what can we do to help them preserve democracy

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isenkrammer
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what can we do to help them preserve democracy

Postby isenkrammer » 2014-02-04, 11:26

Having witnessed the late Arab Spring with all of its bloodshed as well as its glorious moments, I'm now hoping to see the demise of the repessive Communist Party regime in my home country in the near future, but I have mixed feelings at the moment, having witnessed many revolutions in the past and particularly the collapse of the Soviet Union and the chaos that took place in Yeltsin era Russia which eventually helped to propel Putin into power.

The history of revolution in the last century seems to paint a gloomy picture. The general trend of many of those revolutions seemed to be that it starts out with idealistic and altruistic mass demonstrations, followed by the regime stepping down (hopefully no guns involved), and then massive changes happen to the country as a result. Then the economy falters due to inherited debt from the previous regime and due to perhaps massive redistribution of wealth and restructuring of the economy itself, as well as the lack of experience of the new government in some cases. As the recession drags on starvation and crime rate rise. People get angry at each other. If the recovery doesn't happen in time, the people start to miss the old repressive but functional ways of the previous regime. Then some opportunist pops up, deceives voters, seizes the power and becomes the new dictator. Of course idealy we should have constant revolution, but that in practice often turns into civil wars. and in some cases the people become exhausted after a few rounds of revolutions and choose to put up with the regime instead.

Naturally we don't want to see the above happening again, so here comes the question, how can we as ordinary citizens help those countries to preserve the well deserved democracy after a successful revolution? Sure there are many NGOs out there that reach out and preach basic principles of democracy to the people of these countries. Some of them are affiliated with intelligence agencies but hopefully they don't play fancy tricks. Assuming they all behave with conscience, but at the end of the day, people won't listen to your preaching if the reality doesn't match up with your theories. If efforts are unrewarded, anger and anti-intellectuallism will spread.

How can we help them rebuild their economy as fast as possible after the revolution, so that damaged facilities can be repaired, those who want to start their own businesses can be given financial assistance, and those who want to work can find jobs relatively easily.

- Can we march out in our countries to call for more aid programs to these countries? But ironically most countries in the west are dealing with budget deficit these days, which limits the amount of foreign aid that can be pumped out. Moreover these loan programs often come with strings attached just like the IMF aid programs which often demand restructuring towards neoliberalism, whose effectiveness is often 'questionable'. (and that's often an understatement) So what then?

- Can we count on those billionaires with social conscience like George Soros to make donations? But even these billionaires can't contribute much if they're doing it all by themselves. In addition We probably don't want the billionaires affiliated with the Republican/Tea Party to be involved as they may instead turn it into a profittable program. Though either case we have little control over these people if they choose to pursue personal agendas.

- Are there any international organizations that specialize in this area that we can donate to? I need an organization because I don't have personal ties with most of these countries, and because I need to be able to show it to the people around me in order to maximize the impact. The organization also needs to be reliable as I don't want my money to end up in the pockets of corrupt officials.
Last edited by isenkrammer on 2014-03-25, 22:43, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: How to help them preserve the new found democracy

Postby Ludwig Whitby » 2014-02-04, 14:22

I think that the problem is that your first assumption is that revolution is good and you are looking for a way to prove that. Instead, you should rather cleanse your mind of prejudice and preconceptions and with a clear mind weigh out the positives against the negatives and then you may be able to conclude if revolution is a good or a bad way to achieve your goals.

You need to be honest with yourself about the true nature of your goals, too. I suspect that many revolutionaries are after power, fame, respect, money, meaning or adventure and don't care much about the proclaimed goals of the revolution.

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Re: How to help them preserve the new found democracy

Postby Saim » 2014-02-07, 22:41

I think one of the keys is to avoid militarising the population, unlike what was achieved in Libya and what is happening in Syria. Revolution is "good" if it leads to a better society, not one where might is right and people live in fear. Revolution is not just about changing government, it's about the whole system. I have serious doubts about what kind of social justice or economic development can be brought about by just giving everyone gains and saying "yeah, fight the oppressors".

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Re: How to help them preserve the new found democracy

Postby isenkrammer » 2014-03-04, 13:00

Saim wrote: Revolution is not just about changing government, it's about the whole system. I have serious doubts about what kind of social justice or economic development can be brought about by just giving everyone gains and saying "yeah, fight the oppressors".



Yes but what else can be done? How can such a modern political system as liberal democracy consolidate its position without the support from a structurally modern economy? Or are we supposed to expect democracy, liberty and rule of law to emerge from medieval feudalistic economies like that of Chiang Kai Shek's China or Imperial Russia under the Tsar?

