Moving from our capitalist patriarchy to modern matriarchy will not be a simple evolution of our way of life. Putting motherhood at the center of our society's values, after centuries or millennia of denigration, will disrupt the rest of our value system. For most of us here in the Western Hemisphere, who have been immersed in an omnipresent patriarchy for generations, it's even hard just to imagine.
In the end, we should rather consider a real revolution, which we can happily foresee peaceful and progressive. Our way of life will inevitably lead us to painful social episodes, in an increasingly closer future. We cannot avoid these tragedies without making radical changes even in our most basic beliefs.
For example, will democracy, as we venerate it, be able to deal with the challenges before us? For us, the answer to this question is no. And we want to offer a credible and viable alternative in the long term.
Some constituents of matriarchies can thus integrate rather directly into our society. For example, an in-depth study of the most well-known matriarchies makes it possible to realize that respect for motherhood generally results in a fundamental role for mothers at the political level. The principle aims to compensate for the responsibility of women who become mothers by giving them the exclusive right to choose who will act as political representatives of the entire community.1 . There is usually an assembly of matriarchs, one of whose roles is to choose political delegates, obviously in consensus.
In principle, this is not so far from the electoral functioning of our universal suffrage democracy. We would simply have to limit the right to vote to matriarchs. And in our society, all we need is to automatically grant the role of matriarch to all our grandmothers. Actually, this means that at the next election (or popular consultation) and all the following (unless otherwise decided by them), only our grandmothers would have the right to vote.
The impacts of such a change will undoubtedly be very numerous. And in our opinion, supporters of a modern matriarchy, they will certainly be beneficial in the medium and long term. Here is the ideological foundation that we propose for this idea:
- Motherhood is the fundamental element of human life. We vow all our respect and all our admiration to it;
- In order to achieve true social equity between men and women, responsibilities related to motherhood are compensated by increased political power reserved for mothers;
- Benevolence linked to motherhood leads a mother to take care of all her children, and to accept them as they are;
- Maternal awareness and wisdom matures as a woman moves from mother to grandmother. At this point, the grandmother's maternal abilities transcend the boundaries of her immediate family and incline her towards taking care of the entire community. This is celebrated by the grandmother obtaining the right to vote;
- In the same way, the transition from grandmother to great-grandmother represents the transmission of the right to vote to the next generation;
- The voting grandmother naturally encourages consensus among members of her extended family clan, as well as the fairness of policies between humans and nature, between young and old, between men and women as well as between rich and poor and also taking into account the impact on future generations.
We propose a new word, aviacracy (from Latin "Avia" which means grandmother), in order to represent this idea of the exclusive voting right to grandmothers. We are aware that this word is a direct attack on one of the fundamental aspects of the charters of human rights: the universality of suffrage and its equality. But when the very survival of our civilization is at stake2 , we believe legitimate to question one of its fundamental aspects.
If the first change we are proposing is limited to the right to vote, we still insist on the principle of identifying our grandmothers as the most fit among us, in order to establish and maintain a fair and sustainable political system, for us all. Faced with the survival of the Iroquois nation, Barbara Alice Mann also does not hesitate to state this principle clearly3 .
We thus fully assume the implications of aviacracy on our societies' fundamental principle of equality for all. We believe that ultimately, our grandmothers are best placed to make the best decisions for our collective well-being. For the moment, however, to ensure a quick and efficient transition, our proposal only targets the right to vote, in our current political system. The question to ask us then becomes: Will our society be better served by a voting right reserved for grandmothers (aviacracy), than by a system of universal suffrage (democracy)?
From the moment a credible system can be an alternative to democracy, it becomes possible to identify the advantages and disadvantages of each option.
Aviacracy (grandmothers' right to vote) ensures that virtually all persons with voting rights have a minimum of wisdom, life experience, and conscience to make decisions about the future of the entire population4 . Universal suffrage democracy offers no guarantee in this respect. In fact, we can rather assume the opposite for a considerable number (if not a majority) of voters in a democracy5 .
Throughout its history, great thinkers of democracy had seriously questioned its long-term viability6 . Just because a communist civilization collapsed a quarter of a century ago does not mean that our failed democratic system has suddenly become an ideal7 ! It was the least bad of the political systems. Today we want to make aviacracy, with its exclusive right to vote for grandmothers, a good political system. Our society is able to put in place a viable and satisfactory system in the very long term, for the entire population.
The great theoretical strength of democracy is to distribute political power equally to all, without distinction. At the time of monarchies, it was a huge gain. Faced with a totalitarian or theocratic political power, it is an undeniable progress for many peoples still today.
However, we can legitimately ask ourselves if it is still the best option for a people like ours today. Why would the less competent of us hold the same power as the wisest? Because it's the least bad of the political systems? Are the antagonisms that are exacerbated on the public square of our democracy, are likely to help us to face the challenges that stand before us, at the beginning of the 3rd millennium?
Democracy is based on the standardization of political power among all. The basic rule is: a person (adult and citizen), a vote. It is a very noble idea in theory. This implies, however, that it must be possible to make everyone sufficiently aware of all political issues to make informed decisions whenever a debate arises.
