Democracy 101—You May Be Surprised at What Democracy Really Is 

#democracy #freedom #rights 

The ancient Greek, Pericles,  is credited with inventing and naming democracy as it is still seen today. Although this was the reinvention and not the birth of democracy, the ancient Greeks take credit for properly immersing it into bigger population groups. 

There are many faults with this model, as it was “rule by the people” where the people were free men. Excluded was most of the adult population, consisting of women and slaves. But it was a starting point. And it also brought about semi-autonomous rule of smaller communities within the bigger city states.  This is still alive in states and provinces that exist within almost all western states and the different levels of government that rule them. 

So democracy is rule by the people and each eligible individual having a voice, or a vote. 

There have been different forms of democracy since ancient Athens. It is important to look at some examples. 

Karl Marx brought to light the conflict that exists between capitalism and democracy. Although we have a vote, our available choices are pretty much the same. Marx believed that there needs to be revolution to put an end to tyranny. Marx was arguably the inventor of modern communism. Under tyranny, communism was to be the new democracy. 

When the vote factor is taken away from the equation, democracy begins to mean equality for each and every individual. And according to communism, the state is the one responsible for keeping everything in check. In most communist thought, there is little to no private property, everyone has more or less the same salary, and society is dependent upon themselves more because capitalist entities shun it or downright refuse to even give it a chance. 

At this point, we need to combine the ideas of Pericles and Marx. We hear a lot from so-called political historians of how Marx was just a repressive recluse who never worked a day in his life. On the other hand, there is barely ever any criticism of the ancient Greek model of slavery and misogyny. This needs to be pointed out here to understand the subjectivity of the media and other experts. When these two theories are  combined, we see democracy representing rights and freedoms for all. It is not a land of opportunity, but rather a land of thriving. As much as Marx’s theory bothers some, it needs to be acknowledged that his progressivism is responsible for rights being given, however slowly, to the ones that had been, and still are, fighting for them. 

One example of Marx’s theory coming to life is one of the fathers of the Cuban revolution,  Che Guevara. An Argentinian doctor from an upper middle-class family, Ernesto Che Guevara left his native land to help Fidel Castro in the Cuban revolution. Unlike with Castro, who was satisfied to stay and govern Cuba, Che eventually tried to spread the revolution around the world one country at a time. 

The rebelliousness of Che got him assassinated. But this will never change the fact that he was perhaps the biggest freedom fighter of the last 100 years. He wanted to rid the world of greedy capitalism and establish human rights for everyone. He still has a cult following because he represents the small chance people have of overcoming the system.  

Unlike his predecessors, Che was never popular outside of his circle of believers. He managed to blur the line between communism and democracy. In fact, he may have equated them. This brought about big theoritical change around the world as capitalists and communists were fighting to prove which theory was democracy. The cold war proved nothing, but it did cause strife. 

I would like to mention heroes like Nelson Mandela,  Martin Luther King Jr, and Mahatma Gandhi, who were peaceful men fighting for democracy. 

But let’s move forward to the most recent example of a man who is a great example of democratist, if you will. Yanis Varoufakis stood up to Europe and lost because he had no backup. He was the Greek finance minister who had the plan to go back to the old currency overnight. He was stopped by Alexis Tsipras, who changed his mind minutes before the midnight hour. 

Varoufakis wasn’t a politician. He is the inventor of modern game theory. He wasn’t a communist, but he still wanted to help the far left movement come to power. He did and was rewarded by being fired. Greece is now poor and losing its culture and pride. 

Click below to read about his memoirs. A great book. 

https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/paul-tyson/adults-in-room-by-yanis-varoufakis-london-bodley-head-2017

In the following few blog posts, I will look at democracy and its implications on everyday life, politics, racism, etc. 

My short definition of democracy is:

Egalitarianism.  Striving to build a society where all people have equal rights and freedoms by birthright. This encompasses the responsibility of the government to listen to its citizens and guaranteeing that they are living the best life available to them. This ensures that they are empowered to be able to properly choose what they deem as the right thing for them.  The government has to make sure its  citizens are secure and that any dangerous activity is eradicated for the good of the citizenry. 

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