Political events in Haiti and Spain offer lessons in how democracy is meaningless theory, when under the control of dominating minorities, but meaningful practice, when moving activated majorities to create radical transformations .
In Haiti, a democratically elected government was destroyed, under the direction of the United States . In Spain, where interference has come from U.S. policy and terrorists, electoral democracy has worked to change the government at a crucial time. Can we learn from these experiences? We’d better, because we are partly responsible for both.
The Spanish people did not simply react in anger towards those suspected of the dreadful terrorist act. They threw out the regime which created the terror, when it went against the will of its people and backed the U.S. war against reason. They offer inspiration to the world, defiance to the U.S., and shame to all who still believe they can fight terrorism by killing people .
Haiti is a very poor nation, owing to its slave state origins, and its long, costly rebellion against European domination. It never broke the hold over its political economy that Europeans and their native collaborators have maintained. The Aristide election may have given the Haitians their greatest hope since the days of the slave revolt. But the best intentions of the Aristide government have been up against outside manipulation that aggravated material problems beyond their abilities to fairly confront, let alone successfully resolve.
Their latest drama, and the democratic dream in Haiti, may not be over , given that members of the congressional black caucus have made it an issue that cannot be swept under the rug. Those caucus members have shown courage in standing against the ugly racist history of our own nation, and speaking boldly to the cause of the only black ruled country in the hemisphere. Sadly, they also offer further proof of just how degraded the entire congress has become, in that not one of the caucus members show anything near the courage displayed regarding Haiti, when it comes to Palestine-Israel.
Just as their white counterparts, they act as a zionized cult in robot like obedience to the Israeli lobby. The future might hold far more hope for humanity, with an end to terrorism, if they displayed the same courage in dealing with the middle east, and spoke against murderous USraeli policy. But at least they are making certain that the people of Haiti get a few moments in public consciousness, before vanishing under the cover of a new show biz scandal, or a new terror alert.
By comparison with Haiti, Spain is a relatively rich, developed European country. It spent much of the twentieth century under a bloody fascist regime, but moved to social democracy after that . The new left leaning government, like the old rightist regime, will maintain corporate capitalism and keep to the program deemed proper for the european model. But it differs sharply from the U.S. and its continental lackeys in one key area: It will no longer support the unilateral U.S. war on terror, which has cost it too many lives already. In defying the U.S. bully, It sets an example for the rest of the world, and for democratic hope everywhere.
The court appointed Bush regime , the worst in modern history, should be primed for defeat, if not impeachment. While it’s possible that the “anyone but Bush” sentiment will prevail, depending on the Democratic party to carry out the task of victory runs a risk. People will have to rise above the level of limited choice, even while selecting a lesser evil candidate in the cancer vs polio sweepstakes that American elections represent . But perhaps seeing that they will still have a disease to overcome will help a majority to get rid of the threatened terminal disorder, while understanding that a crippling illness will remain with “anyone but Bush”.
The blundering bluntness of this regime has unmasked what was often covered by political cosmetics. The empire dominates by economic and political controls, and by military coercion, but either way, it dominates. Previously soft core techniques of neoliberal regimes have given way to the hard core methods of neoconservatives. This could make the cancer-polio analogy clearer than usual, while it may also cause a more desperate longing for polio.
To take our minds off the death tolls in Iraq, the severely troubled economy, and the dreadful misfit in the white house, Osama bin laden, the forgotten demon from last season, is back in the news. It may be that the 6’5″ Osama has shaved his beard and is playing in the NBA , given the incredible ineptitude of our unintelligence system. The incompetents who slept through the 911 plans , and found evidence of invisible weapons in Iraq, are supposedly closing in on Osama in hopes of a dramatic arrest soon. So? Even if he is caught or killed, the terror threat has increased, and Osama has had nothing to do with it. The Bush administration’s idiotic war on the Arab and muslim world has created more danger for everyone, everywhere . The stupid, bloody, racist policies of the U.S., not Osama, represent our greatest threat. And if coerced and cowardly allies follow those policies, they will ultimately suffer tragedy, as Spain did.
And if the people are sensible, they will dump their corrupt governments, as Spain did, and move towards peace by getting closer to reality. That means developing an “exit strategy” that says; get the hell out of places where we are not wanted, like the middle east and Haiti, and take care of real problems at home. Such policy can only result from an angry, but informed and thoughtful democratic action , as Spain produced. Would the Spanish people who voted for peace be destroying democracy in Haiti? Suppressing freedom in Palestine? Obeying an anti-democratic, court appointed, minority regime in the U.S.? Why should we?