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the fall of Soviet-inspired communism have singularly lacked any credible alternance, generally by design and at the elite's behest, I think it fairly clear that the so-called Democratic deficit we all seem to see in our various countries is a feature, not a flaw, in our societies, one whose primary intent is not to express the will of the people, but rather, as Noam Chomsky might put it, manufacture consent.

I think we do progress a disservice when we reify the concept of democracy.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Wed Dec 8th, 2010 at 05:10:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If marketing is the art of manufacturing happiness with a product which is anything but what it claims to be, then perhaps politics is becoming the art of manufacturing consent to a "reality" which is anything but what it claims to be.

I think a diary on the concept of the reification of democracy and its implications for "progress" is warranted, Redstar! My Althusser isn't up to much...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Dec 8th, 2010 at 07:03:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
...drawing more from Lukacs in my case, unfashionable as that may be.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill
by r------ on Wed Dec 8th, 2010 at 07:53:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Pragmatically, Democracy is electoral selection among rival political elites. It is better than having selection among rival political elites by raw force, but the reflection of the "will of the people" is an idealized aspiration of Democracy, not a concrete description of Democracy.

And reifying the idealization of Democracy obscures the fact that there is a constant struggle by an incumbent political establishment to narrow the range of available choice, which has to be constantly fought against by movements in civil society to maintain a broader range of available choice.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Dec 8th, 2010 at 12:38:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Your comment neatly encapsulates current attempts by the Dublin elite to exclude Sinn Fein from the range of acceptable "realistic" alternatives.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Dec 8th, 2010 at 01:06:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Political parties are patronage networks and little else.

Policy-oriented or ideological parties cannot hope to be major political parties.

Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Dec 8th, 2010 at 02:25:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A movement can hope to capture a political party for a period, but in the end either the movement ends up being captured or the party ends up getting sidetracked in favor of another.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Dec 8th, 2010 at 06:41:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Given that western democracies since the fall of Soviet-inspired communism have lacked any credible alternative

Except that it wasn't a credible alternative.  There was the benefit of providing pressure for a stronger welfare state and greater income equality, but in states where the communists were powerful it made it much more difficult for the left to come to power.  Think Italy, or even France where a straight left wing government didn't get into power until 1981.    Furthermore, the existence of communism provided pressure for increased domestic repression.

I think we do progress a disservice when we reify the concept of democracy.

Here I really think that there is no credible alternative.  A non democratic state, by its very nature has to engage in a greater degree of domestic repression to maintain elite power than a democratic one.  In an authoritarian state, even a left wing one, all of us would either be keeping our mouths shut online, or we'd be on a path to jail.  Workers would have even less right to organize and strike than they do now.  The right to public protest against government policies would be gone.

 

by MarekNYC on Wed Dec 8th, 2010 at 01:19:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The alternative to a reified concept of democracy is an operative or functional concept of democracy. This involves seeing and showing more of how electoral democracies have acted over history and continue to act and less on glorious ideals that grossly fail to exist in practice. Given the indoctrination pressures on secondary education, the last chance for most is usually college political science or history courses, but that is iffy.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Dec 8th, 2010 at 02:20:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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