My America Tour -5

Telugu Original : Avula Gopala Krishna Murty (AGK)

English Translation: Komala Venigalla

Government and People

America has federal constitution-young in age. In 1492 Christopher Columbus, an Italian sailor was deputed by the king of Spain to  sail to India. On the way he landed in America and thought it was India. He called the people there  Indians. They are American aboriginals-the Red Indians.

          It is a vast country with Atlantic ocean on the east and the Pacific on the west side. There are 50 states with varied climatic conditions-from 120 degrees heat to freezing snow.The country is rich in mineral resources.It has vast forest areas and mountains. The aboriginals were 4 lakhs in number.They had 5 crore and 60 lakhs acres of land under their control.

          In ancient days America was called New World. Americans have fundamental rights  for persons  surpassing  any other country. The framers of their constitution carefully drafted the features of the fundamental rights.The feeling of the fundamental rights has taken deep roots in the people .That assertion is the basis of the American democracy which is unknown to others. It is its life support.

          America became independent in 1776-the rule of George 111 ended then.

          Their constitution which came into force  in 1789, was written  for Justice, international peace, general well-being and to bestow the blessings of independence to their children. Their declaration of independence and the first ten amendments ( Rights bill) in their constitution have been their legacy.

          Now their population is 18 crores( in 1963) . The fifty states are divided into 3050 counties. Each county comprises of towns, cities and the villages. There are 50 thousand school districts, 14,424 administrative districts. Local administration  is base and boon to America. Democracy is etched in their veins.The States have more administrative powers than the federal government. Federal government looks after-foreign relations, internal and foreign trade, war strategy, taxes, currency, mail services, naturalization and general well-being. The states have rest of the rights. In recent times the federal government is interfering in matters of loans-providing funds to house building,education,social welfare and labor problems. People fear that in the name of welfare interference is increasing.

          Two thirds of people live  in 5787 small size towns. In cities we dont find more than 2500 people. There are 12 cities with a little more than a lakh population. Twenty one big cities have over 5 lakh people. There are nearly 90 lakh people in  New York. It is their biggest city. Even Chicago and Los Angeles have up to 70 lakh population.

          The American government depends on its people and their political parties. The Republican and the  Democratic party being the biggest parties. There are very small parties likke – socialist, communist, progressive parties.

          Both the big parties work in the national, state and local levels. The basic unit in the party is the election district. They have one lakh 25 thousand such units.

          In each unit there are  200 to 800  voters. District leaders devide the district into blocks for administrative  convenience. District leaders, block leaders and other important members form the congress district and work like a local party.It is like our assembly constituency.

          The district leaders form the county committee and run 3050 committees, in those counties county committees elect two state committee members.State committee elects central committee members.National central committee elects the President.  This is all electoral college process.

          Democratic party enjoys the support of labor unions, the Blacks, the industrialists. The Republican party is supported by those who do not want the interference of the Government in fiscal matters of the country. There are industrialists and the farmers in this group. The catholics lean towards democrats. In these two parties there are divisions- liberals and conservatives.

          Elephant is the symbol of the Republican party. Donkey is for Democrats. The Republican party is called ( GOP) Grand old party.

          There is no membership system in these parties.which we and Europeans have. The parties do not exercise whip. There is no system of forcing the members to vote for someone. They vote according to their conscience. There is no infighting or fear of indiscipline in the party. Party doesnot disintegrate into groups.

          They do not have party meetings. A house survey is done to know what the people feel about the way the party works. This house survey is the major work of the party. Basing on  that Gallop poll is conducted.

          For fund raising  to the party they arrange party dinners and explain the need for funds and collect donations.

          Party`s influence is spread among the people through associations.Parties are not centralized. Party`s working and leadership is decentralized. There is no whip system.Matters are discussed with each member to assess the opinions which are carried to the leader. They discuss matters and no forcing any body what to do or not to do.

          The speaker suggests the members to various committees.The membership of the committee is decided according  the party ratio.

          A national view point is projected in the parties. Slowly provincial view point takes backseat. Parties influence is highly felt in the election  of the President and in the rest of the elections individual`s influence more than that of the party.Local body elections are not based on the parties.

          To the law courts,selections are made without the interference of the party.

          We see more of Republican party in the villages and the city suburbs where as the democratic party is strongly seen in cities and industrial pockets.More women work for parties.

          This kind of management is called The American system, which they are very fond of.

          America declared war on England over naval rights in 1812. Madison was their president. Afterwords James Monroe became the president in 1823. They adopted Monroe system, cutting all kinds of ties with other nations. They started following their own  rule, thus becoming  lone country.Monroe system influenced the American way  of life for  a period of hundred years.

          American way of non interference in other`s matters keeping to oneself  was the result of Monroe system. It turned to be their strong characteristic.

          This kind of life system began to take a slow change making Americans extending  to South America, a gesture considered as a good neighbor country. This change help[ed to form OAS ( organization of American States( by 1948).

          To day it is an alliance for progress.

          America got involved in the 1917 and 1941 wars and evolved into a world power playing a prominent role. Today it stands out a superpower in the world.

          America has a different view of Asia. They  dont have there the countries ruled by them. Their knowledge of Asia is through missionaries. They do not  have experience there unlike Britain and France. But we can see that America wishes all nations to achieve  independence.

