by Ghassan Kadi for the Saker Blog
If my previous article (http://thesaker.is/the-lebanese-style-of-democracy-of-no-winners-or-losers/) dissected Lebanese style democracy and mentioned Western style democracy in passing, then we should perhaps have a closer look at Western democracy; or what is left of it.
The word “democracy’ comes from the Greek word demokratia; from demos ‘the people’ and kratia ‘power’. In other words, it means the power of the people.
Different dictionaries give slightly different definitions, but I find the definition given in the Cambridge Dictionary to be closest to the commonly-held understanding of democracy being “the belief in freedom and equality between people, or a system of government based on this belief, in which power is either held by elected representatives or directly by the people themselves.”
According to the Cambridge Dictionary also, this is the definition of the adjective “democratic”: “a person or a group that is democratic believes in, encourages, or supports freedom and equality between people and groups”.
The Constitutions of all Western democracies are based on the above lofty principles, and this should mean that all Western citizens should have equal rights in choosing their leaders and equal opportunity in being elected on their own merits…right? This statement sadly cannot be further from the truth.
The problem is not in the Constitutions, not in the laws, but in the political parties and politicians who colluded to protect each other. This is perhaps one of the biggest travesties against human rights, and to add insult to injury, it is one that is not talked about or even mentioned.
Because as much as opposing Western political parties hate each other and compete fiercely on parliamentary representation and winning enough votes to win government, when it comes to hijacking democracy, they are all equal partners in crime; and for one party to expose the other to this effect, it would be shooting itself in the foot.
The duopoly that major parties have created in the West is a new form of feudalism; with an onion skin façade camouflaged with slogans of equality and freedom.
Yes, when a Western voter goes to the polling booth, he/she has a choice, but it is a choice that is mainly between party candidates that have been chosen, not by the people, but by party members.
Party members constitute a very small fraction of Western society, and in many instances, nominated candidates are chosen from between a handful of people who are party members from within the electorate.
Yes, Western Parliaments have members who are totally nonpartisan and known as “independents” and others who belong to minor parties (back to those later), but the numbers speak for themselves. If all citizens and candidates had equal rights and power, as democracy stipulates, then this should be reflected in the number of candidates who win; but it doesn’t.
Can we blame the voters for voting for the party candidates? Yes and no. In theory they are to be blamed, but in practice they face a number of difficulties when contemplating voting for an independent candidate. First of all, in many situations they know little about the independent candidate, and in most situations, they are led to believe that to create a change and/or keep the status quo, they shouldn’t “waste” their vote on an independent.
The American Presidential independent bids of Ralph Nader and Ron Paul did not go very far. In real democratic terms however, the few votes those candidates received have more democratic substance than the mere 537 votes that brought George W. Bush over the line and won him Florida and his first Presidential term.
Unlike Ron Paul, George W. Bush was a party candidate, and voters outside the GOP did not have any say in deciding who the GOP was to nominate, and had the GOP nominated Ron Paul, they would have voted for him. If the GOP could nominate Mickey Mouse, they would vote for him too. Now, did Ron Paul have the same opportunity to be voted for as much as Bush? No.
So what happened to Western democracy then?
The West has the audacity to accuse other nations of being undemocratic and dictatorial when in fact Western political parties have hijacked democracy and unashamedly dictate to voters who to vote for.
The truth of the matter is that when the European feudal systems collapsed and personal freedom and equality were given to citizens to replace their stature of serfdom and slavery, and as surviving European Monarchies gave the executive power to Parliaments and maintained titular roles, a new breed of European power-mongers emerged; the political parties.
Western political parties found a loophole in democracy, a loophole that didn’t exactly give them monopoly of power, but a second best consolation prize; duopoly. Furthermore, this illusion of freedom gave the political parties the “security” they needed for long term survival, because the voters truly believed they were liberated and free and had no grounds for revolt.
With duopoly, the ruling party has one and one concern only, and that is to be re-elected. Certainly, the opposition party has also one and one concern only, and that is to be elected in the next election. However, the opposition party knows that it is a question of time before it is elected, because even if it does precious little, even if it doesn’t come up with policies that are meant to lure in voters, before too long, voters will get disenchanted by the ruling party, demand change, and vote in hoards for the opposition.
