MORE DEMOCRACY WITHOUT CHANGE?
Democracy as we know it (bourgeois democracy) came and developed as a result of tremendous radical changes including the rise of a new class, the capitalist class who owns most of society’s wealth and means of production, and the end of the feudal system. Today capitalism has evolved into neoliberalism which means “market-oriented reform policies such as eliminating price controls, deregulating capital markets, lowering trade barriers and reducing, especially through privatization and austerity, state influence in the economy”. With globalization, a handful of filthy rich multibillionaires across the planet have ‘sovereign sway and masterdom’.
How does this affect democracy? The super-rich ensure that economic, political, social and cultural values and activities reinforce their grip on life. Democratic values are bound to decline, whether we like it or not. Let us not forget that those who wield economic power will resist any attempt to challenge the money dictatorship. In a neoliberal set-up, will democracy thrive and flourish? On the one hand there will be attempts to restrict freedoms (speech, religion, press, assembly, movement etc.) and on the other there will be more demonstrations and the expression of anger and revolt (Gilet Jaune, Me Too, Black Lives Matter, My Body My Choice etc.) and more and more people will vote with their feet (abstention). Less than 50% of the French electorate bothered to vote in 2022.
THE 60’S-70’S AND NOW
The 60s and 70s were great moments of political activism with the fight for independence and the rise of the MMM but today the atmosphere is dull and bland. All main political parties have the same ideology and outlook with the MMM madly groping in the dark for the warmth of some Vaishya-dhoti.
AND YET! There are very serious unattended issues such as the different aspects of food security, literacy and national identity. Political leaders and commentators are more attracted by some cosmetic device which leaves intact basic politics and polity.