FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Why Managed Democracy Always Fails in a Crisis

The crisis is developing exactly as expected. The inability of the authorities to cope with the rising wave of social problems has naturally spilled into the political sphere.

At the same time, the mechanism of “managed democracy” has yet again demonstrated all of its strengths and weaknesses. The greatest strength is the way the system can rather effectively resist not only widespread social discontent but also the pressures of an increasingly disturbing reality. But it cannot withstand those mounting pressures indefinitely — and therein lies the main weakness of the existing order.

The authorities are able to pursue their political course and ignore voter sentiment because they have created a political system in which every sanctioned political party is only a puppet of the ruling party. Their relationship to the leadership and to each other strictly controlled, the outcome of elections predetermined and the distribution of seats in the parliament made according to the needs of the rulers.

But managed democracy only works well when the economy is booming. During an economic crisis, it runs into trouble. When the people’s standard of living falls and the political elite turn a deaf ear to the problem, the people reach a point where their greatest frustration is not with the economic hardships they face but with authorities who prevent them from effectively voicing their dissatisfaction.

Deprived of the right to vote for the political party of their choice, elections instead become the chief means by which the people can vent their anger at the authorities. And as voter turnout declines, the number of people who vote to spite the authorities increases sharply.

Intellectuals from Moscow and St. Petersburg glued to Facebook have no idea of the pressure applied in recent days to millions of provincial civil servants, doctors, teachers, university professors, students and others.

For example, bloggers in Moscow did not receive calls from their child’s teacher who, in a state panic, pleads with them to go and vote because otherwise the school is threatened with various forms of punishment.

They were also not subjected to a speech from their bosses saying they would check every name on the voting list and would personally deal with anyone whose signature they found missing.

Moscow intellectuals have no idea how much bravery it took to just not vote on Sunday.

Few were forced to vote for United Russia. That would have been impossible to enforce in most cases. Authorities only demanded that everyone go to the polls and vote for whomever they please, promising that they would take care of the rest.

Those people who called on their fellow citizens to come out and vote only helped perpetuate the electoral fraud. They signed their names to the list of voters, and now nobody can prove that they did not vote for the party of power. They accepted United Russia as the ruling party, and they also accepted the clowns from the Communist and Liberal Democratic parties as the “opposition.”

People who voted in many towns and villages essentially betrayed those who made the brave choice to stay home or otherwise resist the coercion from their employers. They will never learn.

Boris Kagarlitsky is the director of the Institute of Globalization Studies.

More articles by:

Boris Kagarlitsky PhD is a historian and sociologist who lives in Moscow. He is a prolific author of books on the history and current politics of the Soviet Union and Russia and of books on the rise of globalized capitalism. Fourteen of his books have been translated into English. The most recent book in English is ‘From Empires to Imperialism: The State and the Rise of Bourgeois Civilisation’ (Routledge, 2014). Kagarlitsky is chief editor of the Russian-language online journal Rabkor.ru (The Worker). He is the director of the Institute for Globalization and Social Movements, located in Moscow.

June 20, 2018
Henry Giroux
Trump’s War on Children is an act of State Terrorism
Bill Hackwell
Unprecedented Cruelty Against Immigrants and Their Children
Paul Atwood
“What? You Think We’re So Innocent?”
Nicola Perugini
The Palestinian Tipping Point
K.J. Noh
Destiny and Daring: South Korean President Moon Jae-In’s Impossible Journey Towards Peace
Gary Leupp
Jeff Sessions and St. Paul’s Clear and Wise Commands
M. G. Piety
On Speaking Small Truths to Power
Dave Lindorff
Some Straight Talk for Younger People on Social Security (and Medicare too)
George Wuerthner
The Public Value of Forests as Carbon Reserves
CJ Hopkins
Confession of a Putin-Nazi Denialist
David Schultz
Less Than Fundamental:  the Myth of Voting Rights in America
Rohullah Naderi
The West’s Over-Publicized Development Achievements in Afghanistan 
Dan Bacher
California Lacks Real Marine Protection as Offshore Drilling Expands in State Waters
Lori Hanson – Miguel Gomez
The Students of Nicaragua’s April Uprising
Russell Mokhiber
Are Corporations Are Behind Frivolous Lawsuits Against Corporations?
Michael Welton
Infusing Civil Society With Hope for a Better World
June 19, 2018
Ann Robertson - Bill Leumer
We Can Thank Top Union Officials for Trump
Lawrence Davidson
The Republican Party Falls Apart, the Democrats Get Stuck
Sheldon Richman
Trump, North Korea, and Iran
Richard Rubenstein
Trump the (Shakespearean) Fool: a New Look at the Dynamics of Trumpism
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
Protect Immigrant Rights; End the Crises That Drive Migration
Gary Leupp
Norway: Just Withdraw From NATO
Kristine Mattis
Nerd Culture, Adultolescence, and the Abdication of Social Priorities
Mike Garrity
The Forest Service Should Not be Above the Law
Colin Todhunter
Pro-GMO Activism And Smears Masquerade As Journalism: From Seralini To Jairam Ramesh, Aruna Rodrigues Puts The Record Straight
Doug Rawlings
Does the Burns/Novick Vietnam Documentary Deserve an Emmy?
Kenneth Surin
2018 Electioneering in Appalachian Virginia
Nino Pagliccia
Chrystia Freeland Fails to See the Emerging Multipolar World
John Forte
Stuart Hall and Us
June 18, 2018
Paul Street
Denuclearize the United States? An Unthinkable Thought
John Pilger
Bring Julian Assange Home
Conn Hallinan
The Spanish Labyrinth
Patrick Cockburn
Attacking Hodeidah is a Deliberate Act of Cruelty by the Trump Administration
Gary Leupp
Trump Gives Bibi Whatever He Wants
Thomas Knapp
Child Abductions: A Conversation It’s Hard to Believe We’re Even Having
Robert Fisk
I Spoke to Palestinians Who Still Hold the Keys to Homes They Fled Decades Ago – Many are Still Determined to Return
Steve Early
Requiem for a Steelworker: Mon Valley Memories of Oil Can Eddie
Jim Scheff
Protect Our National Forests From an Increase in Logging
Adam Parsons
Reclaiming the UN’s Radical Vision of Global Economic Justice
Dean Baker
Manufacturing Production Falls in May and No One Notices
Laura Flanders
Bottom-Up Wins in Virginia’s Primaries
Binoy Kampmark
The Anguish for Lost Buildings: Embers and Death at the Victoria Park Hotel
Weekend Edition
June 15, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Dan Kovalik
The US & Nicaragua: a Case Study in Historical Amnesia & Blindness
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Yellow Journalism and the New Cold War
Charles Pierson
The Day the US Became an Empire
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail