Tag Archives: democracy

No Western Style Elections In China

The Chinese government is proud their country is not going the way of decadent old-fashioned western democracy in which people are given the appearance, but never the substance of real democracy. In order to protect the right of Chinese people to vote correctly. If the American process of electing was in practice then only wealthy oligarchs would be heading the government unlike China which ensures that only members of the Communist party gain entry into the legislature or executive branches of government. As Li Fei notes, “Western-style elections, however, are a game for the rich.”

In one sense the Chinese approach is correct, remove money as THE factor in who gets elected. Unfortunately, in China, power and membership in the tight clique of those who wield power is a pre-requisite for getting elected to any important office. Of course, it would be interesting to have access to the financial resources of Communist party leaders and that of their children. What would we learn concerning the power of money?

Egyptian Dissident’s Jail Sentence Over-Turned

Saad Eddin Ibrahim, an Egyptian-American has been fighting to create a democratic Egypt and in the pursuit of his dream has criticized the rule of President Hosni Mubarak. A Judge over-turned the conviction of the dissident and said the two year sentence was incorrect. Ibrahim was among the first Egyptians to publicly denounce Mubarak for stifling democracy and seeking to impose his on on the nation following his own retirement. Judge Asahraf Sheta said there was no evidence that Ibrahim had damaged the reputation of Egypt by advocating democracy in his nation. He had urged in a column in the Washington Post in 2007 that America should withhold its annual $2 billion in aid until Mubarak agreed to allow democracy in his country.

Even George Bush was upset at the conviction and urged Mubarak to void this decision, but it required a courageous judge to stand up to the Egyptian government and publicly state that Egyptians have the right to speak in negative terms about their political leaders.

Fiji Feeling Frisky About Free Elections!

Fiji leader Frank Bainimarama wanted to the world to know that he overthrew the illegal government in the name of freedom and democracy because how else could one allow an illegal government to function? He told Australian and New Zealand leaders to stay out of his business because he is from Fiji and they are not. He was particularly upset that three Australian judges decided the existing government of Fiji which Baininmarama supports was in reality an illegally positioned government. “According to the Fiji leader who supports democracy, what the Australian judges “wanted was to force us into elections!”

Frank had some frank words to the media of Fiji and warned them to avoid printing stories “which are irritating and dark about our service in the past and damaging our reputation.” The last thing a democracy needs is media which reports about the dark past of politicians.

In Egypt, Don’t Rail And You Won’t See The Jail!

The state of Egypt is part of the global effort to thwart terrorism and bring democracy to the people of the Middle East. Activist Philip Rizik was rather upset at what happened recently in Gaza when over 1,300 people were killed and since he was in the democratic nation of Egypt he thought it was only natural to take to the streets and express his views. Unfortunately, Mr.Rizik did not grasp he was in “democratic Egypt” which is led by the democratic ruler named Mubarak who believes everyone has the right to express an opinion that supports his rule as leader of the nation. Mr. Rizik was arrested and while in the police station, “I was taken by force from the police station” and sent to another police station where for four days he was interrogated about his weird ideas that one had the right to protest Egyptian policy regarding Gaza.

According to Mr. Rizik if the interrogator did not like what he said, he was blindfolded and the questioning went on day after day. His parents were not allowed to know he was under arrest or where he was being held. He was accused of being a spy for Israel, then he was accused of being a spy for Hamas and while the questions came at him he could hear the sounds of people being tortured.

Eventually, Mr. Rizik was released, but the event is simply another saga in what happens in Mubarak Egypt, the nation which fights terrorism and brings democracy to the Middle East.

African National Congress Threatens Democracy

Since the end of apartheid in South Africa the African National Congress which was led by Nelson Mandela has dominated politics. Mandela was a believer in democracy and fought to protect the rights of minorities, but the current situation in South Africa poses new problems for the ANC. The party has split down the middle and become two parties which means the long dominance of the ANC in parliament is now threatened by a combination of minority parties and the splinter ANC group. Helen Zille, leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA) blasted the ANC for bussing in its followers in order to prevent her from speaking. “We will not be intimidated by political thugs… There is a new fluidity in South African politics. The ANC is the weakest it has been since 1994 and the opposition is growing stronger.”

South African President has set the election for April 22 and called for “the right of all political parties to campaign in a politically free atmosphere.” However, the core leadership of the ANC will not allow its power to be weakened and it will fight to prevent the splinter group allying with minority parties in order to create a new political alliance.

