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International Endowment For Democracy

International Endowment For Democracy

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URGENT APPEAL TO THE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD
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March 28, 2006
from the INTERNATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR DEMOCRACY (I.E.D.)

HELP! HELP! The house is on fire and we are all living in it. The United States government and its dependent organizations, such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), have responded to the fire... by pouring more oil on it.

They call it "democratic nation building" - a fancy name for the perpetual wars, theft of the commons, exploding economic inequalities, weakening civil liberties (including the introduction of torture), and the intensifying degradation and outright destruction of our natural environment that lie hidden behind "free" trade and the promise (seldom fulfilled) of a "free" election. Billions of people outside America want this madness to stop, but what can they do?

Our new and independent organization, the International Endowment for Democracy (I.E.D.), believes it will only stop if democratic nation building (the real thing, not the oil) is applied to the U.S., which is the country most responsible for these frightening global developments, and that people everywhere can play a role in bringing it about.

The I.E.D. is a new non-profit foundation whose Board of Directors 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 Deutcher 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)
MICHAEL RATNER (President of the Center for Constitutional Rights and past President of the National Lawyers' Guild)
and two dozen other major American progressive scholars, lawyers and activists. Find the full Board of Directors at http://www.iefd.org/about/?r=r01

IN BRIEF: If groups like the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) use American government money (whence the "NATIONAL") -- and a big dose of hypocrisy -- to subvert democracy abroad, the International Endowment for Democracy (IED) hopes to use foreign monies (whence the "INTERNATIONAL") to help build a real democracy in the country that needs it most, the U.S.A. (See DEMOCRACY LIBRARY, section III of our website: http://www.iefd.org/articles/american_democracy.php?r=r01 )

We also call on the international community to monitor elections in the United States. Is there anyone left in the world outside the U.S. who doesn't recognize the need for such monitors?

This is not because there is less democracy in America than anywhere else - a few other lands are even worse off in this regard - but because the DEMOCRACY DEFICIT from which our country suffers is a greater threat to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness of people all across the globe than the actions of any other regime.

As victims of their own government's destructive policies, the great majority of Americans have no interest in retaining them and would change these policies in an instant if our democracy really worked as we're told it does. That they haven't is because they can't, because the laws, the elections, the media, the schools and other means for making such changes have been bent out of shape (through systematic bias and, increasingly, outright repression), 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?

THIS MAY BE A FIRST: Americans asking people from other countries for help. Many recipients of this Appeal outside the U.S., however, are probably still asking themselves - "Why should we help Americans make needed changes in their country? Don't we have enough to do in our own country?" The answer can be presented best by another question: Is there any reader who lives outside the capital of his or her country who believes it is a waste of time and money to try to influence the policies of the government sitting in the capital? That's where the main political power is. Well, in this period of American military, economic and cultural imperialism, Washington has become the real capital of your country, for it is there that many of the most destructive decisions affecting your life are made. It would seem to make sense, therefore, good political sense, to devote at least some of your time, energy and money to helping bring about the kind of changes you want in Washington. If that's at all possible...

At this moment in history, those of us who live in the United States are in the best position to confront our common oppressor. The responsibility we bear, therefore, is enormous, but our forces are weak. While the current government's undermining of the democratic process, as imperfect as it was, constitutes a growing threat to all dissenters, it also provides us with a key issue on which our rulers are extremely vulnerable. As the explosion of governmental hypocrisy clearly attests, democracy remains the American people's favorite virtue. It is on this crucial issue, with its broad ramifications for government policy in America and around the world, that we need your help.

There are many groups in the United States that are trying to defend what remains of our rapidly shrinking democracy and/or build a better, more egalitarian one. Mostly they are small, and they all lack funds. The International Endowment for Democracy (I.E.D.) wants to give people all over the world an opportunity to participate in this crucial struggle by making a donation (no matter how small) to us, which we will then distribute to some of these groups. Apart from our small operating expenses (no I.E.D. board members are paid), all the money received will be passed on. As odd as this may sound, with this show of solidarity, people everywhere can now help themselves by helping us to help them. Maybe this doesn't sound so odd, after all.

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POTENTIAL CONTRIBUTORS should also know that we will not give money to any political party, or accept money from any organization involved in violent forms of political activity or from any foreign government.

To American readers, who don't need our advice to donate money to their favorite progressive organizations, we only ask that you continue doing what you have been (okay, do a little more), but please forward this appeal to your friends and acquaintances, especially those who come from abroad. (Should you also want to show your support for this initiative by making a donation, of course, we won't turn you away.)

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THE SUCCESS OF OUR PROJECT depends on getting the word out to millions of people throughout the world.

