Thursday, March 11, 2010

Democracy: Antithesis of American Post-Capatilist Corpratocracy

Worth quoting: . I've run across this quite a lot lately, an often implied, sometimes explicit assumption that democracy and the American political system are synonymous. I hope Levi Bryant's brief post over at Larval Subjects will be followed by a serious discussion.

In discussions of French inflected Marxist political theory I often get the sense that democracy is treated as a dirty word or the contrary of Marxism. The subtext seems to be that somehow neoliberalism and democracy are one and the same thing, or that the concept of democracy is identical to the actually existing system of something like American “democracy”. I find this idea very odd. For me Marxism and communism are synonyms for democracy, and the issues that motivate Marxist activists arise from the fact that our actually existing governmental systems aren’t democratic enough. Equating democracy with American “democracy” is like equating socialism with Stalinist socialism. In both cases we have an utter perversion of the political concept and the precise opposite of what these things are supposed to be. What am I missing?


  1. I'm always amazed by people who have strong feelings about things they know shockingly close to nothing about. Particularly right-wingers who are quick to denounce "socialism" and "communism" and champion "democracy" who have--and this is not an exaggeration--never read a single book about economics in their entire lives. If you asked them to name an economist, they could not name one, not one, let actually talk about economics in any meaningful sense whatsoever. It's like trying to have a conversation about physics with someone who doesn't know who Isaac Newton was.

    I'm especially amused/enraged when they seem to fail to grasp the distinction between political and economic systems and they think "communism" is the opposite of "democracy" which is like saying "eggplant" is the opposite of "obsequious." It's virtually meaningless as one of these describes a political system and the other an economic one.

  2. There was a good discussion following Levi's post. Check it out... especially Levi's on the conflation of democracy and "nation"