Excerpts from The Vesey Republic's Theory of Elasticity
What form of government best serves those leading the republic to achieve its goals?
In developing the Vesey Estates parliamentary system NBN canvased governance models from 5th Century BC Athenian direct democracy system to Switzerland's present-day consociational democracy. We explored Nigeria's Igbo tribes' consultative assemblies from the 1300s noted for its exceptional women's involvement, and Florence, Italy's 14th-century Civic Humanist Signoria councils.
Both Grenada's People's Revolutionary Government (1979 -1983) and Burkina Faso's, National Council of Government's (1983 -1987) four-year reigns dramatically improved their citizen's living conditions and civic participation. Why then were their leaders Maurice Bishop and Thomas Sankara both assassinated in office? These nationalist anti-imperialist revolutions contain rich lessons concerning national construction and the pitfalls of one-party states.
Most critical to developing the Vesey Estates Parliament design was the Provisional Government of the Republic of New Afrika's 1990 presidential-republic constitution. Called the Code of Umoja, it was the only modern prototype of a Black republic government structure in the U.S. In August 2020, the NBN critiqued the constitution's logic and governmental architecture.
The Estates Parliament Organizational Structure
In its early days, the republic will likely encounter existential security challenges, sabotage, and dramatic political realignments on its borders threatening crib death to the newborn polity. Therefore, Vesey's governance structure--even in its provisional stage--must be thoughtfully crafted and responsive to contingency.
The Vesey's Estate's Parliament adopts a dynamic, streamlined, multi-party parliamentary system that combines the legislative and executive functions in a unicameral body. It dispenses with the concept of an upper house and lower house. To guard against distempers and emotions that from time-to-time adversely infect well intentioned legislation, an appointed Council of Sages will be seated to dispassionately evaluate the merits of policy proposals.
Vesey's High Court of Justice will function as a separate branch of government. While many parliamentary systems do not have written constitutions enumerating limitations on government and the rights of its citizens, the Vesey Republic will have a constitution and a Declaration of Citizens Rights. For that reason, Vesey's governmental structure will have an independent high court that engages in judicial review.
The merging of the legislative and executive branches in a unicameral body will enable the parliament to take quick, more unified, and decisive action embodying a singular national will.
The First Prime Minister is the executive leader of the Vesey Estates Parliament and head of government. The First Prime Minister is the head of the majority party, the head of state (the republic), and commander and chief of the nation's armed forces. Unlike the U.S. presidential system, the First Prime Minister is not directly elected by the voters. Rather, the First Prime Minister is elected by a simple majority of the parliament's majority party or by a coalition of parties achieving a simple majority of the aggregate members of parliament's (MPs) votes.
Vesey's Estates Parliament was conceived as a government of energy, taking timely and decisive action. It foregoes the entanglements of Montesquieu's arcane checks and balances system restraining the legislative, executive, and judicial branches from jousting to be the playground bully shaking down the middling and lessor Commons for their lunch money.
The dysfunction of American Empire's bi-cameral legislatures is further exacerbated when elections give control to one party controlling the Senate and the other party controlling the House of Representatives. More often than not, the president's agenda displeases his own party as much as the opposition.
Even when one party controls both legislative houses and the Oval Office, numerous checks allow legislation to be vetoed or held up from being passed by measures like the filibuster. America's presidential system is a case study of gridlock, corruption, and political malfeasance, that could not survive its first 70 years before lurching into civil war. The Vesey Republic chooses not to walk in the footsteps of a failed system.
The Vesey's System's Federal Structure
The Vesey Republic's federal structure will consist of the national Estate's Parliament government, an independent judiciary, a women's autonomous regional government, and local elected governments. In the event that more than one Vesey national polity exists in different parts of North America, establishing a confederation will be looked upon favorably.
New Black Nationalists anticipate that newly created, Black-led nation-states, independent city-states or autonomous regions will be relatively small in territory and population. Vesey Republic polities will in almost every instance begin as unitary states, with the exception of a women's-led autonomous regional government.
The proposed Vesey Estates Parliament model combining legislative and executive functions can be easily scaled to effectively govern city-states, autonomous regions, and micro-nation-state environments.
Consonant with its goal of creating the first modern non-heteropatriarchal nation, one-fourth of the territory and population will be designated as a women's-majority autonomous region. The region will consist of 25% of the republic's total landmass and population, and a guaranteed minimum of 75% of its region's electorate will be registered women voters.
