Let's reclaim the republic!

On Jan 11th, frustrated with unable to do anything to participate in our country’s democracy, I wrote a blog post that maybe its time to start a new political movement and posted it on Twitter.

Obviously this seemed really stupid, but then there was a very positive feedback, and at the time of writing 72 people signed up for it (we need 100 to start a party).

This seems like a very difficult and Quixotic goal, but there seems to be very little harm in trying.

Our country is a democracy, but the democracy is controlled by a small number of people. NONE of the political parties are democratic themselves, and decisions are made by “high commands”. Elections are bankrolled with crony capitalist funds for all major parties.

But we do have the structure of a democracy and theoretically as long as there is freedom of speech and expressions, better ideas will win.

So here is a small attempt to do something.

This forum is just a start. The goal is to build a political movement completely online. This is because its way more efficient and won’t require tons of money. The goal is to create an “enlightened” democracy.

Here is what you can do:

  1. Join this forum
  2. Start a discussion on government, politics and how to change society.
  3. As your friends to join.
  4. Make a proposal for a campaign for the collective to vote and approve.
  5. Help us get to 1000 members, then 10,000 and more

How is this different?

The core principle of this party is democracy. Everything that will be done here will be done democratically - this means either by polls or by asking for consent of all members. If we have members objecting to a proposal and if they have a profound objection, we will amend the proposal till we have consent.

We will only communicate here on the forum. If you have feedback or questions, please feel free to join and ask.

Sign up to get started!

Jai Hind :india:


Adding the original post here:

Of all the Quixotic things you can do, starting a political party has to be the stupidest of them all. I mean, politics is about power, politics is dirty, politics is tribal. Why would someone do that? I think the only answer to this is to test democracy. We always think we are living in a democracy, there is only one way to find out if we truly are living in one…

We all know the state of society in the 2020s. Modernism has brought us democracy, but the old social structures continue to prevail. Democracy was supposed to be the rule of the enlightened, but it is still the rule of the powerful — whether you have power of violence or money, it is still hard influence that gives one the right to rule, not enlightenment. Democracy as it stands, is just a way to resolve conflicts between powerful factions. When a party wins, they only think of promoting their faction over the rest. This is true with both the right and the left. Can we really change that?


In 2014, the country was in grips of a political revolution. An old man was fasting to end corruption and a new political movement was born under the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). It was led (still is) by the charismatic IITian Arvind Kejriwal who probably gave the best political speech I have ever heard. He said that the AAP candidates really did not want to fight elections. They were just common people auto rickshaw drivers, house wives, street vendors etc. They were compelled because of the extreme incompetence and corruption of the ruling class. Somehow that connected with me and at least 10 million other people.

Along with several others, I joined the AAP and attended several of their events. We went canvassing door-to-door, donated money, organised political meetings (I particularly remember one in Dharavi, where people were prescient about what was to happen). Through AAP, I not only met some very smart people but also some very sincere people. Once when a group of us were planning for a early morning walk, someone asked “What if no one comes?”, one of the young volunteers answered, “It’s okay if only 10 people show up, as long as they are honest people”. That kind of attitude was super inspiring. I also tried helping my friend and social activist Shakil to file his nomination as a candidate (he wasn’t selected) and had a chance to close look at how the party functioned.

We all know that the things unravelled after 2014, specially at the national stage. The media suddenly shifted its bets to the CM of Gujarat and Kejriwal was painted as an unstable upstart. Kejriwal himself (maybe surprised by the intensity of the hate campaign) retreated into a shell focussing only on Delhi and Punjab, where the AAP has managed to win elections. I don’t want to pass a broad judgement on their performance, but they did end up doing quality investments in primary education and healthcare that other states promptly started matching. In the end, I think it was a net positive, even though a lot of people like me were burnt.

We were burnt because AAP could have been so much more but it wasn’t run democratically, but autocratically by a few people. There were no systems for volunteering, debating, discussing — it was just like every other political party with a “high command”. People like me are just hanging dry. Members had no voting rights in selecting office bearers, passing resolutions or selection of candidates.

