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<nettime> Democracy Aid 2004
Ken Jordan on Fri, 7 Nov 2003 22:07:44 +0100 (CET)


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<nettime> Democracy Aid 2004


A couple of Swedish activists have launched an intriguing, Net-based
initiative to save democracy in America. Why should only US citizens have a
say in the election of the ruler of the entire globe? After all, anyone
anywhere can donate to MoveOn.org...

They've launched their campaign, Democracy Aid 2004, at
http://hem.passagen.se/democracyaid. Below is an article about it they
posted to OpenDemocracy.net.

Ken


Democracy Aid To The US
Kajsa Klein and Hanna Armelius

One year from now, on November 2nd 2004, the next American Presidential
elections will be held. For the first time ever, because of the Internet, it
is possible for non-American private citizens to participate in the campaign
process. Should the rest of the world interfere with the choice of the US
President? We claim that support for such action can be found in current
theories of democracy.

What the world needs is an American President who favours multilateral
solutions, and who actively supports the UN's Millennium goals.

Following the end of the cold war, many believed that a new era of democracy
and international cooperation would prevail. In the fall of 2000, that same
fall, George W. Bush was elected.

At the time, the future looked rather bright. The UN had held its Millennium
conference, and plans for an international criminal court, ICC, were
advancing. Three years later the world looks very different. The US has
taken on the role of world policeman.

The founding principles of the American constitution are that all men are
created equal, with the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of
happiness. That is why it is particularly disturbing that it is due to
American policies that the world is in a state of emergency today. Although
most people welcome the overthrow of the Taliban regime, as well as that of
Saddam Hussein's, we believe that the cost of these military adventures has
been too great.

The war against terrorism, begun after the attacks of 9-11, has led to the
violation of human rights in many places around the world. The most obvious
example is, of course, the suffering felt by the Iraqi war victims. In
Europe, the prisoners held without trial in Guantanamo have received much
deserved attention. The behaviour of the Bush administration has also had
serious consequences for disarmament. An example is the way confrontations
with North Korea have made them withdraw from the non- proliferation treaty.

All of these events have eroded the legitimacy of the Bush administration,
particularly from a foreign perspective. Ever since the scandal surrounding
the Florida election results, there has been a growing sense that a) the US
needs democracy aid (remember how many countries immediately and not without
pleasure offered to help), and b) that it is proper for the world to
participate in the American national electoral process. This stance can be
justified by the widespread, international fear of a paranoid President, who
has a strikingly limited understanding of the outside world - the same world
he feels he has the right to treat whatever way he pleases, as long as he
can claim it to be in the US national interest. As we all know, large sums
of money have been spent on questionable objectives in the war against
terrorism. The US has, with threats and bribery, managed to pull a few other
countries into its questionable actions -- starting a full-scale war,
legitimised by falsified intelligence information, is but the gravest
example.

Soon there will be another election, and the campaigning has already
started. An estimated 100 million Americans (half of those who are eligible)
will cast their vote. As always, there is a vast amount of money involved.
However, in our view the greatest scandal is not that American Presidents
can be bought -- but rather that they are so cheap. One dollar per
EU-citizen would suffice to raise more money than the entire Bush campaign
budget for the elections in 2000.

Compare this price to the cost of having Bush in the White House. Not only
do we have the cost of rebuilding Iraq, the rest of the world will also have
to suffer the consequences of environmental decay due to the withdrawal from
treaties like the Kyoto protocol. Some countries might even cease to exist
as the amount of carbon dioxide increases.

Charity contributions to democracy enhancement are becoming more popular.
Why not invest where it will really make a difference? Since all the
citizens of the world are obviously affected by the choice of American
president, shouldn't we all have the right to engage in cross-border opinion
making? After all, the US has some experience of its own when it comes to
attempts at overthrowing foreign regimes (although often done under false
pretences, and using methods involving violence and arms deals)....

In the light of the above, we would like to bring attention to an
organization that makes it possible for non-American citizens to contribute
to Bush's defeat, and thereby indirectly support democratic values, in the
US as well as globally - MoveOn.org. It is not tied to any particular
political party. Due to the wide international breakthrough of their peace
campaign, "9-11 peace.org", foreigners now constitute one third of their
network of 2 million. It is illegal for American presidential candidates to
receive contributions from other countries. However, all private citizens
can make donations to MoveOn.org as an organization. Currently they are
buying TV commercial time to criticise the Bush administration. There is
also a petition that anyone can sign, that calls for the resignation of US
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

The world is becoming increasingly globalised. Many people rightly feel that
this has as a consequence that the power is moved further away from them.
This also increases the sense of frustration that the lack of possibilities
of influence brings. Lately we have seen many examples of this feeling
culminating in more or less anarchistic and violent anti-globalization
movements. There is no perfect alternative available yet, due to the lack of
structures for political world citizenship. However, some constructive
action can be taken. That is why we have donated one dollar each to Move On.

One year from now, on November 2nd 2004, the next American Presidential
elections will be held. For the first time ever, because of the Internet, it
is possible for non-American private citizens to participate in the campaign
process.

We claim that this unique opportunity should not be wasted, since the rest
of the world is very much affected by the choice of president. What the
world needs is an American President who favours multilateral solutions, and
who actively supports the UN's Millennium goals. George W. Bush is not that
man. This has become very clear during the last three years.

One dollar per EU-citizen would suffice to raise more money than the entire
Bush campaign budget for the elections in 2000. Compare this price to the
cost of having Bush in the White House.

Donate a dollar to moveon.org!



------------
Ken Jordan
http://www.kenjordan.tv
ken {AT} kenjordan.tv
212-741-6173

"Be as if." - Andrew Boyd 

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