So...if you approve of what we are doing and think it could be important, we urge you to send this appeal to all the people on your e-mail trees, and to the websites and blogs you visit as well as to the discussion and organizational lists to which you belong, particularly outside the U.S. And please don't neglect your contacts in the media.

The MoveOn organization is said to have reached between ten and twenty million 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 strategy 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 supremely serious nature as well as the planetary scope of our problem is what makes this approach necessary. The new technology of the internet is what makes it possible. But it still requires a little help from you to make it happen.

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WON'T YOU HELP?
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See our website -
http://www.internationalendowmentfordemocracy.org or http://www.iefd.org - for information on the following, much of it in OVER A DOZEN LANGUAGES.

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See HOW TO HELP for details on how to make a donation.
http://www.iefd.org/donations/?r=r01

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See our STATEMENT OF PURPOSE for a more detailed analysis of the crisis in American democracy and what we hope to achieve.
http://www.iefd.org/articles/statement_of_purpose.php

See our PRESS RELEASE.
http://www.iefd.org/press/press_releases.php?r=r01

See WHO WE ARE for the background and publications of the members of our Board of Directors.
http://www.iefd.org/about/?r=r01

See WHERE THE MONEY GOES for our priorities and procedures in passing on funds (and, later, for how much money we received and who we gave it to).
http://www.iefd.org/money/priorities.php?r=r01

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IN ENGLISH SECTION OF WEBSITE ONLY

See our DEMOCRACY LIBRARY, which contains some of the best critical writing on this subject and is divided into the following sections:

* National Endowment for Hypocrisy Democracy
* Stolen Election(s)
* American 'Democracy'?
* Is Democracy Compatible with Capitalism?
(HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for courses that deal with democracy at both
high school and college levels).

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See, too, sections on
* FROM THEORY TO PRACTICE / MANIFESTOS AND CHARTERS
* NOBLE PRIZE FOR DEMOCRACY
* DEMOCRACY QUOTES
* DEMOCRACY CARTOONS
* DEMOCRACY WATCH BLOG
* WORLD SOCIAL FORUM ON DEMOCRACY IN 2007
* CRITICAL BOOK, ESSAY, POEM, SONG AND CARTOON CONTESTS ON DEMOCRACY FOR HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE
* LINKS
and Coming Soon:
* MEDIA REACTIONS TO THE I.E.D.
* DEMOCRACY VIDEOS
* N.E.D. vs. I.E.D. DOCUMENTARY
* CONFERENCES AND LECTURES
* LETTERS
* BIBLIOGRAPHY

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PLEASE FORWARD THIS APPEAL TO ALL YOUR CONTACTS
AND ASK THEM TO DO THE SAME.

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TO CONTACT US:

WEBSITE
http://www.internationalendowmentfordemocracy.org
or http://www.iefd.org

E-MAIL
comments@iefd.org (for readers' comments or questions)

REGULAR MAIL
International Endowment for Democracy,
P.O. Box 3005
Prince Street Station
New York, New York, 10012, U.S.A.
(for all of the above plus DONATIONS BY CHECK - please include e-mail address with all letters)

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PRESIDENT OF THE I.E.D.
Prof. Bertell Ollman
Dept. of Politics, NYU

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE I.E.D.
Prof. Michael Brown
(former Chair) Dept. of Sociology, Northeastern Univ.
Prof. Barbara Foley
Dept. of English, Rutgers Univ. (Newark)
Prof. Emeritus John Manley
(former Chair) Dept. of Political Science, Stanford Univ.
Michael Smith
Lawyer

=======================

FOREIGN LANGUAGE VERSIONS
Arabic http://www.iefd.org/lang/ar01.php?r=r01
Bengali http://www.iefd.org/lang/bn01.php?r=r01
Chinese http://www.iefd.org/lang/zh01.php?r=r01
Farsi http://www.iefd.org/lang/fa01.php?r=r01
French http://www.iefd.org/lang/fr01.php?r=r01
German http://www.iefd.org/lang/de01.php?r=r01
Greek http://www.iefd.org/lang/el01.php?r=r01
Hindi http://www.iefd.org/lang/hi01.php?r=r01
Italian http://www.iefd.org/lang/it01.php?r=r01
Japanese http://www.iefd.org/lang/ja01.php?r=r01
Korean http://www.iefd.org/lang/ko01.php?r=r01
Portuguese http://www.iefd.org/lang/pt01.php?r=r01
Russian http://www.iefd.org/lang/ru01.php?r=r01
Spanish http://www.iefd.org/lang/es01.php?r=r01
Turkish http://www.iefd.org/lang/tr01.php?r=r01

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KEEP INFORMED
If you wish to be kept informed of later developments in our project (in English), please send us your name and country by e-mail to info@iefd.org with "mailing list" in the subject line.

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Copyright (c) International Endowment for Democracy 2006.
All rights reserved. Site launch: March 2006.


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