We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Democracy? What democracy?

Click here to access article by Terry Bell from Daily Maverick (So. Africa). 
The interests of politicians, many of whom move seamlessly from political office to the boardrooms of big business, lie not with the voters, but with party bureaucracies. These bureaucracies, in turn, rely for much of their funding on the financial elites whose fundamental interests are diametrically opposed to those of the majority of the population. And they who pay the piper tend always to call the tune.
Terry Bell, a South African, offers an excellent examination of what real democracy must consist of in contrast to the fake version, wrapped in a pretty "Bill of Rights", that capitalist ruling classes provide their subjects in today's world. Bell even provides some sound practical information on how a real democracy could be implemented. 

This critique of existing "democracy" is what I'd like to see coming from US citizens and others throughout the world. The fact that this sort of critique is largely absent is testimony to the success of capitalist indoctrination. Thus, the political awareness necessary to change things for the better is mostly absent among the world's Ninety-Nine Percent. This is quite astonishing to me given the widespread suffering that is being inflicted upon the people of the world by capitalist ruling classes: endless wars, poverty, exploitation of workers, and their pollution of the environment that is leading inevitably to catastrophic climate destabilization. 

Instead, what we get from critics are "reforms" to the system, little micro-fixes such as tax-the-rich proposals, candlelight peace marches, passing laws restricting the militarization of police forces, registering poor and minority voters so that they can vote in elections managed by the ruling class, etc.