Open main menu


Contents

Background

Lancelot: This is going to be a very meticulous job. Even worse than embroidering. We have to kill the dragon in each one of them.


Evgeny Schwartz. The Dragon.

There is plenty of material written on how to topple dictatorships, generate revolutions, and so on. However, it is worth to note that post-revolution societies often live in violent and unstable social environment. The outcome of a regime change is often from a dictatorship to anarchy to another dictatorship at best and to a bloody war and genocide at worth (e.g., French revolution, Chinese revolution). Some intermediary steps of some sort of democracy may show up after regime change while the common people on the ground feel that they have less means to feed themselves and they are less secure than they were prior to a revolution.

This book is dedicated to explain on how to transition from a dictatorship to a democracy without having millions killed, enslaved, and tortured. In addition, this book describes the entire spector of democratization of a society and not limiting itself to discuss solely the initial transition from dictatorship to some initial democratic state. Meaning, the transition to democracy is viewed as a constant and potentially never ending change of improvements to how society works on many levels. A transition that isn't viewed as black vs white, but rather sequence of changes of all shades of colors.

We try to base this book less on our opinions and more on historical events that shaped successful long term transition to democracy. Hence, the book tries to reference relevant statistics, facts, and scientific knowledge. Lastly, we feel that democracy starts and being maintained by every individual of a society. Consequently, the book explains democratization ideas on a high level and then drills down to suggest strategic actions that are centred on an individual and not a society. Meaning, in this book we concentrate more on the activities that a common person from the street could do to promote the democratization of his/her society.

In this sense we are closer to the following statements:

“You must be the change you want to see in the world” Mahatma Gandhi

"Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." By John F Kennedy


What is Democracy and how it starts

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free 'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be, And when we find ourselves in the place just right, 'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

Elder Joseph

These days if you ask what democracy is, people would start talking to you about elections, the principle of separation of powers, the freedom of speech/religion/assembly/work and so on. However, these topics do not describe the day-to-day life of a person in a democratic society. A person that lives in a democratic society is rarely concerned about these topics, not only because they are given to him, but also because people just don’t think this way in their daily lives. When we breath we don’t analyze how much oxygen gets into our lungs, we don’t count particles of contamination, and we don’t think about how many liters of blood are being pumped through our heart. We just breath. Same about democracy. People just live in it. Even though the above-listed democratic principles are important, they can’t be achieved without individuals in society understanding what democracy is and supporting it. Democracy is a true rule of people (comparing to the lies of Communism). If people do not want the society to be democratic, it just won’t be, no matter if the government tries to be democratic (e.g., treatment of black people in southern US states during the beginning and mid of 20th century). Democracy starts from individuals. People in democratic societies feel free, because they are mainly not restricted by their neighbours to do whatever they would like to so long they don’t bother their neighbours. To create a democratic society one should start from the population itself and its perception of what freedom is. There are plenty of examples when democracy is proclaimed into existence on a country/federal level, but in effect its democratic ideas do not exist and do not work on a local level, because local people may decide to not cherish democracy. For example, it is not rare in democratic countries to see slums controlled by mafia instead of police where people live under tyranny of drug dealers or terror groups. Even large geographic parts of democratic countries are controlled by tyranny. For example, drug lords in Columbia and Naxalite movement in India. <<< Add examples where even without mafia the locals don't support democracy >>> In addition, for democratic law to work it is important that the society supports it. Police, army, courts, prison officers, are all part of the society; they too have families, kids, love partners, relatives; they too have feelings, ambitions, and so on. If someone hits a woman on a street because of a wrong dress code and the rest of the spectators on the street do not intervene to protect her and do not complain to the police or at least to the press afterwards, then it would be hard to maintain women rights of being dressed as they want in such society. No matter how protective the law is, the society and the individuals are responsible to protect it. Police work can not be done if there are no people that are willing to file a complaint against an assault and there are no witnesses to testify that an assault has happened. Good example would be a case of the enrollment of James Meredith into the University of Mississippi. Even though by law James had the right to study in this university, he was black and the year was 1961. James received numerous death threats and local levels of government and university management went into long fight to not allow James to study. At the end the Federal government of US had to appoint Federal marshals to protect James’ life while he was studying at the university. Such heros as James promote democracy and when there are enough people in society that support such heroes, then the society is democratic. If not, the society cannot be democratic no matter what laws are written on paper. //Another good example can be of an Indo-Canadian family. Documentary "labour of love" discusses the long term abuse of three women when they were young by their family relative. Even though they lived in a late twenties century democratic Canada where social workers and police could protect them, the girls didn't complain. They felt they were raised in a culture that promoted women's subservient role. It took them couple of decades to eventually file a complaint against the perpetrator.


