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The Power and Potential of DIY Democracy

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page, Millions Against Monsanto page and our Politics and Democracy page.

A seismic shift in the American political landscape has gone largely unnoticed.  Yet, the implication of this political earthquake knows no bounds.

On Tuesday, voters in two Oregon counties-one of them rural and conservative-voted to ban GMO's.  In 2012, voters in five states legalized gay marriage and the recreational use of cannabis.  What is so remarkable about these victories is not just the incredible, rapidly shifting attitude of the electorate, but the fact that these successes came from voter-led initiatives.  In other words, these independent grassroots victories do not owe their success to any politician or political party.

In fact, for years, activists who have pushed for marriage equality and cannabis legalization have been operating at the fringe of the political establishment.  Certainly, neither the Republicans nor the Democrats-the country's dominant political forces-have embraced these two issues.  Perhaps nothing else better demonstrates both the shortcomings of the U.S. "representative democracy" and the potential of DIY Direct Democracy.

Our so-called representative democracy is neither representative nor democratic.  It is a hoax, a paradox, a cruel joke.  It's an open secret that money buys elections; that Congress panders to their contributors and that popular support for issues generally fails to translate into political support inside of the Capitol.  But now, the joke may be on our elected representatives.  


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