The Meaning of Democracy

By Ulli Diemer

Letter to the Editor:

The Globe and Mail's denunciation of the Day of Action protest as a violation of democracy makes perfect sense -- as long as one understands the special way the Globe defines "democracy".

"Democracy" according to this definition is a safe election every four years or so in which voters choose between corporate-dominated parties whose policies are virtually indistinguishable on all fundamental issues.

"Democratic government" in this context means rule by a political party, elected by a minority of the electorate, which in office breaks many of the major promises it made during the election campaign. The role of the vast majority of the population in this version of "democracy" is to remain passive and not interfere.

What "democracy" definitely does not mean, when the Globe uses the term, is the active involvement of the majority of the population in governing society to ensure that economic and social policy serve the needs and interests of the majority rather than a small wealthy elite.

The Globe is quite right. Popular protests like the Days of Action are a threat to its version of "democracy".

Ulli Diemer