          They have connections in Europe. Their attitude towards Africa is same as Asia. They are completely opposed to communism.Their news media reflects their antagonism to the communists.

          When we go to America we come across a different picture. If we ask-what is the role of the Government and what are the duties of the people, there we see the difference between us and the Americans.

          We have evolved into welfare state from constitutional cooperative commonwealth.From there we moved to socialist pattern.Then we are caught into socialist state.

          The Americans remained consistently in `Presidential system` of government. We declared that Democratic  socialism is our aim. They remained in Democracy.

          After we got independence we have been observing all kinds of changes in governments and administration in our country.

          We feel government interference in the matters of state administration in so called decentralized panchayat and Block development administration in India. If this interference  progresses we will only see the government in every field of our life. It may even interfere with our personal lives  thus laying their hands on all matters of our lives. The administrators or law makers may feel elevated thinking they are making ours a welfare  state. But it will be `a pain in the neck state`-they will lead us to.

          This type of administration took shape  in Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru`s time as  prime minister.

          The scholars are of the opinion that the government which  does not exercise too much administration and power is a good government.

          A great number of American presidents saw truth in that opinion.They tried to adapt to their administration. It reflected  in today`s American Government.

          Too much of power and administration is not suitable to Democracy. Its foundation should be strong that people can carry on well with their work and  duties is the basis of  Democracy. People cannot do anything-only government  has to do every thing is a negative approach to Democracy. That kind of government  in the name of people ultimately leads to dictatorship. If dictatorship takes roots it will sound death knell to democracy.

          Let us see in which areas the government takes full charge  of administration in America. It may help governments of other countries to democratise themselves. Let us take transportation system. Railways are not in the hands of government. Private corporations own the trains. In India the government runs the trains.It is the same in all socialist countries. They have a misconception that there will be less corruption if government is in charge . But that system turned out to be more painful to the people than useful.

          In America airlines are in the hands of private companies.Routes and rates are fixed by national and international advisory boards. Land transportation and water supply are taken care of by private agencies. The government has no power in it. The income generated by buses, trucks, lorry services is in the hands of  corporations and private services. Electric power supply is in private hands.

          Water and gas supply to all the towns, cities and the villages is done by corporations. Roads, buildings, and bridges are built by private agencies. They manage canal work. Telephones, radio, television systems are managed by the private bodies. Postal system is with the government. Law courts, government offices are in their own buildings. Mines, coal, oil , iron and other metals do not come under government control. The multi million billion dollar business in food and other fields are managed by private  people.

          After hearing all this one may ask then what is that the government does there. Private agencies are  primarily important in all businesses. This should be specially noted by us.

          Inspite of all that America is the center for capitalistic system where there is a lot of exploitation. We may  ask how can democracy flourish in such a country of economic exploitation.

          Marx vehemently attacked capitalism.But Capitalism is not there at that critical level as criticized by him saying that the production is done on the social basis but consumption is on individual basis in capitalist system. Wherever that system prevails the Marxists have to accept it  as capitalism.

          Without undermining the individuality, and with no exploitation the social productions should be distributed. That did not happen in communist countries. If we look at other countries and America, there is no proof that more social justice is done in socialist countries.

          Decentralization has to take place instead of centralization.With that new kind of outlook we have to criticize the capitalist and communist countries. The criticism should help societies to progress. If that kind of progress is to be achieved their thinking process should start with grass roots to reach up to the top level and not vice versa.

          A man should develop as individual first and then be a basis for the development of society.We have to observe whether such  conditions are there in the social system. Mere slogans do not help to progress.

          That is why the government   should not enter  in every field. If they shoulder all burdens there is going to be digressions in the name of collective responsibility.

          Let us first consider man as an individual and see what he can do as one among many. Then we have to measure him scientifically to  find out his new values which could be stepping stone for the advancement of society. With those new human values in mind I began to look at the American system.

          America is a big country with vast lands and mineral resources . Their population is under control. There are opportunities for the individuals to better their lives. Such is their social system..They still need to bring many changes. Democracy has its roots there.It should be allowed to grow stronger. Equality is the basis of their independence.There changes are a must in America. They need not switch over to communist way. They can continue their own system, and be  able to bring about desired results.  That is my observation and view point.

          Let us look at America in comparison with Russia. America became independent in 1776 but the modern America came into existence -we can say- in 1933. We can see what changes their economics underwent. Mere theories donot help They are old enough to be discarded. Experience revealed   that by abolishing the system of private property in the fields of production, trade, and distribution , everything is not going towards well being of the world. Communism focused stress on turning man into machine ,giving more importance to machine than to man.That system should go away It did not  help for human welfare.

          I have observed the American education, local bodies, freedom from government, basic democratic views, social local organizations and their thought process. There are some big capitalists and exploiters  there. We cannot judge the whole system with few people. If we do that then it becomes  unscientific.  America should come out of this defective system of resting things in few hands.

          America is a rich country. The Americans are freedom lovers. They resist any system that stands in the way of individual freedom and advancement. They are not slaves to the theories that hamper their independence . We should recognize that free spirit of theirs. If their government restricts their freedom and justice they are bound to fight against  it  for sure.


(to be continued…)

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