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Bob Fertik

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E-Democracy Also Threatens Conservative Rule in Washington D.C.

Posted: 06/15/09 05:37 PM ET

Powered by the Internet, e-Democracy is threatening conservative power in Iran. But it's also threatening conservative power in Washington DC, even if the media isn't covering the story.

In Iran, citizens are confronting police in the streets to protest a stolen election. Despite Iran's government-controlled media, this rebellion is visible to the world through digital photos and videos which are being uploaded and forwarded through Facebook, Twitter, and other global networks.

In the U.S., citizens are also using the Internet to rebel against conservative rule. But it's a quieter rebellion that is being ignored by the world's media, despite its past successes.

This rebellion began in 2002 as massive street protests against George Bush's planned invasion of Iraq. Because e-Democracy was in its infancy, Bush was able to ignore those protests and start a disastrous war. So progressives got smarter and created the "blogosphere" and the "netroots." These high-tech anti-war forces powered Howard Dean's insurgency in 2004, the Democratic takeover of Congress in 2006, and the election of President Obama in 2008.

This week, this anti-war rebellion is making a quiet but dramatic effort to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. While anti-war Democrats in Congress are a minority, just 39 House Democrats can block the President's latest funding request by joining with 178 Republicans who oppose IMF funds in the same bill. 34 Democrats will vote no, and 35 more may join them. A defeat in the House would send shockwaves through Washington's conservative power structure.

There is also a rebellion against the powerful health insurance industry. Activists are demanding a real alternative -- single payer -- which is anathema to conservatives in Washington, even Democrats. Nevertheless, e-Democracy activists have enlisted the support of 83 House Democrats, which may be enough to win a "public option" as a first step towards single-payer.

In the short term, the prospects for e-Democracy activists in Iran are uncertain, and so are the prospects for e-Democracy activists in the U.S. But in the long term, "people-power" will inevitably succeed, as long as the Internet remains free of government control.

 

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