Where is democracy here?
And the obsession of Western political parties with election wins makes it very difficult, if not impossible, for the ruling party to make tough decisions of long-term vision and nation-building outlooks. They tend to please voters, even if this leads to economic disasters, the likes of which the West is now deeply entrenched in.
How does this system serve the interests of the people?
An independent candidate with independent non-partisan policies of long-term vision and aspirations therefore can be highly qualified, honest, capable and worthy of being elected, but he/she will miss out because the major parties have nominated uneducated, corrupt and dysfunctional candidates; and how often is this seen in every corner of the West?
How does this represent the will and the power of the people?
And when Churchill boasted about British democracy saying that he was the only leader amongst the Allies who could be replaced at any time by the will of the people, what he really meant was that he could be replaced at any time by the will of his political party (The Conservatives aka Tories). He was having a dig at Stalin, the ‘dictator’, but his own position as Britain’s Prime Minister at that time was actually dictated by his party, not by his people.
And ironically enough, the fact that Russia does not have a party-based duopoly that is akin to the West, Western Russophobes question how democratic Russia is even though President Putin has a very high popularity rate; higher than any Western political leader could ever dream of.
Then come the so-called Western minor parties; those parties were meant to keep the major parties in check and prevent them from abusing their power. Ironically however, in some instances, they ended up in situations in which the balance of power was in their hands. Instead of instituting reform, the minor parties became a part of the problem. They gave themselves the “Western democratic” right to dictate, pass or block motions and bills, based on their own agendas, even though they only represent a fraction of the community at large.
Where is the democracy here?
As a matter of fact, when a ruling Western party has a clear majority that does not need the support of the minor parties, it goes to Parliament to rubber-stamp its decisions; unopposed. And instead of rationally debating their policies with the opposition and vice versa, they end up in a slinging match with each other and exchanging words of ridicule and insults.
How does this enhance freedom and equality?
But perhaps the most ridiculous case scenario however is what some Western systems call a “Hung Parliament”; i.e. a parliament that does not have a political majority. This is the nightmare election outcome of any Western political party, and ironically also, many Western citizens see in it an absolute disaster, and this is because they have been brainwashed and trained to think this way; by the political parties of course. In real democratic terms, an election result that ends up with a “Hung Parliament” is a clear indication of the power of the people and ought to be respected instead of finding ways around it; ways that would serve the objectives of one particular party against another.
What is democratic about political parties refusing to accept the mandate of the people when election results result in a “Hung Parliament”?
What Western political parties have been doing ever since the inception of Western democracy is at the least immoral. Is it illegal? Well, the answer to this question depends on who answers it. In theory, this party-imposed system of duopoly, or triopoly, stands in total contrast to what democracy is meant to uphold and defend. It is taking away the power from people and putting it in the hands of parties and party members. However, this status quo serves the interests of all Western political parties, and none of the parties will be prepared to challenge it, as any such challenge will be self-defeating.
The media play a big role in this, and so do Western political journalists, analysts, commentators, activists and reformers. They take it for granted, accept and propagate the notion that democracy means party rule, when in fact there is nothing in the Constitutions of Western nations, or within the spirit of democracy, to this effect.
However, Western countries do have court systems, and those courts are independent from the states and their politics. If some individual or organization in any given Western nation challenges the Constitutional legality of the modus operandi of Western political parties and wins, this can and should create a precedence that can reverberate in all other Western nations.
What makes such a legal challenge virtually impossible to pursue and win is not necessarily its substance, but its legal cost.
What is democratic about letting democracy down merely because to challenge those who hijacked it is a cost prohibitive exercise? That’s the ultimate irony.
Athens had great problems with their democracy a couple thousand years ago.
They reached the conclusion that having elected representatives was an invite for corruption and abuses of power.
They solved some of their problems by ramdomly selecting their representatives, and not trust them, implementing transparency on their actions.
I think of them as “citizen quality assurance” instead of representatives.
That 5th century Greek Democracy was a failure is a falsehood used by the ‘founding fathers’ to herd the small electorate into our present system of rule by the few (the republic).
