Skip to main content

Global bid to 'normalise' undemocratic, illiberal practices through majoritarianism?

  
By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
As people battle with the deadly Coronavirus, the world is sleep walking into an authoritarian future to keep capitalism alive with the help of brute force. The parliamentary and presidential forms of democracies are running the government without effective oppositions. 
Governments in USA, UK, Brazil, India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh and many other countries are busy in bending inclusive, secular and progressive rules and regulations to please global capital at the cost of people and their lives. The parliamentary, presidential, liberal and constitutional democracies are falling apart by breaking democratic traditions as outlined in the constitutional traditions.
The authoritarian politics is becoming the oxygen for the survival of capitalist economy and its profit driven system. The bourgeois cavalry of the ruling class is pushing democracy, democratic ethos, and democratic institutions into its temporary graveyard on which neoliberal authoritarianism can flourish. It is not only about one country anymore. From Europe to Americas, Asia, Africa and Oceania, there are visible signs of rise of authoritarianism and its assault on democracy. 
There are attempts by the governments to normalise illiberal and undemocratic practices with the help of majoritarianism. The right-wing shift in democratic praxis is not new in the history. The authoritarian and anti-democratic forces have always tried to subvert democracy to regain their unfettered control over people and resources. It is argued that strong leadership and stable politics is essential for peace and prosperity. Such a myth is promoted by the reactionary forces to continue their hegemony in different spheres of life.
The history is full of examples of both successful and failed democratic movements but never failed in promoting radical ideals, democratic values and cultures, whereas the tyrannical, reactionary and right-wing forces have always failed after their transient success. 
The undemocratic and authoritarian states and governments are spreading misinformation and fake news to keep people in dark about their diminishing freedom of choice in every step of their lives. The diversionary strategy helps to hide the failure of ruling classes and promote their failure as the failure of state, government and democracy.
Both the weak states and compliant governments or strong states and powerful governments under dysfunctional democratic set ups are useful for the expansion of capital. The reactionary political regimes are allies of capitalist classes. These forces are using every opportunity and platforms to defame, discredit and delegitimise opposition political parties, democratic and progressive movements to create political climate, where politics becomes the ideology of ruling classes.
It even uses judiciary to criminalise political opposition to the ruling establishments. These deceptive tactics has been used in different parts of the world to use crippled democracy merely as a poster hide reactionary politics and capitalist exploitation.
Democracy is a tool of social, political and economic transformation. Democratic deficit or crisis of democracy delays transformation towards progressive future. The world needs to embrace the urgency of mobilising a radical mass movement to revive, restore and consolidate democratic developments in a progressive path, where the culture of political opposition is not strangulated.
The politics of dissent enhances democratic traditions and sharpens decision making processes. The opposition political parties are becoming inseparable from the ruling class ideology and policies. It looks as if they are the two sides of the same coin. The ineffective opposition or the absence of opposition diminishes democratic praxis.
The popular opinions based on beliefs are not always reasonable, objective, and scientific. Therefore, it is important for the majority to respect the minority voices based on progressive and scientific ethos. It is an important tool of checks and balances within a democratic system. The alternative to democratic failure is more democracy to be successful. The authoritarian regimes can never be an alternative to democracy and its abilities towards a progressive transformation.
Both the essentialist and emancipatory logic of democracy and its critiques are central to decentralisation of power and authority to ensure democratic praxis for common good. The opposition’s questions and critique of the government is essential for social, political and economic transformation of governance mechanisms based on needs and desires of people.
It is important for majority to respect minority voices based on progressive and scientific ethos as a tool of checks and balances in democratic system
Such a democratic tradition and political culture allows multiple voices and exchange of different perspectives for larger goal of emancipation of people from different forms of structural inequalities and exploitation. The ideals of individual liberty, equality, justice and freedom are the gifts of democratic movements.
From the Solonian, Cleisthenesian and Ephialtesian traditions of Athenian democracy to Chartist character of parliamentary democracies with Westminster styles are products of working-class uprisings against ruling class authoritarianism and exploitation. The police brutality and unjust judiciaries have failed to protect the ruling classes and their undemocratic regimes.
The Peterloo massacre in Manchester to anti-colonial struggles in Asia, Africa, Americas and Oceania are testimonies to the sacrifice and struggles of common people to establish democratic politics that represents the interests of the masses. The distributive justice, liberty and equality are foundational and governing principles of these working class struggles for democracy.
Historically, the democratic struggles have used both ‘reform’ and ‘revolution’ as twin weapons of social, economic and political progress. The reforms are not working any longer. The survival of democratic ethos and principles are under threat now. The democratic state and governments are no longer representing the needs, desires, interests and aspirations of the masses.
The states and governments are standing behind the global, regional and national capitalist classes and upholding their interests. The masses are suffering in hunger, homelessness, inequalities and multiple forms of alienation. This is a global trend and not confined within a particular territory and population. The forward march of this global trend needs to be halted for the sake of survival of human life, citizenship rights, dignity and peace in the world.
It needs an internationalist approach with local actions and regional solidarity networks with global outreach acknowledging distinctive understanding of regional requirements based on people’s needs. The hegemonic universalism promoted by Eurocentric understanding of bourgeois democracy needs to be transformed and replaced bypluriversal democratic practices moving beyond empiricist electoral framework of majority or minority.
---
*Coventry University, UK