I'm not saying a country cannot develop a modern economy without external support. But for ordinary individuals it's extremely difficult to start businesses without any money. For a newly formed government of a war-torn country it's very difficult to reform its economy without large scale loans from foreign countries. One way to bypass this problem is by means of human rights abuses and some kind of modern slavery (i.e. sweatshops). That's essentially what happened in European countries during the industrial revolution, and later Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and etc in the 1970s~1990s. Luckily South Korea and Taiwan's rulers didn't mind a democratic transition when the time came, though they did struggle for quite a bit before they gave in. The dictators in China, egypt and Syria today on the other hand prefer to send tanks out to the streets when uprisings happen. I don't think post-revolution Libya, Iraq or Syria should follow this model again or they risk becoming the next Saudi Arabia.

I'm not saying we should bribe the population to 'lure' them to believe in democracy either. But how else can we prevent the rise of domestic or international oligarchs, than to create a large number of domestic small business entrepreneurs to fill in the void? I hate to mention this again but political parties tend to speak for their sponsors. We've seen that oligarchic 'democracies' tend to spawn the Putin and Yanukovitch type politicians. (and just to be fair Timoschenko isn't exactly clean either. She herself is an oligarch too)

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Re: How to help them preserve the new found democracy

Postby TeneReef » 2014-03-09, 19:34

Democracy (soft euphemism for capitalism) sucks.
People lived much better in socialist Yugoslavia than in all these banana democratic republics of Balkans. Healthcare was free of charge, people had jobs, and people (of all ages, old and young) didn't need to turn to collecting garbage and plastic bottles in order to sell them to buy a loaf of bread.
Back then, 99% of people belonged to middle class, nowadays he have 95% of poor population and 5 % of new rich (advocates of foreign politics, foreign powers, EU and NATO).
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Re: How to help them preserve the new found democracy

Postby isenkrammer » 2014-05-05, 15:45

TeneReef wrote:Democracy (soft euphemism for capitalism) sucks.
People lived much better in socialist Yugoslavia than in all these banana democratic republics of Balkans. Healthcare was free of charge, people had jobs, and people (of all ages, old and young) didn't need to turn to collecting garbage and plastic bottles in order to sell them to buy a loaf of bread.
Back then, 99% of people belonged to middle class, nowadays he have 95% of poor population and 5 % of new rich (advocates of foreign politics, foreign powers, EU and NATO).



I don't know much about Yugoslavia, but I was under the impression that it was subsidized by both the Soviet Union and the west at one stage or another. Subsidies of thise kind were bound to cease once the cold war ended, so it's not sustainable.

These days I would rather not invoke so called socialism when discussing democratic transitions in developing countries that are still struggling to break free from medieval tribalism and theocracy. The fact that socialism had its origin in the Utopian dreams of disillusioned formerly religious people doesn't help either. Let's face it, socialism is a dubious term. What exactly is socialism anyways? There are so many different versions of it, and when opportunity for taking power presents itself, followers of different socialist teachings often engaged in bitter sectarian struggles against one another with the use of political violence, exactly like how the Shia-Sunni Muslim infighting is taking place in the Middle East. No let's be honest. Socialism has never brought any developing countries into modernity. Honest liberal capitalism (as opposed to say state capitalism which is in essence medieval mercantilism) has.

Internationalism and collectivism never worked. Humans are fundamentally selfish beings. Large multiethnic countries can only exist through centralized totalitarian control and repression. Just like Yugoslavia, Russia and China are bound to fall apart along ethnic lines in the end. The only thing we can really do is to advocate peaceful relocation of population and prevent genocide during the break up, and provide enough support so that people do not lose faith in the democratic new system. If countries like Australia and the US didn't go through thorough genocide in the past, they would certainly fracture too at some point along ethnic lines.

Yes there was Scandinavian 'socialism' but their welfare states are built on honest liberal capitalist economy too. Sweden has high tech industry and very large numbers of multinational corporations for such a small country. Norway has oil in the north sea, and does not rely on foreign technology to access this oil. This kind of social democracy was born in a sense of togetherness in the largely ethnically homogeneous communities in these countries, and it has rapidly deteriorated after they introduced large scale immigration.

But honest liberal capitalism makes progresses very slowly and can be very brutal too in the beginning, and this can lead to disastrous consequences. This is why the Marshall Plan was created. In Poland similar programs existed in the 1990s which helped to prevent systematic collapse of the newly founded democracy. Anyways I'm tired of typing..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xc0wjU1gShE
(note ignore what Hudson says about China. China is destroying itself too but in a different way - through irresponsible central planning which defies basic market principles, destroys the environment and violates human rights.

