Gender discrimination is another common practice in contemporary democratic societies. Gender discrimination is part of every form of discrimination. It becomes conspicuous in democratic societies that uphold the principle of one person one vote. A case worth mentioning is of the American Women’s Soccer team who won the World Cup final in year, eclipsed the men’s team as a lucrative franchise and went on to launch a lawsuit against the United States Soccer Federation to address the issue of equal pay. In protest the team’s captain Rapinoe decided to receive honorable recognition not from the President of the United States (POTUS) but Congresswoman Alexandra-Ocasio-Cortez (Figueroa 2019).
The rights of Indigenous people, local communities and the environment have been violated even under left wing regimes in Greece, and parts of South America in pursuit of extractivist, growth led economies. This phenomenon has erased the difference between democratic and dictatorial regimes (Kothari 2019). It has called for bringing ethics back to politics. The principles of a community based ethical democracy call for participation, service, humility, submission to the community’s will, use of reason not force, construction not destruction, and power to the people not politicians (Leyva-Solano 2019). More specifically it means reciprocity, appreciation of interdependence, and respect for unity in diversity and a preference for horizontal over hierarchical systems. In political terms it means confederal municipalism (Tokar 2019). Under this perspective the process of change draws our attention to the nature of interdependence in political discourse and this insight helps us to change social relations without taking power. It also ends the duality between society and nature (Gudynas 2019). It calls for an end to a culture of development based on per- formativity, desire as the defining principle of freedom as practiced in consumer democracies and upholds direct democracy. Governor of California Gavin Newsom likened the treatment of Indigenous people to genocide and apologised to Indigenous peoples for the crimes committed against them. This was in complete contrast to the statement in 1851 of the first governor of California, Peter Burnet, who said that the war against native people would continue until they were extinct (Oxford 2019).
The violation of the commons and silencing dissent on official environmental policies of modern nation states has been another denial of the democratic rights of people demanding mitigation of climate change, food sovereignty and protection of nature and life on earth. It is worth noting here that between 2002 and 2018 1,738 environmentalists were killed across 50 countries. Many of the deaths were related to the conflicts around to fossil fuels, water, timber, and natural resources (Butt and Menton 2019).
The idea of direct democracy must be accepted critically, however. As Zografos has pointed out “The Appenzell-Innerrhoden a Swiss canton that is celebrated as an example of direct democracy conceded voting rights to women only in 1991when forced by the Swiss Federal Supreme Court” (Zografos: 2019, 12). Interestingly Direct Democracy has gradually evolved as part of the urban planning practice in China: “What we have witnessed is an interactive process in which residents navigate their agency by both adapting existing space and creating new space, without seriously challenging the imbalance of power relation with authority” (Zhang et al. 2018, 1556).