Democracy in the Contemporary World
Policy decisions taken by Allende to help the poor and the workers.
- Salvador Allende reformed the educational system.
- He provided free milk for school children.
- He redistributed land to the landless farmers.
- He also opposed foreign companies which are taking away natural resources like copper from the country.
- So that the landlords, other political parties, the rich and the Church opposed his policies.
How was Allende`s government overthrown? OR How did Pinochet become the president of Chile?
1. On 11 September 1973, the military headed by Pinochet took over the Seaport and the Defense Minister was arrested by the military when he arrived at his office.
2. The military commanders asked the President to resign. Allende refused to resign or leave the country.
3. Then the military surrounded the President’s house and started bombing it. President Allende died in the military attack.
4. A government elected by people was overthrown by the military through conspiracy and violence.
5. General Augusto Pinochet an Army general became the president and ruled it for the next 17 years.
Differences between Allende`s rule and Pinochet`s rule
He has taken many policy decisions to help the poor and the workers
Pinochet’s government tortured and killed several thousand people
Allende came to power through election.
Pinochet came to power through conspiracy and coup.
He did not permit foreign companies to take away the resources from Chile
He allowed USA to take away the resources because it helped him in military coup.
How was democracy restored in Chile? OR How was Pinochet`s government overthrown?
- Pinochet’s military dictatorship came to an end after he decided to hold a referendum in 1988. He felt confident that in this referendum, the people would say ‘yes’ to his continuing in power. But the people said ‘NO’.
- This led to Pinochet losing first his political and then his military powers.
- Then Chile had four presidential elections in which different political parties have participated. Slowly, the army’s role in the country has been eliminated.
- The elected governments that came to power ordered inquiries into Pinochet’s rule. These inquiries showed that his government was not only very brutal, but also very corrupt.
- General Bachelet’s daughter who was imprisoned and tortured along with her mother that girl, Michelle Bachelet was the elected President of Chile in January 2006.
What were the demands of striking workers of Poland?
- They demanded to take back a crane operator, a woman worker, who was unjustly dismissed.
- They wanted the right to form independent trade unions.
- They also demanded the release of political prisoners.
- They wanted an end to censorship on press.
- They wanted the Freedom to organise, protest and express opinions
How was Jaruzelski`s communist rule overthrown in Poland?
- The workers led by Lech Walesa signed a 21-point agreement with the government that ended their strike. The government agreed to recognize the workers’ right to form independent trade unions and their right to strike.
- A new trade union called Solidarity was formed. Within a year, Solidarity swept across Poland and had one crore members.
- Solidarity criticized widespread corruption and mismanagement of Jaruzelski`s government. General Jaruzelski, imposed martial law and thousands of Solidarity members were put in prison.
- Another wave of strikes, again organised by Solidarity, began in 1988. This time they demanded free election.
- In April 1989 elections, Solidarity contested all the 100 seats of the Senate and won 99 of them and Walesa became the elected President of Poland.
Two Features of Democracy
- In a democracy, only leaders elected by people should rule the country.
- In a democracy, people have the freedom to express views, freedom to organise and freedom to protest.
Two Features of Non-Democracy
- In a Non-Democracy, the people could not choose or change their rulers.
- In a Non-Democracy, there was no real freedom to express one’s opinions, form political associations and organize protests and political action.
THE CHANGING MAP OF DEMOCRACY (OR) HOW HAS DEMOCRACY MARCHED THROUGH THE TWENTIETH CENTURY?
- In 1900 there were less than 15 democracies in the world. They were USA, France, England, etc.
- In 1950 there were 30 democracies in the world. Many Asian countries achieved independence and became democracies. They were India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka etc
- In 1975 there were 30 democracies in the world. Some of the democracies became Non democracies and vice versa.
- By 2000 there are more than150 countries following democracy. Many of the Asian and African countries became independent and began to follow democracy.