direct democracy in India

Similar to communal councils in Venezuela, indigenous consensus decision-making in Latin American countries like Bolivia, indigenous people in India called “tribals” use consensus decision-making in village assemblies. In the village called Mendha-Lekha in the state of Maharashtra, similar to global Occupy movements, study circles prepare for assembly decisions. In 2013, the landowners voted to give their land to the “commons.” The Indian constitution requires panchayat governance in villages and districts, with ward committees in cities. The swaraj self-rule movement popularized by Gandhi is spreading throughout India. Cities like Pune do participatory budgeting. On the state level, in Nagaland, “communitization” sends decision-making about issues like health and education down to grassroots village and town communities. In the world of commerce, the number of cooperatives is increasing like the Dalit women farmers in the Deccan Development Society who use local seeds. Activists work for eco-swaraj or radical ecological democracy (RED), applying direct democracy to protecting the environment and poor people in groups like the National Alliance of Peoples’ Movements.
Ashish Kothari and Pallav Das, “Power in India: Radical Pathways to Tribal Self-Rule, ROAR Magazine, January 20, 2016.

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