- Capitalism and Alternatives -

democracy: power to the people, freedom for all

Posted by: Samuel Day Fassbinder ( Citizens for Mustard Greens, USA ) on December 08, 1999 at 11:12:27:

In Reply to: might makes right posted by Gee on December 07, 1999 at 18:27:53:

: : What's a rule if not everyone follows it? A discussion-topic for lunch-hour! The point is that Russia celebrates openly the rule that the rest of the world's elite only celebrates at WTO meetings: MIGHT MAKES RIGHT.

: And of democracy? Majority makes right is the same. the princople 'might makes right' is presumably agreed with by pluralist democratic majoritarians and nasty 'big business' alike.

SDF: Not necessarily. Ending business competition need not result in the creation of other, equally destructive forms of competition. Furthermore, democracy need not mean the abrogation of any rights, and is in fact only conceived as an abrogation of rights by those who believe in natural rights, who think that rights are granted us by God or the Easter Bunny or some other such imaginary friend.

Really, no human being has any rights independent of the physical and social realities that allow human beings to survive, the realities of a nurturant nature and a co-operative society. The more secure these realities, the more rights we have.

: If might does not make right - then what does ?(and no, this isnt to suggest that I think it does - its a way of posing that difficult question)

SDF: It's obvious that "might makes right" is the slogan inscribed on the banner of the mighty. "Peaceful coexistence" might be a good slogan for those who had come to the realization that peaceful coexistence required democratic life.

: Subjecting property to democratic vote does not dispel the 'might makes right' demon by any stretch of the imagination. Its borderline utopian to suggest it would.

SDF: Please reserve Stoller's definition of the word "utopian" for discussions with Stoller. Utopian dreaming is a necessary concept within practical thinking. Authoritarian realism is a sucker ploy. "You can't have the reality you want, so here's this dictatorship, it's the next best thing." Magic, on the other hand, doesn't work, and reality is constrained thusly.

: : SDF: The movement of the labor power of the working classes is, and will never be, free, until the working classes own the means of production democratically.

: The 'working classes' not being an homogenous blob will not feel 'free' as individuals under that condition either.

SDF: Real participants in democracy know democratic power as an EXPANSION of individual freedoms, as society's power to make the wealth and consequent freedom produced BY all, accessible TO all. On the other hand, petit-bourgeois philosophers can stare at democracy from a great distance in their easy chairs (and well-paid lifestyles), and see that democracy "fails" to grant them the sovereign powers they thought were theirs when they decided to wish away the existence of the WORKING CLASS society that ACTUALLY provides them with their current state of well-being.

: One vote in a million may seem better than none, but as a marginal gain its not much to ignite the passions of the people.

SDF: The DEMOCRATIC LIFE OF THE PEOPLE, public debate, discussion, the contestation of real issues, persuasion, negotiation, power-sharing, wealth-sharing, "igniting the passions of the people," and its attendant group solidarities, is much much more than mere voting under bourgeois democracy, even under bourgeois democracy. Democracy is always much much more than majoritarianism, it's certainly more than the spending of money on the huckstering for votes that it is today.

Our obligation is to free democracy from money and all other dominative forms of life, to make our world more securer, and thus more free.

Follow Ups:

The Debating Room Post a Followup