re: pro-democratic

Grover Furr (
Fri, 21 Jun 1996 13:18:48 -0400

"The Sixties" included a lot of things. Certainly the FSM, Civil
Rights Movement, and anti-Vietnam War movement were all protests
against anti-democratic injustices. To that extent, they were all
"pro-democratic." All represented, in different ways and to different
degrees (very limited, it seems to me now), the fact that the US
political system was and is fundamentally UNdemocratic, whatever the
rhetoric was and continues to be.

But the concept "democracy" means different things to different
people, and this is the rub. Example: the US ruling class was trying
to spread its concept of "democracy" to Vietnam -- essentially, rule
by private-enterprise capitalists with an electoral component to fool
the population, co-opt some more activist elements within, it, and
provide a way for the contradictions among the capitalists to be
settled with as little disorder as possible. The North Vietnamese
Communists were also fighting for "democracy", but a very different
concept of what "democracy" is -- land and power to the peasantry,
political power to the working population, one working-class-based
political party.

"Conservatives" in the US, as someone pointed out, also want to
seize the concept of "democracy" and fill it with their own elitist,
racist and imperialist -- in other words, thoroughly UNdemocratic --
content. Naturally they attack the protest movements as
"undemocratic", and called the VN communists "dictators". Communists,
as is well known, consider all capitalist countries to be class
dictatorships as well.

I think it would be interesting and useful to have a discussion
of just what "democracy" IS, rather than trying to apply a term which
is one of the most heavily contested terms in the human vocabulary.
What did we learn about what "real democracy" is as a result of the
protests of the 60s?

Grover C. Furr

English Department | Phone: (201) 655-7305
Montclair State University | email:
Upper Montclair, NJ 07043 |

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