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Diversity and democracy

by Ahmed Monday, Oct. 30, 2000 at 5:38 PM

The key of your argumentation is that we can't "boycott" government (not like boycotting a specific product or store etc.). Because on your point of vue, what I call electoral aristocracy or delegation, "the modern concept of governmental authority" as you claim, is inevitable. First its modernity should be questioned. And even if there's an historic modernity in it, it still can be criticized (neoliberal capitalism also claims to be "modern").

The key of your argumentation is that we can't "boycott" government (not like boycotting a specific product or store etc.).

Because on your point of vue, what I call electoral aristocracy or delegation, "the modern concept of governmental authority" as you claim, is inevitable.

First its modernity should be questioned. And even if there's an historic modernity in it, it still can be criticized (neoliberal capitalism also claims to be "modern").

Then, and this is I think the incredible weak, naive and authoritarian key of your point of vue: you remind us the current political system (legislative, executive, judicial etc.) and you say: here it is, it works this way, we're living under such a global political system so people trying to avoid it is stupid, naive, crazy etc. because if you don't come to politics it'll come to you (in fact this is a phrase I love and anarchists are repeating it since years and years). But what you do not see is that my understanding of politics (and I wrote it clearly in my last post, maybe you didn't want to see it) is not "let's go fishing or trashing instead of being active in politics": it is about facing the current political and economic system and working to understand it and to dismantle it, to make a global revolution: wnat I clearly say and will say is that my understanding of politics is much more than the current system that pretend to be "democracy". I respect left people that have no will to challenge it but I want to be respected, as anarchist and as human being for my opinion.

It is not democracy because it denies that political freedom and equality is impossible in a hierarchical delegation system; because it suppose that political rights have a meaning without economic and social equality of all human beings; because it suppose that state is something neutral that can be used in a right and fair way if nice and fair people are "elected" in the legislative and executive key positions.

That is I think and terribly dangerous and naive illusion, specially if other ways of working in politics are denied or considered less efficient. I say it again: I absolutely respect people voting for Nader, that's great if it brings them out of political apathy. And moreover if greens have a good result it'll put pressure on the capitalist system and will challenge "the duopoly".

Another aspect of your weak argumentation: when ones read the argumentation defending the electoral aristocracy, what is really fascinating (and frightening) is that THE key argument use: "you anarchists bunch of crazy naives you want to change what is impossible to change" is based on the same authority argument that the one used by capitalists defending the western neoliberal economy: "Ah Ah you Naders' fanatics, bunch of crazy irrational, you are challenging the "global economy" (understand corporate domination), you want to change what is impossible to change".

You are using the same manipulatory conservative discourse saying "what you want to reform or revolution can't be avoid" "gloabal economy is like nature", "financial system=river current", "left people are naive they refuse to swim with the tide" etc. etc. It is falling in the same pattern.

In addition it shows that if people having this archaic conception of politics are coming to power, they might perpetuate the logic of domination over people or groups (even inside the party) thinking in a different way (and this is what happened to sociocrats in europe, this is what is happening to greens in europe and I'd sincerely like it was not he case, and it enlarged my conception of politics, I became anarchist) and challenging their own "mainstream".

I understand your mentality, it is hard when living all your life in a system to believe that it can be changed, that it is not democratic at all and that it is not as efficient as it claims to be (it is efficient for its perpetuation and for a tiny minority but...). I think that in north america, a big problem for left (including anarchists) is history: the weakness of collective memory among middle and lower class was used by and for capitalist oligarchy. It came to my mind when reading your post defending the political structure. Try just for one hour to put yourself in the mental and social position of a human being living in france or italy during 18 century, it is impossible but try: can you imagine something different from the monarchist political system?? no. Can you imagine people challenging what was described then as unavoidable, unescapable ?? no. And often it was not even described, it WAS, "le roy est mort vive le roy!" as said french. There was a transcendantal authority funding monarchist political system from wich nobody could escape. (except by having a naive and crazy revolutionnary attitude)

But French revolution happened, it was only political and anti-clerical and was instrumentalized by pre-industrial capitalists, but it happened. And it was very important for french (and later european) collective identity, it demonstrated that any political system can be changed, that revolution is concrete, that even a mental and ideological system such as religion and irrational authoritarianism can be challenged with success!

After that because socio-economic revolution did not happen, some amazing theories and labour movement and praxis raised during 19 century (among them anarchism, socialism and then marxism,

It should be said that this revolution did not happen in 3 months (and i say this specially to north american left and anarchists that are impatients or those that spit at others conceptions as you're doing with anarchism); it started decades and decades before 1789 with new ideas, dreams and praxis raising here and there: european scientifics and rationalists challenging christian bigotry, rich women meeting and speaking about science or politics, regular farmers riots against landlords and privileges, little newspapers circulating in cities amongst the tiny educated "middle class" with caricatures of upper-class, denouncing corruption here and there etc. (but not asking for any kind of revolution, it happened later, after 1789 when the people realized that the monarchist system did not want to be "reformed" and that they only offered strategic removals of certain aspects of noble's privilege).

I used to live in europe: believe me when coming to north america its a shock (as strong as coming from arab "third world" to europe but in the opposite way): here there's no physical or mental trace (or tiny) of something different from white postcolonial capitalism and its electoral counterpart. At least in europe when you walk in the street you see buildings from the former system, they are saying "here there was something else, it was, it claimed to be eternal and unavoidable but by people's will and through long and complex way a revolution happened.

That's another reason why militants here, such as you, must try to respect other conceptions and praxis of politics and of changes. This is broader than the question of is such or such a way THE good way or THE bad way.

Again I respect people (amongst them some anarchists) voting for nader and I want respect from them.

I won't vote (even if a hope that greens will have a good result ;-)) and i'm sick of political apathy, if people are going from "my ass on the sofa" or "voting republicrats" to green party roots activism that's good, very good. And even if I'm anarchist, when i speak to apathic people (colleagues or friends) I present them my conception of anarchism but i also remind them that there is other conceptions and groups fighting for changes, and i invite them to inform themselves as much as they can, even if it takes time in a life full of slave work and brainwashing consumerism. And when FAIR or any other alternative information source reveals that a capitalist media use censorship or lies against any part of the progressive movement including greens these days, I do what i can to put pressure on. Do you with anarchists? you're doing the contrary with your post

I had the occasion to be interwiewed by a quite fair mainstream media journalist in my place about anarchism and alternatives to capitalism and I also talked about Nader and how it encouraging for changes. Would you? you're doing the contrary with your post on indymedia, what would it be on a mainstream media...

And i know some green or other activists that respect deeply anarchism and are showing concrete solidarity with anarchist movement and work for changes. Are you? your post shows the contrary.

I'm sick of the lack of respect for others people in the progressive movement.

Again I respect people that have no will to fight for a completely different sytem: both politicaly and economicaly.

But please try to respect diversity, even those that you don't understand or that you don't control.

Or oppression and domination will go on. I think it is the price to pay for diversity, democracy and solidarity, if we don't do it in the movement, speeches and preaches for democracy and solidarity in the whole north american society will be empty words.



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