Across the world, parties losing touch

Friday, 25th May 2007 at 9:00 UTC Leave a comment

Read this story, about South African public sector workers protesting over the lack of substantial pay rise, and was interested by comment concerning the ANC party which represented Black South Africans through the last of the apartheid era, and were subsequently elected by about 85% to run the country.

On behalf of the largest Union representing the strikers, Cosatu, spokesman Patrick Craven said “The [ruling party] ANC seems to have lost touch with the people they represented through the anti-apartheid years,” he told the BBC. “Lots of well qualified people like teachers and nurses are leaving the country, yet the government still refuses to improve their pay and conditions.”

There seems to be a general trend going on around the world with parties selling out their support base in even bigger ways than ever. Sure, this phenomena started long ago, but its has taken on new proportions of late. While there have always been arguments against Representative Democracy, its seems that an even bigger crises of legitimacy is looming worldwide.

On Sunday, all being well, I shall be in Sheffield protesting outside a meeting with Britain’s newly unelected leader, Gordon Brown (outside Hallam Uni from 11am). Since Blair became leader, the party has halved in numbers, and many more who were once seen as the core Labour vote have become disillusioned with the party. Now the party’s MPs have decided to allow a new leader to emerge without any kind of contest, making even more of a mockery of this system which is supposed to be so fair and equitable.

Whether in South Africa or Britain, or indeed anywhere else where this is happening, it seems that the arguments for electing representatives are failing, and in fact, we are faced with even greater need for people to act directly, whether in the classic sense of direct action or through actions that create the support services needed for our society to exist, outside of the classic democratic system.

After all, it is fast becoming universal human experience that these parties which once supposedly spoke for us (and regardless of how well they did it, they now do it a lot worse) are no longer able to cater to our needs, only to those of a system, of the corporations, that are loudly demanding special treatment from them. When we work together in communities to build up the support we really need, surely then we will have a more democratic society that results in people’s wishes being better enacted.

(Oh dear, that turned into an anarchist rant and a half didn’t it?)

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Entry filed under: Africa, democracy, Participation, Party Politics, Politics.

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