Debunking Democracy

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Bob Black takes on another Leftist sacred cow: democracy. As he astutely points out, everyone interested in attaining/seizing and maintaining power is a democrat -- at least by their own reckoning. Researching the relevant literature of philosophy and political science, Black finds plenty of objections to institutionalized mob rule and the chaos which naturally follows, but he finds almost nothing written in its defense, merely its glorification. From the likes of Kim Jong Un to David Graeber, everybody claims to be in favor of democracy; since Everyone now accepts it as an inevitable feature of modern political life, there's no need to justify it. But democracy is not like gravity. Some might find the arguments in this pamphlet unconnected to a specifically anarchist critique of democracy, and they could be correct. However, this does not lessen its impact; it only increases it. For if the bourgeois political theorists of the 18th and 19th centuries find the idea repugnant for creating unnecessary social conflict (and not just because they wanted to preserve class domination), how much more so should the anarchist political theorists of the 21st? There have been plenty of times when anarchist ideas have seemed (or have in fact turned out to be) prescient, but even stodgy authoritarians can be right, even if it's for the wrong reasons. This is the essay that needed to be written before the Battle of Seattle, and the return of Quaker-inspired fetish for so-called direct democracy -- which Black saves for last in his critique. For some of us, the chanted slogan "This Is What Democracy Looks Like" only has meaning when intoned in a police kettle, or under a cloud of tear gas.