This was also posted on the ‘Illegitimate blog” but this blog needs activity too…

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/thousands-of-protesters-in-russia-demand-fair-elections/2011/12/10/gIQAru4XkO_story.html?tid=pm_pop

 

A friend of mine recently mentioned something about election fraud in Russia and it sounded as though there were connections to some of the things we have talked about in class. Upon further research, I quickly realized that a great deal of what was occurring could be related back to many of Schmitt’s ideas including, the ease with which one can reconcile democracy and dictatorship and the changing modern attitudes about democracy.

For those who do not feel like reading the whole article, the main idea is that in the recent election, there was found to be a great deal of fraud including, stuffed ballot boxes and intentional miscounting. Putin, who is already in office and is actually considered to have had a fairly successful time in office thus far, was the winner of the election. The people of Russia, however, are extremely upset because they feel the election was fixed. Many large protests have been occurring throughout Russia, which seem to share many similarities with our own Occupy Wall Street protests. I am not extremely confident in the reliability of this source but here is a link to an article that claims to have documented some of the corruption which at least presents some good things to think about: http://observers.france24.com/content/20111206-russia-election-fraud-caught-video-ballot-stuffing-erasable-ink-putin-protests

What is important to examine about all of this is the actual legitimacy of what Valdimir Putin is accused of doing. Whether or not the election was even truly fixed, Putin, who used to be the prime minister of Russia, also recently announced that he will be essentially “swapping places” with the President of Russia, Mendelev. This act seems highly undemocratic because there was no influence by the people in the decision at all. However, I believe Schmitt would argue that this is completely legitimate because the Russian people placed Putin in power in the first place. In a sense, they agreed as a people that Putin will be the best leader and placed him in position to make decisions and Putin now has the right to do what he thinks is best for the people of Russia. If that means that more prosperity will be achieved by him acting as president, then that is what he is obligated to do. One could even go a step further and argue that by rigging the election, Putin is acting as a leader in trying to do what is best for the Russians. For the record, however, I must admit that I personally believe that rigging an election is merely a selfish decision by Putin to remain in power.

I also want to mention the implications that this whole situation has on our current perceptions of democracy, something that Schmitt also discusses. You can view it in multiple ways. If one were to take the viewpoint of Putin and the Russian government, it would be easy to agree with Schmitt’s theory that democracy is simple a system of organization and parliamentarism is all just for show. This is because there is a clear disregard by Russian officials for the defense of “traditional democratic ideals”. However, I would say that one could at least gain optimism from the fact that the people of Russia are actively protesting and asserting their own power. They are trying to prove that democratic ideas are still important to them.

Some people have had logistical trouble posting, but not commenting, so feel free to “comment” on this post with your intended blog post.

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-december-5-2011/california-s-direct-democracy-troubles

 

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m a fan of the Daily Show.

There was an interesting segment on Monday relevant to our class discussions of a people forming a voice in order to limit their own influence.

In California, the state has figured out a great means to limit special interests from corrupting the general will.  Since parliamentary systems are always thought to be at risk of private interest (remember that curious class of people who are only successful by staying in office?), the state instituted a unique form of direct democracy.

With a certain number of signatures, a law can be passed without going through the parliamentary system.  Contrary to its intentions, lawmakers found that the people are very easy to “corrupt”.  With very little knowledge on a subject, the people can be advertised to and persuaded to sign one of these initiatives very easily.  This is demonstrated by the people’s passing of immaturely conflicting laws (making the government pay for things but not letting it get the money to do so).

 

*Since this system is not effective, many want to take away this form of direct democracy.  Paradoxically, they can do so by passing a law with this direct democracy.*

Here again we see the humorous situation where a people is taking part in democracy (demonstrating they have the right to) only to assert their opinion that they have no right to be taking part in democracy!  I realize that they aren’t disowning influence entirely, but the Daily Show very cleverly toys with this contradiction as we have in past classes.

It seems like another paradox at play in a people’s founding is why they hadn’t done it beforehand.  If a people were to suddenly decide to found itself, it would somehow put blame on the generations beforehand and even their earlier selves for not having done it already.  Somehow, the foreign founder can become an excuse for why they hadn’t done it before, even if the foreigner does nothing and is only a scapegoat in this sense in addition to being a scapegoat of their violence.

Honig references that movies always involve a foreigner coming into a scene or community as a foreign founding.  I used to think these were only story telling devices to introduce the audience to the situation through the eyes of this newcomer.  With the above paragraph in mind, I think the action of any movie is “enabled” by this foreigner – otherwise, why else would everything just suddenly change without anything to mix it up (law of inertia).

Their conversation goes into some of our class conversation topics.

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-october-27-2011/andrew-napolitano

poop

Welcome to the Legitmate Democratic Theory Blog, where Peter and Zac guarantee there will be no censorship.

In the original corrupt blog, any comment you make  is submitted to Professor Mackin to be accepted or rejected. Until Professor Mackin makes a post guaranteeing us this function will not be practiced, we have created this blog to preserve free and open discussion.

Just as a new government issues it’s own new currency, know that any posts made on this blog will have exactly three times the class participation value. Please refer to this when writing any self-assessments.

Imagine having something to say in class: Instead of sharing it openly, you are required to write it down, hand it to Professor Mackin, have him approve it, receive the approved text from Professor Mackin, and then read it aloud. We are all responsible for our speech online just as we are in person.

Until we are granted free speech by Professor Mackin, we must create it for ourself. Welcome and tell us what’s on your mind.