Manufacturers

From Democracy to Freedom

The Difference Between Government and Self-Determination according to Crimethinc.

More details


£4.44

From Democracy to Freedom grew out of years of dialogue between participants in social movements around the world. Exploring how recent uprisings have been catalyzed and limited by democratic discourse, From Democracy to Freedomexplores the difference between government and self-determination, proposing new ways to understand what we’re doing when we make decisions together.

Democracy is the most universal political ideal of our day. George Bush invoked it to justify invading Iraq; Obama congratulated the rebels of Tahrir Square for bringing it to Egypt; Occupy Wall Street claimed to have distilled its pure form. From the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea to the autonomous region of Rojava, practically every government and popular movement calls itself democratic. 

And what’s the cure for the problems with democracy? Everyone agrees: more democracy. Since the turn of the century, we’ve seen a spate of new movements promising to deliver real democracy, in contrast to ostensibly democratic institutions that they describe as exclusive, coercive, and alienating.

Is there a common thread that links all these different kinds of democracy? Which of them is the real one? Can any of them deliver the inclusivity and freedom we associate with the word?

Impelled by our own experiences in directly democratic movements, we’ve returned to these questions. Our conclusion is that the dramatic imbalances in economic and political power that have driven people into the streets from New York City to Sarajevo are not incidental defects in specific democracies, but structural features dating back to the origins of democracy itself; they appear in practically every example of democratic government through the ages. Representative democracy preserved all the bureaucratic apparatus that was originally invented to serve kings; direct democracy tends to recreate it on a smaller scale, even outside the formal structures of the state. Democracy is not the same as self-determination.

To be sure, many good things are regularly described as democratic. This is not an argument against discussions, collectives, assemblies, networks, federations, or working with people you don’t always agree with. The argument, rather, is that when we engage in those practices, if we understand what we are doing as democracy—as a form of participatory government rather than a collective practice of freedom—then sooner or later, we will recreate all the problems associated with less democratic forms of government. This goes for representative democracy and direct democracy alike, and even for consensus process.

Rather than championing democratic procedures as an end in themselves, then, let’s return to the values that drew us to democracy in the first place: egalitarianism, inclusivity, the idea that each person should control her own destiny. If democracy is not the most effective way to actualize these, what is?

As fiercer and fiercer struggles rock today’s democracies, the stakes of this discussion keep getting higher. If we go on trying to replace the prevailing order with a more participatory version of the same thing, we’ll keep ending up right back where we started, and others who share our disillusionment will gravitate towards more authoritarian alternatives. We need a framework that can fulfill the promises democracy has betrayed.

In the following text, we examine the common threads that connect different forms of democracy, trace the development of democracy from its classical origins to its contemporary representative, direct, and consensus-based variants, and evaluate how democratic discourse and procedures serve the social movements that adopt them. Along the way, we outline what it would mean to seek freedom directly rather than through democratic rule.

Cart  

No products

£0.00 Shipping
£0.00 Total

Cart Check out

New products

  • Headwinds *1
  • One Way Ticket to Cubesville *22
Headwinds *1
From the Total Blast stable of comics comes Headwinds *1.
Read more
One Way Ticket to Cubesville *22
Cubesville 22 arrived in Dec 2017 and is another classic.
Read more
The Animals' Freedom Fighter
The Animals' Freedom Fighter: A Biography of Ronnie Lee, Founder of the...
Read more
Anarchism and Animal Liberation
Anarchism and Animal Liberation: Essays on Complementary Elements of...
Read more
2018 London Rebel History Calendar
Rebellious, subversive and campaigning anniversaries from London's...
Read more
Maximum Rocknroll *415 Dec 2017
Anti Police-Terror Project, Portland, OR’s No! To Rape Culture...
Read more
For a Libertarian Communism by Daniel Guerin
Daniel Guérin not only provides a critique of the socialist and...
Read more
Stanley's Exploits, Or, Civilising Africa by D.J. Nicole
David Nicoll was an anarchist militant, active in Sheffield and London a...
Read more
With the Poor People of the Earth
With the Poor People of the Earth: A Biography of Doctor John Creaghe of...
Read more
Divided We Beg ....... sticker
United We Bargain, Divided We Beg and IWW sticker
Read more
La Restencia es fertile ... sticker
La Restencia es fertile , resistance is fertile!
Read more
The Police are here.... sticker
The Police aren't here to protect you from dangerous sociopaths .......
Read more
Anarchy means.... sticker
Anarchy means starting to create a world where we don't have cops and we...
Read more
Biocentric Anarchy
This zine was written in London in 2016 by a person who's considered...
Read more
Rupturing the Dialectic by Harry Cleaver
Rupturing the Dialectic The Struggle against Work, Money, and...
Read more
Guerrillas of Desire by Kevin Van Meter
Guerrillas of Desire Notes on Everyday Resistance and Organizing to Make...
Read more
Knights Errant of Anarchy
Knights Errant of Anarchy London and the Italian Anarchist Diaspora...
Read more
Against the Couple Form / They Who Marry Do Ill
Two articles, a hundred years apart, both provocative. The first, from...
Read more
From Politics to Life by Wolfi Landstreicher
Ridding Anarchy of the Leftist Millstone
Read more
God Only Knows What Devils We Are
God Only Knows What Devils We Are from the Institute for Experimental...
Read more

» All new products