Re: [OPE] Venezuela is the most democratic country in Latin America

From: paul bullock <>
Date: Wed Feb 25 2009 - 04:41:32 EST

Dave Z says 'allowing officials'... etc

Gerry has already shown that curtailing the rights of voters to reelect a President, is rare, and relatively recent in the USA. ie used to prevent another FDR by the Republicans/establishment in 1952 once re-established. Secondly no one is 'allowing' anyone to do anything, rather, the voters are requiring actions from the elected. The abolition of the two term limit is presented by the enemies of democracy as the removal of some sensible constraint upon individual megalomania, rather than the extension of rights to the electorate. Indeed it treats the electorate as an unreliable passive amorphous manipulated mass without any hope or political capacity.

The true touchstone of democracy would be the use of regular elections (Benthams annual vote proposal was regarded as too radical by the then new US state) and the right to recall. The new Venezuelan constitution embodies the right to recall elections. Further more the regular elections in Venezuela has created a new democratic political culture, so irritating to the idealogues of western imperialism that they can only gnash their teeth and cry 'too many elections'!! and in typical 'doublespeak' - 'democratic dicatorship' (The Economist) etc.

Finally DZ uses the NSDAP as his example, may I suggest looking at

to help him reflect on this idea from a different angle than his own, which I think reflects a lack of substantive reflection:

"Hitler came to office in 1933 as the result, not of any irresistible revolutionary or national movement sweeping him into power, nor even of a popular victory at the polls, but as part of a shoddy political deal with the 'Old Gang' whom he had been attacking for months… Hitler did not seize power; he was jobbed into office by a backstairs intrigue." (4)
"Critics of democracy often claim that Hitler was democratically elected to power. This is untrue. Hitler never had the popular votes to become Chancellor of Germany, and the only reason he got the job was because the German leaders entered into a series of back-room deals. Some claim that Hitler's rise was nonetheless legal under the German system. The problem is that what was "legal" under the German system would not be considered legal under a truer and better-working democracy. In a democracy along the lines of the United States or Great Britain, Hitler could have never risen to power".

Paul B.

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Dave Zachariah
  To: Outline on Political Economy mailing list
  Sent: Tuesday, February 24, 2009 1:13 PM
  Subject: Re: [OPE] Venezuela is the most democratic country in Latin America

  2009/2/24 GERALD LEVY <>

    You know "for sure" that what the people *democratically* decided upon is "anti-democratic"?

  In a general case, it is quite obvious that what citizens decide in a democratic manner can have anti-democratic consequences. For instance, the NSDAP was elected into power.

  In the specific case, allowing officials to be in power indefinitely is a step in the opposite direction of classic democratic principles, in which an individual could serve a limited number of times in office.

  //Dave Z


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Received on Wed Feb 25 04:44:08 2009

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