Friday, May 30, 2003

remedial education

...for me at least.

Brad DeLong (May 16) on why representative democracy is superior to "participatory democracy"

His response to "Argentinians poured into the streets banging pots and pans... told... politicians... 'Everyone must go'... starting a democratic revolution..." -
But we all know what usually happens--and what has happened in Argentina over the past year and a half--to those who expect to find true democracy in the streets. We do, after all, have a lot of history to teach us...

Pickup assemblies that claim to represent "the people" are very vulnerable to takeover by disciplined vanguards with their own ideologies, hierarchical organizations, and ability to dispatch lots of people to outsit all others. This has been a common pattern since the days of the Jacobin Club. When legitimacy is conferred not by popular election but by the fact of spontaneous participation, those with the ideological and organizational tools [to] organize the largest number of "spontaneous" participants take over.
[final sentence removed as it is likely to give the wrong impression under current circumstances]

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