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10 April, 2016 00:00 00 AM

Could democracy survive without a new ally?

Abdul Gaffar choudhury
Could democracy survive without a new ally?

There is a common conception that socialism failed but capitalism survived. According to some western observers socialism failed because it had lost its human face. The system could not produce a democratic and benevolent ruler, but produced dictators like Stalin and Mao with more repressive nature. But capitalism survived because it was from the very beginning associated with democracy. Democracy gradually widens ordinary people's rights and privileges since the era of Greek city states.
But modern democracy is a product of industrial revolution and European Renaissance. The best example of this democracy was British Westminster system. The capitalist western world claim that they are upholding the true democracy with human rights which is absent in the socialist system and therefore it failed. Though socialist command-economy tried to alleviate poverty and eliminate economic disparity, they failed to ensure human dignity and its freedom. The first communist state, the former Soviet Union was known as the country of the iron curtain. But most of the western observers and commentators did not realize the truth that socialism was a very new concept, much younger than the concept of democracy. Democracy also passed through many transitional period and to survive changed its form. Socialism is also passing through its primary transitional period now and might reborn in a new form. Western capitalism fearing the rise of this new socialism is still engaged in fighting against it. They offer the newly independent developing countries the system of democracy which lost its grandeur and appeal a long time ago.
After the first crusade the decadent feudalism could not resist the rise of capitalism with its attractive human face. Capitalism introduced modern democracy in Europe and made it possible for the ordinary people to participate in state affairs. They got the right to elect a parliament which was sovereign and ruled the country. In capitalism democracy had only one meaning in the words of Abraham Lincoln ‘A government for the people, of the people and by the people'. But capitalism gradually became a global power, a cruel instrument of exploitation of the ordinary people and preferred economic strangulation over welfare system for the common people and Lincoln's definition of democracy became meaningless. This growth of capitalism and its global power no more remained an ally of democracy; rather it became a more powerful tyrant than feudal lords of the medieval era and subjugated the democratic system just to cover their face which remained human no more.
After Second World War it became almost clear that democracy may be a form for the people but not run by the people. The most powerful business cartels and corporates started to run the state under a democratic mask where parliament and the elected executives almost became their subservient. When Eisenhower became the president of the United States he publicly confessed that his country was run by an invisible government not by his visible government.
The Westminster system of democracy of Britain, has been so long described as the symbol of true democracy. But when Margaret Thatcher became the Prime Minister, she was accused of becoming an elected dictator destroying the century-old cabinet system. Tony Blair, another Prime Minister engaged Britain in an unjust war ignoring the public opinion of his countrymen and that of his own party also. Now it is an open secret that in developed democratic countries also the opinion of vast majority is no more respected. Even the elected governments follow a policy to satisfy the vested interests of the country. So the question is, where is the true democracy?
After the Second World War a number of independent Asian and African countries adopted the Westminster type of parliamentary democracy. But they could not retain it for long because of their social and economic conditions. They had to evolve their own system. In China after communist revolution Mao Tse-tung did not go for a socialist state straightway. He introduced a system under one-party rule and termed it as new democracy. In Ghana and Zimbabwe Nkrumah and Robert Mugabe replaced parliamentary democracy with a Presidential one. They thought their social and economic condition could not sustain Westminster democracy and African system needed some control. They named it 'limited democracy'. In Indonesia its first President Sukarno also curbed many democratic rights so that he could maintain strong unity between different races and groups of their vast country. The pattern of democracy Sukarno adopted was named 'controlled democracy'.
Western countries with capitalist economic system kept the democracy as a sleeping beauty of the fairy tales; they did not even tolerate the rise of other forms of  democracy in Asia and Africa. They arranged military coup to overthrow the regime of those countries and created dictatorship of a general giving him a false title- sometimes as an iron man, sometimes as a saviour of the nation. Batista of Cuba, Pinochet of Chile, Ayub Khan of Pakistan, Ziaur Rahman of Bangladesh all these military dictators were products of the western capitalism and these western countries who created so many tyrants in Asia and Africa still boast of their own democracy.
In Bangladesh when Sheikh Mujib found out just after his country's liberation that the reactionary forces and their foreign allies are so powerful that he could not protect their newly earned independence with the system of Westminster democracy. He turned towards a system which will transfer power from the colonial bureaucracy to the grass-root people. So the western democracy under American leadership stood against the Mujib government and destroyed it but could not replace it by a true democratic system which they themselves do not practice. Instead Bangladesh witnessed the rise of tyrannical dictatorship and as its ally the violent religious extremism. The present Hasina government is trying their best to keep a fragile structure of western democracy, still western powers are not happy with that government. Their sympathy lies with parties like Jamaat and BNP, who in the past could give the country neither good governance nor democracy.
Now people all over the world are aware of the curse of global capitalism and know that democracy is nothing but a sleeping beauty of the fairy tales under the control of the demons. The new concept of socialism which has sprung from some Latin American countries has realized the folly of the old socialism. The old socialism has lost its human face for the blunder of its old leadership and followed the path of self-destruction. New-socialism realizes that without human face and granting full human rights only economic parity will not satisfy the wishes of the mankind. Socialism can survive combining with democracy and democracy cannot free itself from the domain of the capitalist demon without accepting the principles of socialism. In the past social democracy was favoured by leaders like Nehru, Nasser and Allende and others, but at the same time they followed the dictates of capitalist world and social democracy could not work properly. Democracy had to face many debacles in the past. Now socialism is also passing through a very critical juncture. Perhaps alliance between socialism and democracy will save the human society from present bloodshed and destruction. Present capitalism cannot save human civilization.

London, Friday 8 April, 2016


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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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