Putin Russia Fights To Halt Protests

Once upon a time in the 1990s, when the Russian people were celebrating the downfall of communism and the Soviet Union, people jammed streets to freely express their views, but since then, Vladmir Putin has made certain that demonstrations are for those who adore his semi-authoritarian approach to government. Dissenters March in 2006 was introduced as the main form of m ass protest by the Other Russia party. The purpose of these marches was to make public the feelings of millions that their freedoms were being eroded. The Moscow city hall made clear to protestors they could gather in one spot, but they could not march through the streets of the capital.

Pro democracy forces are aware there is nothing in the Russian constitution that allows a city government to reduce a “march” to the status of standing still and listening to speeches, but they do not wish to provide an opening for forces of repression to attack innocent people. Olga Kurmosova, a local leader of the United Civil Front, was visited by police because she is under investigation for smuggling into Russia a can of caviar. From freedom to cans of caviar is the story of Putin Russia.

Russian Democrats Gather For Action

One of the tragedies of modern life has been the regime of Vladmir Putin who throttled efforts to create a democratic Russia based on principles of free elections and the right of dissent against government. The promising developments in the 1990s have vanished under a pseudo democratic government which has elections in which the government always wins. About 250 members of democratic parties in russia recently met to discuss creating a new movement termed, Solidarity which is inspired by such documents as the “300 Steps To Freedom” written by economist Vladmir Milov and “Road-Map: The Solidarity Movement’s Plan of Action.”

Perhaps, one of the real difficulties in Russia today is the growing shift to self censorship on the part of many people who find ways to avoid taking action by not saying things that might get them in trouble with the government. Any new movement will require years of dedicated work toward establishing a true democratic society in Russia.

Georgian President Warned To Foster Democracy

George Bush has been responsible for fostering many myths about democracy including his claim that Georgian President MIhheil Saakashvili was a defender of a democratic society which was invaded by brutal Russia. The issue as to whether Georgia or Russia initiated the war is still a debate, but there is no doubt Georgia is not a democratic nation. A prominent European think tank said Georgia must follow through with needed economic and political reforms in the coming months. The Brussels based International Crisis Group, said Saakashvili’s administration will “be severely tested politically and economically in the winder and spring ahead.” It charges economic and political liberalism have been thwarted by his authoritarianism and stifling of free speech.

The Georgian opposition is now charging Saakashvili began the war with Russia and insisting democratic reforms are necessary. The Brussels group called for creation of an independent judiciary, elimination of high level corruption and freedom for the media to report the truth, not the government’s view as to what constitutes the truth.

Future Of Egypt’s Mubarak Unclear!

Hosni Mubarak has been president of Egypt since 1981 which makes him among the world’s longest lasting head of government. He has ruled in an authoritarian manner by denying the right of others to gain power in government. Members of the Muslim Brotherhood have been banned from running for office, and it is not uncommon for editors to be arrested because they express views which cast any criticism of Mubarak. Egypt’s ruling party would up its annual conference with extensive discussion regarding the future of the National Democratic Party. Gamal Mubarak, son of the president, insisted his party was in good shape and refused to discuss his own future.

The worse case scenario for Egypt is for Gamal Mubarak to take over from his father. Egypt needs democracy, it needs new ideas, it needs new leadership, and it needs a leader who can energize the economy and draw upon the nation’s able young people. Continuing the same old men in leadership is not a recipe for innovation.

Putin Style Democracy-I Decide Who Demonstrates!

There was hope when President Medvedev assumed office that he might extend the boundaries of democracy in his nation, but as the days go by, it becomes evident the concept of a central government which decides who can demonstrate in public is the prevailing approach to democracy in Russia. A request by the Movement Against Illegal Immigration and the Slavic Union, both undoubtedly nationalist groups, to demonstrate was denied by the Moscow government. City Hall spokesperson, Leonid Krutakov, said on November 4, “there will be a lot of rallies” and it is simply impossible to fit in one more.

The two groups attract nationalist supporters who hate immigrants and attacks Jews as part of their venue for spouting hate. The essence of democracy is the right of those for whom I oppose to speak openly. Last year, the two groups on Moscow March attracted hundreds including many young people. Moscow survived their marching as did the Russian nation.