- What kind of 'democracy' can be built out of an occupation?
- And what kind of a 'democracy' do governments and corporations require in order to invade and occupy other countries?
The war on Iraq was conducted under the pretext of bringing democracy to the Middle East. And indeed, this promise has been kept. That is if you define democracy in a very specific way – if you substitute its radical, participatory and transformative meanings for corporate dominance, elite power and social control. Corporate Watch is currently investigating the role of the UK government and allied corporations in Iraq. We are exploring the determined attempts to construct a 'democracy' which is designed, and built, to sustain elite power and control by making sure that corporations are lead players in the political, economic and social systems which constitute the 'peace' we are told is being brought to Iraq. Part of the reason why these attempts can be made, and their real motivation disguised, is because this form of 'democracy' is already entrenched in so-called 'developed' countries, like Britain. What has worked so well for sustaining the power of elites, and suppressing the power of the majority here, is being exported around the world, through war but also through 'peace'. However, the elites, and the corporations they rely on, are threatened: they have been forced to undertake risky, expensive and unpopular military invasions and occupations of sovereign countries; to build from scratch these complex structures of power and control in highly unreceptive environments; and deploy flimsy justifications in the language of human rights, bolstered by hypocritical and manipulated fears of terrorism. All because of a desperate search for endless economic growth, which is increasingly threatened as the finite resources needed run low. Despite the intense military, economic and psychological violence inflicted, this 'democracy' is being resisted. Because it is not 'democracy', but a carefully corporate-crafted repressive social order which aims to suppress what other alternatives can be achieved, even what alternative can be imagined. Nevertheless, in Iraq, as in Britain, alternatives are being imagined, and people are fighting to achieve them. This is the war for democracy, for real democracy. For more information about our analysis, see Corporate Watch's report 'Iraq Corporate Carve Up' and watch out for our forthcoming research on attempts to rebuild a corporate-friendly 'democracy' in Iraq.