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Democracy stands for rule of the people, it is a form of government that somehow lets all citizens collectively make political decisions, which is usually implemented by voting but possibly also by other means. The opposite of democracy is autocracy (for example dictatorship), the absolute rule of a single individual. Democracy may take different forms, e.g. direct (people directly vote on specific questions) or representative (people vote for officials who then make decisions on their behalf).

Democracy does NOT equal voting, even though this simplification is too often made. Voting doesn't imply democracy and democracy doesn't require voting, an alternative to voting may be for example a scientifically made decision. Democracy in the wide sense doesn't even require a state or legislation -- true democracy simply means that rules and actions of a society are controlled by all the people and in a way that benefits all the people. Even though we are led to believe we live in democratic society, the truth is that a large scale largely working democracy has never been established and that nowadays most of so called democracy is just an illusion as society clearly works for the benefit of the few richest and most powerful people while greatly abusing everyone else, especially the poorest majority of people. We do NOT live in true democracy. A true democracy would be achieved by ideal models of society such as those advocated by (true) anarchism or LRS, however some anarchists may be avoiding the use the term democracy as that in many narrower contexts implies an existence of government.

Nowadays the politics of most first world countries is based on elections and voting by people, but despite this being called democracy by the propaganda the reality is de facto not a democracy but rather an oligarchy that rules THROUGH (not by) the people, creating an illusion of democracy which however lacks a real choice (e.g. the US two party system in which people can either vote for capitalists or capitalists) or pushes the voters towards a certain choice by huge propaganda, misinformation and manipulation.

Voting may be highly ineffective and even dangerous. We have to realize that sometimes voting is awesome, but sometimes it's an extremely awful idea. Why? Consider the two following scenarios:

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