But let’s step aside for a minute. What exactly should these so called heroes defend? What is democracy and how does it work ? For the purpose of understanding the ideas described in this book it would be nice to define what Democracy is and how the authors of this text perceive it.

There are several parts for modern democracy: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights defines the rights of person in a democracy. For example: Freedom of expression (speech, writings, art, science, religion, sexual orientation, etc) Freedom of geographical movement Freedom of work, enterprise, and commerce. Freedom of other activities, if they are not forbidden by a law. All people are equal against the law There is separation of power between the government, parliament, and judges. Elections are happening in relatively frequent and recurring intervals. Etc


Step aside: What prosperity in science and economics has to do with Democracy ?

Science is a search for truth to explain how our world works: creation of theories based on real-world experiments and application of these theories on real-world problems. Further on this topic is expanded by a philosopher Karl Popper Scientific research cannot be properly done if people aren’t allowed to spread information freely and if scientists are lying. For example in USSR during 1920-1964 Lysenko suppressed scientists that didn’t agree with his falsified biological theories. Thousands of academics were silenced, sent to concentration camps, and were executed. As a consequence genetics studies in USSR were stagnated with false ideas for decades and didn’t progress till political persecution of geneticists stopped. Presently the scientific process in democratic countries is free. However, the access to scientific articles to the general public requires payment even though most of the scientific research is funded by the public via taxation.

Capitalism does not have to be associated with Democracy. In fact there are good examples of dictatorial countries where capitalism prosperes, such as China and Singapore. However, Capitalism does prosper in democratic countries due to freedom. When one spends time learning how technical startups become prosperous companies, one clear pattern is seen, innovation is related to freedom to economic activity. If a young company cannot iterate on business ideas and test it in practise, then such company can’t grow.

Psychology behind democratization

Suppose tyrants are mainly sociopaths, but the rest of the population, more than 95%, is not sociopathic. So why does the rest of the population follows the lead of tyranny ? There are two aspects to discuss here: How many men are needed to suppress an existing population into obedience ? How long it takes to educate young generation to get used to the idea that tyranny is the normal way of life How many men are needed to suppress an existing population into obedience ?

The answer to this question depends on technology used and some psychological factor. For example, during the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia, entire city populations were forcefully driven out to rural areas. The army forces that enforced the movement compromised under X% (??) of the population. In addition, people were lied into believing that they are being moved for a short period of time to reorganize the city. Un-armed population was forced to evacuate, because it didn’t have means to resist. People that refused were executed on spot which in term created further psychological factor for everyone that saw an execution. During its maximum expansion ISIS had 50,000-100,000 soldiers, while it controlled a territory where 8-12 million people lived. A ratio of 1:120.

effects on children

Kids grown up in bad conditions tend to have high percentage of sociopathic … Link: https://www.livescience.com/21778-early-neglect-alters-kids-brains.htmlStages of Democratization (Evolution of Democracy)

How orphans are susceptible to become sociopathic: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3720131/ https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/psychological-medicine/article/early-maternal-and-paternal-bonding-childhood-physical-abuse-and-adult-psychopathic-personality/29DD19050E6BFE6A5021985A2F992F38


Dictatorship regimes tend to spend large amount of effort to brainwash young chaneration. What’s better than young hearts that believe in your false ideology without asking questions and executing your most dirty orders without a second thought ? It may sound strange, but democratic actions start from when children pause to disprove their teachers; when children start to understand that morality does not necessarily follow country’s code of law and that some laws even in democratic country can be non-ethical. The more the young generation pause to think about the society in which they live in, the more democratic the country may become. When these children grow up, they may join army or the police. In these roles young adults should be able to choose to refuse unethical commands by their commanders. Blind followers can build only yet another dictatorship.

