We as citizens of the United States observe politics from afar and the vast majority of us may participate in the political process only to the extent that we go to the polls once a year to vote. We may endeavor to follow the news accounts of our nation's politics as they unfold, and of the consequences those political actions yield, but we have little power to influence our "democratically" elected officials. Perhaps we write an occasional letter to our senator or representative, but we almost inevitably receive a vague and impersonal response explaining why they will vote in our opposition.

Over the decades, our representative democracy has been systematically undermined and has ultimately failed in preserving the well being of the people of this nation. The system that the founding fathers painstakingly devised in order to best serve the interests and the will of the people has been corrupted and the systems of checks and balances on power that they instituted have been stripped away. Most of us accept this reality as being beyond our control and continue to observe, comment, and complain without aspiring to achieving any real change, without any hope of instituting a new system of governance that would instead take directly into account your views, and the views of your neighbors, and would empower you to make real positive change possible in your communities.

This site will attempt to explore in depth the places in the world where people are successfully bringing about that type of change in the face of similar odds, where an alternate form of democracy, which is called participatory or direct democracy, is taking root. Initiative, referendum & recall, community councils, and grassroots organizing are but a few ways in which direct/participatory democracy is achieving great success around the world.

Our system of representative democracy does not admit the voice of the people into congressional halls, the high courts, or the oval office where our rights and our liberties are being sold out from underneath us. Our local leaders and activists in our communities, and even those local elected officials who may have the best of intentions are for the most part powerless to make real positive change happen in our neighborhoods, towns and villages when there is so much corruption from above.

In places like Venezuela, Argentina, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Brazil, South Africa, India, and the Phillipines, new experiments in grass roots community based governance are taking place. There is much to be learned from these and other examples of participatory democracy from around the world when we try to examine how this grass-roots based governance could begin to take root here in our own country in order to alter our political system so that it might better serve the American people.

In the hope that one day we can become a nation working together as a united people practicing true democracy as true equals, we open this forum…


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Election Day Repression and Fraud in Honduras - Crackdown on Peaceful March in SPS

This is another video shot and produced by the Equina Caliente team on the ground in Honduras.

A peaceful march in protest of fraudulent elections in the second largest city in Honduras ended when police dispersed the crowd from the central park twice with tear gas and a water cannon. Thirty-eight were reportedly arrested and several were injured by riot police and tear gas canister impact. While the de facto government declared a record turn-out for the elections, the view from the street in San Pedro Sula differed. Voting centers were quiet and Human Rights organizations reported up to 80% abstention rate. See our other videos for images from the polling stations.

SPS HONDURAS: Dura Represión Policial de Una Marcha Pacifica - Día de las Elecciones

El día de las elecciones 29 Noviembre 2009 en San Pedro Sula el Comando Especial COBRA (COECO) y la policia reprimieron con brutal violencia una marcha pacifica contra el fraude electoral y el regimen de facto. Con bombas lacrimóginas, un cañon de agua y por fin a golpes dispersaron la gente que manifestaba del area del parque central. Poco a poco la gente regresó al parque y la policia lanzó otro ataque. Resultaron 38 detenidos y bastantes heridos.

Low Turnout and Electoral Fraud in Honduras

This is another video shot and produced by Esquina Caliente on the ground in Honduras.

Following the November 29 elections in Honduras, the National Electoral Tribunal has claimed there was a record turnout. For those observing the polling stations, this is clearly a manipulation of the facts. This video shows images of voting centers in San Pedro Sula (the second largest city in Honduras) during peak voting hours. People trickled in and out whereas in past elections lines would extend down the block.

Poca Participación y Fraude Electoral San Pedro Sula, Honduras

El Día de las elecciones en San Pedro Sula los centros de votación se quedaron callados por la gran abstención que fue promovido por el Frente Nacional de Resistencia Popular. Aunque los grandes medios de comunicación y los oficiales electorales declararon altos niveles de participación este video demuestra los centros de votación a horas claves y la gran falta de votantes.

The Resistance Marches in El Progreso, Honduras against the Electoral Fraud and the Coup

The Esquina caliente team are currently on the ground in Honduras covering the resistance to the coup and the fraudulent elections held on Nov. 29th. In El Progreso, Honduras on 11/25/2009 the resistance in El Progreso, marched in memory of their martyrs and to denounce the upcoming illegitimate elections. Here is a video we produced to mark the event: