Save what's left of US democracy! International Endowment for Democracy (IED) calls for help

A group of progressive American intellectuals has established a foundation to counter the work of their country's government in undermining US democracy. “The house is on fire and we are all living in it,” the group, which includes numerous luminaries of the US left and civil liberties movements, writes. “The United States government and its dependent organizations, such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), have responded to the fire... by pouring more oil on it.”

Below are extracts from the initial call of the IED.

“They call it "democratic nation building" - a fancy name for the perpetual wars, theft of the commons, exploding economic inequalities, weakening civil liberties (including the introduction of torture), and the intensifying degradation and outright destruction of our natural environment that lie hidden behind "free" trade and the promise (seldom fulfilled) of a "free" election. Billions of people outside America want this madness to stop, but what can they do?

“Our new and independent organization, the International Endowment for Democracy (I.E.D.), believes it will only stop if democratic nation building (the real thing, not the oil) is applied to the U.S., which is the country most responsible for these frightening global developments, and that people everywhere can play a role in bringing it about.

“The I.E.D. is a new non-profit foundation whose Board of Directors includes Howard Zinn (America's leading radical historian), Mumia Abu-Jamal (America's most famous political prisoner), Gore Vidal (America's premier progressive novelist and essayist), Ellen Meiskens Wood (winner of the Isaac Deutcher Prize), Ramsey Clark (world's leading human rights lawyer), Barbara Foley (Chair of the Left Alliance, the union of progressive academic caucuses), Michael Parenti (America's foremost critic of capitalist democracy), Immanuel Wallerstein (past president of the International Sociological Association), Michael Ratner (President of the Center for Constitutional Rights and past President of the National Lawyers' Guild) and two dozen other major American progressive scholars, lawyers
and activists. (Full List )

“If groups like the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) use American government money (whence the “National” and a big dose of hypocrisy - to subvert democracy abroad, the International Endowment for Democracy (IED) hopes to use foreign monies (whence the "International”) to help build a real democracy in the country that needs it most, the U.S.A. (See DEMOCRACY LIBRARY, )

“We also call on the iinternational community to monitor elections in the United States. Is there anyone left in the world outside the U.S. who doesn't recognize the need for such monitors? This is not because there is less democracy in America than anywhere else - a few other lands are even worse off in this regard – but because the DEMOCRACY DEFICIT from which our country suffers is a greater threat to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness of people all across the globe than the actions of any other regime. As victims of their own government's destructive policies, the great majority of Americans have no interest in retaining them and would change these policies in an instant if our democracy really worked as we're told it does. That they haven't is because they can't, because the laws, the elections, the media, the schools and other means for making such changes have been bent out of shape (through
systematic bias and, increasingly, outright repression), hidden (through enforced ignorance), bought up by Big Money (especiallythis), and - when "necessary" - stolen (as in the last two presidential elections). Who can doubt that people everywhere have a huge stake in the democratization of America?

“This may be a first: Americans asking people from other countries for help. Many recipients of this Appeal outside the U.S., however, are probably still asking themselves - "Why should we help
Americans make needed changes in their country? Don't we have enough to do in our own country?" The answer can be presented best by another question: Is there any reader who lives outside the capital
of his or her country who believes it is a waste of time and money to try to influence the policies of the government sitting in the capital? That's where the main political power is. Well, in this period of American military, economic and cultural imperialism, Washington has become the real capital of your country, for it is there that many of the most destructive decisions affecting your life are made. It would seem to make sense, therefore, good political sense, to devote at least some of your time, energy and
money to helping bring about the kind of changes you want in Washington. If that's at all possible...

“At this moment in history, those of us who live in the United States are in the best position to confront our common oppressor. The responsibility we bear, therefore, is enormous, but our forces are
weak. While the current government's undermining of the democratic process, as imperfect as it was, constitutes a growing threat to all dissenters, it also provides us with a key issue on which our rulers
are extremely vulnerable. As the explosion of governmental hypocrisy clearly attests, democracy remains the American people's favorite virtue. It is on this crucial issue, with its broad ramifications
for government policy in America and around the world, that we need your help.

For more details of what the IED seeks to achieve and how you can help, go to this website