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Home arrow newsitems arrow CoE Head Varvitsiotis+Stanford Prof Ober on Democracy Post-Virus: Future near EF Project on Dialogue

CoE Head Varvitsiotis+Stanford Prof Ober on Democracy Post-Virus: Future near EF Project on Dialogue

Pisac ACM
16. 09. 2020.

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*Strasbourg/Angelo Marcopolo/- Nowadays, not only "the COVID Crisis is Not Over Yet", But, on the Contrary, "a 2nd Wave has Hit Europe, and Everybody feels Distressed about How to Deal with this Virus Pandemics, and How the Democratic Institutions are going to Respond at this, Longer than Predicted, Standing Challenge", stressed from the outset CoE's Chairman-in-office, Greek Minister for European Affairs, Miltiadis Varvitsiotis, (an Experienced former Long-Time CoE Assembly's Top MEP, Elected vice-President of its Biggest Group, that of ChristianDemocrats/EPP), Introducing an Interview of Stanford University Professor Josiah Ober, about the Historic InSights that can Bring a Timely Comparison Between the Plague which Killed Many People during the Ancient Greek Democracy of Athens, 2,5 Thousand Years Ago, and the Contemporary, 2020 Deadly Virus' Crisis.

In this regard, the current CoE's Greek Presidency (5-11/2020) plans to Culminate, on November 2020, with an Official Declaration of the PanEuropean, 47 Member Countries-strong Organisation of Strasbourg, on the situation of Human Rights and Democracy in Times of Pandemics, (See: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/newgreekagendaforcoechair2020.html + http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/greekcoepresidency2020.html + http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/coeleadersonhumanrightsandvirus.html, etc).  

I.e. an Obviously, more and more Topical Issue, of Growing Importance, as, it appears, inter alia, Also by Various Relevant Protest Popular Movements and/or Demonstrations, Including, f.ex., those in Germany, from Berlin to Munich, etc., (Even with the Active Participation of RF. Kennedy, Son of Murdered USA Justice Secretary and Pesidential Candidate Robert Kennedy, and Nephew of also Murdered US President John Kennedy : See http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/kennedyjrinberlinonvirusandweb.html, etc), which, in Fact, Extended much Further than Controversies on Virus' Policy alone, Raising, More Widely, various Interesting Issues on Democracy and Human Rights Nowadays and in the foreseable Future.

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Going well Beyond Erzats (and Potentialy Anti-Democratic, Oppressive) Banalities Against so-called "Populism" or "Conspirationism", and so on, Vaguely "Copied and Pasted" by an Establishment Medias' youngster cosy employee, it's the Main Conclusions of Josiah Ober which seem to be really Interesting, Surprizingly appearing to Back "Eurofora" co-Founder's long-time Project and Legal Research on Dialogue with Citizens during Public Decision-Making.  

Among others, 3 Main Points :

(A) Despite some Hard Apperances, in Fact, [then Direct] Democracy is more Resilient than it seems : F.ex., it Continued to Function in Athens, Even during the Plague, and the Peloponesian War, against Sparta. (Plague killed 1 out of 4 Athenian People, even Popular Leader Pericles Died at its 2nd Year, But a Decline came Only 25 Years Later, i.e. Long After that Plague, so, it could be, probably, due also to Other Factors). Meanwhile, inter alia, Moreover, Socrates' Philosophy (NDLR : with his Famous "Dialogues", etc), Followed by Platon, etc., was being Developed...

(B) "Collective Self-Government by the People" is Not Automatically, Neither Fully Identical to "Liberal Democracy"'s conception Based on "Rights and Justice". => In Consequence, a (ReNegotiable) Bargain is Needed. (I.e., something apparently, Near "Eurofora" CoFounder's Legal Research about Law being, in Substance, the "Crystalisation of a Provisional Compromise, Based on a Balance Between Different Socio-Political Forces").

(C) In Future : "Hope" for "Inventing" a "New Form", Based, Mainly, on "Humanity"'s Unique Capacity to Reasonably Communicate (= "Talk to each-other", i.e. almost as "Eurofora" Co-Founder's Project and Legal Research on "Dialogue with Citizens in Public Decision-Making", as Socrates' famous "Dialectics") ?

-----

+ Almost TEXTO (the Main Concluding Point, of Josiah Ober) :


 - "The Next Generation Needs to Think about How to ReFormulate the Civic Bargain", (Comp. "Eurofora" Co-Founder's : "Crystalisation of a Provisional Compromise Based on a Balance of Forces"). i.e. the Bargain that Citizens make among them, Deciding How Much Self Goverment, How Much Social Justice,) How much the Rich or the Non-Rich might Receive, etc. It "Needs to be Stable enough", But "Can be ReNegociated OverTime". With "Stability and Flexibility". At the Heart of such a "Democracy" lies = "Making an Agreement, Basicaly a Bargain. Not to Get Everything, but Each gets More than he had. Not All or Nothing". (Comp. Supra).

=> Journalist's Question : - "What gives you Optimism for the Future ?"


>>> Ober's Final Reply : "Humans are Cooperative Creatures ! Compared to Other Primates (f.ex. Chimpajies, Gorillas, etc), it's Amazing how Able We are for Cooperation, at Large Scale, and Over Time". (NDLR : However, Only that, Obviously does Not Go much Further than ... the Ants, which are also very Good in Collective Cooperation, as anyone who has Observed their amazing Activities can Find).

