Politics of development
What Is Radical Democracy?
The most articulation radical democracy received was from Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mousse through the book they wrote entitled “Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a Radical Democratic Politics”. What they theorized was that a social movement will vie to introduce political and social change to the point where it might not be possible to avoid alienating existing political outlooks such as neo-liberalism and neo-conservatism. They believe that what they introduced will add more meaning to how liberalism is perceived, as its current implication lacks freedom and equality. According to the authors, radical democracy reefers directly to its proper application and rule of democracy. The other genres of democracy that are in use today such as liberal and deliberative democracy, although they emulate to build consensus, through the process they end up oppressing freedom of speech and free radical opinion. They could further end up oppressing certain races, classes of people, genders, and social and political stands that are popular around the globe. According to them, this is based on the fact that in a given system there are differences that deter consensus. The difference radical democracy would bring to the fore is accepting these differences and capitalizing on them to arrive at an end. Furthermore, the authors recognize the existence of what they call “oppressive power relations” that requires highlighting, re-negotiating, and finally altering. The overall drive will be the bringing into light of the existing dissent and differences, including the oppressive social relations and have them challenged together.
How Is It Different from Democracy as It Had Been Defined Previously?
Consensual Democracy as it is defined currently is made up of systems that are competitive in nature and in its representation role the public has political rights that include freedom of speech, association, suffrage, where the members of the society have unrestricted right to execute their legal rights, electing their representatives, without being coerced. They can also freely form and join political parties of their choice. Furthermore, political victory transforms itself into giving control of the government to the electorates. It allows the candidates who won the vote to represent the public that will give them the authority to deal with public policy, according to the law and can practice fair legislation. It also allows them to have control over the administration, according to what the constitution and the law of the land allows.
One of the visible differences embraced by those who support radical democracy is they believe that competitive representation is not enough. They seek to introduce more democratic values, where broader participation of the public in the day-to-day decision making process of the nation, in line to what Rouseau outlined would be possible. There is also a need for unwavering guarantee that those in power have to be responsive to the concerns of the public that will elect them and pay close attention to the judgments they pass. Another aspect lacking from the existing democratic practice according to radical democrats is that there is no deliberation. Instead, what is in practice is a politics of interest and power, where there is no deliberative democracy. They demand this to change into an arrangement similar to what Cohen (1995) called “the common reason of equal citizens as a dominant force in democratic life”.
According to Douglas Lummis, what Forms must Radical Democracy Take?
The major accomplishment of Lummis (1996) is that he tried to distinguish democracy from its perception in contemporary liberal usage. He is against the stand the world is taking by associating democracy to free market as he claims that there is fallacy in such an outlook. Instead, he suggests that there have to be some kind of democratic actions that should take place among trans-borders. He tries to portray an outlook that is different from what is perceivable when technology imposes its own needs. He depicts clearly in his book “Radical Democracy” what the true democratic system would look like once the implementation takes place. According to him, democracy is more suited to take a fundamental stance toward the world, making fellow human beings the focus. Lummis goes further by stating that he recognizes that socialism had hit a dead end because of the whole system’s dependence on the state. His suggestion that saves him from being too leftist is that he advocates the forming of “civil societies” of activists communities that interact and have a functioning network. He claims that he is aware of what will happen if somehow democratized economy whittlers because of pressure and see in its place going back to family farming and small craft production. Because of that, he is only against the alienation technology and contemporary industrialization are forcing on the people whom he admits were supporting the capitalist prosperity overwhelmingly. In spite of that, he claims that he has fallout with the idea that people do not realize that the modern success of wealth amassing had always been at the expense of others. This brings to light the institutions radical democracy opposes directly, among which are the state and the other large institutions in any given country.
What Institutions of Power must oppose,and how Will These Structures Be Changed Once `Real` Democracy Is Established?
Lummis attacks economic development calling it antidemocratic and he calls it a sphere of life that will end up excluding democracy in principle. Hence, it is possible to say he is against the industrial system in addition to the state that is not adhering to radical democracy, by implementing some of the recommendations made. What he is against most is what the industrial system, its organization mediators, and the power elite inflict on the whole world. He worries about who should divide the pie and keep the machine running. The electorates have some say and can make a choice although the media run by the representatives of the power elite could manipulate them. Moreover, in spite of what the electorates choose, the machine will continue to run according to the will of those who are in charge. The stand Lummis takes is that industrial society and democracy do not go together. Accordingly, in a radical democracy people take their own life in their own hands and they make the decisions, not a state or an industrial system. This shows that Lummis defends more craft production against relying on machines, also he prefers decentralization instead organizational mediation and supports science more instead of technology.