In practice, it must be agreed that this is not realistic at all. Modern social life has become so complex that for almost all political issues a very small minority of the population is able to have a deep enough vision to form an enlightened opinion.
Believing to be able to educate the entire population on every issue is also an exciting position. But in most cases, the time allotted for debate will never be enough to achieve this goal, if only for a majority of the population. Not to mention that there is very rarely more than a minority of us who are available or just really interested in deepening their knowledge over a specific issue.
Politics in democracy then becomes the majority game. To get elected, it will be necessary to present positions that are able to appeal to an electorate that is generally not really aware of the issues involved. Very often, these positions will be so far away from reality that experts in the field will not even be able to enlighten the public on the issues.
At the other extreme, another part of the population will simply not be interested in the debate. And yet, they have the right to vote like everyone else. Few of us question this paradox. We accept it because it is part of the game of democracy.
It is as if in a democracy, since everyone is considered on the same footing, it was considered at the same time that each and every one of us should have the same political interests. And be interested in all political subjects! Yet our society recognizes from the outset that we have very diverse personal interests. Why suddenly should we have the same interests when it comes to politics?
At the political level too, we each have our particular interests. Why "force" oneself to have an opinion on subjects for which we ourselves know that our competence is limited? Sometimes there are some who have no interest in politics. Why wait for any political decision on their part?
Generally, the government proposal will be tailored to try to rally a majority that is between people aware of the issue’s stakes, too few, and others that it does not interest or little. It will therefore be rather irrelevant, only attractive. Everything that has unfolded around the issue of corruption, in awarding public contracts in recent years in Quebec, is an eloquent example of this dynamic.
There are of course exceptions. Sometimes some subject packs a sufficient proportion of the population and a more appropriate proposal occurs. We then keep believing in this egalitarian foundation of democracy. One can think of this relatively serene debate about medically assisted death.
However, most of us have been repeatedly disappointed by political decisions in areas that we cared deeply about. These decisions seduced a majority of the electorate but did not adequately address the problem they claimed to address. To the point that today reigns a cynicism really unhealthy towards politics in Quebec8 .
For its part, rather than bet on equality between all, aviacracy identifies grandmothers so that they become a kind of antenna of political positioning for each family. Indeed, it is much more reasonable to believe that for a particular political issue, there will be around each grandmother at least one or more people who are sufficiently familiar with an issue. These people can feed the debates to those interested in each family. This will allow the family to make an informed decision, through the vote of their grandmother(s).
Of course, aviacracy presents the theoretical risk of grandmothers posing as a threatening or dominant group. This has never happened in any known matriarchy. In a modern matriarchy, as in all existing or previous matriarchies, grandmothers will naturally radiate benevolence and ensure that decisions are made in consensus.9 . They will consult their kin and make sure that the opinions and needs of each and every one of us are considered. Their right to vote will most often only serve to express this consensus clearly.
In this sense, with an exclusive voting right for grandmothers, an aviacracy will give a fairer voice to each and every one of us, than our universal suffrage democracy. Thus, the consensual nature of the debates that shall emerge from an "aviacratic" political refocusing on our grandmothers will be more appropriate to avoid the chaotic collapse of our civilization.
It is not a question here of wanting to prevent anyone from being able to intervene and put forward his point of view. Rather, it is to recognize that giving equivalent political power to each and every one of us is only one way of maintaining confrontation and division. Aviacracy makes it possible to recognize that motherhood naturally brings benevolent behavior to mothers. This maternity skill is a great benefit that can be beneficial for the whole community. Aviacracy aims specifically to make us benefit from this.
For decades we have been content with the least bad of the political systems. How many clever ideas, which could have served the whole population well, did not come to fruition because of the weaknesses of this deficient political system? How many of them could have convinced the population gathered around our grandmothers, through consensual debates?
If you really had an promising idea, which could improve the lot of our community, would you rather try to have it adopted by referendum in our universal suffrage democracy, or in a society where our grandmothers would have an exclusive voting right? Or, conversely, does not the fact that you are unable to convince the majority of the electors of our democracy really mean that your idea is bad? Would the fact of having it refused by an exclusive vote of the grandmothers not give more weight to this refusal?
Our democracy has amply demonstrated its inability to solve crucial problems. For example, in 1989, there was a unanimous vote in the Ottawa Parliament to eliminate child poverty by the year 2000. Far from improving, the situation has deteriorated during the following 25 years10 . Are we not rich enough collectively? Yes of course! Does Canada's Parliament lack powers? Absolutely not!
The solution to this problem has been known for a long time. There even already was a promising pilot project in Manitoba in the 1970s (« Mincome »11 ) which would undoubtedly have solved this problem once and for all. But this project was abandoned, even before it could deliver its encouraging conclusions, almost 30 years later12 . It's a safe bet that if MPs had to deal with grandmothers' votes, that problem would have been solved, as solemnly promised.
