Nowhere in the world is clearly visible democratic leadership or democratic inspiration. On the contrary. From the south-east Asia via Russia, Africa and Europe and into the american continents celebrating the antidemokratin 2018 self-confident triumphs. Democracy seems to be facing its global destruction.
Even the united states – the country which was once called the world's first democratic territorialstat – has been undervalued from the ”full democracy” to ”vulnerable democracy” (The Economist Intelligence Unit, February 2018). Scandinavia follows the international anti-democratic tendency. In Denmark, the racist Dansk Folkeparti acted as pioneers in a change of the national discourse, in Norway, sitting in the racist progress party in government and the Swedish parliament, the houses of fascist sweden democrats, the world's biggest party with the nazi ascendancy.
”Democracy 100” can thus be interpreted both favourably and critically. The benevolent interpretation is that the initiators (the bank of Sweden tercentenary foundation and the Swedish Royal library) want to make a contribution to democracy, when it is under vigorous attack. So I choose also to interpret the initiative.
When it looks like the darkest out, so the rise of democratic mass movements. Inclusion, compassion and social goodness remains a vivid light, even in the darkest winter night. And this light, which promises us freedom, has burned far more than a hundred years!
at the same time there is a democratic risk in the project's actual starting point, namely that democracy is a hundred years ago was introduced in Sweden and since then is democracy a fact. The aim of the project is to ”increase knowledge about the general and equal rösträttens inception in Sweden in 1918-1921”, which is a fantastic initiative. The choice of the year has, however, been discussed, particularly by the groups representing those who did not receive the right to vote 1918-1921. The discussion is inescapable and useful. The danger with the jubilee, the is, however, another.
The international research seems to – despite fierce academic debates – to be relatively in agreement on this. Political scientist Albert Weale writes that ”inclusion is central to our understanding of democracy” and points out how little attention this fact may in the debate. Political scientist Robert A. Dahl indicates the inclusion as ”a cornerstone of democracy”. The political scientist Iris Marion Young, who published a standard work in the demokratiforskning, ”Inclusion and democracy” (2000), writes:
”most Important of all is that the democratic standards have inclusion as a criterion for the legitimacy of political decisions. Democracy means equality, that is to say, to all the members of the society are included equally in the decision-making processes.”
Whereupon, Young points out that even states which call themselves democracies generally violate inkluderingsnormen – and this is an important point. There has never existed a completely democratic state.
secondly, it provides the basis for a direct threat to democracy, because it paves the way for a form of antidemokrati as been debated for thousands of years. The philosopher Plato (428-348 bc) warned of ”the tyranny of the majority” and the 1800-century liberals feared ”the 51 procentens dictatorship”. The idea was that democracy is only perceived as an ideological blank form of government, the basis only is the majority decision, is not democracy because such a state consistently oppress vulnerable minorities. An example is today's Russia, which, despite the democratic constitution been downgraded to ”soft authoritarian state”. The majority may be satisfied with Putin – but how are dissidents, minorities and other oppressed?
the Protection of the rights of minorities, belongs to the most significant political and practical effects of the democratic ideology maktproduktion, based on the maximum inclusion. As well as free elections, freedom of expression, freedom of the press, freedom of association, freedom of religion, the rule of law and so on.
On the other edge can be found antidemokratins ideological foundations: the exclusion, which gives a ”we and them”society. ”They” may not be with. ”They” must be excluded. ”They” do not share ”our” values. ”They” are threatening ”our” society. ”They” can never be integrated, assimilated or adapt enough to become a part of ”us”. This anti-democratic rhetoric may ultimately impact that the civil rights (voting rights, dignity, social inclusion) denying the vulnerable group or the minority. Very far away on the anti-democratic scale, the genocide, the final solution.
When this is written, a Swedish municipality, has just been given the right to ban begging. There is no specific mention of which group going to be affected by the decision, but everyone understands nevertheless what are the unwanted ”other” who is to be removed from ”our” sight: the roma. Lagregeln is therefore anti-democratic since, as Martin Luther King would have pointed out, affects a minority in a way that the majority would not accept, if they were being targeted. All the democrats have therefore a sacred duty to break the lagregeln, according to King. But despite this obvious anti-democratic (but excluding) the statutory provision, Sweden cannot be said to have ceased to be a democracy. For works not democracy.
Democracy and antidemokrati is no binary state. Sweden became a democracy in 1918, since democracy remains an ongoing political process. A tug-of-war, where antidemokrater sometimes, the hardest (as in day), while the democrats pull harder during the other eras. Never wins democracy completely. Never introduced the perfect ”good democratic society”, where all people are of equal worth and where all are included equally in the decision-making processes. It remains an impossible utopia. Which does not mean that democracy should stop fighting for it.
Democratic political philosophy is set in the exception. Democracy has been relegated to the väljarströmningar, opinion polls, majorities and is mostly a topic for the only political science. Racism is normalized and large parts of Sweden's publicity cower under death threats. Sweden's population is divided increasingly sharper into ”us” and ”them” (muslims, LGBTQ people, jews and hudfärgsrasifierade, with several). Kvinnohatet is all the stronger as well as the contempt for the minority arguments in favour of inclusion (general bespottat as ”identity politics”).
But we also know from historical experience that when it looks darkest, so the rise of democratic mass movements. Inclusion, compassion and social goodness remains a vivid light, even in the darkest winter night. And this light, which promises us freedom, has burned far more than a hundred years!