Democracy is failing


Democracy is concerned with the fair and equal right of every citizen to freedom of thought and freedom of expression both in word and in deed, constrained only by the will of the majority.

More than 2500 years ago, in Athens, when a People’s Assembly was called, as many as 20,000 people would troop up the hill to a place called Pnyx where they personally voted on important decisions affecting their city. All citizens were free to speak if they wished and every one of them had a vote.

In modern times, in politics this has come to mean, we, the masses, barter our trust to a small group of politicians to manage the country’s affairs on our behalf. Of course, they’re also expected to work tirelessly to protect our democratic rights, the rights of all citizens. That’s what they get paid the big bucks for.

Democracy also involves justice, equality, inclusion, freedom and taking care of the basic welfare of every citizen regardless of creed, colour, sexual persuasion. It’s a source of great pride for many to be able to do so.

Increasingly, in most dealings with Governments and the Authorities we’re seeing democratic intentions almost always exceeding what’s delivered. In other words, the will of the People is more often ignored. For example, in 2003 more than 30 million people worldwide marched on the streets  Not in My Name – while an additional, conservatively estimated, 200 million people on-line registered their protest against war in Iraq and yet . . . In the UK, democratically elected Prime Minister Blair ignored the protest of a million voters who marched in London. He was happy to enjoy the benefits of a democratic process to get elected to office but not when the will of the people went against him. So, that’s a million people taking time out from work, traveling from every corner of the UK, at their own expense, to actually do something to stop the nonsense. A sample of a million people from a pool of 20 million adults extrapolates to a massive proportion of the population of the UK protesting against Blair’s warmongering. And yet . . .

Everyone’s familiar with President Bush’s response, on behalf of America, to the protests. One thing he did really well, or really badly, was that he told an awful lot of lies about Weapons of Mass Destruction. Both he and Blair were very sincere at the time but we all knew the existence or otherwise of WMD didn’t matter a jot, they were going to drag us into a pointless and shameful war regardless.

Is it any wonder there are calls for both to be brought to justice for Crimes against Humanity?

Something to bear in mind is: if our MPs, Senators, Governors etc. listened to their voters, and did their jobs properly, without prioritising their own self-interest, there would be absolutely no need for anyone to take to the streets in protest.

Justice. Justice is the dispensation of a moral and legal code which everyone individually accepts and agrees to abide by.

Getting on for 3800 years ago, one of the first uses for humankind’s newly developed writing system was not to produce religious tracts but to commit laws to writing so there could be no doubt they applied to everyone, proving beyond reasonable doubt that the concept of Justice as a set of principals for living together, equally, in social harmony and mutual protection was central to human existence almost from the beginning of civilisation.

So what’s gone wrong? In the 21st Century, the Justice system is no longer a means by which common people are shielded from the deviousness and cruelty of a few bad apples. No, Justice has become a weapon of Governments, Enforcement Agencies and Intelligence Bureaux the world over. It’s been hijacked by unscrupulous and often ridiculously ignorant politicians (TTIP, Israel annexation(s) of Palestine and Syrian Gaza, Julian Assange, Edward Snowden etc.), deployed as the weapon of choice by corporations to steal, destroy with impunity, subjugate, evade responsibility and to escalate profits (Nestle, Monsanto, Dakota Access Pipeline, Union Carbide etc.).

Democratic Justice is no longer a panacea for absolving crimes against society. No longer the protector of the weak against the strong, no! quite the reverse. Justice is now the preserve of the rich who operate with blatant impunity, like feudal Squires committing, for example, gross fraud by stealing the pensions of their ex-employees (BHS: Tina and Philip Green), paying sub-living wages to workers in their warehouses and retail outlets whilst also perpetuating poverty in, for example, India and Pakistan, by contracting sweat-shop workers on starvation wages (Sports Direct: Mike Ashley).

These people, these so-called leaders – industrialists, financiers, media moguls and career politician – take pride in the ease with which they harvest the bountiful pleasures of life. No doubt they swap stories with the beautiful people of their brilliance at screwing their latest deal down to the bone. Rarely do they speak of the millions we, the ordinary taxpayers, are forced to give them to subsidise the pitiful wages they pay their workers, the people who actually make their money for them, while they swan around the Mediterranean in their $100 million yachts. No? Bet they never admit to the fraud that paid for it or how they manage to evade so much tax.

Don’t be fooled, these people don’t work for their money. No-one is worth that much an hour. No-one.

And when they get caught out, they promise the earth. But, their talk is cheap and produces fuck all. These people are a drain, plundering whatever they want from resources that belong to everyone only to fuel their own ambitions, to extend dominion over their fellows and yet, bizarrely, instead of their greed and criminality being confronted as depraved and contemptible they are liberally celebrated. Some are even elected President of the United States of America.

We are sick to death of them and we don’t need to vote on that to know it’s true.

Will these people help change the system of Democracy so everyone is honestly and fairly represented? No, they won’t. Will they willingly accept Justice which seeks to liberate and not to control? No, definitely not. Will they join with us and put Humanity once more at the heart of everything human Beings do? Doubtful.

To do what is necessary, to change the world and give the Human species a fighting chance of survival, will take great courage and great strength. Whilst it is a massive challenge, the road to success begins with just one small step and if we must we, the ordinary people, are capable of doing it for ourselves, thank you very much.

>See Capitalism is failing<

© Rivenrod 2016

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