"We need campaigns that could flood our cities with democracy. They would present the history of democracy and allow for debates on the relationship between democracy and ethics, democracy and popular classes, democracy and economics. They would also focus on elections and the rights and obligations they imply."
: : Paulo Freire, from p. 91 of PEDAGOGY OF THE HEART (New York: Continuum, 1997)
: : How can we each bring this about in our neighborhoods?
: : What other ways are there of strengthening the democratic life of a people?
: *That's one thing you have to hand to the Founding Fathers: the relatively peaceful transition of political power and the seperation of powers. This is what has come to be seen as 'democracy.'
SDF: When in fact it's a limitation on democratic power, to protect the elites from the rest of us, it's all explained in Hamilton, Madison, and Jay's THE FEDERALIST PAPERS.
: However, democracy as a national political process (where the choices are between candidates from one or the other wing of the single corporate party - the Republocrats) is very different from democracy fullfilled.
SDF: Define "democracy fulfilled," the way you are using it here. "My party wins the election" is one definition, what's another?
: Social movements (labor, civil rights, peace, etc.) are IMO the best possible expression of democratic sentiment. People need to perceive that there's something to push up against.
SDF: Groovy. My question really wanted to address HOW social movements occur, though, HOW we actually have expressions of democratic sentiment in the world. So we continue reading:
: Yet in a country like the US where a middle class exists which has the 'freedom' to consume goods and services, own homes, and pro-create, that isn't likely to come about on its own.
SDF: True. So what will allow a social movement to come about? Sure, people protest and march and write letters, but they don't do so "naturally," and it isn't necessarily effective. The "combination of workers" isn't necessarily or naturally or automatically "revolutionary," to borrow a turn of phrase from the MANIFESTO.
So how is a social movement produced? This is the reason why I framed my questions in terms of the "democratic life of the people".
Thanks for responding, Krasny.