Posted 5 years ago on Feb. 6, 2012, 12:29 a.m. EST by Maze
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
A Brief Statement on Democracy in America.
Democracy. Literally the "rule of the people." Politicians love to talk about it. The government cloaks its imperialism in claims that they are "spreading it" (I think they are spreading something else). A vast majority of this country wants it. A few still think we have it. But anytime we ask for it? The government hide behind terms like Representative Republic or Constitutional Republic. The same government that can collect our taxes every year is incapable of collecting our voice. They don't want our participation. Words like Direct democracy and National plebiscite scare the Corporate hegemony that rules the US. Why? Because they would lose their hierarchical roles as rulers of the totalitarian American state. Roles that they have possessed for hundreds of years.
Ameica is not and has never been a democracy. America is not a Representative Republic either. Rome was a Representative Republic. They had Tribunes of the Plebs with the power to stop any vote the Senate attempted to hold that they considered deletorious to the People. Who holds American Politicians accountable? No one.
America is not a Constitutional Republic. The Constitution has been amended and reamended. Its beginnings were flawed, its progress has been uneven. Slavery was once protected by the Constitution. We have no Graphe Paranomon in the US to protect Americans from laws that directly violate our Constitutional rights and hold the drafters of such measures accountable to the courts.
National Assemblies: The Ekklesia (the national assembly of citizens of voting age) is the proper legislative body in a direct democracy. The Congress/House/Senate/Boule/Council's only proper place is in the preperation of legislation for vote by the Ekklesia. That's democracy. That is our proper function.
Education: "Americans don't have the legal/political expertise to engage directly in the legislative process" Is a usual response from Politicians to citizen demands for participatory democracy throughout US history. Why don't we? Shouldn't a free and equal public education prepare us for that? If we need it, why don't we get it? The government administers public education, not us. If we aren't getting an adequate education to have a say in government, it is their fault. It is a pretext to keep power in the hands of a few and out of reach of the many. Besides there is no reason to bog legislation down in technical jargon and legalese other than to discourage the average American from reading or fully understanding the text of legislation in full in the first place. The government thinks Americans are stupid.They want us to be.
Mob Rule: "A mob is easily swayed." The masses are stupid and ignorant and only the elites who rule the US are capable of making the decisions that effect our lives and our country. This is an elitist argument against direct democracy. It is obvious paternalism and yet people buy into it. Wouldn't a well educated mob only be swayed by good opinions? Wouldn't they be able to automatically dismiss bad ideas based on their knowledge? And why aren't we well educated again? The elites have been taking money away from education and putting it into building prisons since the aftermath of the 60's. (A high water mark for American education). Educated mobs of civil rights activists effected real change through non violent protect and civil disobedience. They put the fear of god in the 1% of America's artistocracy, and they have made a conscious choice to systematically strip funding from educating the masses and put it into incarcerating them ever since.
Democratizing America: The last major democratizing change to the US constitution was in the first decade of the 20th century. The last movement for American participation in government began in the mid nineteenth century and ended with the passage of the 19th Amendment. These measures included the 14th Amendment (extended the franchise to non whilte men), the 17th Amendment (direct election of Senators), and ended with the 19th Amendment (extended the franchise to women). This constituted a major move toward democracy over an impressive span of decades in the US that has neither been extended or repeated. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Roe Vs. Wade Supreme Court decision are the only subsequent bright spots in the 20th century (I don't count the Voting Rights Act of 1965 as it was more of the government saying "We really mean it about the 14th Amendment this time", or a guarantee of existing rights being upheld than attainment of new rights). Latterly the trend has been the reverse and the masses have consistently lost rights and control over our government and our lives have more and more been ceded to corporate oligarachy that controls our government.
Gaining Control and Effecting REAL Change: From Without or from Within? The best way to effect REAL change in the system is from without. Compromises and collaboration become necessary or expedient the moment a democratizing movement begins to try and effect change from within the system. The system is resistant to change. It will coopt your language and symbols, and strip of all meaning. Look at the Trade Unions. Their functionality as real representatives of the members they represent has decreased in direct proportion to their corporatization. In order to make "deals" with the companies, they had to incorporate. A corruption or core ideals and a gradual abandonment and denunciation of protest strategies such as the right of workers to strike has followed. The system will never cooperate in massive change or dismantlement of its structures. Much like any system it will attempt to protect itself from "infection" from within. REAL change tends to come from without and works its way in, rather than the opposite. The success of the Civil Rights movement and the decline of Unionization can clearly demonstrate that historically.