Friday, February 03, 2006

What's So Bad About Democracy?


Could we all be naive to think the U.S. is letting matters in Iraq distract them from the bigger picture of Pax Americana? How much do we know about our country’s abilities to spy, invade, control, manipulate, deceive, and distract? If the war in Iraq is “unwinnable”, which the U.S. government has surely assessed by now, why not assume they are already planning for how they will regain control of Venezuela and the rest of Latin America? (Note the recent call by President Bush to increase the troop deployment to the border of Paraguay from 500 to 1400). For that matter, is it possible that the U.S. has downplayed coverage and attention towards Hugo Chavez in order to make silent preparations? Whatever the current plan is, the U.S. government’s immutable trend of opposing democracy continues undeterred.

The U.S. is clearly opposed to Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales and the “populist/socialist” movement in Latin America. Donald Rumsfeld stated his disdain for Chavez saying that he [Chavez] “was elected democratically, the same way Adolph Hitler was.” Couldn’t this notion apply to any democratically-elected leader? Say, George W. Bush? Again, possibly referring to his own country’s government, Rumsfeld continued to describe how “corruption is something corrosive for democracy.” Another recycled Reaganite—the much-reassigned and failed transitional ambassador to Iraq—John Negroponte, described how Evo Morales’ “administration is continuing to send confusing signals as to its intentions.” Overall, the U.S. is sending the message that it opposes the direction of Latin America, that Venezuela is the “biggest threat to the United States.” If that threat resides in its level of democracy, I would have to concur.

Over the last couple of years, the U.S. has aided in a failed coup d’etat in Venezuela (2002) through its financing of opposition groups through the National Endowment for Democracy and tactical support from our Navy in the Caribbean; ramped up “transition” plans for a post-Fidel Cuba (again with money from various groups including NED and USAID); overthrown the popularly-elected president of Haiti (Jean-Bertrand Aristide); supported and trained (through—surprise!—NED and USAID money) ruthless militias from Haiti to prevent the Lavalas political party from returning to power; continued its multi-billion dollar military funding of the Colombia army and paramilitary; undermined democracy by imposing its “free-trade” agreements in Central America; and now seems poised to oppose the newly-elected president of Bolivia if he allies himself with Chavez. It should be interesting to watch the presidential elections in Peru, where the candidate currently leading the some polls, Ollanta Humala, is another “left-leaning nationalist” and “friendly with Chavez.” Is it too wild to speculate the U.S. is already trying to influence these elections?

According to Noam Chomsky, the U.S. government has opposed democracy in Iraq since the invasion. In fact, he contends that the U.S. did everything in its power to “prevent” the elections that they were supposedly so intensely hurrying to implement. It’s the threat of democracy that most frightens the U.S. government. A true democratic society is likely to ask for more than the ruling class is willing to sacrifice. In fact, the most democratic thing the current U.S. government could do would be to create universal health care, since it is the one political issue most Americans agree upon at 70%. However, in the case of the U.S., it appears that democracy has its limits.

The title of a public talk given by Noam Chomsky that I attended was "Imminent Crises." He described the three crises he feels threatens our survival: global nuclear war, environmental destruction and the disappearance of democracy. It is therefore imperative that the "threat of democracy" be realized in popular movements such as those in Latin America. Likewise, a more vigilant, active and involved American public must come forward. Only by educating each other that the biggest threat to democracy in this world is our own country, can we end the tyranny our government poses to democracy around the world. Finally, it is utterly imperative that we not allow our own government to repeal more of our own freedoms at home as we descend towards fascism.

6 comments:

troutsky said...

Che, I showed the Revolution WNB Televised to some friends and we had a discussion on why US citizens did not go out into the streets when the Bush/Gore vote thing was going down in Florida.The consensus was we as a people would rather pretend (against all evidence) that the "process" works rather than resort to the confrontational, messy aspects of true people power.Because mass movements often have a violent aspect to them ( Ludlow Massacre,Bull Conners dogs or Kent State)the "comfortable class" rejects their legitimacy.Democracy ends up being that hour off from work when you drop the name of some ex- Skull and Bones member in a box and wait for the results.(Chomsky's "democratic deficit")

My liberal friends were sure that capitalism and democracy were synonomous and that the tide would lift all boats, pointing both to rising levels of development world wide and the possibility of "upward mobility" in all societies, especially ours.Such low expectations! Lets write a new constitution and show them what could be.

