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.
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 http://new-compass.net/articles/neoliberalism-austerity-and-participatory-democracy. Another recent article by Sveinung, titled “Is Power Always Bad?,” addresses current debates within anti-authoritarian activist circles about the nature of political power: http://new-compass.net/articles/power-always-bad.