The vicious cycle of violent society under dictatorship, feudal system, or anarchy

Dictators and party members around them tend to be sociopaths. They drive the country to violence which in terms brings destruction to business and agriculture In a country with no jobs and no food people survive by being more violent: fighting for jobs and food, stealing, looting Good to review examples of what happened in China after the fall of the empire. For example, many peasants joined the ranks of the communistic army of Mao Tse Tung because they needed food and protection from a brutal violence of warlords. (need citations of how the Rred Army under Mao increased from several thousands to become huge army). Similar thing happened in Cambodia when peasants joined Khmer Ruge army to Young men tend to join military/police to be in charge of resource distribution In poor countries no money spent on family planning and hence many young kids are born Concentration of many young men with low unemployment leads to violence on the street Older men have lower amount of testosterone and hence less violent. They become a minority in population where there are too many young men. Young men have high level of testosterone and are more violent and tend to take higher risks.

Stages of Democratization (Evolution of Democracy)

Democracy comes in stages. Given the long list of requirements from the declaration of human rights and other requirements related to how the government is formed, it is not surprising that democratization takes years or sometimes decades in working. The ideal of democracy and how it is perceived is being changed along with our civilization: e.g., ideas, beliefs, science, technology, standards of living, population numbers, climate, etc. Consequently the ideal Democracy is an evolving concept. If we suppose that democracy is a constantly improving idea, then the democratization is an oscillating function around it. Sometimes a society would go below the ideal to become less free and sometime it will go above to become more free and democratic. Once should be careful however from assuming that once a country is democratic for a long period of time, then it can’t reverse to dictatorship. With years a crisis may arise where public discontent and social chaos would lead to a slide to dictatorship. While people from democratic societies that have democracy for decades may have hard time to believe that democracy can disappear, an authoritarian regime needs to raise just one generation of kids with adjusted school program to ensure that democracy is forgotten. A society doesn’t need to be 100% compliant with certain democratic “checklist” to progress to democracy. Democratization process starts from any new freedom, separation of power, and a better governmental organization. For example, if a communist government allows free business, then it is a step towards democratization. If there is more tolerance of a society to a non-average way of life, if people can speak freely, if the prosperity of the society increases, then it is a way to democratization. Here are several points that help to lead to democratization Increased freedom in business activity and trade Increase in education of all forms of sciences, engineering, arts, philosophy, etc. Increase of personal freedoms

For initial relatively bloodless transition from dictatorship to democracy the following conditions may need to be applied

Broad agreement within different parts of a society that a democratization change is needed. Or at least tiredness from an existing state of affairs Willingness of large portion of the population to support and maintain democracy on a personal level. E.g., respect other people, protect democratization, spend effort and budget on politics, …. Liberally oriented people that are part of the existing governing structure and that are willing to let go some of their power in exchange for a slightly more free society Structure of local governments and some sort of elections on the local level Freedom in business opportunities where new types of leaders can grow and where businesses bring economic stability to the society in terms of employment, goods, services, and income Willingness of the freedom movement to acknowledge that the existing ruling class has rights to exist and potentially be let go of legal liability for their wrongdoings to keep the country united and to avoid bloodshed of struggle for power. Alternatively, the freedom movement can attempt a revolution. Having sufficient institutes that help democracy to grow. E.g., education, businesses, local officials that are elected.


