermediaries. The reason for this in turn is that our government is corrupt. It has been bribed by such intermediaries. For the crisis to be resolved, and so that it can never recur, capital markets need to be properly regulated, to once again protect savers/investors, and the corruption in government needs to be eliminated.

The United States Government is now considering draft bills to address the crisis. However, regarding its fundamental causes, these bills do not take into account the proper role and functioning of the capitalist system in society, nor of how government policy makers need to be defended from it. In specific terms, the bills do little to end rampant market speculation, and obscene levels of pay, or to force financial intermediaries to be adequately capitalized. And, of course, the U.S. Supreme Court, by allowing unlimited corporate donations to election campaigns, has given the intermediaries carte blanche to continue their bribery.

To understand the crisis in detail, and the steps that the U.S. government, and other governments around the world, should be taking, please see our short guide to the subject.