For all if its faults, the worst, unforgivable shortcoming of democracy is that oligarchs have more fifficulty taking all the wealth for themselves and fielding conquering armies overseas.
I agree with you. Actually, the so called democracy was often abused. And here I will give you couple of examples. Solon (~VII-VI century BC) the one who actually gave us the 10 basic laws (he is recognaised as the original lawyer). An here I am going to apologize to the fellow Christians and others, those laws were reused later as the 10 commandments. Anyway, sorry for the side step, Athens jailed him for some cooked up reason and was later release after his son paid the assigned fine by the Athenian State.
Another one is the famous Themistocles, who worked closely with Leonidas and later destroyed Persian fleet in Salamina to be later accused for treason and cooperation with Persians and kicked out from Athens to spend the rest of his days in Persia.
Actually, it’s not different today, as the famed Democracy had been hijacked but certain interest groups.
As a final addition, I would like to comment on the strange phenomenon in parliamentary elections in Greece, where a winning party gets a gift of 50% of parliament seats which gives that party unfair advantage and tramples over actual vote of the people. Not to mention the electoral votes in the USofA.
You will find that many Oligarchs hid their power behind Athenian direct democracy. Even so, I still think we need to ban the concept of “elected representatives” and go the Athenian route of selecting our administrators by lottery. Western democracy is a steaming pile of hypocritical lies fawned over and embraced by stinking liars.
“I still think we need to ban the concept of “elected representatives” and go the Athenian route of selecting our administrators by lottery. ”
I’m not sure I was clear enough, that I also think it would be better random than elected.
Theer are not many people thinking like that. I was influenced by the activist Ettiene Chouard (or some similar french name)
You were quite clear; I was just echoing your sentiments and using the opportunity to spout my personal vitriol at our sham democracies in the West.
A key word is the title ‘representative’. Does the title holder actually represent the voice of the people from his district? Or do they do what they want to do and then run a con-job, propaganda campaign to get re-elected?
If they aren’t ‘representing’, then its not a democracy. When they are corrupt and cease to represent the citizens who’s voice they are supposed to be, then it stopped being a democracy.
We can argue that democracies tend to be short-lived, as they tend to quickly deteriorate into corrupt oligarchic or klepto-cronyism. But when we point out the flaws of these systems that are now oligarchies and and klepto-cronyist governments, we are no longer talking about democracies.
It seems as if democracies are usually attacked by those who want to bring back monarchies or put the local strong-man/woman into power. In that regard, its one of the few times I actually agree with Churchill, and his famous quote about how democracies are a bad form of government — except when compared to all other forms. Go back to having some inbred fool as a King simply because he’s the one left whom nobody thought to assasinate, while some secret star-chamber tortures, convicts, inprisons and executes citizens, and then it might be fruitful to have a discussion about how to make a democracy actually work and survive as such as opposed to bashing democracies all the time.
”I actually agree with Churchill, and his famous quote about how democracies are a bad form of government — except when compared to all other forms. Go back to having some inbred fool as a King simply because he’s the one left whom nobody thought to assasinate, while some secret star-chamber tortures, convicts, inprisons and executes citizens, and then it might be fruitful to have a discussion about how to make a democracy actually work and survive”
Churchill the genocidalist was of course referring to Western democracy and its axiomatic superiority to any form of independent government which — unlike Churchill himself — didn’t torture and execute people. Winston Churchill and Cecil Rhodes were the folks Adolf Hitler had in mind as he correctly mocked the German professoriat and its silly praise of Britain’s allegedly ’peaceful’ conquest of the world, pointing out that Britain was the absolute antithesis to this notion, relying fully on fire and sword. German Nazism and British imperialism are fully compatible strains of Western democracy.
There is actually a legal challenge-indictment happening right now in Greece by a political front ,called EPAM(United People’s Front) which is nonpartisan and calls for the restoring of democracy and demicratic institutions that have been trampled by ECB,E.U. and IMF. https://www.change.org/p/ψηφισμα-για-την-πατριδα-και-την-αποκατασταση-τησ-δημοκρατιασ?recruiter=855736816&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=share_email_responsive&utm_term=autopublish
Thanks, George. I just voted.