His most radical stand illuminates the possibility that industrialization interferes with people’s absolute power and could even be a threat to the human race. Furthermore, industrialization could remove democracy from workplaces giving the state a subversive hand. Lummis wants the application of some kind of deterrent or resistance to development in the less developed regions to make its taking root less likely. The probability, however, is that radical democracy could take root in a less developed county more easily than it does in the developed world where there is an ever increasing administrative control. As well as, because pre-industrial societies have particular characters that would make them more susceptible to accept development quickly.
Can These Institutions Continue to Exist?
The reality is they can exist but their form should be altered in such a way that power will have to be shifted to the people since radical democracy is focusing in empowering the public so that the public will have a direct say about what is happening in their community. This is applicable to the state that will be run by the people through the elaborate plans they can come up with, which might be different from representation alone, where elected bureaucrats and experts will be responsible for policies. Big institutions could also exist as long as they are free from centralized control. Since radical democracy in a sense leans toward socialism, any industry will have to be controlled by the state or by groups that will be made up from the empowered people. This will do away focusing on personal or private gain alone at the expense of others. No one will suffer exploitation, including the wealth of a given region by personal or private interest that will sacrifice the interest of the people as a whole.
The reality is other sources had said that Lummis and others who are preaching radical democracy have failed in demonstrating how what some considers to be an utopian system will be made practical, because, in essence, what will happen is taking the road back to the failed socialism ,where the state that fully represents the people’s interest who are running it collectively had failed miserably. Whereas, the capitalistic system, with all its highlighted shortcomings by Lummis and others is still churning forward. Therefore, since almost all profit making institution will have to change their form their existence would be in danger.
Culture and Politics in the World System
Culture and politics play a definite role in world-systems that came into existence to reflect the world affair by post-Marxists and the concept emulates to implement Marxism to current international realties. The main idea focuses on what the outlook calls core and periphery, where the periphery is a fodder for the core. The core is the developed and the periphery is the underdeveloped region that is availing its resources for the developed region with some compromise, although the core ends up exploiting the periphery. Many radical democracy adherents that include Arjun Appadurai, Ankie Hoogvelt Giovanni, and Immanuel Wallerstein had written about the subject, whereas Lummis also had touched on the subject. To come to the point how culture plays role what Osvaldo Sunkel, a Latin American economist said would shed more light. According to him, the capitalist system has an internationalized nucleus of activities, regions and social groups that have varying importance. These nurtured sectors share a common culture and outlook in a form of way of life by what they are doing. They could be reading similar books, watch similar movies or television programs, dress in similar fashions, establish similar kinds of organizations, and enjoy a similar social life. They could build and decorate their houses similarly, and that includes the cities they live in. There are a few barriers such as language, religion, and customs that they will manage in a such way that they will not go into the way of the new culture that is taking over, by slowly replacing them with what is deemed modern by these various groups. Eventually, this kind of outlook will become common within what are labeled as state organizations, even churches, political parties, and the armed forces in how they get their training and equipment will all slowly become identical by adapting the new universal culture that will replace the old culture. Therefore, it is easy to see the role culture plays by adapting itself to the interest of the core, the adherents of radical democracy such as Lummis condemn.
The vehicle that facilitates this is politics that is interrelated and had been made interdependent, because the politicians of the peripheries are those who are willing to look after the interest of the core that will reward them for doing so and could punish them for not doing so, which will include banishing, or being left out from the lucrative activity. Such methods work because the abstainers number always will be few and the others who comply would do it to avoid putting their region and themselves at a disadvantage. Hence, it is not only the culture, but the political machine would emulate to imitate and be useful to the core. Even if they do not take direct orders, the core can dictate what it wants and it will accompany it with the advantages it gives out. Therefore, to change that what Lummins advocated is that those in the peripheral region should resist development since development is the pretext and the main driver that will suck all into the core industrial machine.
Here, again it is difficult to say if such approach is effective since the whole arrangement in most cases is fragile, where whatever makes it to the periphery is not enough. Others, such as Wallerstei had shown that there are also semi-periphery countries that have become go-betweens contributing to the shrinking of the pie reaching the periphery.
Lummis, Douglas, 1996, “Radical Democracy” Cornell University,