Dictatorship or democracy?

Accused, tried, and convicted without ever facing one’s accusers, or even seeing the charges against you.

Unproven and untrue charges introduced against you, inquisition style, with no opportunity for rebuttal. Could this happen to you at Mankato State University, Mankato?

The answer remains yes, so long as the executive committees of MSU clubs can hold unannounced, secret meetings with secret agendas, in direct violation of democratic principles. Add to this no appeal process and the degree of the dictatorial rule and potential injustice deepens. How does this speak well of institutional commitment to democratic principles? Why does it appear this corporate model is now the preferred methodology of committee leadership being promoted throughout the college and university systems for student clubs and associations?

Most of the time this simple system of governance will suffice, when everyone is on the same page and there is no disagreement or fragmentation. When that doesn’t happen, it becomes an expedient, non-democratic way to force out non-conformist and political adversaries without due process.

Teaching the workings of real democracy is hard; if it were not, we might still have civics classes in our high schools and we might not be dealing with issues like the racist education gap or the school-to-prison pipeline that attack those of poverty and color. The bigger these institutions of education get, the more they shortcut the difficulties of democracy at the expense of racial minorities and the poor.

It isn’t just whistleblowers who are under attack in America—it is anyone who stands up for equality, fairness, racial justice, and the poor. Institutional racism and elitism are on the rise in Minnesota as shown by our steadily increased standing in the listing of the top ten most racist states, according to ABC News. Worse yet, it isn’t just the GOP supporting these actions as illustrated by a top contender in the CD1 race who is openly hostile to the concepts of racial justice and ending police brutality. What choice is left to us when the establishment has turned against us and tries every way possible to limit our resistance?

A new progressive effort is in the workings at MNSU that is intended to be both inclusive and democratic in structure. This effort is driven by the ever-increasing dissatisfaction among progressives on campus at their lack of opportunity and inclusion in present political options. Those involved intend to have this effort up and running for next semester and the political caucuses. Some seek to make it a simple, exportable, and scalable political tool for all colleges in the system.

Students need to take the lead again this election in efforts to repair this horribly insufficient political nightmare that has ensnared all of those of us in the bottom two thirds of society. Only by standing together against the current of totalitarianism can we hope to prevail at making our majority voices heard and understood. Only by working together do we have the power to overcome arrogance and greed.

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