Tag Archives | Democracy

Oliver Stone on Government and Venezuela

Since a second reporter unrelated to WeAreChange asked another question that was related to the role of government we decided to leave it in.

What is the proper role of Government? In this video Oliver Stone tells WRC’s Luke Rudkowski that those rising up against Venezuela’s government are sore losers. It has recently been revealed that the Venezuelan government is blocking all photos of the uprisings on Twitter to prevent the free flow of information and hide the government crackdown from the public eye.
WeAreChange asks Oliver Stone to clarify his support for certain South American governments.

 

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A Belated Reply to Plato: Is Democracy the Wisest Choice?

Is democracy the wisest choice, and the only fit for philosophers? Share your thoughts, links, and recommendations with us please.

Plato in his academy, painting by Swedish pain...

Plato in his academy, painting by Swedish painter Carl Johan Wahlbom, woodcut for the magazine by an unknown xylographer. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) (PD)

via 3 Quark Daily

Plato is among the most famous critics of democracy.  His criticism is relatively simple, but potentially devastating.  It runs as follows.  Politics aims at achieving justice, and so political policy must reflect the demands of justice.  Only those who know what justice is and have the self-control to enact what justice requires are capable of doing politics properly.  Alas, the average citizen is dumb and vicious.  Hence Plato’s conclusion is that democracy is a fundamentally corrupt form of politics; it is the rule of those who neither know nor care about justice.  In The Republic, Plato’s Socrates argues for a philosophical monarchy, the rule of the wise and virtuous.

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If Voting Doesn’t Matter, Why Do Evil Billionaires Seem to Think it Does?

blueenergyheatherFor everyone who thinks voting doesn’t matter I’ve got two words for you: legal weed. Okay, shut the fuck up now. Thank you. My state is currently not arresting people for up to an ounce of marijuana and it will soon be sold in stores, which is the greatest victory of the people thusfar in the drug war. Guess how that happened? One, some determined folks got it on the ballot and two, we voted for it. For the record, it wasn’t even close. Why am I bringing this up? For the most part I try and avoid politics in my writing (outside of the drug war) because I tend to think it takes away from a spiritual message that should be applicable to anyone regardless of political affiliation (man are people divided on politics in this country). But I just voted the other day and once again, had to endure a bunch of commentary from idiots on the internets about how “it doesn’t matter who you vote for man”.… Read the rest

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BBC Asks If Conspiracy Theories Are Destroying Democracy

Secret-message-on-1-bill-conspiracy-theories-7780540-286-320Conspiracy theories destroying democracy? Yeah, well that’s what they’d want you to think.

Via BBC:

The more information we have about what governments and corporations are up to the less we seem to trust them. Will conspiracy theories eventually destroy democracy?

What if I told you I had conclusive proof that the moon landings were faked, but I had been told to keep it under wraps by my BBC bosses acting under orders from the CIA, NSA and MI6. Most of you would think I had finally lost my mind.

But, for some, that scenario – a journalist working for a mainstream media organisation being manipulated by shadowy forces to keep vital information from the public – would seem entirely plausible, or even likely.

We live in a golden age for conspiracy theories. There is a growing assumption that everything we are told by the authorities is wrong, or not quite as it seems.

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When Does Democracy Turn Into Despotism?

Created by Encyclopaedia Britannica Films in 1946, the still-thought-provoking short PSA Despotism & Democracy doesn't exactly paint our current prospects in a positive light:
Measures how a society ranks on a spectrum stretching from democracy to despotism. Where does your community, state and nation stand on these scales?
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Israelis ‘Donate’ Votes to Palestinians in Protest

Via Common Dreams:

In a move of high-tech civil disobedience, thousands of Israeli citizens are donating their right to vote in the upcoming parliamentary elections to their Palestinian neighbors via Facebook.

­‘Real Democracy,’ so far has over 1,700 followers and is allowing Israelis to “donate” their votes for the Palestinian cause, giving their ‘second-class’ citizen neighbors an opportunity to participate in the general elections on Tuesday.

Agence France Presse reports:

As a Palestinian living in the West Bank, Mousa Maria has no legal right to vote in Israeli elections this week. But thanks to a protest initiative, an Israeli voter will be casting a ballot for him.

He’s participating in the “Real Democracy” project, a joint campaign launched by Israeli and Palestinian peace activists in which Israeli citizens “donate” their ballot to Palestinians.

Maria will be voting through Shahaf Weisbein for the Arab-Israeli party Balad. He asked Weisbein to vote for the party to show support for its embattled member Hanin Zoabi, who faced attempts to disqualify her from the Knesset last month.

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The Return of COINTELPRO?

Picture: denis ponté

Tom McNamara, writing at Counterpunch:

“Democracies die behind closed doors” – Judge Damon J. Keith

For 15 years (1956-1971) the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) ran a broad and highly coordinated domestic intelligence / counterintelligence program known as COINTELPRO (COunter INTELligence PROgrams). What was originally deemed as a justifiable effort to protect the US during the Cold War from Soviet and Communist threats and infiltration, soon devolved into a program for suppressing domestic dissent and spying on American citizens. Approximately 20,000 people were investigated by the FBI based only on their political views and beliefs. Most were never suspected of having committed any crime.

The reasoning behind the program, as detailed in a 1976 Senate report, was that the FBI had “the duty to do whatever is necessary to combat perceived threats to the existing social and political order.” The fact that the “perceived threats” were usually American citizens engaging in constitutionally protected behaviour was apparently overlooked.

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The Prescience of Tocqueville

Alexis de Tocqueville Public Domain

Alexis de Tocqueville was amazingly observant and had an outsider perspective of American democracy. He was a deposed French Aristocrat from Normandy whose ancestors had fought in the battle of Hastings. His parents narrowly escaped the guillotine during the French Revolution. He came to America initially to study the Penal system but ended up writing his magnum opus Democracy in America, instead. He believed that democracy was providential, nonetheless, he expressed ambivalence to it. He observed then, that in contrast to his home country, America was beginning its democratic experiment with more or less a blank slate, whereas in France it had to establish itself over the legacy of aristocracy. So he often contrasted and compared American democracy with aristocracy.

I think of writers of Tocqueville’s era – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Herman Mellville – as having greater social intelligence. They seem a lot more invested than today’s writers in what they believed made individual people tick.… Read the rest

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Occupy the Debates

Picture: Flickr/DonkeyHotey (CC)

Occupy the Debates is encouraging activists and critical thinkers in every American city to organize their own events around the Presidential debates this month, fostering dialogue and dissent. Already there are events scheduled in San Diego, Denver (with political comedian Lee Camp and live music by Junkyard Empire), and here in my own beautiful San Francisco, on Mutiny Radio:

We’ll not only be live-streaming the debates in our gallery space and on the air, but we’ll also open up our microphones to the public to rebut the Master Debaters, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Both of these politicians are renowned liars, who sit in denial of the voice of the people. Get live on the air with Mutiny Radio DJs for each of the debates in October, and make your voice heard against their campaign cash machines! Discuss the issues that most likely won’t be covered by either corporate candidate: public banking, suppression of protest, discrimination, net neutrality, climate change, the NDAA, and the drone program!… Read the rest

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