The bloodshed paradox: The initial transition from a tyranny to a democracy may require violence to suppress supporters of the dictatorship. However, direct civil war requires organization of the rebelling society around rebel army leaders. These leaders may become candidates for a next generation of tyranny. Case study: putsches and revolutions in Africa


Role of large cities in democracy

Many times regime changes start from large cities, particularly from political capitals, business capitals

Examples of stages of democratization The dictatorship is loosing power, because of economical or social strain: e.g., after a large war, economic collapse, environmental crisis (e.g., drought). As a consequence large parts of society become more discontent. Discontented society is usually not a problem for the dictatorial regime, if there are sufficient people that can suppress the rest with enough violence. However, with enough strain the percentage of population that can suppress the rest is losing power and can’t suppress all the revolt efforts or potentially doesn’t want to, because such suppression will result in bloodshed that involve family ties. Then the governing regime loses power either due to revolution or just because nobody wants to continue enforcing its rule. At this stage chaos usually brakes loose. Dictatorship maintain order on streets. Without it, criminals are free to take over to loot and establish their own, usually neighborhood based strongholds. At that time no proper policing is done, because the police is not being paid and also because the police is unsure what sides to take in this conflict. The country can brake at this stage to separate entities where landlords/parties control some parts of the land. At certain point in time people organize into new parties that take control over the land. Once control is established, economic growth comes from either money landing from other nations, sales of assets, or slow establishment of new businesses. Power that was once centralized is now distributed. If the new parties in power are willing to share it, then democratic institutions can grow.

Dictatorship -> crisis - >instability/chaos-> shift in power to temporary government -> sharing power? elections? -> newly elected government -> power stability -> constitution -> establishment of democratic principles -> political stability -> economic growth -> will of people to support democracy -> more freedoms are introduced over time -> more power sharing with the population -> more economic opportunities -> stable and evolving democracy

Destruction of democracy: Way 1: Destabilization of political power and economic stability -> people become discontent -> radical political power suggests to fix the situation: by taking possessions from certain groups of people in the society: let’s robe the rich, let’s kill minorities. By promoting ideals that resonate with the public: communism, live under certain religious set of beliefs, fascism. Empty promises of populism Way 2: A foreign power takes control over the country as it becomes weak. Way 3: Large wave of immigration changes the democratic perceptions where a country can become less free. Usually happens on a local level in a part of the country where the concentration of immigrants that don’t agree with the democratic rule is influential enough to destabilize the democratic rule of that particular geographical region.




Economic base of democratization

Worth to mention the state of post USSR life described by Soljenitsin in his book “”


Psychology behind democratization

To understand why large societies tend to be dictatorships in nature and why it is so hard to transition to democracy, it is important to consider the human psychology. Let’s start from reviewing human behavior on individual level and then understand how it affects society on a large scale.

Antisocial personality disorder is a condition of a brain when a person can’t feel empathy and love towards other living creatures (including humans). Empathy and love are complex feelings. For example, to feel empathy, there is a need to process much information to understand what the other person feels, whether he is distressed, to project such feeling on yourself and figure out if that is painful. Such complex analysis is apparently not available to all the population. Between 1-4% of humans are incapable to feel empathy. This is a pretty small percentage, but the people that don’t feel empathy are capable to affect the rest of the society on large scale. In a non-scientific day-to-day life such people are called sociopaths and psychopaths. For simplicity we can say that sociopaths don’t feel empathy due to some social condition in their life that affected their brain development or suppressed it, whereas psychopaths have their brain damaged in some way.

Humans with antisocial personality disorder tend to violate the law. They may lie, behave violently or impulsively. They just don’t feel a need to care about other people. As they become smarter and learn about the outcomes of their lifestyle, they may become law abiding to avoid being punished and to find loving mates. However, deep inside they are the same.

As they don’t feel such emotions, they tend to disregard the feelings of others. Such person doesn’t feel remorse when stealing or cheating, because the only thing such person cares about is himself.



Suppose tyrants are mainly sociopaths, but the rest of the population, more than 95%, is not sociopathic. So why does the rest of the population follows the lead of tyranny ? There are two aspects to discuss here:

How many men are needed to suppress an existing population into obedience ? How long it takes to educate young generation to get used to the idea that tyranny is the normal way of life

How many men are needed to suppress an existing population into obedience ?


