Lesson 1:Democracy in the Contemporary World
Two Tales of Democracv
Chile Salvador Allende Was president of Chlle, a south American country. After beingelected the President, Allende had taken several policy decisions to help the poor and the workers. - These included reform of the educational system, free milk for children and redistribution of land to the landless farmers. He was opposed to foreign companies taking away natural - fesources like copper from the country. The landlords, the rich and the Church opposed his policies. Some other political parties in Chile also opposed his government.
On the morning of 11 September 1973, the military took over the 0 The military commanders asked President Allende to resign but he 0 Then the military surrounded the President's house and started seaport and arrested Defence Minister when he arrived at his office. refused to resign or leave the country. bombing it. President Allende died in the military attack. general. Allende's rule and is known to have supported and funded activities The military coup was led by General Augusto Pinochet, an Army The government of the United States of America was unhappy with 0 Pinochet became the President of the country and ruled it for the 0 From a democratic government, a military dictatorship was 0 Pinochet's government tortured and killed several of those who that led to the coup. next 17 years. established in Chile. supported Allende and those who wanted democracy to be restored.
Restoration of Democracy Pinochet hold a referendum in 1988 as he felt confident that in this referendum, the people would say 'yes' to his continuing in power. d But the people of Chile say 'no' to Pinochet and his military O Political freedom in Chile restored. 0 SJ wly, the army's role in the country's government has been dictatorship ended liminated he elected government that came to power ordered inquiries that showed that his government was not only very brutal, but also very corrupt. 0 In January 2006, Michelle Bachelet, daughter of General Alberto Bachelet was elected President of Chile. In the presidential elections, she defeated one of Chile's richest
I Democracy in Poland D In 1980, Poland was ruled by the Polish United d n the country, no other political party was allowed to 0 The people could not freely choose the leaders and Workers' Party, a communist party. function. those who spoke against the leaders or the party or the government were put in prison. D The government in Poland was supported and controlled by the government of the Soviet Union (USSR), a vast and powerful communist state.
0 Strike of Lenin Shipyard Workers 0On 14 August 1980, the workers of Lenin Shipyard, owned by the government in the city of Gdansk went on a strike. 0 The strike began with a demand to take back a crane operator, a womarn worker, who was unjustly dismissed from service. 0 This strike was illegal because trade unions independent of the ruling party ere not allowed in Poland Lech Walesa, a former electrician of the shipyard who was dismissed from service in 1976 for demanding higher pay joined the strikers. 0 The strike began to spread across the whole city and they started raising larger demands. D They wanted the right to form independent trade unions. d They also demanded the release of political prisoners and an end to censorship on press.
0 Finally, the government had to give in and the workers led by Walesa signed a 21-point agreement with the government that ended their strike. The government agreed to recognise the workers' right to form independent trade unions and their right to strike. After the Gdansk agreement was signed, a new trade union called Solidarity (Solidarnosc in Polish) was formed. 0 It was the first time an independent trade union was formed in any of the ommunist states. Revelations of widespread corruption and mismanagement in the government made matters worse for the rulers. 0 he government, led by General Jaruzelski, grew anxious and imposed martial law in December 1981. 0 Thousands of Solidarity members were put in prison. 0 Freedom to organise, protest and express opinions were once again taken away.
Restoration of Democracy 0 In 1988. Solidarity again organised the strikes. 0 This time the Polish government was weaker, the support from Soviet Union uncertain and the economy was in decline In April 1989, another round of negotiations with Walesa resulted in an agreement for free elections. D Solidarity contested all the 100 seats of the Senate and won 99 of them 0 In October 1990, Poland had its first presidential elections in which more than one party could contest. 0 Walesa was elected President of Poland
Two Features of Democracy povernmment that.allawa peon le to choose Democracy, hence, is a form of their own leaders. People have the freedom to express their views, freedom to organize freedom to protest against injustice to protest agains ijustice and freedom
Phases in the Expansion of Democracy The Begining The French Revolution of 1789 did not establish a secure and stable democracy in France.However, it inspired many struggles for democracy all over Europe. Through the eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries, series of political events reduced the power of monarchy and feudal lords In 1776, the British colonies in North America declared themselves independent and came together to form the United States of America. They adopted a democratic constitution in 1787 but the right to vote was limited to very few men. The nation struggling for democracy wanted voting right granted universally to all adults - men or women, rich or poor, white or black called 'universal adult franchise' or 'universal suffrage' Early democracies were established in Europe, North America and Latin America.
Recent Phase d After 1980, democracy started spreading more quickly 0 The disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991 accelerated this process. 0 The Soviet Union comprised 15 Republics which emerged as in most of them became democracies. Democracy was revived in several countries of Latin America. Pakist n and Bangladesh made a transition from army rule to democracy in 1990s. However, changes were not permanent in Pakistan as in 1999 General Musharraf brought b ck army rule there. n Nepal, the king gave up many of his powers to become a constitutional monarch to be guided by elected leaders. In 2005 the new king of Nepal dismissed the elected government and took back political freedoms that people had won in the previous decade. 0
l Case of UN N Every one of the member states of the UN has one vote in the UN General Assembly 0 General Assembly is like the parliament where all the discussion takes place. It meets in regular yearly sessions under a president elected from among the representatives of the member countries. D But the General Assembly cannot take any decision about what action should be taken in a conflict between different countries. 0 The fifteen-member Security Council of the UN takes such crucial decisions. The Council has Five permanent members -US, Russia, UK, France and China and ten other m mbers are elected by the General Assembly for two-year terms. The real power is with five permanent members.Each permanent member has veto power. It means that the Council cannot take a decision if any permanent member says no to that decision. I This system has led more and more people and countries to protest and demand that the UN becomes more democratic 0 The permanent members, especially the US, contribute most of the money needed for the maintenance of the UN
Case of IMF International Monetary Fund (IMF) is one of the biggest moneylenders for any country in the world. 0ts 188 member states (as on 1 September 2012) do not have equal voting rights 0 The vote of each country is weighed by how much money it has contributed to the IMF. More than 52% of the voting power in the IMF is in the hands of only ten countries (MS, Japan, Germany, France, UK, China, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Canada and Russia). The remaining 178 countries have very little say in how these international organisations take decisions Case of World Bank 0 World Bank also has similar system of voting. 0 The President of the World Bank has always been a citizen of the US, conventionally nominated by the Treasury Secretary (Finance Minister) of the US government
Promotion of Democracy D Many powerful countries like the United States of America believe that democracy should be promoted in the world even by force. D Powerful countries have launched attacks on non- emocratic countries. Iraq is the biggest example. USA and its allies attacked and occupied Iraq without UN sanction, on the pretext of Iraq possessing nuclear weapons. They have even held forced elections. 0The urge for democracy should come from the people and should not be imposed.
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