Neoliberalism, Austerity & Participatory Democracy

Norwegian social ecologist Sveinung Legard has drawn our attention to his recent article on the New Compass website. In this piece, he aims to address some of the arguments raised in this blog last spring by writers who questioned whether it is still meaningful to raise demands for direct democracy in a period of neoliberal economics and political reaction.

An excerpt:

Is it really the case that our present situation renders participatory, democratic politics impossible? Is there truly an inherent contradiction between fighting for welfare rights on one side and participatory democracy on the other? Do our attempts to achieve immediate reforms to regulate the economy necessarily preclude the revolutionary goals of a post-capitalist society?

I don’t think so. In fact, I believe the best way to meet the threat of complete domination of capital in our societies is to struggle for change in the direction of participatory democracy.  In this post, I will present several of what I consider to be the most important reasons which refute the argument above; reasons that make the case for participatory democracy – even in an age of austerity.

The full article is at Another recent article by Sveinung, titled “Is Power Always Bad?,” addresses current debates within anti-authoritarian activist circles about the nature of political power:

2 Replies to “Neoliberalism, Austerity & Participatory Democracy”

  1. I would like to remind Sveinung that at this time the complete domination of capital in our societies is not a threat, it is a fact. For example, in the UK and the USA the losses of private capital have been paid for by the taxpayers, and ‘big banks’ have been taken over by the government. This has initiated huge budget deficits, and austerity measures.At the same time, we have had to witness the CEOs of GoldmanSachs, CITIBANK, JPMORGAN,Bank of America, Royal Bank of Scotland,and others, declaring their salaries to be in excess of $1 billion!Not one of them has justified their compensation. As Lloyd Blankfein announced they are busy ‘doing god’s work’! How is it possible for the general populace to accept that a handful of financiers can take up to $10 billion for personal luxuries…..a sum that would pay for, and provide social welfare programmes for communities?

    go to A Discourse: Social Ecology

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