It is election time again and we find ourselves back in 2014. There is no credible democratic party in India, and politics is still about factions. I think we should change that. I really wish such a party existed, but since there does not exist one, maybe let’s start a new one?

Every day is a new start (Photo credit)

Vision and purpose

The proposed party will be a fully online and a fully democratic party. Everything in the party will be voted on (mostly by consent not majority, but sociocracy). The purpose of this party is not to win power, but to create an enlightened democracy. A democracy which is a competition of ideas not factions. The difficultly of hard politics in India and cash-for-votes kind of things we all hear around is well understood, so we won’t even try it. We all know how hard it is to run government in India. It is a massive organisational beast by itself not even thinking about the various levels at which it exists.

The party will function mostly online and all voting will be done on a platform. The platform will also be a discussion board for members to propose and discuss on resolutions. Assuming we get some momentum, we can have an annual convention and maybe local chapters can hold meet-ups as they like.

Most likely we will never run for elections, unless by some extra-ordinary stroke of luck this party finds resonance in a large number of people purely by online means.

The party will transcend beyond traditional ideologies, beyond the fact that we all have to abide by the largely liberal Indian Constitution. The idea of no-harm is also embedded in the idea of democracy. In that sense it will be post-modern. We won’t believe in some over-arching morally legitimising belief. Our faith and morality will come from the process and the fact that we will be fully democratic. Each and every member’s voice should matter in everything we do. Disputes will be settled with dialogue not power.

There probably won’t be any positions or hierarchies as well. Everyone will have the opportunity to participate in any discussion and vote on it. People who are interested in a topic will invest in the time to learn about it and then vote. Yes there will be some administrative posts we will need to fill out — those could be done by volunteers or if we do manage to achieve scale, then these could be full-time as well.

There won’t be any promotions of leaders as well. Since there is no hierarchy, we won’t be promoting a set of people as leaders. Anyone in the party can be the spokesperson as long as they respond on basis of approved resolutions. If we need spokespeople for certain events, people can propose their names and they will be voted on.

Since we want to transcend beyond factionalism, we won’t be against any political faction as well, whether its the capitalists or communists or conservatives. We will be for something not against. Yes we can take positions against laws, tactics, national events, but they will be because our members don’t think it is the right thing to do, not because we are against a political faction.

Apart from all of this everything in the party will be 100% transparent. All decisions will be publicly discussed and voted on. Books of account will be public and posted online for anyone to see.

That’s it, so that’s the manifesto. This will be a party which is:

  1. Fully democratic
  2. Mostly online
  3. Non ideological
  4. Non hierarchical
  5. No promotion of individuals
  6. 100% open and transparent
  7. Non partisan

Can this even work? Well, let’s try this out.

We need a name first. We could pick anything but we can call it for now, “Democracy Collective” (its just a working name, we can vote and change it if there are other nominations).

How will this create impact?

Since this will be a 100% online party, we will rely on members to use their online networks to promote the party’s positions. There won’t be any physical presence beyond what is minimum. This means we will never need a lot of money to run the party. In a way this will be what e-commerce did for retail commerce. A party that is dramatically cheaper to run and effective because it is online.

Hopefully we will gain some following in online communities and then get mind-space of mainstream networks. Our web-platform will also be 100% free and open source, so if some established party wants to implement it, we will consider it a success.

Join this Party

As per the Election Commission of India, all we need a memorandum and 100 members (with affidavits) to start a party. So I am thinking, how hard can this be.

If we reach 100 members, we will setup a simple memorandum and register the party. Let’s have a basic joining fee, say Rs 500 (payable once we have a bank account). If this is done, I will volunteer to setup the online portal to run the party. Then my part is done we will see how it goes.

Hi Rushabh, Nice to see this initiative. For a few years, I have been trying something very similar at Indian Pirates. I have contested two elections as well. It is hard for us to get participation, probably we are not able to reach the right audience or what we ask is found to be too high a barrier (or unusually strange in a country like ours) for people. Anyway lets try your way and see if we can do better.


Thanks @praveen for being part of this!

I think ideas like this are just ahead of their time. Building a truly “democratic” society is going to take a few decades. That is how I think about it.