Beyond Elections: Redefining Democracy in the Americas

Beyond Elections: Redefining Democracy in the AmericasWhat is democracy? Freedom, equality, participation? Everyone has his or her own definition. Across the world, 120 countries now have at least the minimum trappings of democracy - the freedom to vote for all citizens. But for many, this is just the beginning not the end. Following decades of US-backed dictatorships, civil wars and devastating structural adjustment policies in the South, and corporate control, electoral corruption, and fraud in the North, representative politics in the Americas is in crisis. Citizens are now choosing to redefine democracy under their own terms: local, direct, and participatory.

In 1989, the Brazilian Worker's Party altered the concept of local government when they installed participatory budgeting in Porto Alegre, allowing residents to participate directly in the allocation of city funds. Ten years later, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was swept into power with the promise of granting direct participation to the Venezuelan people; who have now formed tens of thousands of self-organized communal councils. In the Southern Cone, cooperative and recuperated factory numbers have grown, and across the Americas social movements and constitutional assemblies are taking authority away from the ruling elites and putting power into the hands of their members and citizens.

Featuring interviews with: Eduardo Galeano, Amy Goodman, Emir Sader, Martha Harnecker, Ward Churchill, and Leonardo Avritzer as well as cooperative and community members, elected representatives, academics, and activists from Brazil, Canada, Venezuela, Argentina, United States, Uruguay, Chile, Colombia, and more. Beyond Elections is a journey that takes us across the Americas to attempt to answer one of the most important questions of our time: What is Democracy? Extras include video, audio, and resource materials on participatory democracy.

Watch the full documentary now (playlist - 1 hour, 55 minutes)
You can buy the DVD at PM Press.

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Comments and User Reviews

  • bykota

    I have another view of Socialism now, however as long as we in the US have this de-facto gov over us I can never see this working without their involvement which would only bring disaster like in your film Socialism: The Promise and the Reality. No this is just a dream here in the US until we quit voting in Representatives who don't represent anyone but BIG CORRUPT CORPORATIONS, AND AS FAR AS I SEE THEY HAVE THE MAJORITY IN THE US AROUND THE GONADS.

  • http://twitter.com/thejordizzle Witty remarks.

    Socialism does seem like such an easy out doesn't it? Tell me this; do you really believe that the power the big corporations and the like has over nations will simply disappear because we decide to change the name of the way we do government? If you really want to place the blame of the degradation of a nation on somebodies shoulders, look no further than the sheep who stand idly by as their government takes their rights and cast them into a life of poverty. We the people, have the real power. We are the ones who provide the backs corporations must break to remain operational. We are the ones who hold the money that pay for taxes the price of goods and services. We are the ones who determine if we should suffer by the hands of our current government or not. Never doubt your power as a citizen of whatever nations' flag you stand under because there are millions of you compared to a group of people who only make up 1% of the population.