democracy is overrated

As Scorn for Vote Grows, Protests Surge Around Globe
Protesters around the world have something in common: wariness, even contempt, toward traditional politicians and the democratic political process they preside over.

“Our parents are grateful because they’re voting,” said Marta Solanas, 27, referring to older Spaniards’ decades spent under the Franco dictatorship. “We’re the first generation to say that voting is worthless.”

Isaiah Earhart

Why is the NYT coverage of international protests so much more robust than their protest coverage of the very appropriate protest occupation of our own Wall Street.The Times has even given the protesters the aura of dignity and thoughtfulness. I am glad to read it. The protesters deserve it.

Capitalism will, by its own mathematical certainty, will concentrate vast wealth at the very top for the least moral among us. Democracy has been completely circumvented by huge corporations and the sociopaths that run them. I hope this inevitable change from this predatory system to a system that values the human being and our Earth's vital commons is a peaceful transition.

Meanwhile, we need another party to vote for.


The headline for this article is extremely misleading, making it look like the protesters scorn the principle of voting, when it is the corruption of the voting process - the undermining of the vote, that protesters are fed up with.

Los Angeles, CA

I love this very thorough article. Yes, there are protests against corrupt systems that don't really represent the people in countries all over the world... even in the largest democracy on the planet. People now realize that after they vote, the politicians they elect don't really take care of them. Those politicians take care of the very wealthy, who really run the country.

Of course, in the most famous democracy on the planet - the USA - there are no such protests, because our elected representatives always put "we the people" first.

Oh, but wait a minute... there are people protesting here in the USA! And for the same reasons too!

In the heart of Capitalism (Wall Street), we have Occupy Wall Street ( http://occupywallst.org/ )

And the protests have spread to Chicago ( http://occupychi.org/ )

And they're spreading to Boston ( http://occupybos.wordpress.com/ )

And they're spreading to California ( http://occupyca.wordpress.com/ )

And perhaps other locations too.

Yes, Nicholas Kulish and the rest of staff of The New York Times... people all over the world are fed up with no longer being represented by the people in their governments.

Even here in the USA!


"these protesters share something else: wariness, even contempt, toward traditional politicians and the democratic political process they preside over. "

Protesters feel contempt towards the so-called, supposedly democratic political process. Protesters are angry at the farcical nature of a system which pretends to represent the interests of ordinary people, but really constantly and zealously subordinates those interests to those of corporations and rich people.

New York

What has coincided with the spread of this disillusionment? The spread of neoliberal policies, that, in effect, place the wealthy and large, international corporations in charge, worldwide. No state can effectively contest them. Indeed, governments, while nominally democratic, become captives of finance. (See the writings of Simon Johnson, former chief economist of the IMF.) Globalization, with no boundaries related to environmental or labor regulation, frees capital from ability of nation states to control it. If corporations don't like a state's policies, whether regulation of capital or the environment or labor laws protecting workers, financiers threaten to leave and take their capital with them. 400 families in the US now control as much wealth as the bottom 40-50 percent of US citizens. One billionaire in Mexico possesses as much wealth as 150 million Mexicans. The same pattern increasingly applies worldwide. Thus the similarity of the complaints of citizens worldwide.

Santa Barbara, CA

I have little respect for the system because it is corrupted beyond words by moneyed interests. The game is not fair, anywhere, and while it will never be perfect, powerful institutions in the most free country in the world are consolidating wealth, destroying societal progress, and making it so the rules continue to be written in their favor, regardless of how inexplicably disconnected from the public interest and public opinion this might happen to be. An injustice this massive and profound requires some feathers to be ruffled. You will not get away with this, This is OUR country, and we are going to reclaim it. You may not hear us yet, and can try to ignore us, but we're not going away. See you on Wall Street in a few weeks. Maybe by then, the Times will give this rising domestic outcry the attention it deserves.


I was there for the civil rights movement. I was there for the anti-war movement. I was there for the women's march on the Pentagon...and then for two decades I got co-opted into believing the system was actually gonna work for me. Now, I'm almost sixty, unemployed for three years with a husband who just lost his job through an e-mail. Our health insurance is $800 a month, and he gets $160 a week in unemployment. Well guess what we've got? Time. I stand in solidarity with those on Wall Street and am ashamed that it took this long to bring me back to the essential truth of what this country is about. Unbridled corporate greed.


Taking part in the 2004 campaign of a presidential candidate who thought and spoke outside the box was quite a disillusioning experience. We had to beg and plead for local press coverage, and it was only through relentless guerrilla marketing that we gave this candidate his best national showing, 17% of the caucus vote.

National media, including the New York Times, mentioned him as a footnote or carried articles ridiculing him. Yet he drew increasingly large crowds in my area, and if I had received a dollar for every time someone told me, "I love him, but he can't win," I could have afforded a nice vacation.

I always knew this candidate was a long shot, but what left a bitter taste was the way the media and his own party disrespected him.

