1. The call for true economic democracy is often depicted as a call for utopian selflessness and altruism. We’d all have to be saints, and human beings even at their best sure ain’t saints, ergo anarchism can’t work.
But the truth is the opposite. Democracy doesn’t call upon people to be pure altruists. On the contrary, among all economic philosophies only anarchism makes a healthy appeal to self-interest as well as community. It’s economic democracy which says: You do all the work, and you know that you and your fellow workers can run things better than the elites. So shouldn’t you have complete self-management of the economy, including full disposal of 100% of the produce on a democratic basis?
Whatever the argument counter to that would be, it sure wouldn’t be an appeal to the workers’ self-interest. On the contrary, it’s capitalism, economic elitism, which calls upon the workers to be saints of self-sacrifice, willing to toil under ever-worse conditions while an ever-growing portion of what they produce is taken from them. “Capitalism and egoism for me, anarchism and altruism for you.” In today’s intensified form, “austerity” and the politicians’ call to “self-sacrifice” means nothing but, “Austerity and sacrifice for you, robbery and luxury for me.”
Without the entrenched power of capitalism to give it a fraudulent patina of inevitability, who would ever consider it more plausible, tenable, or pragmatic than economic democracy? Who, having to choose and then roll the dice to decide one’s own position in the hierarchy, would ever choose capitalism over anarchism?
That capitalism and economic elitism have any public support at all is more path dependency and ideological sunk costs than anything else. (Reformism wants to further entrench this dependency.)
2. Isn’t it weird that even after such complete proof has piled up, people still buy into the notion that we should be ruled by political elites, politicians? Here too, we know that we can rule ourselves better than any elite can, while to allow anyone to have power over us only leads to our harm and eventual destruction. Power naturally tends toward tyranny. The first stage of the American Revolution taught that the only way to preserve liberty was for the citizens to maintain a bottom-up vigilance toward concentrated power. As we know, this vigilance was disparaged and misdirected almost immediately upon the colonial elites’ acceding to power.
Today we know that the only way to maintain this vigilance is to prevent power from concentrating in the first place. Nothing but narrow authority, consultative only, subject to recall, should ever be federated upward.
We also know that power concentrations serve no constructive purpose, but only seek to aggrandize and enrich themselves.
The call for true democracy is often depicted as “impractical”. But what could be less practical than continuing with the status quo? And what could be more practical than liberating ourselves from the cause and/or aggravator of all our problems, the driver of the entire world crisis?
So since political elites are worthless, destructive, and congenitally tyrannical, why should we tolerate them at all, let alone empower them? We should make a clean sweep and declare our movement to be anti-politician as such. This should be one of our first self-identifications in most contexts.
Again, who that has any sense of self-interest would still support politicians of any sort, other than out of a weary sense that there’s no alternative?
We see the universal pattern here – just as neither Republicans nor Democrats even try to argue their own worth, but only the greater wickedness of the other, so the status quo has no argument on its own behalf other than its current power, which it tries to depict as a law of nature, or at any rate as something entrenched beyond the possibility of dislodging.
But the truth is that we the people can dislodge these criminals at will. We just have to build the will. Our ideas are the right ones, morally and practically. We can triumph with them. The only question still unanswered is whether our practice will be good enough.
3. The people are inherently sovereign. The notion that any elite should extract our political sovereignty, use it for their own benefit, and then at best trickle some of it back down upon us, should be abhorrent to any human being. I for one will never accept anything short of 100% self-rule.
At long last, shouldn’t we have faith in humanity? After thousands of years of experience, and the full experience of modernity, to still believe the people aren’t capable of ruling themselves, politically and morally, betrays a profound misanthropy. If not now, when?
This gives the lie to the self-proclaimed “progressives”. It reveals their very name to be a lie. How could it be possible to believe in progress, yet still think we’re not capable of ruling ourselves? To still think that, as unanimously atrocious as the record of elites is, that’s still the best we can do? On the contrary, this reveals the elemental conservatism of liberals/progressives. Liberalism is simply another version of conservatism. It’s just as pessimistic, just as cynical, just as elitist.
Is this too mostly path dependency? Among the “progressives”, I think not. They constantly demonstrate that they intellectually recognize the nature of kleptocracy. It seems that their congenital hankering after “better elites” (and even “better Democrats”, in spite of how often they blather about having finished with the Dems once and for all) is simply an emotional character flaw. They’re simply incapable of renouncing faith in elites and taking responsibility for themselves. Ironically, progressives may be the only group which is incapable of self-rule.
But anywhere else, in all other contexts, humanism can have only one principle and one imperative. If humanity is a concept with any content, then it has to mean we’re ready to rule ourselves without the “guidance” (but of course really the predation and parasitism) of elites.
The call for true democracy is sometimes called “childish”. But what could possibly be more childish than today’s unreconstructed elitism? To still believe we need “adults” to rule over us is to remain morbidly childish. To still want elites is to have the mind of a child. It’s clinically retarded. And it betrays a radical irresponsibility, which in turn justifies the elites who want to deny our rights.
Rights have meaning and legitimacy only where founded upon responsibility. But no one who still wants to abdicate our sovereignty, our human birthright and the very thing that makes us human, can make any claim to responsibility at all. And this in turn renders his claim to have “rights” nonsensical.
This is also part of the fundamental fraud of representative false democracy. It’s a contradiction in terms to build a system of civil (let alone human) rights upon a structure of political abdication and irresponsibility, which is the essence of “representation”. We see now how this was really a roundabout way of getting us to surrender both our sovereignty and our rights. In the corporatist kleptocracy, whatever rights still exist in name, their reality is rapidly approaching the vanishing point. Once again we see the fundamental truth – he who would give up his freedom for security or hedonism will end up with neither. Every variation on this distills to: A people which gives up its sovereignty for irresponsibility will end up with slavery.
The call to democracy is the call to responsibility, and therefore it’s the call to redeem our rights. It’s the call to what’s practical as well as the call to aspiration. It’s the call to what’s best for oneself and one’s family as well as to what’s best for the community. The democratic movement is by now synonymous with humanism itself. It’s no longer possible to believe in humanity but still support elitism. These are antithetical. Elitism itself implicitly concedes this by no longer trying to justify itself on the merits. It can rely only on force, and in the end on the lassitude of the masses. In the end, elitism can exist only if it’s correct after all, that humanity really doesn’t exist at all.
The great goal of the democratic movement is, negatively, to prove this wrong and overcome this anti-human excrescence. Affirmatively, our goal is to take humanity’s full potential, as finally gathered by the forces of modernity, and render it kinetic in the form of democratic society, which means nothing more or less than full democratic participation in our economies and polities. Thus we shall finally build, not a utopia, but a deeply human society.