February 2014

Managing Democracy Managing Dissent book front coverRebecca Fisher, Managing Democracy, Managing Dissent
Published by Corporate Watch

How global capitalism is dependent on manipulating democracy in order to survive.

The two biggest political decisions taken in Britain this century are those that sent British troops to Iraq in 2003 and the £500 billion bank bail-out deal completed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling in October 2008. Even though the latter decision let corrupt bankers off the hook and ensured a fiscal and public sector crisis for generations to come it was made even before any debate in Parliament had taken place.

And whilst the decision to commit armed forces to Iraq was made after a substantive Parliamentary vote it was taken after millions of voters had demonstrated against the war and opinion polls indicated massive opposition to the conflict, which more than a decade later is still ongoing.  Meanwhile in 2014 the Tory-Lib Dem government continues down a path it failed to let the electorate know about in 2010 as it fast-forwards the destruction of the NHS by passing control to the private sector and hedge fund operators.

When it comes to an increasing number of big - and little - decisions that affect them and their families then it appears the British electorate must be denied a voice. A situation that is largely replicated right across the globe.   Managing Democracy, Managing Dissent – Capitalism, Democracy and the Organisation of Consent is published by the not for profit research organisation, Corporate Watch. Rebecca Fisher edits the writings and they demonstrate how liberal democracy defends the unequal capitalist power structures from the potential good of participatory democracy. Increasingly this defence involves criminalising a much greater range of effective activities such as the ability of trade unionists to take secondary action in support of their fellow workers or students occupying their Universities in opposition to tuition fee increases.

Anti-terrorism legislation meantime is being extended to include an increasing range of activities that have nothing to do with terror but plenty to do with exposing corporate and environmental corruption.  Helping confuse people – and convince them there is no real alternative – is the corporate media, who have even co-opted previously progressive, pro-worker terms such as reform, which previously referred to enhancements in public welfare and now refers to eliminating labour rights and removing health and safety regulations. Similarly, the government is currently talking of economic recovery, which means the recovery of profits by the major companies whilst disguising the absolute absence of any recovery in living standards for the mass of people.

The book also details how corporate power and its mega-wealthy political friends have massively funded the promotion of their form of democracy across the former communist bloc, Africa and Asia and in doing so have ensured that liberation movements, which mobilised social movements to win power, have ended up attacking those who previously backed them.  This book therefore makes for unpalatable reading and it certainly has no happy ending, especially as it lacks solutions. However as a book, which lays bare the crisis facing working people if the vast majority are not to face permanent financial instability this is highly recommended.

Managing Democracy, Managing Dissent is edited by Rebecca Fisher and published by Corporate Watch. It is available to buy for £8.00 at

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