Most politicians and journalists talk as though the only possible sort of democracy is parliament, so all we can do is patch up a decrepit system. The history of the socialist movement shows that there is a different tradition of democracy. Continue reading →
There are times when it is necessary to fight against things that have become so wrong that they should no longer be. Things that were once small that have become big, but are no less wrong, must be made small again; a revolution, or a complete circle, is needed. Whether you want your brother to stop giving you wedgies, or you want to overthrow a repressive government, every fight is the same. A revolution (from the Latin revolutio, “a turnaround”) is a significant change that usually occurs in a short period of time. Revolutions have happened throughout human history and vary widely in terms of methods, duration, motivating ideology, and the number of participating revolutionaries. Their results include major changes in culture, economy, and socio-political institutions. Continue reading →
As the Commons’ standing falls to a historic low, with news of MPs claiming expenses for everything from piles of manure to tennis court maintenance, from cleaning moats to pruning wisterias, there are now legitimate calls from all sections of the public for drastic action and change. Is it time to dissolve parliament, kick out all the MPs and for the public to brick by brick to build a new democracy? Let us look at democracy and what it really means:
Democracy: The Idea
Deriving from the Greek, Demos Kratos – People Power– Literally, direct self government and decision making by the people.
Today this idea is widely interpretated as indirect or representative democracy, where voters elect representatives to make decisions on their behalf.
Democracy implies varying degrees of people power, participation, representation, responsible government and consent. Democratic participation may take many forms, from voting and standing for political office to meetings, marches, demonstrations, peaceful lawbreaking and violent political opposition. Even riots and terrorist attacks have democratic claims, since they are ‘people power’ in the literal sense – although all states and governments will deny those democratic claims when such activities are directed against them.
When the people of Oaxaca decided they’d had enough of bad government, they didn’t take their story to the media… They TOOK the media!
In the summer of 2006, a broad-based, non-violent, popular uprising exploded in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca. Some compared it to the Paris Commune, while others called it the first Latin American revolution of the 21st century.
But it was the people’s use of the media that truly made history in Oaxaca. A 90-minute documentary, Un Poquito de Tanta Verdad captures the unprecedented media phenomenon that emerged when tens of thousands of school teachers, housewives, indigenous communities, health workers, farmers, and students took 14 radio stations and one TV station into their own hands, using them to organize, mobilize, and ultimately defend their grassroots struggle for social, cultural, and economic justice.
“Beautiful, powerful, dramatic… magnificent… provides a remarkably deep and penetrating look into the people who made up the movement. Everyone interested in Mexico, in teachers and education, in workers’ movements, in indigenous people, in the state of our world and the struggle for social justice should see the video.”