Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1072/30204

From The Socialist newspaper, 5 February 2020

Record dissatisfaction with democracy: capitalism's dead end

Socialist Party contingent at the People's Assembly demo 12 January, photo Mathan Nathan, photo Mathan Nathan

Socialist Party contingent at the People's Assembly demo 12 January, photo Mathan Nathan, photo Mathan Nathan   (Click to enlarge)

Martin Powell-Davies, Socialist Party national committee

The strategists of capitalism are worried. Global levels of distrust in democracy are at an all-time high. In reality, this represents a growing dissatisfaction with capitalism itself.

The University of Cambridge has just released its 'Global Satisfaction with Democracy' report. It is based on surveys taken from the 1970s to 2019, representing nearly 2.5 billion individuals across 77 nations.

Capitalism therefore has to take its conclusion seriously: that a clear majority - 57.5% - are "dissatisfied" with democracy in their countries.

The report gives 2005 as the global high point - although, even then, 39% were still unhappy with their democracy. But since that time, in the aftermath of the global recession of the late 2000s, there has been a sharp rise in dissatisfaction. Some of the most populous parliamentary democracies - the United States, Brazil, Nigeria and Mexico - have led the way.

In Britain, following temporary peaks in dissatisfaction following Blair's decision to support war in Iraq (2003) and the scandal over parliamentary expenses (2009), dissatisfaction has surged since the Brexit referendum result. It now stands at around 60%, a majority of British respondents for the first time since the mid-1970s.

Are these results really any surprise? Of course, real power in a capitalist democracy remains with those who own and control the economy, not with parliament. But democracy still matters for the working class.

Even in Britain, the universal right to vote for your MP in the supposed 'mother of parliaments' was only won through determined working-class struggle. Internationally, many have perished at the hands of dictatorships or in the struggle to overthrow them.

But workers who voted for politicians in the hope they would make their lives better are increasingly disappointed. For growing numbers of people, 21st century capitalism is failing to lift their living conditions.

The report goes through different regions and countries globally. The failure of capitalism to deliver for its citizens is starkly shown by the corresponding levels of disillusionment in parliamentary democracy.

In Europe, for example, the report notes a growing "satisfaction gap" between the still-relatively-stable Germany, Scandinavia and the Netherlands, and growing discontent in France, Greece and Spain. The rightward collapse of former mass workers' parties will have added to the general distrust of politicians.

The failure to deliver real change for the mass of the population through either the Arab Spring revolutions, social-democratic governments in Latin America, or the end of apartheid in South Africa is also all evident.

The report acknowledges where the problem lies. "If satisfaction with democracy is now falling... it is not because citizens' expectations are excessive or unrealistic, but because democratic institutions are falling short of the outcomes that matter most for their legitimacy, including probity in office, upholding the rule of law, responsiveness to public concerns, ensuring economic and financial security, and raising living standards for the larger majority of society."

It concludes that "the best means of restoring democratic legitimacy would be for this to change." But that will be much easier said than done for crisis-bound global capitalism.

The report points out how right-wing populists like Trump in the US and Bolsonaro in Brazil have profited from this dissatisfaction by falsely presenting themselves as standing for 'the people' against the establishment politicians. Boris Johnson has, of course, done the same over Brexit. In reality they also represent the interests of big business against workers.

As workers realise they have been duped by Johnson - and by Trump and the other right-wing populists - their dissatisfaction with the results of capitalist "democracy" will only rise further.

A socialist society would be based instead on public ownership of the commanding heights of the economy and huge wealth they generate, planned under democratic workers' control and management. Mass workers' parties fighting for socialism, to allow ordinary people to genuinely "take back control" of their lives, are urgently needed to provide a way forward.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to click here to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

In The Socialist 5 February 2020:


News

6.5 million working poor: Fight to end low pay

Labour leadership contest and public ownership

Coronavirus exposes capitalism's weaknesses in healthcare and economy

Record dissatisfaction with democracy: capitalism's dead end

Refuges turn away 64% of women - set no-cuts budgets now!

Grenfell watch: Unions challenge 'mockery of justice'

Them & Us


Rail

Nationalise the railways: For an integrated public transport system

Expensive, overcrowded and unreliable: Renationalise the railways!

Cancel the franchise, not our trains

Will the North get investment and transport infrastructure?


What we think

'Post-Brexit' era of crisis ahead


Workplace news

Huge victory for Bromley library workers after 241 days on indefinite strike!

14 more days of university strikes over pensions, pay and conditions

500 BBC journalists' jobs under threat

Newham council tax workers' pay victory

No to academisation of east London schools!

Ealing tax office workers strike against closure


NHS

Outrageous waiting times will put lives at risk

NHS: Save stroke beds in Coventry and Warwickshire


International

Syria: Assad regime consolidates power after brutal counterrevolution

Israel/Palestine: Trump 'peace plan' promises further conflict


Campaigns

Socialist Party calls anti-austerity protest on Budget Day

Sadiq Khan "out-Tories" himself to defend tech firms' tax bonanza

Socialist Sellers

Reading Labour council: Stop privatising our leisure services

The rich fund the Tories and Blairites, so help fund the working-class fightback

Support the working-class press in 2020

Defend and fight for warm, safe housing for Samira and everyone

Alternative Burns Night success


Readers' opinion

Liverpool council: "No more cuts" - Is Joe Anderson serious?

Socialist Inbox


 

Home   |   The Socialist 5 February 2020   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Democracy:

triangleItaly on lockdown: lack of resources and democracy causes panic

trianglePCS union elections: Nominate candidates fighting austerity and for union democracy

triangleGloucestershire Socialist Party: Workers' democracy vs corporate 'leadership'

triangleHackney Socialist Party: Capitalist democracy V Socialist democracy

triangleEnfield North Labour Party: Defend local democracy

Capitalism:

triangleCapitalism means empty shelves, food insecurity, and soaring profits - the case for a socialist alternative

triangleCoronavirus news in brief

triangleCoronavirus plunges capitalism into global turmoil

triangleThe new crisis and its consequences

Workers:

triangleBuilding the Socialist Party

triangleNew laws: Unions must be on guard against attacks on workers' interests

triangleLabour must resist 'Covid coalition'

Global:

triangleCoronavirus infects the world economy

triangleCoronavirus: capitalism limits response to viral outbreaks

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

1/4/20

Coronavirus

As coronavirus crisis intensifies, class antagonisms deepen

1/4/20

Coronavirus

PPE, Tests, Full pay - for all now

1/4/20

Coronavirus

New laws: Unions must be on guard against attacks on workers' interests

1/4/20

Coronavirus

Labour must resist 'Covid coalition'

31/3/20

Coronavirus

Coronavirus news in brief

31/3/20

Coronavirus

NHS workers speak out: austerity has left us unprepared

31/3/20

Coronavirus

Capitalism means empty shelves, food insecurity, and soaring profits - the case for a socialist alternative

31/3/20

Coronavirus

NHS supply chain worker: privatisation has cut equipment quantity and quality

30/3/20

Coronavirus

Schools: union oversight needed to end chaos in provision under coronavirus

25/3/20

Coronavirus

We need tests for all now! Nationalise production and research

25/3/20

Coronavirus

Coronavirus plunges capitalism into global turmoil

25/3/20

Coronavirus

Coronavirus crisis: Tests, full pay and funding - for all now

25/3/20

Coronavirus

Union independence must be maintained - a reply to the TUC

25/3/20

Coronavirus

State intervention shows what is possible

25/3/20

Care workers

Social care: "Not good enough by miles"

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 07748 534 891

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999