To top it off, John Kerry, whom I did work hard for, seemed less interested in investigating possibly election fraud in Ohio than his own volunteers and the minor parties were. He conceded while people were still standing in line in Ohio.

In 2007, I saw the national media pretend that only Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were running for the Democratic nomination, and this was before a single caucus or primary vote had been cast. I knew then that these were the two candidates the powers that be found socially acceptable. I almost voted 3rd party, except that I didn't want Sarah Palin within striking distance of the White House.

The more I see of American politics, the more I believe that it's all theater on the national level. Politicians are playing good cop/bad cop with the American people, but in the end, the right-wingers always seem to get most of what they want.

Almost all politicians seem out of touch with the everyday concerns of the American people, the most striking current example being their obsession with the deficit as millions are unemployed.

The demonstrations are an attempt to hit the politicians and bigwigs with a figurative two-by-four. There doesn't seem to be any other way to attract their attention.

Dave K
Cleveland, OH

To quote trader Alessio Rastani on the BBC on Monday:
"What I would say to everybody is 'get prepared'. This is not a time right now to ... uh ... wishful thinking the government is going to sort things out. The governments don't rule the world. Goldman Sachs rules the world."

When financial insiders are saying things like that, how could anyone have anything but disillusionment about the democratic process?

The only time real progress has been made for working people, both in the US and in foreign countries, is when they have taken to the streets, threatening to shut things down completely in a general strike unless they got what they needed. That's how Americans won the 40-hour work week, the minimum wage, OSHA, and the right to collectively bargain. So why would the 'paper of record' argue that it's in We The People's interest to do anything else?

New York

I for one am not frightened, but encouraged by this article. Justified civil unrest, which somehow is held in utter contempt here in New York by our own police force and much of the well-heeled citizenry, is the seed for a global revolution—their worst fear—TRUE equality for all. Change on a global level is being empowered (and orchestrated) by the Internet, somewhat, but more so by poverty, unemployment, hunger (1 in 4 American children go to bed hungry) and lack of fulfillment in life—the true driving force behind this movement. Availability of truthful information is now accessible to everyone, no longer a private toy of the ultra-wealthy to manipulate world markets (and its people) with.

What is it we seek? Honesty among our leaders? Sorry, too late for that—we assumed for too long at the voting booth that they would work to maintain our society while improving our lives, and have our best interests at heart. Our governments have failed us; they are owned by thoroughly corrupt private interest groups, and so patriotism will take on its true meaning, as promised in our Constitution: a governing body OF the people, FOR the people and BY the people, as the Western governments are beginning to behave like the garbled tongues at the Tower of Babel. What is unfolding before us on YouTube is the Family of Man in action—we are in touch with each other, we empathize and take action against famine in Somalia, unjust government practices in the U.S. and in India, Israel—anywhere where corruption has put a chokehold on ordinary life. Humanity endures abuse until it becomes unbearable—and it is unbearable for me as a compassionate man, raised and tutored by Franciscan nuns— to know that 25% of our children are hungry while the upper 5% consume 40% of available goods. This will not be tolerated by honest folks for much longer.

Kenosha, WI

The whole world is a mess. The comments I see here daily and in other newspapers will soon spill out into the streets, in the USA too. Obama is just an empty suit while the Republicans will stop at nothing, even pushing the whole nation off a cliff in order to bring him down.

In Europe the euro currency has become a "too big to fail" project -- a political Trojan horse for the unelected Eurocrats smoking their bong pipes behind the closed doors in Brussels to cement their pipe dream of political and economic union in Europe, never mind that Europe is a geographic entity and not a cultural or a political one and that the people don't want it anyway.

What I fear is that somewhere soon, a young-ish intelligent charismatic person with long term malignant goals and the will to carry them out will appear. A Hitler like figure. The times are ripe for that person.


Maybe everything in life is cyclical because if you read history and life in the 17th 18th and 19th centuries you get an eerie feeling that what we are witnessing with the hijacking of government by the uber wealthy is a "back to the future, let 'em eat cake" reality.

We could have seen it coming if we were not blinded by the small trickle that flowed to us from the corporate barons and the self serving elected officials. That trickle was easy credit which fooled us into thinking that we are on the rise and we are one of them. How insane it is for example that in this country if you close your credit accounts or do not use them it goes against your credit rating!!!!

I for one am heartened by what is happening although I hesitate to say I know how it will end (the French revolution is swirling in my head.)

In his poem Morte D'Arthur, Lord Tennyson wrote: "The old order changeth, Yielding place to the new, And God fulfills Himself in many ways, Lest one good custom should so corrupt the world."

That "good custom" - capitalism - has corrupted the world. Unchecked, not monitored, ruled by a few is corosive and needs to be brought into balance.


http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/09/28/protests/index.html said...


http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2011/09/27/why-establishment-media-the-power-elite-loathe-occupy-wall-street/ said...


http://dennisperrin.blogspot.com/2011/09/time-never-tells.html said...


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