By Marcelo Fernandes
In a recent study published by the University of Cambridge on the people’s dissatisfaction with bourgeois democracy, a significant increase in popular rejection was revealed since the beginning of world polls in 1995. The number of those dissatisfied with bourgeois democracy has risen from 47.9% 57.5% across the globe.
The study draws attention mainly to the imperialist powers of the first-world, especially the United States, as well as to Latin America, with the year 2015 being a turning point worldwide. In addition to Latin America and North America, Sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Europe (mainly from the East) are the places where there are major disappointments with the bourgeois political regimes.
The study separated the countries in the survey into four zones. Among these, only seven countries look favorably on bourgeois democracy. In contrast, countries like Brazil, Mexico, and Peru and four other countries are in a “crisis zone” according to the study, where the vast majority of the people question the old democracy, and where it faces a “real crisis of legitimacy.”
In the case of Latin America, the study mentions that the subcontinent goes through the “fourth wave” of general dissatisfaction with bourgeois democracy, with the first three being in the 1920s, 1950s, and 1980s. In this fourth wave, three out of four citizens of the subcontinent say they are unhappy with the old democracy, the highest level recorded by Cambridge since the beginning of the polls.
Among the reasons mentioned for the dissatisfaction, it includes the generalized revolt against the opportunism of the so-called “left turn,” like the Lula government in Brazil and Kirchner in Argentina. In addition, the high concentration of wealth, the expansion of poverty, and the high rate of unemployment, combined with informal work devoid of labor rights, as well as the systematic corruption of the Old State are other reasons for the growing disillusionment, problems that the Old States in the region cannot resolve.
Among Latin American countries, the survey draws special attention to Brazil and Mexico, the two countries with high levels of breaking illusions. According to the article, dissatisfaction with the old democracy was on the rise during the 1990s, with dissatisfaction falling at the beginning of the opportunist PT (Worker’s Party) government. Once opportunism showed its true face, levels of dissatisfaction increased again in 2013 and especially during the 2014 World Cup spree, years marked by great combative protests in the country.
As for Mexico, the article states that, since the so-called “transition time,” “at no time have the people expressed confidence in the democratic process,” it says, referring to bourgeois democracy.
Still in America, the USA is, among imperialist countries, the nation where the level of dissatisfaction with the old bourgeois democracy is highest. Among the causes, the study points to the general crisis of imperialism in 2008 as one of the reasons, as well as what they claim to be the “financialization of the economy,” leading to great levels of inequality even in the imperialist countries. Another reason also mentioned is the disillusionment with the parties of the order, where the people “feel ignored by the parties in power due to the prevalence of Gerrymandering” or “safe seats” (The latter is a controversial method of defining the electoral districts of a territory in terms of area in order to obtain advantages in the number of elected political representatives, especially in places where the majority electoral system with district vote is used).
In relation to the USA, the rise of dissatisfaction with the old bourgeois democratic order was especially “dramatic,” as the study states, compared to other countries in the world, especially the other imperialists—a sign of how the days of Yankee imperialism, and of imperialism itself, are numbered. As pointed out before, the main breaking point is the general crisis of imperialism in 2008, as well as the Yankee war of aggression in Iraq (2003-2011) and the increase in inequality between the popular classes in the USA and the imperialist bourgeoisie, all of these problems being expressed in the recent popular protests that shake the Yankee country.
REJECTION TO THE OLD ORDER IN ENGLAND AND EUROPE
Among the Anglo-Saxon imperialist countries, the United Kingdom stands out. The study recalls the 1970s, “a time of deep crisis in the United Kingdom,” where general strikes, blackouts, and the beginning of the Irish Republican Army’s (IRA) anti-imperialist struggle marked a rise in disillusionment with the old order. It is worth remembering that, in the 1970s, Margaret Thatcher and the entire British reactionary state went on an offensive against the most sacred rights of the people, with the miners’ strike being a profound example of the proletariat’s struggle for their rights, already in the 1980s.
