Democracy is FAKE (Part 2)
THE OCCUPY WALL STREET “General Assembly” decision making process, what I’ve read of it, is interesting. But I sense that changes are afoot. The group is starting to produce documents “working drafts” at the moment, but it would seem to indicate that there is some sort of organized core of people working on actually writing stuff down, distributing it, and, what, preparing to put it to a vote? Unless I’m wrong and they’ve some sort of open-source wiki of the document that anyone can edit or something along those lines. If so, then what follows may be moot with respect to the OWS moment in time.
One of the Principles of Solidarity under consideration is “Engaging in direct and transparent participatory democracy.” [source] Which makes Old Montag a little weepy, ’cause democracy is EVIL! The rejection of democracy that has been put forward here at The Stump is based in democracy’s basic assumption of inequality. (Which is not just the unequal value judgments foisted on us by an amoral system of financial power, but also the intrinsic need within a functioning democracy for trusted authorities to steer the ship as unequal superiors.)
Another Principle put forward by the OWS group is “Redefining how labor is valued.” Which makes Old Montag a little weepy, ’cause FUCK YEAH RADICAL EGALITARIANISM! [Hat tip: Devin Lenda] The radical egalitarianism put forward here at The Stump acknowledges that any person’s time spent contributing to the cooperative efforts of the group, regardless of utility, is of equal value.
What is the difference between voluntary, mutually beneficial,cooperative social relations and “social order” where individuals are expected to submit to custom: traditions, norms, hierarchical authority? Under the second, the relation stops being voluntary. The individual is forced to give up a part of themselves when they submit to it. Is “culture” a better word for this, maybe, than “society?” IDK.
The basis for inequality imposed by the impulses of financial power are easy to understand and can be discerned by simply asking the question: “Is there money in it?” It’s the second type of inequality that’s difficulter to pin down. What is the essence or basis for social inequality, specifically hierarchy?
What of death, the base and terrible equalizer, the only measure by which every person is acknowledged as equal? Could it be that human foreknowledge of death and fear of uncertainty is how certain specialists come to be esteemed above other members of society? Doctors, who delay death, Philosophers who help one prepare for death, Mystics who offer a sense of certainty about the hereafter, Generals who deal death to our enemies so that we may live.
Is it a false dichotomy? (Appologies, Charles Davis!) Perhaps it simply comes down always to measures of power. It’s simply that the power that currently holds sway over our social imagination is the financial power we’ve been talking about. People are willing to pay for the treatment and drugs to extend their life; to pay tuition to learn, wield, influence, and preserve society’s accumulated knowledge; pay a tithe to ease their conscience, sooth their worry, to petition some higher power for leniency or forgiveness; to purchase, at all costs, security…
The danger in venerating authority, even well-meaning, trusted experts, is that democracy doesn’t arise from, nor constitute, the consent of the governed. Democracy operates in service to a system of control. Once a movement is committed to democracy, the only matter left to decide is what form of power will be surrendered to.
PS: There is power in changing one’s mind. What would a system where the ultimate unit of power is individual agency look like? PLS DON’T SAY “SOMALIA,” YOU BIG JEARK!