The modern western style parliamentary system is not a democracy. It is also not a representative system (where a delegate represents you and follows your instructions). Representation is not democracy also, and “representative democracy” is a false term that cannot exist .
The western system is an oligarchy with an elective monarch (as president). This system has more to do with Roman republicanism & the medieval parliaments.
Why they call it democracy? Well they don’t, most states are called “Republics” (from the Roman republic). But with systematic propaganda, they started to describe their system more often as “democratic” in the 20th 21st centuries
The system of Ancient Athens was a Democracy and citizens were elected through lottery, citizens also decided and voted for all state matters. Aristotle wrote the “constitution of the Athenians” which describes how the system worked. It was not as simplistic as one would have thought.
Democratic people’s republic…..??
democracy and republic
DPRK, despite its name is not a democratic state & it is not a republic.
Democracy is democracy, you cannot put labels into Democracy. Unfortunately, no state is democratic in modern world. Even the states that claim to be democratic, are not. As to what democracy truly is, you need to read about Ancient Athens.
DPRK is a hybrid regime. A hereditary monarchy (Kim Dynasty), a military dictatorship and a one party state (Korean Workers Party). Its economy though was based on the soviet central planning.
More than anything, DPRK is hardcore anti-imperialist and nationalist. The ”dictatorial” one-party system is appreciably more genuine and democratic, as it serves to keep foreign corruption and subversion against the country and its citizenry at bay. The DPRK is indeed democratic since it resists Western rape and enslavement as only a few others do. Now, that’s certainly not how you curry favour with fabulous Western ’anti-authoritarians’, LOL.
”Because as much as opposing Western political parties hate each other and compete fiercely on parliamentary representation and winning enough votes to win government, when it comes to hijacking democracy, they are all equal partners in crime; and for one party to expose the other to this effect, it would be shooting itself in the foot.”
The above passage in particular shows that Ghassan Kadi doesn’t see — or doesn’t want to see — the elephant in the room: Western parliamentary democracy is totally bogus because the West’s political parties themselves are only marionettes of banks and corporations firmly under Zionazi control. The silly theatrics and proceedings pertaining to Western parliaments make exactly zero difference. In retrospect, the ”dictatorial” one-party system prevalent in the erstwhile Eastern bloc was appreciably more genuine and democratic, because it served to keep foreign corruption and subversion against the countries and their citizenry at bay. Indeed, people believing in ”Western democracy” immediately reminds one of Lenin’s quite classy jab at Kautsky:
”A sweet naiveté which would be touching in a child but is repulsive in a person who has not yet been certified as feeble-minded.”
”The American Presidential independent bids of Ralph Nader and Ron Paul did not go very far. In real democratic terms however, the few votes those candidates received have more democratic substance than the mere 537 votes that brought George W. Bush over the line and won him Florida and his first Presidential term.”
Actually, one could make a fairly convincing case that in order for the God-awful Pindo Presidential Elections to count as truly democratic, then all citizens of the Earth should be given the franchise as the esteemed tenant in the White House doesn’t let any single person live a life without permanent US coercion.
Having said the above, let’s be very clear so that nobody gets me wrong here: Of course, a global franchise wouldn’t change anything either. Western democracy, after all, is conditioned on the outright futility of each and every one of its election spectacles. But in view of my opening quote above, a global franchise would certainly make a huge difference as compared to the desires of the Pindo electorate, to which Ron Paul and Ralph Nader are simply not worth bothering about. Preserving the parasitic existence of the US as an indispensable and exceptional nation at the world’s expense is what forever comes first in a Pindo’s political/national priorities. Sure, a global franchise wouldn’t boost Ron Paul’s or Ralph Nader’s chances much either — however, it would by contrast seriously threaten to put a Russian in the White House. Oppressed and oppressor nations tend to have very different perceptions of what needs to be done and who is the right person to do the job, mind you.
Nussi, I agree.
In America, a pair of Ivy League political scientists study the concept of American democracy. They studied thousands of issues, and found that while the big money that backs parties and candidates had a large say in the outcome, ordinary citizens or voters had no voice. From this, they concluded that modern America is an Oligarchy and not a Democracy.
