The USA, Japan and South Korea, nations the western media loves to call ”democratic and free”. In reality they are not full democracies. On paper their appear fully free, yet in practice there are major flaws as these nations do not meet all criteria to be called full democracies. Out of 167 nations, only 19 are called full democracies by the UK-based Economist Intelligence Unit. It is ironic that many nations who follow the so called ”western model” are not listed as fully democratic. Instead they are indexed as flawed, revolutionary socialists understand why this is the case!
It comes to no surprise to read that Scandinavia and Iceland are at the top of the full democracy index. These nations were the only ones on planet Earth who were modeled on social democracy, the center-leftist ideology. Social democracy puts a great deal on social services to working class people and it was the main ideology of workers parties. Before the 1980’s, social democracy was still a socialist ideology and many social democrats believed in a moderate evolutionary road to a socialist society. In Scandinavia, the labour parties got the support from the proletariat and were able to build strong welfare states. This made Norway, Sweden and Denmark not only fully democratic, but also more equal in wealth distribution!
Canada, Ireland and Switzerland are also high on the full democracies list. The only Latin American nation to reach the full democracy status is Uruguay and Mauritius is the only African nation to be called a full democracy. Britain stands at number 16 and Spain is number 17. The United States of America is not listed as a full democracy, in fact it is a flawed democracy indexed at number 21. In the flawed democracy list are also many nations few would think as flawed. But when you look closely you might not be surprised. France and Italy may have fair and free elections, but like the USA and many other so called ”democratic” nations, they have an underdeveloped political culture, low levels of participation in politics and issues in the functioning of governance!
What criteria are used to measure countries? The Economist Intelligence Unit is using the following definition:
Full democracies are nations where civil liberties and basic political freedoms are not only respected, but also reinforced by a political culture conducive to the thriving of democratic principles. These nations have a valid system of governmental checks and balances, independent judiciary whose decisions are enforced, governments which function adequately, and media which is diverse and independent. These nations have only limited problems in democratic functioning
Flawed democracies are nations where elections are fair and free and basic civil liberties are honored but may have issues (e.g. media freedom infringement). Nonetheless, these nations have significant faults in other democratic aspects, including underdeveloped political culture, low levels of participation in politics, and issues in the functioning of governance
Hybrid regimes are nations where consequential irregularities exist in elections regularly preventing them from being fair and free. These nations commonly have governments which apply pressure on political opponents, non independent judiciaries, widespread corruption, harassment and pressure placed on the media, anemic rule of law, and more pronounced faults than flawed democracies in the realms of underdeveloped political culture, low levels of participation in politics, and issues in the functioning of governance
Authoritarian regimes are nations where political pluralism has vanished or is extremely limited. These nations are often absolute dictatorships, may have some conventional institutions of democracy- but with meager significance, infringements and abuses of civil liberties are commonplace, elections- if they take place- are not fair and free, the media is often state-owned or controlled by groups associated with the ruling regime, the judiciary is not independent, and the presence of omnipresent censorship and suppression of governmental criticism!
The USA and their friends boost about being the ”Free World”, while in reality the ”land of the free and the home of the brave” is not even a full democracy as categorized by the Economist Intelligence Unit. Let us look at the other friends of the United States of America, a flawed democracy!
- Japan: FLAWED
- South Korea: FLAWED
- Italy: FLAWED
- Israel: FLAWED
- Indonesia: FLAWED
- Guatemala: HYBRID
- Georgia: HYBRID
- Ukraine: HYBRID
- Turkey: HYBRID (soon to be AUTHORITARIAN)
- Afghanistan: AUTHORITARIAN
- United Arab Emirates: AUTHORITARIAN
- Saudi Arabia: AUTHORITARIAN
- Iraq: AUTHORITARIAN
These 13 nations are very close to Washington DC and have sided with the so called ”FREE WORLD”. American presidents praised the political systems of these nations, especially when they used to be ex-Soviet. Billions of dollars are still given to the governments of Afghanistan, the Arab emirates and Saudi Arabia, deeply authoritarian countries. This money is then used to suppress critics and to keep the local capitalist class in power. In flawed democracies opposition to the ruling class is allowed and permitted, but those with money make sure that their politicians are always given the most media attention. This is why Bernie Sanders was unable to defeat Hillary Clinton, as the whole political system of the USA favored a right-wing Democratic candidate!
China and Russia do not need to be exposed for being AUTHORITARIAN. We all know that the Kremlin and Beijing are dictatorial in nature. Russia under Vladimir Putin has grown into a conservative dictatorship and China has always been conservative. Political conservatism is a huge part of the Communist Party of China. This was also common among other ”people’s republics”. Few Chinese workers believe that their nation is genuine socialist. Only brainwashed nationalists and members of the new rich are positive about the current politics of the state-capitalist regime!
South Korea is a typical flawed democracy. Its first female president has recently been removed for corruption. This is not uncommon as her father used to be the anticommunist dictator of South Korea in the 60’s and 70’s, until he was assassinated by his own secret service. South Korean democracy is deeply flawed, many politicians only serve their own interests. Both liberals and conservatives are on the payroll of big business. The lasted political scandal exposed that high ranking officials were bribed by enterprises like Samsung. This corruption is also possible because the ruling class of South Korea uses the fear of ”communist” North Korea, to stigmatize the political left-wing. Revolutionary leftists have faced arrests, intimidation and jail time, for rejecting the capitalist system. South Korea has a law called the National Security Law, which allows the government to arrest people based on their political ideology. Not so long ago the conservatives used this law to disband a leftist nationalist party, which they called: ”Pro-North Korean”
Guatemala is called the backyard of Washington DC. In this Latin American nation, the Americans intervene since 1960. The CIA supported numerous corrupt regimes, who only cared about themselves. American weapons were used oppress the Mayan peasant population. In response to the dictatorial way of life, many leftist groups rallied together to fight the government and its American allies. The civil war lasted for 36 years in which the anticommunists and their CIA allies, started a brutal crackdown of ethnic Mayan peasants, who make up 85% of Guatemala. Suspected rebels and their sympathizers were brutally tortured and then executed. 150.000 died in what is now called the Guatemalan genocide or Mayan genocide. Few in the western world are aware of this crime. Because the conflict in Guatemala was given almost no media attention!
As capitalism keeps its iron grip on the world, workers and poor need to understand that this system does not serve their interests. What we need is are workers parties on genuine socialist programs to combat both the remnants of stalinism and capitalistic ideologies such as social democracy. The political left-wing is still in a paralyzed state, unable to fight for a alternative to the barbaric capitalist system. Social democratic parties have turned massively to the right and many moderate socialists balance between accepting capitalism and rejecting it. The flawed democracies of the western world are not offering the solutions working class people need. Capitalist democracy is only democracy for the rich. Therefore we need socialist democracy, a democracy from the bottom up under workers management and control!