The answer to this question depends on technology used and some psychological factor. For example, during the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia, entire city populations were forcefully driven out to rural areas. The army forces that enforced the movement compromised under X% (??) of the population. In addition, people were lied into believing that they are being moved for a short period of time to reorganize the city. Un-armed population was forced to evacuate, because it didn’t have means to resist. People that refused were executed on spot which in term created further psychological factor for everyone that saw an execution. During its maximum expansion ISIS had 50,000-100,000 soldiers, while it controlled a territory where 8-12 million people lived. A ratio of 1:120.


Democracy starts from jail ?

Another important difference between democracies and dictatorships are what people are jailed and prosecuted. In dictatorships people with anti-social personality disorders are allowed to participate in damaging activities with little consequences for them, if they play by the bureaucracy rules of the dictatorship. Meaning: dictatorship may punish a crime like beating people for fun to maintain order on the streets, but allow the same people to beat and torture political dissidents. In Democracy there is an inversion: there is a set of bureaucratic rules to protect individuals. Whoever steps over them may be prosecuted and jailed. As a consequence people with antisocial personality disorders are more careful to not intimidate the law in democratic regime. They try to abuse people behind the scenes in methods that are hard to prove. Free press gives people opportunity to speak up against influential people that have anti-social personality disorders and provides an opportunity to bring them to trial. It is hard for a peaceful society to exist when people with anti-social personality disorder are been allowed to behave as they like. Often such people crave for power and create systems, such as working conditions, that are intolerable. In democracy such people can be punished. In dictatorship, there are no mechanisms for such punishment. There are many examples in the history when societies went into a state of a total anarchy. When there is no rule of a police on the street and when whoever is strong physically and is organized wins over the weak. We can start from an example on a small scale when during a 2017 Police strike in Brazil in state of Espírito Santo, crime rates spiked. With no police in the area criminals had a card blanch to steal and murder on unprecedented levels. As a result the state government had to ask the army to step in till the dispute with the police payroll could be negotiated. On a larger scale, Somalia was torned apart by a fifteen-years-long civil war. Consequently, Somalia became to be a so called “Failed State” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Failed_state

//Police force should receive adequate salary to be able to enforce the law. Police officers put their life in danger on a daily basis. Low salary leads to police corruption and inability to fight gangsters. With inadequate salary one can expect that the police first would curb to organized crime, can be infiltrated by crime organization, and can also become the prime crime organization by itself. With low salary police officers can start collecting protection money to increase their budget or start running their own underground businesses. A good example would be: corruption of local police in Mexico and in Russia. (Need quotes for police salaries relative to median population salary)


Teaching democracy

In a way the generation raised under dictatorship would never be free. Somewhere deep inside this generation is enslaved and traumatized by the regime and societal rules in it. To establish a proper democratic society it is important to educate for Democracy in school and actually as early as in day care. Ideas of respecting the other and understanding the different are cornerstones of democracy. You would be surprised how many societies are not teaching these principles in daycares. For older ages, describing the participation in democratic processes is important. If a person is not participating in elections, demonstrations, public hearings, writing letters to politicians, supporting news organizations, joining parties, then do not expect the democracy to last much further in time.

Democracy is based on the idea that every citizen is expected to participate in the elections and that every voice is equal. As an outcome, it is important to educate the public. Uneducated public will vote for populists that in term may become dictators.


Non-violence

Many promote to lead a fight against dictatorships using non-violent activities. Such activities may work against tyranny regimes which are somewhat moderate or against an occupation by a democratic country (e.g., mid 20th century during occupation of India by UK). However, it is hard to imagine how non-violence can work under extremely violent regimes such as were Stalinist USSR or the Nazi Third Reich or Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge movement in Cambodia. Even in regimes that are perceived as not too violent, peaceful resistance may not work. Good example would be the persecution of Falun Gong in China. Even though the Falun Gong movement is entirely peaceful, millions of its members are being violently persecuted in China. That includes torture and organ harvesting from live Falun Gong practitioners. Another good example for failed non-violence attempts under aggressive regime is the movement of San Suu Kyi in Maynmar/Burma.

