Hijacking Modern Democracies

Written By: Jair Robles

My interest in spiritual understanding and personal evolution began while I was in college in Mexico City. My major was Political Science and Public Administration. I decided to enroll in that program because I wanted to make a difference for my country.

For a couple of years during my studies, I worked for the Federal Government and participated in some political campaigns before I realized that having an interest in politics and being a politician are not the same thing. As I grew more aware about my personal evolution and spirituality, my desire to create change and serve others has led me on a different path — but my interest in politics has never waned. Up to this day I am still a partner in a Mexican firm that does public opinion polls and market research. I like to read the news everyday from two or three different sources, at least.

The social unrest that is taking place throughout the world has made much more clear for me the connection that exists between spiritual growth and social change. On a personal level I perceive that my awareness is expanded through my interest in social issues, while at the same time my perspective on social issues is being enriched from a growing spiritual understanding. It is for these reasons that I decided to begin writing a personal blog.

I had been reluctant to express my personal views on some of the things that I am most passionate about through SuperConsciousness, because I didn't think they belonged here and still don't know whether our readers are going to find it interesting or worth their time.

I sincerely hope you enjoy it and would love to hear your comments.

Hijacking Modern Democracies

“I came to a crossroad where the alternatives were fundamentally simple: on one hand was the democratic will of the people and on the other the financial demands of foreign countries and the European markets. My conclusion was that democracy is a more fundamental part of who we are, not only in Iceland but all of Europe, rather than free markets.”

Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, President of Iceland

As a consequence of the financial crisis that began in 2008 and its global effects, we are witnessing a new form of coup d'etat, this time perpetrated by international financial interests.

Even though democratic systems have not been able to solve all the problems in those societies that have embraced them — when compared with authoritarian governments — they are, nevertheless, by its own nature much better at protecting the basic rights of its citizens, such as freedom of speech, creed and association.

During the twentieth century and particularly in Third World countries, we witnessed how many new democratic governments were overthrown, after short periods of social and political instability, and were substituted by authoritarian regimes, led in most cases by the military. Using as an excuse the need to restore social order, the military would take over and implement restrictive control over people’s liberties.

Only decades ago in Latin America, it was common for countries to be ruled by a dictator who had come from the military and in a few exceptions the leaders belonged to civil society and had been democratically elected by its citizens. The same could be said about countries in the African continent or the Middle East and certain regions of Asia.

It was hard to imagine that something like this could take place in Western Europe, especially after the experiences that led to the Second World War. But ironically, it is in Greece and Italy, the nations that gave birth to democracy and the republic, where we can see a new form of authoritarianism taking place.

This hijacking of democracy is being implemented under the excuse of the fiscal crisis affecting “the most developed countries in the world,” because this same problem is occurring in the United States, United Kingdom and France, to name a few.

For months the financial markets tried to force the Greek government to impose harsh fiscal policies that would guarantee the nation’s ability to pay back its foreign debt. This pressure was reflected by the rising interest rates on the bonds emitted by the Greek government to refinance itself. The Greek president had to somehow convince its citizens and parliament of the need to cut social spending, layoff thousands of government employees, reduce pension benefits, etc., in order to be able to pay foreign investors. In other words, what the international markets were asking for was the implementation of public policies practically impossible to approve through a democratic process.

The worst offense to the financial interests came when then Greek President, Papandreu, proposed to submit a set of financial measures developed by the international banks to a public referendum and allow Greek citizens to choose their future. Such “irresponsibility” only increased foreign pressure and a few days later Papandreu resigned, leaving his post to a technocrat, completely aligned with the interests of the financial markets.

History is being made in both Greece and Italy, as its leaders of state — nations constituted under a system of democratic representation — are not the product of a democratic election process.

Italy’s former prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, had been one of the strongest political forces in the country for the past seventeen years. Berlusconi best represents corporatocracy’s hold on power. He is one of Italy’s richest men, his huge Fininvest holding company now has Italy’s biggest media empire Mediaset, the countries largest publishing house Mondadori, the daily newspaper Il Giornale, AC Milan, and dozens of other companies under its umbrella.

During this period, Mr. Berlusconi had survived more than 50 votes of confidence, had been accused of Tax fraud, false accounting, attempting to bribe a judge. In the past 20 years he had made 2,500 court appearances in 106 trials. One of the most recent trials was for charges of paying for having sex with an under-age prostitute.

The only pressure he could not contend with was that of the financial markets, as the country was assailed by the Eurozone debt crisis. This past November he pledged to resign after an austerity package was voted in by Italian lawmakers.

The policies formulated for these countries by the International Banks are so unpopular and dramatic that the new Italian Minister of Labor wept and could not finish her speech as she was presenting the new drastic measures.

We are being led to believe that politicians and the corrupt political systems are the only ones responsible for these problems. When in reality there is a collusion between government officials, financial brokers, bankers and rating agencies. They all have something to gain by creating higher and higher debts from nations and in the end the only ones who really loose are the citizens.

Democracy has been and still is an obstacle to the interests of the financial markets. Lobbying for deregulation and lax supervision is no longer enough. Having the politicians in their pocket does not appear to be a long lasting solution. It is costly and unreliable. This unquenchable greed and irresponsibility has weakened world financial markets to the point of total collapse and, when it finally happens, millions of jobs will be lost along with the savings of thousands of people. The social unrest that we are watching now will pale with what could happen in a new global recession, which could create the perfect excuse for the rise of new forms of authoritarianism and control over the countries of the world.

We are all coming to the same crossroads as the people of Iceland. We need to be informed and gain a clear understanding of the issues at hand. Many ancient cultures have said that these are times of drastic changes; but it is up to us to determine its direction. Allowing the people to decide on their own future’s is one of Democracy’s main purpose.

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Danielle Graham Science and Spirituality Blog Author Bio

About the Author:
Jair Robles is the founding editor and publisher of SuperConsciousness Magazine. Born in Mexico City to a family of successful journalists and newspaper publishers, he studied Political Science and has a Masters Degree in Public Administration from the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia University. His main interests are the evolution and development of spiritual awareness as a means for social change.

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