April 06, 2008

Democracy has been getting knocks the past few years for being associated, notionally at least, with the bad crowd of other excuses given by the U.S. for invading Iraq: introducing democracy there was one of the bullet points of the war's champions before the invasion and it still gets predictable mention in all the justifying talk about Iraq to this day. In this sort of talk democracy itself has withered over the years to mean just the vessel for carrying global capitalism from place to place in a profitable and orderly way; implictly the war's champions believe democracy could be born in Iraq in shock and awe, democracy on their terms, born out of the public rape of an invasion, as handily as any other way. Foolish thought, that, as it turns out, betting on the rosy outcome of a rape.

With all my caveats aout the stuff, I like the raw unfiltered democracy better than I like the current brand, the one that the comic opera Coalition Provisional Authority tried to bring along to Baghdad, whose lads and lasses sat around in the Green Zone for endless days devising a stock market for Iraq because, well, that's what modern democracies have, right?

There are places with no hint of that sort of democracy, like Somalia, which is unhinged from the regular machineries of global capitalism in it own distinctive way, as are North Korea and Southern Italy and a host of other regions around the world where the regularities of global capitalism break down in the anomlies of overrirding local conditions: pirates, answering to no authority but their own (as is their ancient custom), hijacked a huge French cruise ship in the eastern Indian Ocean and brought it into port in Somalia today. The sort of democracy that serves global capitalism is historically opposed to piracy on the grounds of both profitability and order, doesn't countenance the stuff in the least and never has, but there's not a whole lot of recourse for the complainant here; those pirates got away to Somalia.

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