Democracy, nowadays, appears Punic. All the banner bearers: Rightists, ultra-rightists, fascists, storm troopers of imperialist capital, propagandists and practitioners of medieval ideology and institutions, sectarian and divisive forces, dictators, camouflaged and uncovered imperialist organisations, banks and financial institutions, so-called rights organisations/activists and juvenile organisations sponsored by imperialists, monarchists, a part of the mainstream media, imperial interventionists (2i), and other birds of reactionary feathers are engaged with the business of “democracy”. One faction of the 2i at the centre of the centre of the world imperialist system is now a “steadfast” “democracy”-monger. Very often, 2i organise mobilisations in the name of democracy. Platforms for invoking imperialist intervention including R2P (so-called right to protect) are organised with the appearance of “democracy” and “rights”.
A confusing reality
People regularly face a foxing reality in many countries while they try to organise, struggle for democracy. Upholding the streamer of “democracy” by the 2i is a regular incident in many countries. Very often, people find their organisations and movements de-activated, subverted and demolished by the 2i and anti-people “democracy”-mongers. At the same time, people occasionally find “hop-step-and-jump”-moves in the name of the struggle for democracy. People also experience sporadic, disjointed and incoherent democracy-slogan-mongering by a group of leaders in the rank of people although the tasks of spreading political education among people and methodical preparation for the struggle for democracy are completely neglected, which ultimately turn into a thrusting knife into the back of people’s movements.
Capitals in countries practice a number of tactics to subvert and/or suppress people’s struggles for democracy: dominating capital takes the posture of sentinel/defender of “democracy”, or, raises the slogan of “national”-interest, -security, -integrity and -sovereignty, or, begins hue and cry about the spectre of 2i whenever people initiate their struggle for democracy. Sometimes, these tactics are lumped together into one, and at times; these are applied in a compartmentalised style. The machine of repression is run with full force while the slogans of “national” interests, security, sovereignty, 2i, etc. are propagated by the dominating capital. Plunder of people’s wealth/resources including the commons, appropriation of surplus value and curtailment/negation of rights are carried on unabatedly under the umbrella of securing “democracy”, “national” interest and sovereignty, and “opposing” 2i.
This reality creates a number of immediate problems in the struggle for democracy: Should the struggle for democracy be suspended or slowed down in the face of threat, actual or propagated, to “national” interest, etc., and/or in the face of 2i, actual or propagated? Should not plunder of resources, appropriation of surplus value, negation of rights, and repression of people be opposed by the struggle for democracy while there is actual threat of 2i, etc.? Should the threat of 2i be ignored by the struggle for democracy while organising/initiating the struggle for democracy or opposing/resisting plunder, repression, etc.? Is there scope for alliance with proxies of imperialism/forces engaged to further 2i, and, should the proxies, etc. be allowed space in the struggle for democracy? Is there an approach, which can simultaneously initiate the struggle for democracy, struggle to resist plunder, etc., and oppose/resist 2i and its proxies/hirelings?
These all are functional questions, which are being faced by all responsible leadership in the struggle for democracy in countries experiencing plunder, repression, and 2i; and there is no scope to avoid the task of finding out functional solutions to these problems. The reason is: democracy can’t be organised and people’s life can’t be improved by ignoring imperialism and plunder, etc. Democracy and imperialism are opposed to each other as democracy strives to secure people’s interest while imperialism shackles and loots people. The same is the case of democracy and plunder as democracy empowers people while plunder’s function is its opposite: snatch away people’s resources, and thwart people’s control over resources. People’s control over resources is one of the fundamental material conditions for building up democracy for people. The opposing positions of these three – democracy, and imperialism and plunder – are well-defined by their characters and roles: democracy upholds people’s interests while imperialism, plunder, etc. demolishes their interests.
Thence, the problems in the struggle for democracy assume definite shape and character: no scope for ignoring 2i and plunder, and lending space to imperialists and its proxies/hirelings while organising the struggle for democracy. So, the stand is: oppose 2i and plunder, and don’t deactivate the march to democracy.
No scope to get enveloped with proxies/hirelings and anti-democratic forces while widening alliance in the struggle for democracy.
The problems mentioned above jointly raise a single question: how? How to organise/carry on the two tasks simultaneously? Failure in simultaneously organising/carrying on these tasks leads either to:
1. accommodating imperialists and its proxies, and paving path to 2i; or
2. accommodating plunder, etc.
Any of the failures hurt people, and their struggle for democracy. So, “how”, as mentioned above, is a crucial question with the power of determining the path of the struggle for democracy: success or failure.
Groups of “progressives” in a number of countries have already stepped into one of these booby traps: either suspend the struggle for democracy in the face of 2i or ignore/accommodate 2i while waging the struggle for democracy. Implications of getting ensnared into these traps are people’s suffering, living in non-democratic societies, having a shackled and undignified life, having no access to prosperity, thwarted development, no scope to develop productive forces, having no space to furthering the struggle for equity and equality. And, expecting to achieve people’s democracy, liberty and rights with imperialist patronage and backing, and by working as proxy of imperialism is nothing but bibere venenum in auro—to drink poison from a cup of gold—as imperialism never stands for people; the interests of imperialism are opposed to the interests of people; imperialism is an ally of class enemies of people and the economy imperialism depends on and defends exploits and robs people.
The problems mentioned in this article are in view of recent developments in a number of countries including Iran. The questions appeared stark during the days imperialism was preparing ground for invasions/interventions in Iraq, Libya, Syria and a group of progressives from these countries effectively or indirectly lent support to 2i.
* Farooque Chowdhury writes from Dhaka, Bangladesh.