Instructions From Voters

Instructions From Voters

 

in the USSR, proposals made by citizens concerning the work of the soviets of working people’s deputies or individual deputies; the proposals are adopted at voters’ meetings by a majority of votes. In his analysis of the Paris Commune of 1871, K. Marx wrote that the commune produced a new type of political organization of society, in which “each delegate should be at any time revocable and bound by the mandat impératif (formal instructions) of his constituents” (K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 17, p. 343).

The practice of adopting voters’ instructions was established from the very first days of Soviet rule; for instance, the 1917 Decree on Land was based on 242 peasants’ instructions. Instructions may be submitted only by voters’ meetings having the authority to nominate candidates for deputies. In accordance with the law on the Status of Deputies of the Soviets of Working People’s Deputies, adopted on Sept. 20, 1972, the appropriate soviet examines the voters’ instructions, approves the measures for implementing the instructions, and supervises the actual implementation. The soviet may reject some proposals of the voters’ meetings for economic reasons or because the proposals are inexpedient. In such cases, the soviet informs the voters’ meeting of its reasons for rejecting a particular proposal and receives the voters’ sanction. Voters’ instructions accepted by the soviet are binding. In rendering an account of their work to their constituents, soviets and individual deputies must also report on their work in carrying out voters’ instructions.

The constitutions of the bourgeois states do not provide for voters’ instructions or for the accountability of deputies to their constituents. Bourgeois jurisprudence justifies this antidemocratic practice on the grounds that a deputy “is a representative of the entire nation” and must therefore be independent of his constituents.

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