Case study: failed democratization in China via failed non violence approach. Peaceful demonstration on the tiananmen square. The student movement in China had mass protests and demonstrations during years 1986 and 1989. These protests were mainly peaceful. At the height of the protests in 1989 Tiananmen Square in Beijing had one million people participation. In addition, other cities were participating in the protests with not only students, but other members of the Chinese society joining the protests. Eventually, the Chinese communist party saw such massive protests as a threat to its existence and forcefully ended it with a massacre in the square and follow up arrests of involved people. Furthermore, Chinese government continues to suppress mentions of the events of the massacre up to a point where Chinese public inside China doesn’t have access to any mention of the events. the killings of Falun Gong, etc.


Add good examples where non-violence worked; for example, the National congress in India and South Africa fight against the apartheid.

On importance to resist putsches

How often putsches happen after a regime change? In a very high frequency. In Spain in 1936 and in 1978, in Russia in 1917, Germany Kapp Putsch of 1920 and Beer Hall Putsch 1923 , 1948 in Venezuela, 1991 in USSR/Russia against Gorbachev's reforms in 1991. It is worth to note that putsches happen not only against a democratic rule, but can happen against any government when this government is weak. To keep the democracy intact it is important to protect democratic bodies against assassination and violence. Body guarding the democratically-elected politicians is important. So is important the ability to work remotely and distribute the power among officials. So that if some officials are getting hit, there is a smooth power transition to yet another democratic representative to be able to resist putsch attempt. Even though the power of the dictatorship governmental bodies should be dismantled, it is important to keep balance in their dismantling. Democracy is based on balance of power. Making too many people that have powerful positions angry will lead to an attempt to remove the democratic governance. The first years of Democracy are unstable due to economic instability and violence inside the population. It is hence advisable to avoid destabilizing the country even further by destroying too many governmental bodies at once. Such move probably won’t accelerate democracy but instead will result in full blown civil war. Coups can also be initiated by foreign countries trying to block democratization. Such countries will invest money or even deploy their own soldiers to try to overthrow the new democratic government. (Example of what US did to Iran when a democratic government was toppled ?) There are peaceful ways to block coups: the general population can resist by not providing services to the newly emerged government (see discussion in the book “From dictatorship to democracy”, chapter “Blocking coups”). However, small portion of population with weapons can control vast amount of civilians. Hence, if the coup leaders are violent enough, a peaceful resistence is not feasible. For example, in Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge movement forcibly evacuated an entire city of Phnom Penh that had several millions of civilians after taking it over from the Cambodian government. Civilians were forced to a death march where large percentage of them perished and whoever survived was forced to live in forceful labour camps for years. Based on the above example, when the coup is done by a violent group, the civilians don’t have a choice to peacefully resist by disobeying the new government and by boycotting its activities. Sometimes there is a need to be organized into active military units that can resist the government. E.g., What Spanish people did during the Spanihs civil war.

Election of Dictators

It was for the sake of this day that he had first decided to run for the Presidency, a decision which had sent waves of astonishment throughout the Imperial Galaxy --- Zaphod Beeblebrox? President? Not the Zaphod Beeblebrox? Not the President? Many had seen it as a clinching proof that the whole of known creation had finally gone bananas. ……..

Zaphod Beeblebrox, adventurer, ex-hippy, good timer, (crook? quite possibly), manic self-publicist, terribly bad at personal relationships, often thought to be completely out to lunch.

President?

No one had gone bananas, not in that way at least.

Only six people in the entire Galaxy understood the principle on which the Galaxy was governed, and they knew that once Zaphod Beeblebrox had announced his intention to run as President it was more or less a fait accompli: he was the ideal Presidency fodder.


