“The War on Democracy”
John Pilger’s documentary film not only focuses on the recent awful imperialist activities of the US in Central and South America, but on new encouraging developments in Venezuela and Bolivia. Venezuela has improved the standard of living of its people. There are still problems, but under Chavez there is now universal health care and free primary education. The film also covered the coup against Chavez, to which the US elites were sympathetic and offered support.
In La Paz, Bolivia, indigenous people were successful in re-nationalizing their water, which had been privatized to Bechtel.
We watched a special showing of the film in London yesterday, after which Pilger made an appearance, answering questions from the audience.
During the viewing, the audience murmured in disgust in response to the US officials who were interviewed. When the film stopped, many in the audience wondered what they could do. The words “boycott” and “Americans” hovered in the buzz.
One audience member asked Pilger, “Is your documentary going to be released in the US?” Currently, the answer is no.
As a US citizen, I wanted to apologize to the audience for the behavior of our government, and I had this feeling like I wanted to appeal for help, because I feel helpless right now. Yes, many progressives sighed a premature breath of relief when them Dems won Congress. It must have been by overwhelmingly massive numbers because the Republican Party is certainly prone to perform massive vote fraud. But once the Democrats got in, they turned out to be totally unresponsive to the mandates by which they were elected, which were to end the Iraq War and impeach the criminal President and Vice President. I think those citizens of Bolivia and Venezuela feel much more empowered than we do here, now, in the US.
I wondered if many in the audience were sympathetic to Democrats. Pilger’s film only mentioned the misdeeds of Republicans, but the School of the Americas (which taught torture to Central and South American death squads) was also active during Clinton’s administration. And Clinton committed de facto genocide in the ’90s. His bombing of power plants to purposefully disable water treatment facilities and severe sanctions lead to the deaths of a million Iraqis, half of whom were children.
I feel helpless, and I want this to change, and I want to do something about it. How to vote in the next presidential election is a big problem for me. I don’t see how in our system of “winner takes all” democracy, third parties can win. As for the Democratic Party, it’s apparent that it’s now become a shill for corporate interests.
In Europe, many countries have proportional representation. According to Wikipedia, proportional representation (sometimes referred to as full representation, or PR), is a category of electoral formula aiming at a close match between the percentage of votes that groups of candidates (grouped by a certain measure) obtain in elections and the percentage of seats they receive (usually in legislative assemblies). It is often contrasted to plurality voting systems, where disproportional seat distribution results from the division of voters into multiple electoral districts, especially “winner takes all” plurality (FPTP) districts.
Proportional democracy means that if 15% of voters are socialist, 15% of the representatives elected to parliament are socialist. The makeup of parliament represents the makeup of its constituents. In addition, different parties can form coalitions with one designated leader.
But we do not have proportional representation in the US. Third party votes are likely to be dissipated unless they can form some coalition to have one designated candidate on the ballot to represent common interests, and I haven’t heard any talk of this happening.
Lately my thoughts lean towards reforming the Democratic Party, infiltrating it from the inside.
Killing Fields: Genocide in Iraq
School of the Americas
The Threat of US Fascism: An Historical Perspective