When autumn winds buffet democracy
Posted on November 20th, 2011

The Island Editorial -Courtesy TheIslandƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  21-11-2011

Democracy has perhaps come under threat more from its western defenders who systematically abuse and undermine it to further or protect their interests than from dictators. For, dictatorial rulers suppress democracy so flagrantly that people are jolted into rising against themƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…”ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…”albeit with delay in most cases. But, duplicitous policies of pseudo champions of democracy who resort to undemocratic methods to safeguard their interests have led to a serious erosion of people’s faith in pro-democracy campaigns the world over. What democracy has suffered at the hands of its champions may be called, not to put too fine a point on it, custodial rape!

President Barack Obama and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg must be grinning from ear to ear as the Occupy Wall Street protesters are trooping out of the Zuccotti Park, unable to bear the chilly winds of autumn. The NY police have arrested hundreds of protesters and removed their tents, tarps, generators and fuel thus giving them Hobson’s choice.

Adding insult to injury, Bloomberg has audaciously told the American youth asking for jobs, “Now it’s time to get back and build the economy and create the good paying jobs that people need.” This we reckon is the ‘most unkindest cut of all’ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…”ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…”to borrow a phrase from the Bard. It is like telling a starving man asking for a piece of bread to help step up America’s food production so that he could have a sumptuous meal! Even the monster who hit Oliver Twist on the head with a ladle did so after giving the poor boy some soup first. All that the protesting jobless American youth have got is a bump each on their heads with no soup at all!

Reflected in the NY mayor’s hubris is the callous attitude of the Ninety-Nine Percent the OWS protesters have taken on. Bloomberg has done a Marie Antoinette! He twists the knife further when he tells the protesters that they have had two months to occupy part of the city with tents and sleeping bags and ‘now they will have to occupy the space with the power of their arguments’. (Emphasis added) Isn’t this exactly what the beleaguered dictators battling the Arab Spring are telling their people? The one-million-dollar question is why Bloomberg and Obama could not employ the ‘power of their arguments’ to counter the OWS protests without resorting to disproportionate brute force to scuttle them.

Ironically, in ordering a crackdown on the epicentre of OWS protests, the New York Mayor has used the same argument as the leaders in the developing countries including Sri Lanka, where governments have been condemned by the US for using the Emergency regulations to suppress dissent. He has said: “From the beginning, I have said that the City had two principal goals: guaranteeing public health and safety, and guaranteeing the protestors’ First Amendment rights. But, when those two goals clash, the health and safety of the public ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚¦ must be the priority.” If so, then a government/a city administration in any part of the world should be deemed justified in ordering crackdowns on protesters however peaceful they may be on the grounds that they pose a threat to public health and safety. Antoinette’s, sorry, Bloomberg’s example is sure to be emulated the world over. In this country, his method is already in use as evident from attacks on protesters and the demolition their makeshift shelters etc.

Barack Obama got himself elected President promising a change. But, he continues to move along the same rut as his predecessors. He was not obviously the choice of the super rich who favour the Republicans as is common knowledge. It was the ordinary Americans who enabled him to realise his presidential dream. But, he has let them down very badly and is pandering to the whims and fancies of those who would rather have him thrown out of his job. The people who believed in his mesmerising oratory and overwhelmingly voted for him are without jobs and fearing for their future as never before. They stand disillusioned and frustrated.

Aristotle has famously said in Politics, “If liberty and equality, as is thought by some, are chiefly to be found in democracy, they will be best attained when all persons alike share in the government to the utmost.” Sadly, this has long ceased to be true of America, where the super rich (who constitute only one per cent of the population according to OWS protesters) sway governments. As a leading Sri Lankan intellectual points out in his column on this page today, quoting Prof. Weisskopf, ‘democracy is undermined, if some people can deploy enormous economic resources to influence political decisions while others cannot’. How true!

It will be a mistake for Obama et al to let themselves be lulled into a false sense of complacency simply because their coercive tactics aimed at crushing the OWS protests seem to be yielding the desired results. What they have witnessed for the past two months has all the trappings of the first wave of a politico-economic tsunami, of which the second wave is bound to be far more destructive. Their trouble is far from over!


6 Responses to “When autumn winds buffet democracy”

  1. Dilrook Says:

    American Autumn.

    Just like the Arabic Spring.

    Today USA is the worst violator of human rigths, the right to protest and freedom of expression of Americans. It is much worse than Iran or Syria where only violent mobs are attacked by the police. In USA 100% peaceful protesters are attacked and sprayed capsicum spray.

  2. Christie Says:

    Modern democrazy is about who pay for the votes.

    It has been the tradition for more than two hundred years in the West.

    In Ceylon, Sri Lanka it started in 1951 with SWRD.

  3. Fran Diaz Says:

    What the “Occupy Wall St” people asks for is : “We want a System that works for us, the 99% of American People”. If a Democracy means : “By the People, for the People”, then it is a reasonable request, isn’t it ?

    As far as we know, the President of the USA does not control the Police force in the various States. It is the Mayor of each State that controls the Police.

  4. Fran Diaz Says:

    Correction: It is the Mayor of each City that controls the Police.

  5. Christie Says:

    When Obama started he had a middle East policy slightly pro Palestinian.

    Then his funds stopped coming.

    The policy changed and funds started to come.

    I leve it to the commentators to work out who influenced the poliy and who provided the fund after.

    Obama pushers wants 1 billion for the next election and who is going to pay.

  6. Fran Diaz Says:

    Any government in USA, past & present, has to PROTECT Israel. Secy. Hillary Clinton has openly stated so many times. That is the ground reality of matters.

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