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What is Democratic Confederalism?

Democratic Confederalism starts from the notion that every entity has the right to organise itself from the local to the universal. It is an ethical, political, and administrative expression of society in which different identities, factions and groups coexist in harmony with one another. By this we are not referring to a classical confederal structure consisting of states, but the confederal unity of different social structures. The fundamental difference between the two is that one relies on the state and the other on society.

Democratic Confederalism is a consciously wholistically formed body of interdependencies that unites participatory democracy in municipalities with a scrupulously supervised system of coordination. Democratic confederalism has the potential to transcend the negativities that arise from the nation-state system. It is simple and easily applicable. Using democratic confederalism as a model, every community, ethnicity, culture, religious group, intellectual movement and economic circle can autonomously organise itself and express itself as a political entity.

In this sense, every entity or federative unit has the right to apply direct democracy to its structure. This is where all its power derives from. The confederation works in a way whereby members of each coordination group meet in a wider regional, national and eventually an international assembly to discuss and bring the decisions made at the local levels, help each other, and find solutions to common problems.

From local to planetary and back#

  • The Berlin assembly is made up of people representing different neighborhoods in the city (Neukölln, Kreuzberg, Marzahn, Lichtenberg, etc). The Berlin assembly can be in turn a federation of smaller neighborhood wide assemblies, depending on need.
  • The Berlin assembly sends two representatives from the coordination group to one of the German regional assemblies. Berlin federates together with its neighbors: the Brandenburg assembly, the Wendland assembly and the Hamburg Assembly. Other regions do the same, according to how their bioregions and how they trade with each other.
  • Each German regional assembly chooses two people of the different coordination groups to be part of the broader European or inter-regional assembly, where members from different parts of what is now Germany, Poland, Denmark and other neighboring countries meet to take the decisions made by the regional assemblies and discuss how to coordinate between them.
  • At the international level, the different inter-regional assemblies again choose a coordination group which meets with other coordination groups representing the different parts of the international planetary democratic confederation.
  • Even at the international level, power remains within the local constituencies. The broader levels serve as a means of enacting the decisions made by people in the different local democratic autonomous organisations (DAO). The coordination group is therefore representing the voices of the autonomous groups it was elected to coordinate at each level. Any individual could at any time be elected to represent the local, regional, international and planetary level. After sometime, the coordination groups rotate to make sure power circulates and is not hoarded by one specific group.

For an existing example of such a Confederalist structure, see the Rojava Revolution. For historical examples, see the Iroquois Confederation.