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Robocalls: their democracy and ours

March 1, 2012

Election corruption reveals the bankruptcy of capitalist democracy, in the midst of capitalist bankruptcy.

Even though it only allows us to vote for one minute every four years for politicians subservient to the 1%, we’re told that Western democracy and free market capitalism are the highest achievements—so superior that NATO countries have to bomb and invade other countries to spread them.

But for decades of neoliberalism, voter turnout progressively declined as people consistently voted for “change” only to get the same cuts to social programs and living standards.

Then came the economic crisis, which laid bare the bankruptcy of the “free market”, which required billions of public funds transferred to private banks and corporations to keep them afloat.

Then came the Arab spring, where millions of ordinary people toppled Western-backed tyrants—laying bare the rhetoric of “humanitarian intervention”. The Arab spring is not about winning Western-style capitalist democracy but changing socio-economic conditions, which is why it inspired and spread to the West—where low voter turnout was not a sign of apathy but of anger at the inability of the system to provide real change.

The Arab Spring, the Occupy movement and the broader global revolt are fighting to deepen democracy into neighbourhoods, campuses and workplaces of the 99%. But capitalist democracy in a deepening economic crisis is restricting its limited democracy even further. In Greece where the crisis is most severe, the failure of the social democratic PASOK government to impose harsh enough austerity on the majority led to the imposition of a government of technocrats.

Meanwhile, the Harper government had to resort to electoral corruption to win a majority. After years of unstable minority government where the Liberals—the twin party of corporate Canada—had to prop up the Tories, Bay Street was eager for a strong majority mandate to ram through austerity measures.

That this required fraud is outraging millions, and connecting electoral corruption to the undemocratic economic and imperial system it maintains could broaden the revolt amongst the 99% and raise our horizons of a fundamentally different world.

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