The Art of Democracy
Democracy. Rule of the people. Origins in ancient Greece. In Greece today, democracy is in the streets with people protesting and resisting bank bailouts, wage and pension cuts and structural adjustment. The U.S. loves democracy so much it goes to war to impose it. Remarkable. Elections are an integral part of democracy. But what happens when the results don’t go Washington’s way? They don’t like it and have invaded, staged coups, or imposed sanctions and blockades. But if you are a U.S. favorite you get a free pass such as Karzai’s rigged election in Afghanistan or similar shenanigans in Central Asia or the great Mubarak in Egypt. In the U.S. democracy is taken for granted. But do the two parties offer substantive choices? What about economic justice? Maybe it’s time to examine the canvas and refine the art of democracy.
Raj Patel is a visiting scholar at the Center for African Studies at UC Berkeley and a fellow at Food First. He has worked for the World Bank and the WTO, and has also protested them on four continents. He is an Advisor to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. He is the author of Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System and The Value of Nothing.