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Sunday, January 30, 2005

This is what democracy looks like


The people's militia celebrate their control of the city, Kwangju, May 1980. Posted by Hello


The people of Europe take back Genoa, July 2001 Posted by Hello


South Korean workers rally in support of Daewoo Motors workers, 2001 Posted by Hello

5 Comments:

At February 01, 2005 3:52 AM, Blogger Sperwer said...

What is the difference between what you characterize as "democracy" and the "mob" (in the classical sense - I don't mean gangsters), other than your own ideaological preference for some instances of "mass particpitatory" activity, e.g., the incidents you illustrate, compared -say- to the Nurembuerg Rally?

 
At February 01, 2005 2:59 PM, Blogger kotaji said...

You're honestly asking me to distinguish between a rally directed by Nazi propaganda chiefs and the self activity of workers and ordinary people to defend or extend their democratic and social rights? You need your head seeing to mate.

On the topic of mobs - the word itself seems to have come into use as a way for the ruling class (specifically the English ruling class in the 16-17 centuries) to demonise protests by poor urban dwellers. That's not to say that the mob in the broadest sense of the term has not also been applied to genuinely nasty activities by crowds, such as pogroms and so on. So to answer your question I would distinguish democratic mass action as that which is to some degree organised, and directed toward the aim of defending or extending democratic rights or improving the social conditions of ordinary people. We would have none of the rights we enjoy today (at least in many countries) if these sorts of confrontations had not happened time and again in the last couple of hundred years from the American Revolution to the Chartists to the mass demonstrations last year in Baghdad that forced the US to grant elections to the Iraqi people.

 
At February 02, 2005 11:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

mass demonstrations in Baghdad for elections? Rewriting history already, I see.

 
At February 02, 2005 1:41 PM, Blogger kotaji said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At February 02, 2005 1:48 PM, Blogger kotaji said...

On January 19, 2004 tens of thousands of Shia, possibly 100,000, demonstrated in Baghdad in what was said to be the largest demonstration since the fall of Saddam. The marchers wanted direct elections, whereas the US-run CPA was offering a transitional assembly that would be voted for by regional caucuses. Faced with the prospect of a nationwide Shia uprising the Bush administration had to give in and agree to direct elections. Reports:

Voice of AmericaBBC News OnlineInformed CommentWashington Post (subscription)

Independent (subscription)

 

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