The modern global crisis is exemplified by the multi-threaded crisis of representative democracies – the resolution of crisis of democracy paves the way for the resolution of crisis of the world

Spain

During the 1960s, large groups of people who are normally passive and apathetic began to try to enter the political arena to press their demands. The naive might call that democracy, but that’s because they don’t understand. The sophisticated understand that that’s the crisis of democracy.”
Noam Chomsky

The social movements of the last decades show precisely the real concerns of the people that their representative democratic governors fail to adequately address. They show exactly the kinds of issues that elected governments are incapable of resolving or taking seriously. They show exactly the civil and democratic potential that is arrested in the people. They show exactly the yelling willingness and enthusiastic readiness on part of the people to actively engage in most serious, delicate and controversial matters. They show exactly the often undeniable discrepancy between the public opinion and the many actions taken in its name by the government – sometimes in secrecy and without any consultation, sometimes despite manifested opposition of the majority of the people. They show exactly how turbulent currents of creative energy of the well-informed citizenry are being repressed in favor of maintaining a demeaning status quo. They show exactly what, in principle, constitutes the core elements of the modern world’s crisis and they show exactly that radical participatory democracy is indirectly called for to actually meet and take care of these issues. The crisis of democracy demonstrated by messages, themes and slogans of social movements, protests and means of cultural resistance shows exactly what is the systemic make-up of the current global crisis. If the modern global crisis is essentially caused by the excesses of contentrations of power, what then needs to be done is to extend the domain of democracy in order to accomodate in it all the social spheres in which decisions having negotiated impact on the people are made, so that power can be effectively checked in all places in which it can be abused. It would follow that the current problematic situation has been made possible due to relative absence of democratic means of control in the first place, that it persists due to continuing relative deficit of democratic participation of the people and that it will be overcome only once properly sophisticated democracy is at work to allow for the transfer of the concentrated power back to the people to whom it properly belongs while at the same time ensuring the drama is not let happen again. Rather the steps to new levels and dimensions of democracy should be taken instead of the people being forever isolated, excluded and marginalized through the clever and elaborate set-up of political establishment, by means of which, they are being pushed to entrust their sacred duties to their representatives in the fatal process of giving away their own rightful power.

RE 3

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2 thoughts on “The modern global crisis is exemplified by the multi-threaded crisis of representative democracies – the resolution of crisis of democracy paves the way for the resolution of crisis of the world

  1. Living in a country where democracy is still more or less operational (Germany), although it is increasingly challenged by the concentration of power that follows from the concentration of wealth in the hands of a relatively small group of rich people, I tend to agree with a lot of what you are saying. Democracies are not perfect and they must be defended, especially against a kind of corruption that leaves them only as empty husks while under the surface, another system is at work.

    However, I think the most dramatic part of the global crisis is the ecological crisis. The world economy is not sustainable. We are using more resources than we sustainably can. The people most affected, the ones who are exploited here in the most severe way, are the people of the future. A democracy is not going to protect them, at least not automatically. In a democracy, those affected by what a government does have a peaceful way of getting rid of that government if it is violating their interests, and governments have to take this into account. The people of the future, however, have no vote. There is a relationship of power between us and them. We can take all the resources for ourselves and leave a deserted, depleted planet to them. If voters in a democracy are only acting in their own egoistic interest, they are not going to do anything against this problem.

    So what is needed is not just more democracy or a better working democracy but the augmentation of democracy by some mechanism that gives the interests of future generation a say. A democratic constitution defines a set of mechanisms to control power. The power relationship between today’s people and the people of the future is unregulated in all democratic constitutions existing today and the result is a brutal exploitation of future people in the form of an increasing destruction of the planet in an orgy of consumption.

    The dilemma is that while mechanisms controlling this power relationship are possible, it is unlikely that the current governmental systems, no matter if they are dictatorships, democracys or pseudo-democratic oligarchies, are going to implement such mechanisms in time since this would mean giving up some of their power.

    So I think the implementation of more democratic structures is only part of the solution.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This post was meant to serve as a playful invitation to consider the equation or relationship I proposed: that the crisis of the world is rooted in and intertwined with the crisis of democracy around the world. When I make claim that there is a crisis of democracy, I mean that the following occurences can be observed: (1) people are deeply and sincerely concerned about many issues, (2) they feel they cannot trust or count on their representatives with these issues and in general, (3) all the shortcomings of modern democracy as well as the seriousness of world’s crisis can no longer be hidden or ignored or denied but is finally confirmed and made for everyone to see through what is going on around the world. Therefore we may argue about the many details of the whole problem, but the fact remains that the predominant systems of democracy today are unsatisfactory to a big number of people and they coincide with world’s crisis with its unprecendented future risks, threats and dangers which is no longer genuinely questionable. With or without some form of global crisis, I would probably still keep claiming that democracy is to a large extent absent, but the world’s crisis allows me to voice it with more ground under my feet, relevance and confidence. And I think this is the very timely moment to do so. However, this post, merely highlights the proposed equation and adds to it a kind of a short, almost ”twitter-ish” manifesto. I purposefuly left it understated, imprecise, generalized, because I want to provoke people so that they explore what is possible to extract from or decude from this proposed equation. One of the conclusions should probably be that the only vehicle through which the crisis can be at all resisted is those millions of people who are traditionally cut-off from any meaningful or effective participation in decision-making and whose interests often run counter to the wealthy and the powerful.

    I would like to accentuate that I hold a specific understanding of democracy. I see democracy as an ideal that is universally applicable, that is to be more or less approximated, that can be realized in variety of ways, both proposed and unproposed, popular and little known, and that this ideal ultimately ends with the absence of any rule over people or in collectively sustained autonomy of individuals, as far as it is possible. There are many proposed manifestations of democracy that are not yet realized ( or are very scarce ) like economic democracy, media democracy, democratic shools or participatory urban planning. Bearing all this in mind, I tend to imagine we are still very far away from the possible scope that democracy could potentially reach, even if we have made an enormous leap in last decades.

    In connection with this, it seems to me rather clear that much of the today’s concentration of power is an accumulation of effects generated by a long series of undemocratic actions and decisions made in the past. Many of the oppressive forms of collective organisations that are existing nowadays seem to me to often extend back to or be based on what was established centuries ago, they are often remnants or inheritors of past systematic, committed step-by-step abuses of power.

    As Murray Bookchin theorized, ecological crisis is rooted in social relationships between men – hierarchy and domination amongst men is projected onto and mimicked in our relationship with nature. Furthermore, he contends that the ecological crisis is foremostly a political problem, before it is an economic problem. Therefore, the only viable solution seems to be a radical restructuring of society with relationships between men based on freedom and equality rather than on submission, privilige, authority. It must be initiated on local level in as many places on Earth as possible and proliferate at this level until it becomes more or less commonplace.

    I cannot say with any confidence how to protect the interests of future generations. I think the first step is to actually listen to all the people around the world who are protesting against corporate-driven globalization and the almost-forced advancement of capitalism everywhere. For example, indigenous populations of Brazil or Bolivia are often standing in the defense of natural resources against its privatization. So, it’s not that only very few are at all concerned about future generations. Where I see the hope is in new social movements working together to build the federated network of locally sustainable communities – they will have to uproot, break down and replace toxic communities.

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