What is “democracy?”

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This article was initially written by John Laurits on his blog.  I wanted to share it here because not all of my followers here are my followers on Facebook, Twitter or Google+.

Greetings, my brothers, my sisters, & my others — firstly, my apologies for not having written to you all for a couple of days. At the moment, I am working on some very different math and, although it is a bit more time-consuming, I think that it will be worth the effort & the wait…

In the few minutes that I can steal to be alone, these days — between the number-crunching & the research — I’ve been asking myself some important questions and I hope it’s alright with you all that it is about these important questions — not math — that I write to you, tonight.

 

What is “democracy?”

Democracy — that’s a word that I’ve heard a lot, having grown up in the United States of America. Like “freedom” or “justice,” it seems to me that democracy is a word that has been used so much & so often that we tend to take its meaning for granted — I think that now would, perhaps, be an excellent time to remind everyone what it really means.

The word has Greek roots — it is drawn from two different words, demos kratos, meaning “ruled by the people” — as opposed to autocracy, which is “ruled by a single person” (like the word autonomy), or plutocracy, which is “ruled by the wealthy” (ploutos means “wealth”).

I was taught that democracy is a good thing that is worth fighting for and I was taught that the United States was a country that was founded upon the idea of democracy — or, at least, our military seems to be really fond of “spreading democracy” to other countries.

But do we live in a democracy?

I must ask because, the further we get into this election season, the less sure I am that that is true. I don’t demand perfection — of course, even the best of countries should be allowed to fumble things every once in a while but this feels rigged to me — and I’m willing to bet that a lot of you feel the same way.

 

The Democratic Party

In previous articles, I’ve pointed out that a majority of US voters think of themselves as independents (about 43%, actually, compared to 30% & 26% who are democrats & republicans) and yet they are intentionally, systematically left out of thedemocratic process by the two state-parties — why is that?graph

Even in the primaries that independents are supposed to be allowed to vote in, as we saw inCalifornia, Puerto Rico, & many others, the democratic party has done everything they possibly could to disenfranchise & suppress voters — closing poll-stations, handing out provisional ballots that are never counted, purging hundreds of thousands from the voter-rolls, broadcasting the “results” of elections while people are still in line to vote, & denying us the right to inspect & audit both the raw exit-poll data & their corporate-donors’ electronic voting machines.

I mean, really! These people are behaving like comic-book villains (but without the cool costumes) — which would almost be funny, if it weren’t for the fact that I often find it hard to laugh when crony-capitalism is devouring the planet that I live on.

 

So — what can we do about it?

I want to bring this article back to the Greek word –“demos” — from which democracy is derived. Rule by the people — but demos doesn’t necessarily mean “people” in the general, abstract sense of the word (that’s just what the plutocrats, the “wealthy rulers” want you to believe).

Demos means an assembly of peopledemos means crowd.

That is the way that the people rule — that is how democracy works. Just look at what Iceland did in April — they gathered a crowd & they forced their corrupt Prime Minister to resign. I ask you:

Do we not also have corrupt officials? Do we not also want them to step down?

Even as I’m writing this, the good people of France are also revolting — the police say 80,000 but the unions say 1 million people have converged on Paris to oppose the passing of laws which the people don’t agree with. These protests have been going on for months and I ask you:

Are we not also millions of people and are we not also dissatisfied with our laws?

Today, I looked but I could not find one example, throughout all of history, of the rulers politely giving the people what they wanted — it was always demanded and I don’t see why it would be any different, today.

To Sum It All Up

I’ve said from the beginning — from the very first article that I penned on the subject — that we can have this, if we want it. I stand by it, today. But — for me, at least — this has become something more than a race for the presidential nomination. This is a struggle for the very soul of our country and, by the time July is finished, we will have answered the question — “do we live in a democracy?” 

And we will have answered that question — not with words or arguments or by cleverly exploiting the establishment’s rules — but we will have answered that question with our actions.

Democracy exists because of our actions or it doesn’t exist at all. 

A wise man once said, “You do not pick figs from thistles & you do not pick grapes from thorn-bushes — you will know a tree by its fruit & you will know people by their actions.” 

What fruit will our country bear on July 25th? Will it be more like thorns or more like flowers? I cannot say — I can only hope that I will #SeeYouInPhilly…

In solidarity,
John Laurits #SeeYouInPhilly

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