Real Adjectives Now

Hugo Martínez Abarca has an excellent post dealing with the matter of real democracy and its treatment by the present party of government, the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE). Translation below.

The Adjectives of Democracy

(Tweet reads ‘Iglesias [Marcelino, erstwhile president of the Aragón regional government (but no longer – thanks ejh) and deputy leader]: democracy is democracy. Without adjectives. And we want to defend that. The most enduring democracy in our history.’)

The idiocy above belongs to the Twitter account of a party that defines itself (I suppose they haven’t bothered to correct the definition) as social democratic. It’s clear they’ve forgotten about the adjective social, now that it no longer applies. Other people define themselves as Christian democrats and no-one gives them lessons on the theory of the noun and the limits to its adjectives.

It is true that in both cases these are adjectives that seek a distinct position within the same model of democracy – liberal and representative. What those who deny the possible application of adjectives to democracy want is to deny that there are different models of democracy: this is democracy and whoever seeks a different model seeks something else that is not democratic. Moreover they have convinced us that all that is not democracy is dictatorship (this is the case for enemies: this is why they are all dictators) and therefore if we are not in a dictatorship it’s because this is a democracy (this is the case for friends: this is why they are all democracies, or on the way to becoming them).

Thus those who want a democracy with an adjective threaten democracy: this is set forth by the Twitter account of the PSOE with a little less clarity than when Esperanza Aguirre [President of Madrid regional government and PP grandee – HG] was claiming that 15M was a totalitarian movement (Aguirre too had said that democracy can have no adjective).

Of course there are adjectives for democracy. A direct democracy such as the Athenian one is not the same as a liberal representative democracy which is not the same as a participative democracy. These are distinct models, although one could speak of hybrids which are probably desirable.

But today this is not what is in question. She who asks for real democracy is not asking (at least in that request) for a particular model of democracy. She is not giving democracy an adjective. She is asking for democracy. Just as whoever asks for a real apple is not saying she wants a reinette or a golden delicious, but that she does not wish to be fooled with a plastic apple: she is asking for nothing more than an apple. Real democracy does not stand in opposition to another type of democracy, but to fake democracy, that is: the absence of democracy.

They ask us to refrain from adding adjectives. It would make no difference: we could call for democracy now in counterpoint to that plastic democracy in which our occasional vote is distorted and then handed over in wrapping paper to Botín (Emilio Botín, executive chairman of Grupo Santander) and his forty thieves.

Yesterday the Eurogroup (another body without democratic origin that imposes decisions on these supposedly sovereign governments) responded to those peoples who are rising up that “there is no alternative to the adjustments”. These are policies that they have decided and they explain to the people that there is no way that they can correct them. Thus: we agree with Marcelino Iglesias and Esperanza Aguirre, with the PP and the PSOE. Even though there can be problems when it comes to placing adjectives on democracy, on this occasion there is no need: it is a matter of demanding democracy, of demanding something that today we do not have. Nothing more.

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June 2011

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