Ché Bob said...

Trousky,

As Paul McCartney once said: "Get in!" In other words, right on crouton! Let's do write a new constitution.

Aprilloper said...

Che,
Funny you should write this post because it relates to something that I have been thinking about for the last several days.

This quote for George Orwell's "1984 is what sparked it:
"In the ramifications of party doctrine she had not the faintest interest. Whenever he began to talk of the principles of Ingsoc, doublethink, the mutability of the past, and the denial of objective reality, and to use Newspeak words, she became bored and confused and said that she never paid any attention to that kind of thing. One knew that it was all rubbish, so why let oneself be worried by it? She knew when to cheer and when to boo, and that was all one needed. If he persisted in talking of such subjects, she had a disconcerting habit of falling asleep." ... "Talking to her, he realized how easy it was to present an appearance of orthodoxy while having no grasp whatever of what orthodoxy meant. In a way, the world-view of the Party imposed itself most successfully on people incapable of understanding it. They could be made to accept the most flagrant violations of reality, because they never fully grasped the enormity of what was demanded of them, and were not sufficiently interested in public events to notice what was happening. By lack of understanding they remained sane. They simply swallowed everything, and what they swallowed did them no harm, because it left no residue behind, just as a grain of corn will pass undigested through the body of a bird."

I have been trying to understand how so many of our fellow citizen can op-out of the little democratic process that we do still have, by either voteing against their own interests, or my not voteing at all, and finally to be so blinded to the actions of and crimes of the government that rules their lives, more than most will ever admit.

Aprilloper said...

[Last comment posted when I wanted to preview]Continueing on...

I realize that "1984" was writen as an anti-communist/socialist theise, however in rereading it I have found that it could also be an anti-facist or any other governing system that requires total submision of the governed.

We in the US are now being governed by the choice of about 25% of those legally able to vote. It makes me wonder if the face of US government and forgien policy wouldn't change if we had a 90% voter turnout like some of the south american countries do?

So the question I have is, how do we start a ballot-box revolution here? How do we combat newspeak (FOX, Rush, and O'Rilley) or doulbethink (proibition of alchol-bad, proibition of pot-good, lack of health insurance for 40% of Americans-Sad, Universial Health Care-Bad)that causes our fellow citizens to vote against their own best interest because of "polical fear indoctornation"?

I read a recent series of articles at "From the Wilderness.Com" by Steven Grof, about the policial implications of Hurricane Katrina on America, one of the suggestion he made was that the African-American community should start their own policical party, then the Greens (enviromentist) and Red (socialists) should join them. To me that was very interesting, I thought that it was a good start but why stop there, why couldn't there be in this country a polical party solely dedicated to all the underserved communities? A party that represented also the Native-Americans and Hispanic/Latin-Americans interests.

This may be wishful thinking on my part, but I honestly believe the way to break the strangle hold that the Dems & Reps have on this country and the world is for there to be a third voice, a new voice that has been silent for far too long in this counry, that of minorities.

Ché Bob said...

aprilloper,

These are all very awesome questions and take a great deal of reflection. In fact, they take a deeper analysis then I am able to give an adequately comment on in this small space. However, I have a few thoughts.

For one, we do have the a strong precedence for the kind of party you are talking about that go way beyond the "Greens" and the "Reds". In fact, this party does include all the interests you suggest, especially the "underserved". This party is was not formed of anyone's own volition and certainly not the winning party, but it is undisputedly the heavyweight were it to organize appropriately. This group is the WORKING CLASS. Organized through one's trade, we realize the common oppressor is the ruling class which is comprised of a impressively small minority of wealthy elites. Furthermore, organizing politically along the lines of our trades and professions, we are able to underline the inequities of race and gender that go hand-in-hand with class structure.

In the U.S., however, there is the massive problem of combating the obfuscating effect of material gluttony that deceives too many Americans into believing they have more in common with the ruling class than they actually do. Witness the effects of the race to the bottom through the extension of credit that is bankrupting millions of Americans through the unmanageable finance charges. Furthermore, how do Americans begin to see (as you pointed out) that they are voting against their interests when they are consumed with fear, stress and high-speed lives?

There are many more confounding questions that are difficult to answer, and I believe you did a tremendously good job of pointing them out. I believe this discussion requires much more reflection.

FYI, Chomsky wrote a great article where he described why he thought Americans would vote against their own interests. I'll try to find it.

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