Analysis and Reasoning Behind The Korean National Initiative

Introduction

A human being is sovereign by birth. However, in a society of many human beings individuals must cede some measure of sovereignty to the constituency of the whole governing the polity. The exercise of sovereign constituent power must of necessity be by majoritarian rule. The alternative is anarchy, monarchical, autocratic or minority rule.

People are sovereign and all political power emanates from them. The central power of society’s polity is lawmaking––the ability to create a government by constitution, to alter the constitution and to make laws for the civic health of the polity and the happiness of its constituents. Upon this foundation rests democracy.

The structure of democratic polities was representative government. It accommodated the wishes of the elites who initially formed their governments. It also perpetuated their power. Unfortunately, representative government limits the sovereignty of citizens to that of merely electing representatives. For citizens to exercise full sovereignty they obviously must exercise powers beyond the mere selection of representatives––powers that permit them to access the central power of government––the power to alter constitutions and make laws.

Purpose

The purpose of the Korean National Initiative is to reclaim the full sovereign political power that Korean citizens have been denied by the initial structure of their representative government as defined in their Constitution. Koreans have been precluded from voting on the important political decisions that affect their lives.

There is another purpose. The empirical evidence is overwhelming worldwide that representative government has failed to bring peace and provide for the happiness of the people it serves. Fundamental change is warranted. There are only two possible venues for change: the government, wherein lies the structural deficiency creating our problems, and the people, who lack procedures to exercise their full sovereign powers to bring about fundamental structural change in representative government.

The Korean National Initiative restores full sovereign powers the Korean People were denied when their democracy was initially set up. The Korean National Initiative automatically confers membership on all citizens in the Citizens Assembly and equips them with legislative procedures to make laws in a working partnership with the representative government’s National Assembly and the legislative bodies of their provincial and municipal governments.

Note: The text of the Korean National Initiative is reproduced here for convenience as notes and comments are added in italic to facilitate understanding of the text. If there are no comments it is because the text is deemed to be self-explanatory.

Chapter X Amendments to the constitution

Article 131

[Citizen Assembly]
  1. The referendum herein sanctions the Korean National Initiative process that introduces an Amendment to the Korean People enabling them to amendment their Constitution and thereby create the Citizens Assembly.

The referendum sanctions the introduction and ratification of the Korean National Initiative by the Korean People. The constitution only provides introductory power to the President and the National Assembly; however, only Korean citizens can ratify an amendment. The ratification power, the final act of approval, is superior to the introductory power; therefore common sense dictates that since citizens have the final authority to approve they implicitly have the preliminary power to introduce amendments even though the Constitution does not specifically provide for it. Therefore in order to avoid any legal doubt, the first section of the amendment is a self-actuating sanctioning clause of the introduction of the Korean National Initiative by the citizens of Korea as a legal expression of the will of the Korean People.

  1. Citizens of Korea compose the Citizens Assembly vested with legislative powers to introduce and enact constitutional amendments and laws.

This section defines the composition of the Citizens Assembly as registered citizens with the power to amend constitutions and make laws.

  1. A Citizens Trust is herein created to administer the legislative procedures of the Citizens Assembly. A Board of twenty one Trustees and a Director shall govern the Citizens Trust.

This section creates a Trust, an administrative agency similar to what all legislative bodies have to administer their procedures and do the necessary housekeeping for the members of the legislative body. It authorizes a Trust of 21 trustees and a director to govern the Trust.

  1. The legislative procedures and the terms of office of the Trustees and the Director are prescribed by a law herein enacted as companion legislation.

This section provides for the enactment of legislative procedures in Korean law and not in the Constitution. Detailed procedures would be too much clutter for a constitution. Deliberation is a vital part of lawmaking; it is accomplished through the use of legislative procedures that have been developed by trial and error experiences over centuries and exist in the legislative bodies of all representative government.

  1. Only natural persons who are citizens may introduce legislation, contribute funds, services or property in support or in opposition to legislative initiatives.

This section is inserted to counter the judicial practice of treating corporations as artificial persons giving them the same rights and privileges as natural persons. This section helps remove the corrupting influence of money in the legislative and electoral process of representative government.

Legislative Procedures Act

This Act becomes part of Korean law but is not an amendment to the Constitution even though it is voted on and enacted into law by the same citizen’s vote for the Korean National Initiative.

Be It Enacted By the Citizens of Korea:

Section 1. TITLE

This act shall be known and may be cited as the Legislative Procedures Act. (Hereinafter the “Act”)

Section 2. PREAMBLE

We, the People of Korea, inherently possess the sovereign authority and power to govern ourselves. We assert this power in Article 1 (2) of our Constitution. We, Citizens, choose now to participate as lawmakers at all levels of government. We, Citizens, herein sanction this Korean National Initiative whereby a group of Citizens introduced the Citizen Assembly Referendum to the Korean electorate for their decision in an election conducted by the Central Election Management Committee. We, Citizens, choose to exercise our legislative powers by initiative concurrently with the legislative powers we delegate to our legislative representatives in all government jurisdictions.

THEREFORE, We, Citizens of Korea, enact this Legislative Procedures Act, establishing procedures to be administered by the Citizens Trust on behalf of the Korean People.

The Preamble is the vital part of any law in that it gives an overview of the reasons for the law and how it is to be implemented. In this case it is a restatement of the first three sections of the Korean National Initiative amendment. Additionally and most importantly, it nominates the Central Election Management Committee, the agency under the Constitution that conducts elections and referenda, to conduct the referendum on the Korean National Initiative. It is my judgment that the Committee will take on this responsibility when it is demonstrated in a national poll that more than 50% of Koreans wish to vote on the Korean National Initiative.

The Therefore clause is the actionable enacting part of the entire law

Section 3. PROCEDURES

The Citizen Trust shall qualify initiatives chronologically. The Citizens Trust shall take advantage of contemporary technology in implementing these procedures. The essential elements of the initiative process include, but are not limited to, the following:

The Citizen Trust chronologically qualifying initiatives removes one of the more mischievous practices of representative government. Politicians generally put party gain above public interest. One source of power for political parties is control of the legislative agenda in legislative bodies. The majority party determines what proposed laws are taken up and how they are amended and when votes are taken. A Citizens Assembly will not be influenced or controlled by political parties, therefore it needs a different way to control the flow of legislation that is automatic, transparent and cannot be corrupted. The flow of legislation in the Citizens Assembly will simply be chronological.

The proposition to the Citizens Trust to take advantage of contemporary technology in implementing the legislative procedures is extremely important, since it is the communication technology of the 21st Century that makes the operation of the Citizens Assembly so feasible. The proposition is purposely general in that there is no way of knowing the technological advances that will be produced in the future.  Frequently government officials pin down procedures to specific technologies to satisfy supporters. This can be very counterproductive when those technologies become obsolete, yet the political influence behind the initial decision is still effective to pressure their continued use.

A. Sponsor

Only citizens of Korea who are registered to vote may sponso