First-Worldists are not wrong when they say that the world-kleptocracy runs on the esteem for the world’s richest minority. Like clean drinking water, democracy is a privilege which most of the world has no genuine access to. So while various Third World democracies (which exist nominally all over the world) allow the capable portions of their population to vote on who lives in their presidential palace, ultimately they have no ability to decide their real leaders: the various heads of state in the european union and above all the amerikan president. Unfortunately, that right is reserved for that wealthy global minority we referred to earlier (First World people). They choose the world’s leadership, the citizens of the imperialist core are tasked not only with the election of their own leaders every election cycle, but those of the entire world.
This is why no matter what platform the Afghan or Iraqi president runs on, they will never be truly capable of ending the war, despite their shared responsibility for it. This power ultimately rests in the hands of the amerikan leadership, who continue those wars because the only proper resolution is their own defeat, and they will not have that. So they continue, and the people of Afghanistan or Iraq have no choice but to continue fighting those wars, and to continue dying in them. One is tempted to say that the amerikan people have no real choice in their leadership, that their democracy is, after all, a “sham” wherein the two-party system invents new ways to torture and exploit them. Certainly they may not have the freest democratic system, but one can hardly say their decisions do not matter. After all, the consequence of their choice is global, whereas the consequences of elections elsewhere are often only felt at home, and with only a partial culpability for conditions.
The “poor amerikan” sob story has a major hurdle to climb, however, and that is the modern bourgeois constitution, which Marx discusses, wherein the bourgeoisie abandoned outright political rule for social rule, and has since shared small parcels of state power with the middling parasites and the masses of the advanced countries. This arrangement is largely impossible for the Third World, since their state-forms, malformed and overseen by imperialist forces, do not allow the state to act as a class-collaborationist circus, only a buffet for compradores. Unless, of course, popular power forces a change in this situation (e.g. in Venezuela), but such movements rarely last long under imperialist siege.
Having said that, the accusation of “sham” democracy contains a modicum of truth. Certainly the amerikan democratic system is not as open and participatory as some would like, however the greatest sham is the fact that such a democracy is not responsible to the overwhelming majority of those it affects. Votes are counted, the winners are ultimately decided by the voting population (no matter how disinterested they are) and they go on to be somewhat responsible to the voting population which put them in office. Naturally these politicians and parliamentarians lie, and constantly betray the interests of those who voted for them in the spirit of unprincipled pragmatism and electoralism, but nonetheless, the system they manage is ultimately to the greater detriment of everyone who was unable to participate. After all, those who elected them hold a median household income of $55,775 annually, and that is definitely not from the sweat on their brow.
If one obfuscates from the realities of the wealthy democracies, that “Trump wasn’t popularly elected” or “the electoral college (or insert other conservative bourgeois electoral apparatus) is undemocratic,” they are implying that a “real” bourgeois democracy (e.g. Switzerland) can better serve the global masses. In fact, such an arrangement better serves only the parasites and cannibals of human sweat and labor; in fact, in this light, the slogan “democracy for the rich” in the mouths of First-Worldists becomes prescriptive rather than descriptive: they seek more “democracy,” a bigger share and power to control that share, for the richest 15% of the globe.
The greatest sham here is not the lack of political autonomy in the united $tates, which has perhaps one of the most archaic forms of bourgeois democracy, outlined by a pathetically outdated constitution built upon a compromise between the colonizers’ classically liberal inclinations in their big petty bourgeois incarnation, or the suspicious and conservative wiles of slave owners. It is not the fact that they “only” pick the leader of the “free” world, and do not decide what he does with the power he is granted, nor is it the fact that they choose the legislators who have the power to remove the president at any time. The greatest sham of amerikan democracy is the fact that their leader, with almost absolute impunity, is able to murder, starve and drain the Third World for the benefit of the amerikan population. It is the fact that the Afghan civil war cannot end until amerikans decide that it can end, rather than the Afghan people who are fighting and dying in it, and the fact that there is a bipartisan support for the violent strangling of North Korea by an amerikan-led blockade of all exports.
This is even true to a large extent among the internal colonies existing with a nominal amerikan citizenship! New Afrikans cannot even decide whether or not their leaders will offer them clean water to drink or bathe with, as the structural denial of voting rights to the internal colonies intends that they exist closer to the global majority than their white counterparts. The indigenous nations of this continent are literally forced, at gunpoint, to accept Third World conditions and the poisonous after-effects of the outright theft of their land—that is, whatever land they have left—for oil pipelines. Amerikan democracy is a sham because it is, as Lenin said, democracy for the slave-owners.
So the First-Worldists are correct again, although it is—per usual—in a way they did not expect. They are right that the world’s wealthiest run the world’s affairs with very proportionally insignificant consequences to themselves. This top 15% of the world’s population enjoys the world’s most powerful sham democracy, and quietly benefits from the very genuine despotism it represents on a world-scale; what Du Bois called the new democratic despotism “of united capital and labor,” and what anti-imperialists have termed the Parasite State arrangement. It is unfortunate, however, that the First-Worldists may never really know why they are right. They will certainly insist that amerikan democracy is a “sham,” that it is “democracy for the rich,” because of the electoral college and the fact that they need to wait 4 more years for a $15/hour minimum wage in many states. Nevertheless, the outlook on this sham democracy is already changing, and soon we may be able to celebrate an end to the global despotism of the world’s richest 15%. We must fix our sights on the installation of a new class dictatorship to end the current “democratic” despotism of the First World, and from it forge a society where the global majority rule through a joint-dictatorship of the proletariat of oppressed nations.
In such a system, the production everything from food and clean water to clothes and homes would be put under the direct political command of the global majority. It would be the self-determination of the class conscious proletariat of the world, standing in opposition to the former global system that strangled the Third World for the benefit of the First. Our intention is not to reverse globalization, but to pursue a kind of globalization in which countries cannot be starved to feed others, and where all labor is done in service of humanity rather than the so-called golden fifth. If we are to really fight amerikan sham democracy, we must propose a new world order to fight for rather than reform the thieves’ guild of the modern, “democratic” nations.
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