After putsches the next danger to democracy is to elect a future dictator in a democratic election. Slowly the elected official gains power, promotes regulation to remove authority of other politicians and eventually starts to control the entire country. …. Present Democracies are based on the idea of equal voting rights. Meaning that each individual will get the same voting strength, no matter how smart or dumb the individual is. Future dictators use this weakness of democracy by promising impossible-to-provide benefits to the not so smart population (populism). In turn, such population turns out to be the core electorate that provides support to the future dictator. Don’t be naive to think that population with higher educational standards is resistant to dumb political decisions. Having a university degree does not indicate that a person understands in psychology. Consequently, it is theoretically possible that a majority of educated population may vote for a leader with anti-social personality disorder.

Case study: turkey. Election of Arduan and his continuous drive to undermine democracy

Participate and infiltrate

It is worth to note that many regimes fall when insiders that gained much influence decide to reform the regime. For example both Gobachev and Yeltsin were insiders to the Communist party. Hence, their knowledge of the party, its political processes and people helped them to reform USSR and subsequently Russia. Please note that as individuals regime supporters are not always united, they may decide to follow reformists if they feel the old regime approach is dead. Another example would be to examine how Nikita Khrushchev reformed USSR after Stalin’s death. After Stalin’s death Khrushchev and his close circle of allied politicians quickly jailed or killed politicians that were closely allied to Stalin and his way of government. Only because Khrushchev knew how the political regime worked he was able to reform it (albeit not to a democracy, but to a way less violent regime)

Keeping the government stable For democracy to survive it is important to keep economic prosperity among the population. In fact, that's a key factor for the survival of any regime. During transition times from dictatorship to democracy the population needs to adjust to new rules that potentially can quickly change. Instability is not healthy for business. In addition, many times dictatorships collapse after acquiring much debt and this debt is falling on the shoulders of a new democratic country. During dictatorship many working places and resources may be owned by the government and will go through a privatization process leading to job losses and instability. Investing in environment where entrepreneurship can thrive and where it is protected will help establishing the democratic rule. Otherwise, discontent people will try to bring back the old times where they at least could have a bread on their table.


The useful idiots

The danger of the useful idiots grow as more people stay poor and uneducated about democracy. While violence and chaos may be on the rise, while employment and economy stay low, many people don't have much choice but to potentially help and support anti-democratic organizations that supply them protection and food. Consequently, stability of police, rule of law, food availability, and employment are important cornerstones of democratic rule. Case study: the growth of the participants in red army in China after the famous Long march

How people act in non-democratic regimes It is important to note that oppressed people will lie to stay alive. Consequently, in oppressive regimes individuals rarely speak the truth about what they support and what they object. Natan Sharansky in his book “The case for democracy” gives a nice overview of such behaviour. Given this logic, it is counter-productive to assume that large percentage of country population supports an oppressive regime, even if individuals do openly say so and even if they participate in activities to support such regimes. The true set of mind of individuals can only be known when they are free to say what they like without being oppressed. During a transition to democracy more people may decide to support such transition. However! It is also important to note that many individuals do support an oppressive regime even if they are given freedom, because such people benefit from the oppression. Such individuals will continue to support the old regime and fight the democracy. In addition, the new so-called democratic government may not be that democratic or may be repressive against certain people. Such activity of the government may in turn bring more support to the old regime.


The initial government may not be democratic for all If we go through the history of the old democracies, they didn’t start right away from equal rights to all. Meaning equal rights to all men, women, ethnic minority groups, religious minority groups, sexual minority groups, rights for children, etc. Democracy is an evolving state of ideas that the society agrees to cherish. With time minorities (e.g., slaves in US) gain their rights. When a new democracy is established in a society that is not ready to give full rights to all its members it is still a pretty good advance. Establishment of democratic institutions and legacy will result in future rights of society members that are not yet liberated.

Many times the initial democratic movement has to cooperate with the previous regime. Even if some high rank officials in the dictatorship regime were removed, there are hundreds of thousands of mid-level management positions occupied by supporters of the previous regime. Starting from the army, to police, to other governmental organizations. It is hard to dismantle these supporters of the previous regime from their power. Do it too quickly and the economy or security of the country will collapse. Do it too slow and the supporters will organize a coup to restore them to power. Let these supporters linger in the background and they will form a party, get democratically elected and then take the ownership of the country again while potentially transitioning back to dictatorship. There are no easy answers on how to deal with such supporters. Civil wars against them generally proved too bloody and destabilizing for a young country. In countries where democrats were able to negotiate deals with old regime supporters democracy could prevail.

