All Hands On is a documentary series about democracy. Its premise, and the motivation for making it, is that we do not live in a democracy. We like to think that we do. It is counterintuitive and challenging to even consider that we don’t. But that, sadly, is the truth of the matter.
Democracy means people power. It derives from the ancient greek words Demos (citizens of a nation) and Kratos (power). True, radical democracy literally places power in the hands of the people, in the hands of the many.
By contrast our electoral system concentrates power in the hands of an elite few. The ancient Greek inventors of democracy would have recognised our system for what it is, namely oligarchy. Indeed the ancient Greeks saw elections as being inherently undemocratic. Elections create powerful incentives for corruption and for behaviours which prioritise the acquisition of power over making progress on important issues. Elections should not be confused with democracy.
True democracy is participative, deliberative and empathetic. It is based on consensus rather than conflict. It is about continuous, hands-on involvement rather than the occasional vote followed by four years as a spectator.
Fortunately true democracy is happening all around us. It is a practical, preferable, modern alternative to the irregular, poorly informed, binary decisions and divisive outcomes that we suffer in democracy’s name. We are making films to prove this. We are making films to provoke a global reappraisal of what democracy means and what true democracy looks like.
Episode 1 - When citizens assemble.
How a randomly selected public jury broke the political deadlock surrounding the highly controversial issue of abortion legislation in Ireland. The people succeeded where the politicians had failed, recommendng the radical liberalisation of existing law and an amendment to the Irish constitution. Funding for this film was kindly provided by Australia's newDEMOCRACY Foundation.