Democracy is a Fallacy
We don’t live in a democracy, and I find it hard to understand how anyone can think we do. Democracy is taken to mean ‘one person/one vote’ as a fundamental principle. Just to be sure we are on the same page with this, from the Concise English Dictionary (1994, Wordsworth Editions Ltd):
“Democracy: n a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people collectively and is administered by them or by officers appointed by them; the common people; a state of society characterised by recognition of equality of rights and privileges; political, social or legal equality.”
We are told democracy is a proud inheritance from the Ancient Greek society which first developed the political principle as a revolutionary form of governance in opposition to the oligarchical system which had become so corrupt and oppressive it could no longer continue.
Well, that sounds quite familiar to me right now. I do not believe we have, or have ever had, a democracy. Even the Ancient Greeks didn’t – women and slaves were disenfranchised. Democracy in action has never borne any resemblance to democracy as defined in theory. To define and teach democracy to our children, as we and our parents and our parents parents were taught, is to instill in them the first lie upon which all inequality, privilege and prejudice is built.
We need to stop believing this lie; many people have already stopped but many still believe that the political system we have can work, it just needs the right people in it. I myself used to believe this to be the case. However, in recent political times, where so many people are suffering, and so many are blaming others who are suffering instead of those who make the decisions which have caused the suffering, and when political parties change but do nothing but blame the previous government and fear-monger in readiness for the next general election, it has become so very clear that the system is broken. It cannot be repaired. It cannot be bodged together. It cannot be plastered or painted over. All that will do is maintain the privileged few and continue killing the ever-growing underclass.
The chasm between rich and poor is growing ever larger. Different forms of discrimination; racism, sexism, transphobia, disablism, ageism, classism, caste discrimination, homophobia, all contribute to the division of people and the perpetuation of the privileged few. That is fundamentally oppositional to a true democracy.
We do need a form of central administration and taxation to survive as a society. We do not need a system which prioritises corporate rights and economic privileges over those of the individuals and communities who earn and spend the money and whose labour creates the items or services the industries which enrich the few.
Bankers are not owners of the money they invest, we lend it to them. They take risks with our money to try and make more money in the esoteric world in which money only exists in a computer algorithm. It is not real, but our lives revolve around it. They have become the financiers of government, and our governments have become beholden to them. This is the very antithesis of a democracy.
We are given the option to vote for parties, not policies. These parties only develop short-term policies as that is the way our political system is set up – with an eye to the next election in 4 or 5 years. But we live in the long-term, our planet evolves over decades, centuries, millennia, and we need to plan for the future of our grandchildren, not us. The money we pay into the system with our National Insurance isn’t for us. It’s for those drawing down now. We hope that our children and grandchildren will be paying in for us, and we had better damn well hope they have a decent enough future to be able to do that. Based on what I see happening now, I don’t believe that they do.
We need a revolution. We need a revolution in thought, in ideal, in system, in education and in empowerment. Apathy is a natural result of the constant grinding disenfranchisement we feel. As with compassion fatigue, political fatigue is inevitable as we have been promised many things from all parties and are left with three main groups all of whom seem to be the same. They even went to the same schools and are cut from the same cloth; what real difference in choice could that produce? Centralism merely means a drift to the right, the economic, the corporate and the privileged from what I can see.
Democracy could work. But I don’t see how it can work if we still only have limited choices of parties to opt between. Democracy at the very least would need:
- All voters to have exactly the same number and type of candidates i.e. political parties/independents.
- All voters to have exactly the same policies to vote on.
- Each vote counts for exactly one vote; this has not happened in many years. For example, my vote in the last election counted for 0.66 of the average vote of ‘1’. This is because I live in a heavily-built up inner city area, and as a result my MP represents more individuals than MPs in less populated, often wealthier areas. EDIT: this number has proved confusing to some readers. To clarify – if each person in a democracy has one vote, that means their vote has to have the same strength and meaning as every other person voting. The way electoral boundaries are drawn, some areas have far more residents in them than others, yet only have one representative. It is the amount of people an MP is representing from which this figure is drawn. I hope that helps. END EDIT.*
- No system to have inherent heirarchical discrimination which would affect the voter’s ability to use their vote, and to use it effectively.
- No system to have discriminations within them which support inequalities – if voters aren’t equal in society, they are not democratic societies.
I don’t believe in political parties. I believe in policies, and in long-term planning, and in developing a system in which our planet can continue to sustain us all. I believe in global cooperation. I believe in equality; local, national, international, global. I believe we need a revolution. I don’t believe that anything else is possible. In order for change, effective change, to happen, revolution is the only path I can see.
I most certainly do not believe it will be easy. I’m not even sure I will see it in my lifetime. But I hope for the sake of my children, and my children’s children, and my friends and family and for acquaintances, strangers and everyone, that it will happen.