From the 1990s, with the capitulation by the IRA and the beginning of an opportunistic Labor Party government, levels of dissatisfaction fell. However, with the war of aggression in Iraq counting on the direct participation of the United Kingdom, and the scandalous parliamentary spending of the time, as well as the inter-imperialist contradiction between the United Kingdom and the European Union (headed by Germany) that resulted in Brexit, there was an increase in disillusionment, with more than 50% of those who responded to the survey qualifying themselves as dissatisfied with English bourgeois democracy.
Like much of the rest of the world, Europe, especially western Europe, saw its levels of disillusionment rise after the general crisis of imperialism in 2008. Even with some of these countries in a “recovery period,” as the study states, like France and Spain, levels of disappointment remain. Disillusionment is accompanied by the growing regional differences (regions of the country that are poorer than others) that exist in the countries, as well as the growing inequality between the popular classes and the imperialist bourgeoisie.
One of the European countries where the old order is most discredited is Greece, with dissatisfaction levels peaking at over 75% of the population since the general crisis of imperialism in 2008, which led the Greek country into a deep recession, throwing thousands of workers into hunger.
Further east, in the former Soviet republics, after the revisionism of the USSR, the bourgeois dictatorship is also in crisis, with levels in Russia and several other countries, such as Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, and Moldova, with levels between 50% and 70% of dissatisfaction. Ukraine, in particular, has not experienced an increase in its level of dissatisfaction, but the number of disillusioned with the system of oppression and exploitation of the bourgeoisie is “stuck” at around 75%. Just remember that these countries have a high level of corporatization and centralization of political power in the Executive and in the Armed Forces, which raises, with the failure of their announced objectives, a jump in their demoralization before the masses.
MIDDLE EAST SHAKED BY ILLEGITIMACY
In Asia, especially in the Middle East, the study points out that the region is “one of the most resistant to (bourgeois) democratization,” showing the strength of the people of the region in constant struggle against imperialism and the illusions sown by the imperialist bourgeoisie. Since 2010, the year in which research began in the region, discontent with the bourgeois farce has been growing in the Middle East, which was heightened during the so-called “Arab Spring.” An example is Tunisia, where more than half of Tunisians have declared that bourgeois democracy is inefficient, with the country having about 72% of the population disillusioned.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, on the other hand, the great majority of countries showed a certain enthusiasm with the “end of colonialism” and the arrival of so-called “democracy” (1960s), with the opportunistic and revisionist directions of the anti-colonial processes selling the just aspirations for freedom of the people oppressed by imperialism. Since the 1990s, disillusionment with such promised democracy among the masses has only grown, with more than 50% of the people on the continent questioning the old order of the great bourgeoisie of their countries.
One country that the study stresses is Nigeria, where in 1998 its fascist military regime ended, and the beginning of so-called “democracy.” Since the early 2000s, however, the majority of the Nigerian people have challenged the legitimacy of their demo-liberal “democracy,” with more than 50% of the people disillusioned with the order of the big bourgeoisie. Today, Nigeria is undergoing turbulent protests, in rebellion against the brutal repression of the old police state.
Finally, in South Asia, Nepal, for example, where Prachanda and his clique betrayed the people by capitulating the People’s War, people’s discontent with bourgeois democracy, now led by the revisionist party, is high—up to three quarters of the interviewees show dissatisfaction with the old order present in the country, showing that the Nepalese people still want a new country.
Finally, it is worth mentioning that the study is full of problems in showing, for example, a clear bias in punctuating countries like Venezuela as “dictatorships,” when, in fact, all countries are dictatorships of one class against the other (whether masked or not as “democracies”), or when it comes to a certain pessimism in the face of this wave of rejection of bourgeois order. However, for those committed to the people’s struggle, it exposes something very clear: the masses cry out for real change, outside the bonds of the old order, and it is the task of revolutionaries and those dedicated to serving the people to show the way for the new world.