Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Democracy at risk?

Hundreds of thousands of disillusioned Indians cheer a rural activist on a hunger strike. Israel reels before the largest street demonstrations in its history. Enraged young people in Spain and Greece take over public squares across their countries.

Their complaints range from corruption to lack of affordable housing and joblessness, common grievances the world over. But from South Asia to the heartland of Europe and now even to Wall Street, these protesters share something else: wariness, even contempt, toward traditional politicians and the democratic political process they preside over.

They are taking to the streets, in part, because they have little faith in the ballot box....

Read the rest at The New York TimesAs Scorn for Vote Grows, Protests Surge Around Globe by Nicholas Kulish


Anthony said...

Are they really opposing democracy or present "liberal democratic" institutions? Seems to me these young people want more direct democracy on a smaller scale. Though they do not always articulate themselves clearly, I suspect they envision a world of smaller communities in which the individual's most basic right is the freedom to choose one's community rather than a world of individuals in which nothing exists between the relatively powerless citizen and the vastly more powerful state. Classic liberalism always had a way of winding up with massively powerful states in spite of itself.

Shaun Hingston said...

Democracy, where? Are you saying there is actually a government that represents the views of the people? Nooo.

Anonymous said...

All it takes is one populist demagogue to get them fired up and their faith in the ballot box will be renewed.

In the interim I agree with Anthony, there seems to be a yearning for a more direct form of democracy that would be more responsive and relevant to their concerns.