One good example of this touches on the subject matter of this blog. Candidate Obama ran as the ‘anti-war’ candidate. Candidate Trump ran on being against ‘regime change’ wars and better relations with Russia. Of course, what the voters said they wanted did not occur. In a democracy, what the people want should matter. America is not a democracy. America is an oligarchy.
Any American of sufficient age knows that George W. Bush won the 2000 election with only 5 votes.
” . . as much as opposing Western political parties hate each other and compete fiercely on parliamentary representation . . when it comes to hijacking democracy, they are all equal partners in crime . . ”
The truism stated by Ghassan Kadi finds conclusive confirmation in a Freedom of Information disclosure (FOIA), obtained this week, by US Judicial Watch. — The disclosure was originally redacted, but then obtained inadvertently though another, differently focused Judicial Watch FOIA.
Following the 2010 elections, which were ruinous to established / fully purchased politicians, these gathered in Washington to determine how they might suppress the “Tea Party” movement that was upsetting these proverbial partners in crime. The solution proposed was to harass “Tea Party” organizations through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), to the point that any association with the “TEA Party” would become “financially ruinous,” per Senator McCain’s key staffer Henry Kerner. So began the weaponization of the IRS and systematic harassment of such groups. The program of a weaponized IRS belatedly came to national awareness after the election of 2012.
Such was the grass roots anger ignited by the harassment that in 2013 our Capital Hill Republican leadership was forced to organize an inquiry — which lead nowhere. Why did that inquiry lead nowhere? Guess who the complicit Capital Hill leadership appointed as lead investigator — yes indeed, Senator McCain’s former staffer Henry Kerner.
Hi Ghassan – here’s one thing I could say about your interesting article – your quote first
‘The American Presidential independent bids of Ralph Nader and Ron Paul did not go very far. In real democratic terms however, the few votes those candidates received have more democratic substance than the mere 537 votes that brought George W. Bush over the line and won him Florida and his first Presidential term.’
and that was years ago – nowadays there might be alot more votes for the independents – Trump was planning to run as an independent if he didn’t get the nomination – not that I approve of him now – I did support him but he has completely changed – even if there are a few things that he’s doing that I understand – his environmental policies completely gain my dislike for him now –
There has been a criminal takeover – Canada too – Justin Trudeau is a huge disappointment to all Canadians – its a cartel – btw – this is a really good interview – its from Redacted – Lee Camp – his guest says things very well –
Also worth noting in many ‘democratic’ countries a political party will see some taxpayer funds trickling into their coffers for each vote achieved by a candidate that is above a particular (national set) benchmark.
Largely these are countries that don’t want ‘money’ hijacking their electoral process. Instead those parties offer $1,500.00 plate dinners where those can afford it get a chance to ‘spin shit’ with the politicans or set up weird ‘foundations’ that accept donations then spend it on the parties behalf.
Entire thing is a fing joke.
The author Ghassan Kadi asks an important question:
“So what happened to Western democracy then?”
The author then goes on to write:
“The truth of the matter is that when the European feudal systems collapsed and personal freedom and equality were given to citizens to replace their stature of serfdom and slavery, and as surviving European Monarchies gave the executive power to Parliaments and maintained titular roles, a new breed of European power-mongers emerged; the political parties.”
So actually there was never a “democracy” in the West !!
A very important point that needs to be added:
The Western political system operates within the economic financial monetary system.
Clearly banks and corporations exert a very strong influence (if not controls) both within markets and upon the state, to the point of writing legislation that regulates their activities and handing it to politicians to ratify.
I believe a historian once said that all economic questions are ultimately political questions, and all political questions are ultimately moral questions. You cannot escape the political nature of the economy, even in a capitalist society.
The economic monetary system is corrupt because it is based on (1) electronically (paper printing is a tiny fraction of money) creating money out of thin air and (2) using that created money to create debt that cannot be repaid.
The government and thereby the politicians have allowed by law the banks to create this money and have allowed by law the creation of debt.
mod-to note: Capital letters removed. Please refer to Moderation Policy Rule #1 – Absolutely no capital letters.
I’m not sure you’re reference to Churchill fits this narrative. His own party did not want him as Prime Minister, as it desired appeasement with Germany’s Hitler, not war.
