Organization for Help to Save US Democracy
New American Organization Appeals to People of World to Help Save Democracy in the U.S.
A new organization, the INTERNATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR DEMOCRACY (I.E.D.), announced today that it has issued an URGENT APPEAL TO THE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD to donate money to help support democracy in the country that needs it most—the USA.
The Board of Directors of the I.E.D. includes HOWARD ZINN (America's leading radical historian), MUMIA ABU-JAMAL (America's most famous political prisoner), GORE VIDAL (America's premier progressive novelist and essayist), ELLEN MEIKSINS WOOD (winner of the Isaac Deutscher Prize), RAMSEY CLARK (world's leading human rights lawyer), BARBARA FOLEY (Chair of the Left Alliance, the union of progressive academic caucuses), MICHAEL PARENTI (America's foremost critic of capitalist democracy), IMMANUEL WALLERSTEIN (past president of the International Sociological Association), ANNETTE RUBINSTEIN (America's longest active socialist teacher), MICHAEL RATNER (President of the Center for Constitutional Rights and past President of the National Lawyers' Guild), DAVID HARVEY (world's most cited geographer), MARTHA GIMENEZ (founding editor of THE PROGRESSIVE SOCIOLOGISTS NETWORK), HARRY MAGDOFF (co-editor of America's premier Marxist theoretical journal, MONTHLY REVIEW—until his sad death on Jan. 1st), and two dozen other major American progressive scholars, lawyers and activists.
"If the U.S. government has its 'NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR DEMOCRACY' (N.E.D.) to promote its self-interested view of democracy in other countries, it is only fair", says N.Y.U. Politics Department Professor Bertell Ollman, who is the President of the I.E.D., "that the people of the world should have an 'INTERNATIONAL ENDOWMENT' to push their idea of democracy inside the United States."
"When the government of the country that likes to think of itself as 'THE GREATEST DEMOCRACY IN THE WORLD' has just stolen two presidential elections", Ollman continues, " and spreads unnecessary wars, theft of the commons, exploding economic inequalities, environmental degradation, and outright torture in the name of 'DEMOCRATIC NATION BUILDING'and 'DEMOCRACY PROMOTION'; and then finances supposedly independent organizations like the NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR DEMOCRACY (NED) to subvert foreign governments of which it disapproves—when, in short, 'DEMOCRACY' not only rhymes with 'HYPOCRISY' but has come to embody it— it is time for everyone suffering from these policies to unite across national borders to bring them to an end."
To aid in this task, the INTERNATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR DEMOCRACY (IED) is appealing for donations, no matter how small, from all those victimized by our government's actions. Apart from the organization's minimal expenses (no one on the Board is paid a salary), all of this money will be passed on to some of the many groups (no political parties) already working to change these policies by defending and extending democracy INSIDE the United States. THIS MAY BE A FIRST: AMERICANS SEEKING HELP FROM PEOPLE OUTSIDE THE COUNTRY, RATHER THAN THE OTHER WAY AROUND.
Professor Ollman explains, "Our view is that DEMOCRATIC NATION BUILDING—THE REAL THING, NOT THE HYPOCRITICAL VERSION—MUST BEGIN IN THE COUNTRY THAT NEEDS IT MOST, THE U.S.A., AND THAT PEOPLE EVERYWHERE HAVE A ROLE TO PLAY IN BRINGING IT ABOUT. This is not because there is less democracy in the U.S. than anywhere else—a few other countries are even worse off in this regard—but because the DEMOCRACY DEFICIT from which we suffer in the United States is a greater threat to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness of people all across the globe than the activities of any other regime."
"THE CONNECTION WITH OUR RAPIDLY VANISHING DEMOCRACY", Ollman continues, "comes from the fact that, as victims of these same destructive policies, the great majority of Americans have no interest in retaining them, and would change them in an instant if our democracy really worked as we're told it does. That they haven't done so is because they can't, because the laws, the media, the schools, and other means for making such changes have been bent out of shape (through systematic bias), hidden (through enforced ignorance), bought up by Big Money (especially this) and, when 'necessary', stolen (as in the last two presidential elections)."
"WHO CAN DOUBT THAT PEOPLE EVERYWHERE HAVE A HUGE STAKE IN THE DEMOCRATIZATION OF AMERICA? And with the I.E.D., they now have a chance to help themselves by helping us to help them."
THE I.E.D. ALSO CALLS ON THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TO MONITOR ELECTIONS IN THE U.S. "Is there anyone left in the world outside the United States", Ollman asks, "who doesn't recognize the need for such monitors?"
In keeping with the organization's aim of giving the people of the world a voice in U.S. affairs, the I.E.D. is also exploring the possibility of co-sponsoring a WORLD SOCIAL FORUM ON DEMOCRACY TO BE HELD IN EITHER OHIO OR FLORIDA IN THE SUMMER OF 2007, one year before the next presidential election. "A World Social Forum held at 'ground zero' of our last stolen election", Ollman says, "would help both Americans and our foreign guests acquire a deeper understanding of the meaning of democracy and of what is necessary to defend and extend it."
The I.E.D.'s APPEAL for funds has just gone out to over twenty thousand people who are being asked to forward it to everyone on their e-mail trees, who are, in turn, being asked to do the same, and so on. The MoveOn organization reached millions of Americans on behalf of Howard Dean during the 2004 presidential primaries in just this way, but ours may be the first attempt to extend this tactic to the whole world. It is certainly THE FIRST ATTEMPT TO USE THE INTERNET TO INVOLVE THE WHOLE WORLD IN THE BADLY NEEDED DEMOCRATIZATION OF THE UNITED STATES.
The I.E.D. has also launched a website - www.iefd.org (much of it in over a dozen languages) to help gather donations and to expand on the analysis that underlies our project. An extensive DEMOCRACY LIBRARY of critical works divided into sections on "The National Endowment for Hypocrisy Democracy", "Stolen Election(s)", "American 'Democracy'?" and "Is Democracy Compatible with Capitalism?" (along with manifestos, cartoons, quotations, blog and essay/book/poetry/song/cartoon contests on these subjects) has also been added as a unique educational resource for courses that deal with democracy on both high school and college levels.
For further details, including a copy of our URGENT APPEAL TO THE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD, see our website www.iefd.org
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