Saturday, November 12, 2016

Democracy in 21st Century - Electoralism or Allotment beyond Capitalism

Democracy and Class Struggle republishes an article by Nickglais from 2010 which challenged contemporary views of democracy as electoralism - it  has become relevant again in view of US Election with its 50 per cent turnout and the election of a proto fascist which Aristotle would not be surprised at since electoralism favoured the rich and well known. 

We believe that it is important to explain what Democracy means at the beginning of the 21st Century has it has been mistakingly seen as synonmous with Elections.

We should remember that the idea of democracy in its first Athenian slave based incarnation was not about elections but principally about participation in the governance of the City State.

Selection by lottery was the standard means as it was regarded as the more democratic: elections would favour those who were rich, noble, eloquent and well-known, while allotment spread the work of administration throughout the whole citizen body, engaging them in the crucial democratic experience of, to use Aristotle's words, "ruling and being ruled in turn" (Politics 1317b28–30).

The allotment of an individual was based on citizenship rather than merit or any form of personal popularity which could be bought.

 Allotment therefore was seen as a means to prevent the corrupt purchase of votes and it gave citizens a unique form of political equality as all had an equal chance of obtaining government office within the limits of Greek slave Society.

Democracy and Class Struggle suggest that the jury system which selects people to judge their peers could be extended to other spheres of social life to energise the new concept of mass democracy.

The random selection by computer or other means of individuals for public service would be one such mechanism for developing mass democracy in the 21st Century.

We should learn from the past to give democracy in the 21st century real content to aid our principal task the overthrow of class based corporate power and the monoply finance capitalists which have subverted the limited democratic process .

The current capitalist political monopoly of the party system ensures that no systemic solutions to capitalism's systemic problems in the economy or the environment are put onto the  political agenda.