If our political system is not even able to deal with a problem as simple as child poverty, how can we trust that it will be able to solve the problems of collective survival that we face?
In every family, there are certainly many who are serious about schools and what is happening in their city. These members of each family will be able to give an enlightening point of view to others. There will be discussions leading to a consensus with the grandmothers of each family. It will be a question of giving meaning to the voting rights of grandmothers. So, we will have a better chance of choosing the right people in school and municipal elections. These will immediately become much more representative. We will probably even have participation rates approaching 100% in both cases.
On the other hand, the question of the right to vote raises the delicate question of eligibility. In Canada it is a recurring topic at every popular consultation. Who has the right to vote? And even one often wonders if it is only the people who hold the right to vote who voted.
Within an aviacracy, the question of eligibility and control of the vote will be much simpler. The civil status registers will serve as a basis for deciding who has the right to vote. There will of course be some details to be clarified, for example for immigrant grandmothers. But the general principle may be the following: Only mothers, one of whose children has a child, but none of whose daughters are grandmothers, will have the right to vote.
It should not be forgotten that in an aviacracy, as the number of grandmothers holding the right to vote will be much lower than the number of electors of a universal suffrage democracy, popular consultations will be much more affordable. And so, they may eventually become more frequent. From then on, the sense of representativeness of our governments will be strengthened.
We also propose that the new constitution of our modern matriarchy imposes a referendum on any law dealing with matters related to the reproduction modes and human sexuality (family law, abortion, pregnancy for others, in-vitro fertilization, prostitution, etc.). Similarly, according to the Iroquois constitution13 , any declaration of war or any sending of military resources (troops or arms) abroad will also have to be submitted to a referendum first.
In order to ensure the well-being of our future generations, the matriarchist constitution will also include an obligation to any bill, to justify itself to our descendants of the seventh generation. This practice is inspired by the governance of many Aboriginal peoples. It is found, for example, clearly stated by Chief Orel Lyons, guardian of the Onondaga people's faith, one of the five founding nations of the Iroquois Federation:
« Make your decisions on behalf of the seventh generation coming. Those faces looking up from the earth, layer upon layer waiting their time. Defend them, protect them, they’re helpless, they’re in your hands. That’s your duty, your responsibility. »14
We did the exercise of comparing Aviacracy and Democracy for didactic purposes, in order to understand this new political system. But the two are not opposed, quite the opposite. Aviacracy can be considered more as a refinement of democracy. Because basically, grandmothers will naturally foster consensus within families. So in aviacracy, power always remains in the hands of the people, but through their grandmothers.
Lee Maracle, Daughters of Mother Earth : The Wisdom of Native American Women, Decolonizing Native Women
Praeger Publishers, 2006, ISBN : 0-275-98562-8
« Oui, l’humanité est malheureusement menacée. Il faut vraiment être aveugle pour en douter… »
Hubert Reeves, interview
Barbara Alice Mann| Daughters of Mother Earth : The Wisdom of Native American Women
Praeger Publishers, 2006, ISBN : 0-275-98562-8
Cheris Kramarae, Dale Spender, Routledge International Encyclopedia of Women : Global Women's Issues and Knowledge
Average voter is unable to accurately assess politicians, new research shows
Cambridge University Press, December 24, 2012
Richard Langworth, Churchill by Him¬self : The Definitive Collection of Quotations
Ebury Press, 2008
Originale quote : « En Occident, on a ce point idolâtré le régime démocratique qu’on a perdu tout esprit critique à son endroit, allant jusqu’à le substituer au mot justice. »
Jacques Dufresne, La démocratie et l'éducation
Encyclopédie de l'Agora (visited June 19th, 2018)
Original quote : « ... huit personnes sur dix (79 %) affirment avoir « peu ou pas confiance du tout » envers les « politiciens en général » . »
Guillaume Bourgault-Côté, Le Québec désabusé de ses élus
LeDevoir, March 24th, 2016 (visited April 21th, 2016)
Heide Goettner-Abendroth, The Way into an Egalitarian Society : Principles and Practice of a Matriarchal Politics (visited June 19th, 2018)
Child poverty, 25 years later: we can fix this
Campaign 2000 Ontario, November 2014
Original quote : « Seulement deux groupes d’individus ont travaillé moins d’heures : les femmes mariées et les adolescents ... Quand elles quittaient le marché du travail pour donner naissance, elles restaient plus longtemps à la maison ... les adolescents, et les garçons en particulier, ont réduit leurs heures de travail, car ils ont pris leur premier emploi à temps plein à un âge plus avancé. … ils restaient plus longtemps à l’école. ... le taux de réussite à l’école secondaire (Grade 12 ! Terminale) a augmenté au cours de l’expérience … les taux d’hospitalisation ont diminué de 8,5% chez les sujets de l’expérience. »
Stanislas Jourdan, Canada : Retour dans le passé de la « ville sans pauvreté » (visited June 21th, 2018)
Bruce Elliott Johansen et Barbara Alice Mann, Encyclopedia of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois Confederacy)
Greenwood Press, 2000