Democracy or the Tyranny of the People

This Thomas Jefferson’s definititon of democracy is pretty explicit in a sense that it makes us aware that it doesn’t necessarily mean total freedom or brings satisfaction to all but only for the majority. So when the figure is proportionally inversed it leads us to Michael Parenti’s term “Democracy for the Few”. In a country like Madagascar where people’s vision of Democracy remains the genuine one, they have used this prerogative to topple any Governement which doesn’t tune with their aspiration. There is then a misinterpretation about Malagasy people’s struggle which started last January this year and have put an end to Ravalomanana’s regime. Mob rule and street protest are –according to Jefferson’s definition—the means to achieve real Democracy but not Western standard delimiting it to electoral system where people’s involvement into the Public Affairs cease after general election, allowing the Government to take important decision on their behalf, against their real need. If the Americans (Americons) have acted to protest against Bush admnistration without waiting 2009’ election the consequences would have been less tragic. On the other hand, in any tyrannical form of democratic governance there are always the few oppressed one, who –in the name of Democracy again– will claim their due and a better consideration of their will. I’m talking here about Ravalomanana’s supporters who can be considered as people or “vahoaka” in Malagasy term but with a slight discreptancy : they are not the numerous vahoaka.

Another study case about the Tyranny of the Majority is what happened in Venezuela in 2002. When the democratically elected president Hugo Chavez started to implement major changes in the economy, including the nationalization of all vital sector of industries and especially for a significant revenue for the people in oil trade, the US took a dim view on these reforms. With a US-backed opposition group, national oil company and few capitalist lobbies they marshalled many people to instigate a coup d’état which removed him from power for 2days. But the majority of the people raised to support their nationalist president and runned demonstrations on the street to counterbalance the opposition movement. Just as we have seen on TV, those who supported Chavez are the real people because they are the majority one. Just as the case of Venezuela, 2009 political crisis in Madagascar follow the same pattern but in the opposite direction. At the dawn of a new interim government formation which intend to include all political trends (not only those who signed Maputo convention), still some voices raise to reject it and surely will shout out for all those who want to hear that this new Governement is illegal, undemocratic because it doesn’t suit their qualification. They are again the victim of real Democracy. Finnally I would restrain myself to say that this form of Democracy is the best solution for Madagascar, we need real participatory and true representative democracy and everbody is happy, not cult of personality about one single guy anymore. Election is a step but people’s engagement are strongly solicited in the Government’s activities through policy making or in the worst case just topple any Government who try to fuck the people like we did. Sovereign Individual !.

Additional quote:

  • When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.
  • A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.
  • Thomas Jefferson

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    ~ by tolotra on September 8, 2009.

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