Comments

TRENDING

India's GDP down by 50%, not 23%, job loss 200 million not 122 million: Top economist

By Our Representative One of India’s topmost economists has estimated that India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) decline was around 50%, and not 23%, as claimed by the Government of India’s top data body, National Statistical Organization (NSO). Prof Arun Kumar, who is Malcolm S Adiseshiah chair professor, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi, said this was delivering a web policy speech, organised by the Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi.

JP advised RSS to give up Hindu Rashtra, disband itself: Ex-IAS officer tells Modi

Counterview Desk
Major MG Devasahayam IAS (Retd), chairman, People-First, in an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the occasion of Jayprakash Narain’s (JP’s) death anniversary (October 11) has wondered whether he remembers “a patriot called Jayaprakash Narayan”. Recalling what JP thought on issues such as communalism, freedom, democracy, Hindutva etc., Devasahayam says, Modi has been been doing “the very opposite of the principles and values for which JP lived and died.”

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

By Our Representative
Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book, "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

UP chief secretary, DGP have 'surrendered' to political diktat: 92 retired IAS, IPS officials

Counterview Desk
In an open letter to Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, 92 retired IAS, IFS and IPS bureaucrats, commenting on “blatant violations of the rule law” following the Hathras incident, have blamed that the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police for abjectly failing to exercise control over a “highly compromised” administration the state.

Gujarat literati flutter: State Akademi autonomy curb a Sahitya Parishad poll issue?

By Dankesh Oza*
The 115-year-old Gujarati Sahitya Parishad is in election mode. More than 3,000 life members of the Parishad are set to elect its 52nd president and 40 plus central working committee (CWC) members, which in turn will elect its executive and two vice presidents, six secretaries and a treasurer for the coming three years (from 2021 to 2023).

Hathras reflects Manu's mindset dominates: 'Women are false, it's in their nature to seduce'

By Parijat Ghosh, Dibyendu Chaudhuri*
The woman died and then we woke up to protest. She was alive for two weeks after the heinous incident. Many of us even didn’t notice what had happened at Hathras, how she fought during the next 15 days. Those who noticed, many of them were not sure what actually had happened. So much so, we as a nation were more busy in finding out who among the Bollywood actresses were taking drugs, who smoked weed, who had ‘inappropriate’ or more than one relationship, what kind of private conversations they had in their chat boxes and what not!

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur*
Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Atrocities against Dalits: Why don't MPs, MLAs from the community ever speak up?

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*
In Gujarat, a young Dalit activist lawyer Devji Maheshwari, belonging to the Backward and Minority Communities Employees Federation (BAMSCEF) was killed in Surat, allegedly by a goon who was warning him against his Facebook posts not to speak up against Brahmanism. Facts have come to light suggesting there are other issues also which led to the murder, mostly related to land disputes, many a time ignored by activists.

Delhi riots: Even British didn't accuse Bhagat Singh of reading Lenin, Jack London

By Vikash Narain Rai*
After the #BlackLifeMatters movement seriously tested the credibility of police across America, the Houston police chief Art Acevado talked of ending “lawful but awful” policing. No comparison, but in India, a citizens’ committee comprising former top judges and bureaucrats is now set to inquire into the role of the state machinery and media in handling the February 2020 Delhi violence, which followed protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), “as the investigation by the Delhi Police has evoked extensive critical commentary in recent times.”