Major wins for democracy in the Americas have occurred in the past two months: in Bolivia and Chile in October, extending into the November 3 U.S. elections. Toward Freedom salutes the citizens of all three countries for their determination to defeat authoritarianism. We hope the following images will serve as inspiration to progressive forces around the world.
In Bolivia: a near-landslide victory occurred for the left-wing Movimiento al socialismo (MAS) and its presidential candidate, Luis Arce, in the country’s national elections in mid-October.
After nearly a year of political repression and a government mired in corruption scandals, the message was clear. Democracy had returned to Bolivia, and it was in the hands of the MAS. The election results are a clear repudiation of the revanchist neoliberal project launched by Bolivia’s far-right elites, who sought to recoup power after 14 years of the MAS. (For more, see https://towardfreedom.org/story/admin/a-historic-victory-in-bolivia/)
In Chile: On October 25, the Chilean people overwhelmingly voted (by 78 percent) to overturn the Pinochet-era constitution and to replace it with a new constitution which would better reflect the will of the people rather than repressive aims of a dictatorship. Toward Freedom will cover events in Chile as the new constitution is drafted.
In the United States: The largest turnout ever by American voters in a presidential election favored Joe Bidan as President. The elections returns have undercut President Trump’s claims that he won the election. His multiple lawsuits claiming “voter fraud” have been rejected so far by American courts for lack of evidence. See the companion article which casts doubt on whether Trump will succeed in getting his case before the U.S. Supreme Court. The demonstrations of joy that erupted throughout America give us hope.
President Elect JoeBiden began his victory speech this way: “My fellow Americans, the people of this nation have spoken.
They have delivered us a clear victory. A convincing victory.
A victory for “We the People.”
We have won with the most votes ever cast for a presidential ticket in the history of this nation — 74 million…
With full hearts and steady hands, with faith in America and each other, with love of country, a thirst for justice, let us be the nation that we know we can be – a nation united, a nation strengthened, a nation healed, the United States of America…
Americans have called on us to marshal the forces of decency and the forces of fairness. To marshal the forces of science and the forces of hope in the great battles of our time.
The battle to control the virus.
The battle to build prosperity.
The battle to secure your family’s health care.
The battle to achieve racial justice and root out systemic racism in this country.
The battle to save the climate.
The battle to restore decency, defend democracy, and give everybody in this country a fair shot…
Tonight, the whole world is watching America. I believe at our best America is a beacon for the globe.”
Women who fought and sacrificed so much for equality, liberty, and justice for all, including the Black women, who are too often overlooked, but so often prove that they are the backbone of our democracy.
All the women who worked to secure and protect the right to vote for over a century: 100 years ago with the 19th Amendment, 55 years ago with the Voting Rights Act, and now, in 2020, with a new generation of women in our country who cast their ballots and continued the fight for their fundamental right to vote and be heard.
Tonight, I reflect on their struggle, their determination and the strength of their vision — to see what can be unburdened by what has been — I stand on their shoulders.”
What is our takeaway? The joy and relief over defeating Trump and his fascist advisors and syncophants will eventually give way to the recognition that the battle to safeguard — and expand — democracy is far from over. There will be ongoing dissections of why 71 million Americans voted for Trump. And we have yet to see how the Biden-Harris administrtaion will handle U.S. foreign policy, beyond issuing executive orders on rejoining the Paris climate accords, the Iran nuclear agreements, and renewed funding of the World Health Organization.Will there be more endless wars that kill millions, destroy countless cities, and create a massive refugee problem? Will American soldiers be sent overseas to fight for Big Oil? Will CIA-fostered regime changes against governments that have nationalized their resources resume? Will bloated military budgets continue to starve American communities of the education and health that they need and deserve? Will developing countries continue to be mired in debt to huge multinational banks?These are just some of the questions we must ponder. In short, have we defeated fascism at home (for now?) but not imperialism abroad?
When the world emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, will it usher in a true Renaissance (as happened in 14th century Italy after the Black Death, creating one of the greatest epochs or art, architecture, and literature in human history), this time a Renaissance in which the quality of life and survival of our planet become major global priorities? We cannot say in this time of uncertainty. But of one thing we can be certain. This demonstrator’s sign says it all.
Leaders of nations take heed: our political and social revolutions — toward freedom –have just begun.
Charlotte Dennett, Toward Freedom’s Guest Editor, is an author, investigative journalist, and attorney whose latest book is The Crash of Flight 3804: A Lost Spy, A Daughter’s Quest and the Deadly Politics of the Great Game for Oil.