in-defense-of-politics
Aug 2009 26

I am the first to admit that conventional democratic political processes are often corrupt, slow and ineffective due to bureaucracy and vested elitist interests that are contrary to  the greater well being of societies. I hold cynical views about corrupt politicians and social injustice and believe that it is fine to be disappointed and even disgusted by politics. BUT I ABSOLUTELY HATE it when people say that politics is not important or does not affect them or their daily lives.  According to the work of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA)  there is a worrying trend of of increasing global voter apathy going as far back as 1945 so that “voter turnout has decreased globally over the past 10 years by almost 10 percent, both in established democracies as well as newly-democratized developing countries.

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Politics cannot be easily defined but this wikipedia entry provides these key points by describing it as:  as process by which groups of people make decisions. The term is generally applied to behaviour within civil governments, but politics has been observed in all human group interactions, including corporate, academic, and religious institutions. It consists of “social relations involving authority or power” and refers to the regulation of a political unit, and to the methods and tactics used to formulate and apply policy. However, there is not an academic consensus on the precise definition of “politics” and what is considered as political and what is not. Max Weber defined politics as the struggle for power. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics)

I.E. POLITICS IS THE REALM WHERE COLLECTIVE DECISIONS ABOUT HOW OUR SOCIETIES ARE RUN ARE MADE.  From this one can infer many things are political, especially when they are determined by power relations within society and politics is not restricted to the business of governments and politicians. It is one thing to complain, but by abandoning polls and dismissing political decision making processes (especially in somewhat functioning democracies), people are effectively walking away from their opportunity to hold elected officials to account. There is one caveat to that point, and it is that in some dictatorships and young democracies; the supposedly democratic political process is a mockery. However this should not serve as an excuse but rather as fuel for change especially in light of peoples struggles and thirst for democracy (despite adversity) in places like Iran and Zimbabwe in recent history.

This video footage  featuring discussion on political engagement comes from a Dead Prez interview. Although still being very cynical controversial protagonists who resent political power structures outright (e.g. not fearing to be highly critical of the American government and Obama despite his precedence), Dead Prez still offer an olive branch in the form of an invitation for discussion and exchange of ideas to those in power. Those familiar with their music might regard this as an uncharacteristic compromise or concession.  In the interview they urge engagement in the political process and express themselves with gritty dissenting opinions and even take time out to promote healthy lifestyles and educate on vegetarianism as well as talk about the Human Rights on the Gaza Strip.

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