Every day is a bad day for democracy, Mr Abbott
Tony Abbott said yesterday that the goings on in Parliament were ’a bad day for democracy.’
Abbott of course was complaining about Liberal rat Peter Slipper siding with Gillard Labor by becoming Speaker and shoring up the numbers for the minority government.
In by a whisker … new Speaker Peter Slipper in Parliament / Digitally altered image Source: The Daily Telegraph
Of course, the Liberals would never ever stoop so low, would they? The name Mal Colston comes to mind, or as former Labor heavyweight Robert Ray called him, the Quisling Quasimodo from Queensland. The Liberals enticed him to quit the Labor Party to continue as the deputy Presidency of the Senate and thus give them a majority in that House.
The ALP then revealed Colson’s travel rorts and he was charged with 28 counts of fraud. The charges were dropped because he was suffering from terminal lung cancer.
The Liberals seem to be following or may be about to follow a similar path with Slipper.
Amazing how they protect their own until they desert. If Colston was a crook in the ALP then those who protected him should have been investigated and if appropriate charged with concealment of crimes or similar offences. But I perhaps digress.
Was yesterday a bad day for democracy?
The best that could be said for it was that it was typical of what passes for democracy under capitalism. Every 3 years we get to elect one or other representative of capitalism to screw us over. No matter how much the political climate has changed, no matter that our representatives might have switched sides, the 3 year term prevents us effectively being represented until the next election.
Compare that to the situation during workers’ revolutions when revolutionary democracy emerges. Here is what Marx said about the Paris Commune in the Civil War in France:
The Commune was formed of the municipal councillors, chosen by universal suffrage in the various wards of the town, responsible and revocable at short terms. The majority of its members were naturally working men, or acknowledged representatives of the working class. The Commune was to be a working, not a parliamentary body, executive and legislative at the same time.
In the Russian Revolution workers set up democratic workers’ councils (or soviets in Russian) to run society. Those elected were subject to automatic recall. The workers who elected the representatives could unelect them and replace them with someone else, the same day if necessary.
Such a right challenges the rule of capital. So too does the fact that these were working class institutions, not capitalist ones, built on the workplaces.
Democracy under capitalism, if it exists, is limited in terms of time and scope. It doesn’t impinge on the right of capital to run its economic vandalism. And it has to have ‘stable’ governments to implement the longer term vision of capital to continue to exploit us rather than reflect the changing will of the electors.
It is not only that. Democracy arose under capitalism as a consequence of working class and other struggles against the interests of the ruling elite.
Yet across the globe most governments are not democratic. And most of those authoritarian and dictatorial governments are supported by the democratic West because it is in the interests of the one percent to have the recently overthrown and much lamented Mubarak or the House of Saud or their ilk in power.
Yesterday wasn’t a bad day for democracy. Every day is bad day for democracy until we have a truly democratic system in which workers, those who produce the wealth, run society democratically in their own interests. That is socialism.