first thoughts - 'democracy'


What will 2005 hold for us? Will the Russian mafia buy the Premiership title? Will Britain overtake North America and Australia in the World's Biggest Gamblers league? Well, apart from anything else, we're told 2005 will be a general election year. We should be pleased, grateful even, as 2005 will have more than the usual store of 'democracy' in it.

The rulers of Britain have always wanted to change the name of things. Exploitation in factories was to be called free labour; forced migration to be called free movement of labour; and the economic system, which even its supporters like Adam Smith called capitalism, they now want to call democracy.

Try this - every time you see or hear the word 'democracy' think 'capitalism'. It works in nearly every case. Those well-heeled 'revolutionaries' in the Ukraine don't want more democracy: they want more capitalism. Those criminals and their allies trying to overthrow the government in Cuba - probably the most truly democratic in the world - don't want democracy there: they want capitalism.

When workers run their country's economy in their own interests, then shall we see democracy, and not before. Organisations run by workers, such as trade unions, can practise democracy (if the members turn up), but no others can. Wherever the profit motive of capitalism holds sway, there can be no democracy. None.

2005 then will contain not more democracy, but more capitalism, if we're not careful. Elections are what happen when you haven't got real democracy, which most people think means 'government of the people', but dictionary definitions now add the following words, 'or their elected representatives'. So democracy need not be the government of the people, but government of those elected by the people. Maybe then it's time to stop electing them and govern ourselves.

Let 2005 be the year of the resounding abstention. Not voting would be a step towards real democracy. The next would be to organise in our workplaces to discuss real progress, taking government away from the profit-mongers and giving it to no one else.

That would be a Happy New Year for workers!