Case study: Chile and Pinochete’s rule (and his supporters) The peace pact between newly established US and the monarchy ruling regime in UK

On importance of being united

Liberals and Democrats can have many political views that not necessarily agree with each other. This indeed how democracy works: people have opinions, they debate and vote on them. However, it is important to show a united front against dictatorship supporters. Dictatorship supporters will create their own parties or infiltrate democratic onse. It is important then to make sure that intense political disagreements between Democrats won't split the already shaken support of the public. Otherwise, election of suppressive party or leader is inevitable. While Democrats splitting themselves into smaller parties that have a slightly different view, the supporters of authoritarian regime get united under large parties that win the majority in the parliament and hence get an option to promote laws that limit democratic freedom. Alternatively, supporters of authoritarian regime can get much influence in the government, lock out access of democrats from broadcasting platforms, restrict control of jobs and funds by the government and so on.


The constitution

Even though most of the democratic countries have constitution that does not mean that the constitution has to be written right away. In young democracy people may not be sure what they want as they never lived under a democratic regime. In addition, a young democracy can split into several countries (e.g., post-soviet split of USSR). As a consequence, it may be better to draft a set of laws that will evolve with time. After several years when the country is economically and socially stabilized it is possible to decide to move on to a constitution or continue governing without it as being done in UK, Canada, New Zealand, and Israel (all these countries have a common historical connection to the UK governing law). Remark: the idea of constitution was invented when life and technology didn’t change as rapidly as today. In present days the social processes change pretty quickly and hence the idea of a static set of laws that is too hard to change may not be wise anymore.

Meanwhile, what do the bad guys do?

To protect the democracy it is wise to spend some time thinking about the opposite side of the “fence”. The people that enjoyed the benefits of authoritarian regime, had high income while confiscating resources of the suppressed population, used to high style of life while others are in dirt, and some potentially enjoyed making others suffer. These people didn't disappear after the fall of the dictatorship. Many of them remain in power. For example, it is not easy to put different governmental employees in charge of a jail. So same people that potentially tortured political dissidents now take care of criminals and arrested supporters of the previous regime. What a convenient mix for networking. Jokes aside, these people are concerned about the following main issues: Avoidance of persecution. Keeping the status, money, etc People with anti-social personality use the chaos to enjoy acts of violence


What can an individual do to promote democracy?

Join some democratic party. Not necessarily on a federal level. Participate in parties on a city level as well. Participate in demonstrations and other social activities that are linked to democracy Educate yourself and others about democracy: what it means and how to sustain it When you see injustice, act. Submit info to the press, distribute on social networks, complain to authorities, demonstrate. Join country's democratic bodies: e.g., army, police, government, parliament, work for government, work for non-profits that participate in activities, join parties, work in municipalities, volunteer Personal security and security of your family and friends is important to protect. In chaotic times of change the police may not get sufficient resources to suppress criminal activity. Being part of voluntary body that keeps peace on the streets may help Be part of the Free press. Write articles and create videos about important issues in your region. You don't have to be part of an official news paper staff. Running a blog or a group via social network also helps. Check out how Bassem Yusuf started.



Future ideas for writing


How to protect democracy from putsch and overtake by groups/dictators, etc. Go through examples of how democracies were taken over by Hitler, Lenin, Erdogan, Islamic brotherhood in Egypt, Hamas after election, Belarus Lukashenko, Putin, etc. Explain the statistics of Antisocial Personality Disorders which in public are referred to be Psychopaths and Sociopaths which consist of roughly 4% of the population. A combination of genetic and environmental factors. How this percent of population has no remorse and violent and hence leads to taking over societies. How to protect the society against such people and groups that they lead.