The people of the middle east and Ukraine rose up against their corrupt authoritarian governments and called for foreign interventions because they believe life will be better if they work with the US and the west. Let us not disappoint them. If our governments won't contribute much to the rebuilding of countries torn apart by the revolutions and civil wars, we as ordinary individuals should find a way to do so, instead of being armchair critics ranting about their policies being too conservative or too religious or whatever. I've seen many great products created through crowd funding, products that in the past simply wouldn't have been made because corporate manufacturers would deem them unprofitable. Surely there must be a way to contribute through some kind of crowd funding.

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Re: what can we do to help them preserve democracy

Postby TeneReef » 2014-05-06, 0:24

What is democracy anyway?
20 millions of Lao people in ''democratic'' Thailand don't live any better than 3 millions of Lao people in ''socialist'' Lao, Northeastern Thailand and Laos have the same GDP (PPP) per capita,
furthermore, Lao people in Thailand are subjected to Thaification, and are forced to worship the Thai monarchy and are not allowed to use their language and script.

Socialists in Lao fought for the modernized Lao script, and not some faux-etymological script similar to the one that was introduced in Thailand, by Buddhist monks and royals.

5 level sociolinguistic registers are much common in ''democratic'' monarchies like Thailand or Cambodia, then in socialist Vietnam and Laos (where there are now minimized, and appear in pronoun usage only).
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Re: what can we do to help them preserve democracy

Postby md0 » 2014-05-06, 0:30

I don't want to get into this debate of state capitalism and state socialism, but I remember from my school days here a difference in how USSR and Yugoslavia were portrayed in school material. Yugoslavia was seen in pretty much a positive light, while USSR after the end of WW2 was practically ignored.

But I assume that mostly boils down to Greece being very friendly with Serbia.
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Re: How to help them preserve the new found democracy

Postby TeneReef » 2014-05-06, 0:34

isenkrammer wrote: multiethnic countries can only exist through centralized totalitarian control and repression. .


I guess you're right.
Switzerland is a bancocracy.
UK is a monarchy, Canada still worships Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha royalty, and Quebec as well as First Nations have no say.
Spain is a cruel monarchy repressing Basks, Catalans and Galicians.
Belgium can only be unified with the help of monarchs.
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Re: what can we do to help them preserve democracy

Postby Sol Invictus » 2014-05-06, 9:08

I am rather convinced that people need to see themselves as individually responsible for what is going on in their country, which can be hard if they lived their whole lives under regimes oppressing individuality and political involvement (and furthermore the members of new governments too have same life experience and might see empowering people too much as a threat). It takes at least a generation for nation to unlearn the ways forced upon them by regime, which means it takes lot of time and instability or new regime can completely ruin the process

TeneReef wrote:
isenkrammer wrote: multiethnic countries can only exist through centralized totalitarian control and repression. .


I guess you're right.
Switzerland is a bancocracy.
UK is a monarchy, Canada still worships Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha royalty, and Quebec as well as First Nations have no say.
Spain is a cruel monarchy repressing Basks, Catalans and Galicians.
Belgium can only be unified with the help of monarchs.

Not true - people are united by common values, those don't need to be only the cultural values of their people. And nice job cherry picking only the countries with some risk of splitting in parts

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Re: what can we do to help them preserve democracy

Postby TeneReef » 2014-05-06, 15:12

Latvia - 27 % of Russian minority
0 ministers of Russian ethnicity in current government

Croatia - 5 % of Serbian minority
1 minister of Serbian ethnicity in current government (Milanka Opačić. Minister of Social Welfare and Youth)
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Re: what can we do to help them preserve democracy

Postby Saim » 2014-05-06, 16:23

TeneReef wrote:Latvia - 27 % of Russian minority
0 ministers of Russian ethnicity in current government

Croatia - 5 % of Serbian minority
1 minister of Serbian ethnicity in current government (Milanka Opačić. Minister of Social Welfare and Youth)


Latvia - 0 mass explusions of Russians after war.

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Re: what can we do to help them preserve democracy

Postby Sol Invictus » 2014-05-06, 16:38

TeneReef wrote:Latvia - 27 % of Russian minority
0 ministers of Russian ethnicity in current government

Croatia - 5 % of Serbian minority
1 minister of Serbian ethnicity in current government (Milanka Opačić. Minister of Social Welfare and Youth)

Neither relevant, nor true

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Re: what can we do to help them preserve democracy

Postby linguoboy » 2014-05-06, 17:14

Sol Invictus wrote:
TeneReef wrote:Latvia - 27 % of Russian minority
1 minister of Russian ethnicity in current government (Vjačeslavs Dombrovskis, serving Minister for Economics)

Neither relevant, nor true

Fixed.
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