+ "We (Humans) are, Also, Capable of REASON, ... and we have this Remarcable Capacity for COMMUNICATION. ... We Can SPEAK TO EACH-OTHER !" (NDLR : i.e. Hold a Dialogue).

=> "And, With Sociability (i.e. Cooperation), With Capacity to Reason, with this Remarkable Capacity to Communicate, We (Humans) Can do absolutely Amazing things".

>>> "...That's, Basically, ARISTOTES' Conception of Politics... I think Aristotes' was Right !".

 

(../..)

 

("Draft-News")

 

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They voted to "freeze" UK Government's draft to put People in jail for 42 Days on "anti-terrorist" suspicion without charge, or they abstained. Don't they look suspect ?
-------------------------

CoE's debate on UK controversy stirs PanEuropean check of anti-terror suspects' imprisonment

Former Leftists of the Sixties would boil in hot water if they heard PACE's debate on the controversial 42 days detention without charge, currently drafted by the British Government :

A "Socialist" Government, a Socialist PACE Rapporteur and a Socialist Chair of PACE's Legal Committee, opposed a .. "Conservative" amendment (supported by .. Liberals, Democrats, etc), to freeze the measure, in order to protect Citizens' Freedom, by "waiting" until CoE's Venice Committee checks its conformity with Human Rights' principles.

"Left"'s support to Conservative-Lib.Dem's criticism, wasn't enough to obtain a majority, nor to make things as they were back in the good old days, when "Left" and "Right" had a clear meaning, as "liberty" and "restrictions"...

Conservatives and most Democrats were joined by the Left in voting for the "freeze", as well as Liberal Paul Rowen, while Socialist MEP Ivan Popescu, an experienced MEP from Ukraine (PACE Member since 1996-2008) abstained. But most Socialists, added to a few Liberals and EPP's Right, voted against.

Fortunately, someone inside PACE had the wise idea to shorten the Debate for less than 1 Hour, and put it on the Agenda only at the end of an exceptionally busy day, towards the end of the Evening, when most MEPs had already gone to taste wins and foods at various Receptions all around Strasbourg's "European" area : As a result, not even 42 MEPs weren't present..

Socialist Lord Tomlinson accused the leaders of the PanEuropean Assembly, in its highest body : the "Bureau", to "lack wisdom" by deciding to hold a Debate on an issue that neither the Socialist Chair of the Legal Committee, nor its Socialist "reluctant Rapporteur", did "not want to do", ...

tomllinson

Finally, everybody (critics and supporters alike) was happy to agree, in substance, that the controversial measure "may" gravely violate Human Rights, and therefore, PACE asked Legal Experts of Venice Commission to check UK Government''s plans.

But this might take more than .. 42 Days to do, since PACE's Rapporteur asked the Experts to enlarge their study in a PanEuropean comparison of all that is happening on "anti-terrorism" legislation in 47 CoE Member Countries, including Russia, Turkey and Azerbaidjan..

Bad lack : "The existing 28 days’ detention without charge in the UK is, in comparison with other CoE member countries, one of the most extreme : In Turkey, the period is 7,5 days, in France 6 days, in Russia 5 days, and in .. the U.S. and Canada just 2 and 1 days respectively", denounced Democrat MEP Ms WOLDSETH from Norway..

woldsteth

"Numerous respected human rights organisations, including Liberty and Human Rights Watch, have expressed serious concern" "The proposed legislation ...could easily lead to extensive abuses. ...Detention for 42 days means six weeks in which one is taken away from one’s family, friends, home and livelihood only to be let off without being charged. That will destroy lives and isolate communities", she added.

- "3 years ago, the UK Government sought to increase the period of pre-charge detention from 14 days to 90 days. Not long before that, it had been only 7 days. There was a vigorous debate ...and a ...compromise was reached of 28 days. We have to ask whether there are proper safeguards in place to extend the period to 42 days. I suggest that there are fatal flaws", reminded British Conservative Clappison.

- "What sort of society holds someone in detention for 42 days and does not have to tell the person who is in prison why they are there, or explain the suspicions that arose and led to their detention? What sort of society believes that that is the way to treat its citizens? That is an appalling injustice, ...A 42-day detention period will not make the UK safer. Instead, it will be the first step to giving in to terrorists; it is saying that we are prepared to sacrifice our democratic rights and the principles for which we have stood for centuries", criticized British Liberal Michael Hanckock

hancock

"Comments made ...by Norwegian delegates are unfortunate", replied British Socialist MEP Ms.Curtis-Thomas, accusing them to "besmirch the reputation of our police force, which is one of the Best in the World", as she said, believing that "there are significant safeguards ...to ensure that individuals are not subjected to unlawful detention"

curtis

PACE "has serious doubts whether ...the draft legislation are in conformity with the ...case-law of the European Court of Human Rights. A lack of ..safeguards may lead to arbitrariness, resulting in breaches of ... liberty and ...right to a fair trial". PACE "is particularly concerned that: ..the judge ..may not be in a position to examine whether there exist reasonable grounds for suspecting that the arrested person has committed an offence;"; that "... representation by a lawyer may be inappropriately restricted or delayed;" that "information on the grounds for suspicion of a person ...may be unduly withheld.. ;" that this "may give rise to arrests without the intention to charge;", and; in general, that "prolonged detention without proper information on the grounds for arrest may constitute inhuman treatment", says Klaus De Vries' Report, adopted with 29 votes against zero.

vries

Records don't say if it took him 42 Days to draft his Report, but, at least, he knew why...

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