Except for a limited number of areas like national defense and international relations, Vesey's women's autonomous region will draft their own table of laws provided they don't contravene Vesey's Declaration of Citizens Rights. The region will exercise control over their own judicial systems, schools, hospitals, transportation, local governments, and regional elections systems. The women's led autonomous region will also be entitled to one-fourth of the seats in the national parliament.
Multi-Party and Direct Democracy
The Estates Parliament will consist of as many political parties as the republic's diverse population and interests' groups seek to form. As a majority Black-led multi-racial nation with diverse political interests, multi-party democracy will ensure diverse viewpoints will contend for influence, votes, and support of their parties' views. All Vesey citizens, including those registering as independents must feel they have a platform and stake in the nation's development.
The Black Commons experience in Caribbean and African liberation and independence movements have mostly been single party-political states. Tragically, after Nelson Mandela retired as South Africa's president in 1999, the African National Congress has been awash in a sea of corruption and delinquent management of the country. Aborted national liberation movements are scattered across the globe, mostly because of the failure of their political programs, but also because they could not design effective government models that served their people.
Frantz Fanon in Wretched of the Earth scotched one-party rule in newly independent African countries in 1960 as a cancer on the Black Commons body. He has proven to be correct. The Estates Parliament gives smaller parties a voice, votes, and coalition building power. Having alternative solutions to political challenges is important as is everyone contributing to the national project.
That said, the tendency of parties to promote faction is a real danger. Parties promoting a slate of issues as the one and only way to solve multiple issues tend not to compromise and seriously consider the viewpoints of others. Zero-sum political party politics is a problem that can start to be addressed by ranked choice voting but the issue will require a larger open ideological struggle. No party has a monopoly on the truth or solutions.
Further, to ensure that the broadest number of Vesey citizens are shaping the nation's future, the constitution will provide guarantees that national and regional referendum and initiatives will be held. These votes will be called on critical questions and any amendments of the constitution.
To counter drift or malfeasance in the government's leadership, Vesey's sitting parliament is empowered to call a "vote of no confidence," to initiate a process for the possible removal of the government's majority coalition in snap elections. The republic's citizens won't be forced to endure non-responsive or incompetent government by waiting until the next scheduled national election to make change. Vesey will not function according to expiration dates on milk cartons, but the people's needs.
Succession, the Peaceful Transfer of Power, and a Declaration of Rights
Above all Vesey's governing structure will have clearly defined laws for the orderly succession of executive, legislative, and judiciary leadership. A framework for political succession is paramount to establish the legitimacy of the Vesey Republic's republican ideal. Vesey will not be a refuge of last resort for scoundrels and despots like the United States. the January 6 Capitol Coup perpetrators attempting to overthrow the government by allowing them to walk the streets, seek re-election to public office, and engage in nefarious coup plotting will not be tolerated.
The Vesey Republic's Theory of Elasticity restores the republic's historic role as a bulwark against the despotism of monarchy and oligarchy. It also rejects liberalism's primacy of the autonomous individual as the raison d'être of government.
Creating a Black-led nation and polities in the 2020s will be an experience in firstness for the Black Commons after having been something else for centuries. It is therefore imperative that Vesey's citizens understand their constitutionally guaranteed rights which cannot be revoked by the Estates Parliament nor First Prime Minister. All Vesey citizens will be afforded the protections enumerated in the Declaration of Citizens' Rights.
- The First Minister is elected by a simple majority of the largest party or coalition of parties forming a majority of the Commons.
- The First Minister as the head of government does not have a term or term limits. She/He may serve as long as his party and governing coalition maintains the confidence of a simple majority in the Chamber of Commons.
- The First Minister can be voted out of office at any time if a "Motion of No Confidence" is passed by a simple majority of the Chamber of Commons.
Calling a motion of no confidence is one of two ways that an early general election can be triggered.
Another way to trigger an early general election requires at least two thirds of Commons to support a motion calling for an early general election.
The vote of no confidence is formally brought about through a motion in parliament stating, “This Chamber has no confidence in Government.” The motion is debated and then voted on. If a majority of Commons vote in favor of the motion, the government will be dissolved.
Passage of the motion would not automatically trigger a general election.
If the government is brought down by the vote, there would follow a designated day period to form a new government, based on the existing make-up of MPs.
The House of Commons would then have to vote on whether or not they now had confidence in the new government. Were this to fail, a general election would be triggered.