”According to the Cambridge Dictionary also, this is the definition of the adjective >> democratic >> : ’a person or a group that is democratic believes in, encourages, or supports freedom and equality between people and groups’.”
Substituting peoples (plural) for people above makes Churchill and democracy outright irreconcilable. Gassan Khadi’s entire piece has virtually nothing to say about the latest 500+ years of international power relations. Then again, it makes sense not to do so since the ”hijacking” hinted at would suggest that there was some Western democracy that didn’t involve global oppression and lawlessness — a clear falsehood.
I heard last night about the anti-Brexit demonstration which took place in London. This kind of political manifestations is typical of Western democracy in at least two ways. Firstly, the mobilization on the part of Western oligarchy — most notably George Soros — to overturn a referendum the outcome of which it doesn’t approve of. Secondly, the same narrowmindedness with regard to global justice where the total absence of any questioning of Britain’s NATO membership unites both camps.
Yup; the puppets in that demonstration don’t realise they were representing the Oligarchs. And that is the primary weakness of “democracy”, i.e. it acts as a veil for oligarchic power so that a society ends up right back where it was trying to get away from, slavery. Oh for Athenian safeguards or a benign dictator — anything but this sick sham we must witness through the awful theatre of the MSM ;)
Having representatives is the exact opposite of democracy. Sieyes told it during «french» talmudic revolution in 1789.
« Les citoyens qui se nomment des représentants renoncent et doivent renoncer à faire eux-mêmes la loi ; ils n’ont pas de volonté particulière à imposer. S’ils dictaient des volontés, la France ne serait plus cet État représentatif ; ce serait un État démocratique. Le peuple, je le répète, dans un pays qui n’est pas une démocratie (et la France ne saurait l’être), le peuple ne peut parler, ne peut agir que par ses représentants. » (Discours du 7 septembre 1789, intitulé préciséement : « Dire de l’abbé Sieyes, sur la question du veto royal : à la séance du 7 septembre 1789 » cf. pages 15, 19…) »
« Citizens who call themselves representatives renounce and must renounce making themselves the law; they have no particular will to impose. If they dictated wishes, France would no longer be this representative State; it would be a democratic state. The people, I repeat, in a country that is not a democracy (and France can not be), the people can not speak, can only act through its representatives.»
(Speech of September 7, 1789, titled precisely: ‘To say of the abbot Sieyes, on the question of the royal veto: with the meeting of September 7, 1789’ cf pages 15, 19 …) »
Thank you for the article.
It reminded me of a book I read quite some time ago, by a supposedly Herculean-level intellect, some guy known as “Plato“.
Now this guy wrote an entire book on the topic of systems of governance, entitled, “The Republic“.
I’m looking at my old, worn-out copy, translated by D.P. Lee; it has a number on the back (I can hardly read such fine print, these days): 14 044048 8
Here is a summarization of some of it:
In order of better to worse (it should be mentioned):
1. Monarchy and Aristocracy (rule by law, order, and wisdom; or, as Plato puts it, rule by the wise; like ideal traditional “benevolent” kingdoms that aren’t tyrannical),
2. Timocracy (rule by honor and duty; or, as Plato puts it, rule by honor; like a “benevolent” military, Sparta as an example),
3. Oligarchy (rule by wealth and market-based-ethics; or as Plato puts it, rule by wealth and landownership; like a free-trading capitalist state),
4. Democracy and Anarchy (rule by pure liberty and equality, where the people vote on and make laws; or, in Aristotle’s terms, “rule by the many;” like a free citizen), and
5. Tyranny (rule by fear, without just laws; like a despot).
If I recall correctly (and I can’t be certain of that), eventually Plato describes a modified Timocracy, (including built in eugenics, btw) as the best form of governance.
People often do not understand why the democracy is second from the bottom, in terms of better government?!
While all higher forms may descend to Tyranny (the lowest form), democracy was considered, by Plato, to be the most susceptible to the corruption, and seen as almost always destined to descend into Tyranny.
… and, of course, who?!
… what if your oligarchs and/or tyrants operate by a philosophy of secrecy and by way of deception as a general rule?
It might disguise, to some extent, who actually rules.