"Democracy" in America

GW Bush claims that the US is the most "democratic" of all countries, and that therefore they have a duty to bring it to the people of the world. But the reality of the situation is very different. What we have is democracy for the rich. "This goal of a free and peaceful Iraq unites our coalition. And this goal comes from the deepest convictions of America. The freedom you defend is the right of every person and the future of every nature. The liberty we prize is not American's gift to the world; it is God's gift to humanity." GW Bush, March 26, 2003.

Let's be clear - the US and its "coalition of the willing" is fighting the war on Iraq in order to effect a change of regime.  They are slaughtering hundreds and thousands of people in the pursuit of power, profit, influence, prestige, and control over the industrialized world's most important commodity - oil. But in order to win support for this war, Bush and co. have given myriad reasons to justify it. Sometimes we are told that it is a war to disarm Saddam of weapons of mass destruction. Other times we are told that it is a war to "liberate" the Iraqi people and bring them "democracy". It is this hypocritical lie in particular that we need to dispel.

The degree of cynicism of the US ruling class is truly astonishing. They claim that the US is the most "democratic" of all countries, and that therefore they have a duty to bring it to the people of the world. The patent absurdity of this idea is glaring from many points of view. First of all, bourgeois Democracy is a form of state which arises out of specific historical conditions, at a particular stage of class society. It is not something that is imposed from above by an invading army!

But more importantly, we must look at the nature of so-called "democracy" here in the US. It is true that on paper we have a democratic system under which all members of society are equal. But the reality of the situation is very different. What we have in reality is democracy for the rich. GW Bush himself was a beneficiary of American-style democracy when he was appointed. President by the Supreme Court in complete violation of the US Constitution. Although Al Gore received more actual votes, because of the system of the Electoral College, where candidates are elected not by the voters but by "electors" which each state is entitled to based on its population, Bush prevailed. Why do we not have even direct bourgeois elections in the US? The reason is that the masses cannot be trusted to vote the right way! 

We are allowed to vote, so long as our vote does not carry any real power. This is not to mention the outright fraud, discrimination, and corruption which goes hand in hand with US elections. Black and Latino voters are routinely turned away from the polls, and in the world's most advanced country, which can fire a missile a thousand miles and land within inches of its target, they cannot sort out the technology to ensure free and efficient voting. In order to win an election you must be a millionaire or be backed by other millionaires - the poor need not apply. Special interest groups and corporations like Enron are the real masters behind the farce of "free and democratic elections" in the US. This explains why only 24.5% of the voting population bothered to vote for Bush!

On paper we are allowed the rights of free speech, freedom of the press, and the right to assembly. But in practice, as the ongoing wars on "terror" and Iraq have proven, these fundamental rights have been restricted and infringed upon to an unprecedented degree. The new Homeland Security department and the Patriot Act are among the most repressive pieces if legislation ever passed - they carry far more power than even in the days of J. Edgar Hoover's FBI. The rights of "enemy combatants" are entirely stripped - even if they are US citizens. They are even threatening to take away the citizenship of anyone they deem an enemy of the USA! The government has expanded powers for surveillance, espionage, interrogation, harassment, secret arrests, and imprisonment without trial. This is the state of "democracy" of the United States over 200 years after it was founded!

The media is controlled by just 6 conglomerates, and the military has "advisors" at CNN and other media headquarters in order to review the information which is broadcast to the public. They have made every effort not to allow images of dead or captured Americans, or of flag-draped coffins returning to the US to be shown on TV. Demonstrations against the war on Iraq have been met with thousands of arrests, harassment and intimidation by police, beatings, incarceration while handcuffed for as much as 36 hours at a time with no food or water, and ridiculous charges such as "criminal leafleting".

If you are a minority in the US, then "democracy" is even more of a lie. Since September 11, has now been expanded more than ever, and includes profiling of Arab Americans as well as Blacks and Latinos. Statistics collected in Maryland during the late 1990s revealed that 70 percent of those stopped on highways by police were Black, although only 17.5 percent of drivers registered in the state were Black. Evidence of similar trends in New York and New Jersey, for example - began mounting during 1999 and 2000 when the U.S. Customs Service was also found to be searching a disproportionate number of Black women, ostensibly for drug-related activities. It is clear that these methods of "law enforcement" are nothing more than a campaign of organized terror against minorities in the United States.

The reality of the situation is that "freedom" and "democracy" in America are hollow words. The idea that someone like Bush and his cabal can bring democracy anywhere is a sham and a lie. They plan on installing General Tommy Franks as the military governor of Iraq until they can transition to a civilian administration! Democracy in Iraq will be like the democracy now flourishing in Afghanistan, where Karzai (known as the "mayor of Kabul") can survive only due to his American bodyguards. The US also plans to keep part of Saddam's apparatus of repression in place in order to help them maintain
control. In other words, for most Iraqis, "freedom" will be just a word on a piece of paper. As long as the class contradictions in society remain, freedom of any sort is simply not possible.

Most American supporters of the war sincerely think that they are helping the Iraqi people in fighting the tyrant Saddam Hussein. But more and more, they are realizing that the real enemy is here at home - just as it is in all countries of the world. Only an end to the exploitative system of capitalism can bring humanity real democracy and freedom. Not freedom only on paper, but freedom to achieve the true potential of all working and oppressed people - the freedom to have a good quality job, housing, education, healthcare, peace, and stability. All the propaganda about freedom and democracy is taken to heart by the American working class, and in the coming years, they will fight back to win back all that has been taken from them and more.