Prof. Miroslaw Matyja
Director of Miroslaw Matyja Academia for Democracy (MMAFD)
Vice Director The Miroslaw Matyja Academia for Democracy (MMAFD)
Never in history has Polish society had the opportunity to live and function in a fully democratic state. Therefore, let us not be surprised that the concept of democracy is not only abstract, but also foreign to the average Polish citizen. In addition, there is the fact that a precisely defined definition of democracy, although it may surprise many readers of this text, simply does not exist.
In this situation, certain stereotypes are born in Poland that allow for a broad interpretation of the concept of democracy, and which, unfortunately, are only an attempt by politicians to justify the maximization of their own profit – both measurable and immeasurable. For this purpose, the adjective “democratic” is often used incorrectly.
It seems that it is a time for Polish citizens, as subjects of democratic power and active participants in the public sphere, to take a significant role in the decision-making process and free themselves from the dictates of political parties, government administration, censored media and omnipotent business, it means, those circles that disavow the concept of democracy with impunity. However, this process requires education, transfer of knowledge and the related socio-political awareness of the society.
A society involved in the decision-making process of the local government and the state, implementing a critical and rational public debate, and co-shaping public opinion, influences the fate of the local government and the state and thus becomes a civic society.
The leading role in this educational process should play the newly established Institute of Direct Democracy – a kind of novelty in Central and Eastern Europe.
The Institute of Direct Democracy, as an educational and informational institution, will provide Poles with content and information on direct-democratic forms of governing the state, both in Poland and in the world, on an ongoing basis. This knowledge will help ordinary citizens to understand the advantages (and disadvantages) of this type of democracy.
When analyzing and evaluating the activities of this new institution, let us always remember that the co-governance of the state by citizens for citizens is not alms from the rulers for the citizens, but the democratic right of the sovereign, i.e., citizens. Similarly, Polish women and men have the right to be informed about the mechanisms of the efficient functioning of local government and state bodies, taking into account all possible variants of these mechanisms.
Such an institution would certainly be desirable in other countries – also in Indonesia.
In any case, the activity of the Institute of Direct Democracy in Poland is worth watching and analyzing in the next future.