cj#1083> re: How do we get to this ‘democratic renaissance’?

2000-04-12

Richard Moore

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Date: Mon, 3 Apr 2000 22:33:19 -0700
To: •••@••.•••
From: Randy Schutt <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re: cj#1080,rn> "How do we get to this 'democratic renaissance'?"

Richard,

I couldn't have said it better myself. In fact, I couldn't have said 
it half as well. So I'm glad you said it. Great work!!

--Randy
http://www.vernalproject.org

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From: "Vadim Bondar" <•••@••.•••>
To: •••@••.•••
Subject: Re: cj#1080,rn> "How do we get to this 'democratic renaissance'?"
Date: Wed, 05 Apr 2000 03:18:23 EDT

Hi Richard,

A very, very good article. A few notes:

1. Before Marx "socialism" used to mean the highest aspirations for a human 
society. Now, unfortunately, it is often a marketing name for the leftist 
intellectual constructions.

2. I think it is becoming more evident that people moved beyond the point of 
individual leaders telling them what to do and how to think.

3. I like your dynamic view of the revolution.

Cheers,
Vadim.

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From: •••@••.•••
Date: Fri, 7 Apr 2000 23:51:31 EDT
Subject: Re: cj#1080,rn> "How do we get to this 'democratic renaissance'?"
To: •••@••.•••
MIME-Version: 1.0

rkm wrote:
    we need an economic framework that uses resources
    responsibly, serves the needs of people, and does not
    concentrate wealth into the hands of a few. This is
    obviously incompatible with capitalism, but it is not an
    ideology
 
Perhaps the end results per se do not represent an ideology,
but the mechanism for producing those results would be an
ideology.  You can talk about how nice it would be to have a
means of transportation in which people can sit and ride
around the city rolling on wheels, etc. and say this is not
a "system" (ideology), but of course it's a system, called
the combustion engine, or automobiles.  The automobiles
would not have come into existence without the scientific
systems underlying it; they were not created by a large
group of people with good intentions but no design, science,
system, etc.

Bill Blum

==========

Dear Bill,

My own understanding of what 'ideology' means was changed
radically by a book I read by John Ralston Saul, "The
Unconscious Society".  He made his point by contasting
Socrates with Plato.  Plato was an ideologue - he busied
himself designing the 'perfect system' for society.  He used
the name 'Socrates' in some of his dialogs, but it was Plato
speaking, not Socrates.  Socrates himself was a
_questioner... whatever ideology you presented him with, he
would poke holes in.

Plato was an elitist; he didn't trust in people.  With his
'superior' intellect, he wanted to invent what was 'best'
for others and then, explicitly or implicitly, impose it on
them.  Socrates believed in people and encouraged them to
think and to question for themselves.  Socrates didn't leave
us an ideology, but he left us with the essential core of
democracy - thinking for ourselves and not trusting our
lives to leaders or systems.

This is the sense in which I now understand the world
'ideology'.  An ideology is in some sense 'closed' - it
claims to have all the answers and its adherents are drawn
toward coercing others to adopt - or at least accede to -
the dictates of that ideology.  Its extreme forms are
exemplified by religious fundamentalism, fascism, or
neoliberalism.

Science itself has become today an 'ideology', and calling
someone 'unscientific' is a form of ridicule.  Obviously
science - as a method - has much to offer.  But as an
ideology, it becomes oppressive.  It denies values and
knowledge which cannot be readily quantified and measured. 
To my way of thinking, this leaves out what is most
essential about life and about humanity.  Are love or
compassion 'scientific'?

rkm

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From: "Diana and Jeff Jewell" <•••@••.•••>
To: <•••@••.•••>
Cc: "Richard K. Moore" <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Democracy/Marxism
Date: Tue, 11 Apr 2000 10:14:23 -0700

Bill Blum wrote:
    I just read your remark: "I realize that many Marxist
    analysts would reject democracy and want a brand-new
    system". As a Marxist, I must say that I don't understand
    what you mean.  Since when are Marxists against democracy? 
    Are you by chance confusing democracy with capitalism?

Bill, your points are well taken.  What I meant to convey
was that Marxists seem so fixated on replacing capitalism
[which, in my humble opinion is about as likely to occur in
our lifetimes as is the sudden meltdown of the polar ice
caps] that they are unwilling to settle for working to
achieve real democracy.

As to any offense taken by Marxist analysts, while it must
be acknowledged that they've never rejected democracy, it
should also be recognized by one and all that communism as
it has been known in the real world has never had the
confidence or commitment to actually try real democracy [at
least not on a national scale].

Moreover, as antithetical to democracy as capitalism is by
its very nature, one could still believe that real democracy
-- if and when that may be achieved -- could render the
practice of capitalism into something that would serve
society better than anything yet experienced by humankind.
But the practice of a Marxist 'solution' -- that would first
require the smashing of capitalism before democracy could be
indulged in -- is a proven recipe for dismal failure and
mass rejection.

===============

Dear Diana & Jeff,

I must respectfully disagree with your assumptions.  For 
one thing, I don't think your summarization of communism
acknowledges the success Cuba has had with grass-roots
democracy.  But more important, I don't think you are
understanding the nature of capitalism.  You are falling
into the trap, I fear, of thinking you need to choose
between two competing _ideologies: capitalism and marxism. 
There are infinite other economic possibilities, and room
for different choices in different societies.  Capitalism
cannot be reformed - it must be ended - and people are
beginning to wake up to that fact.  But that does not mean
we need to choose communism, socialism, or any other ism
(ideology).  Capitalism is not the same as free enterprise -
it is a very specialized ideology which offers the
accumulation of wealth as the only economic value, and which
demands that economics dominate all other societal values.

rkm

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Richard K Moore
Wexford, Ireland
Citizens for a Democratic Renaissance 
email: •••@••.••• 
CDR website: http://cyberjournal.org
cyberjournal archive: http://members.xoom.com/centrexnews/
book in progress: http://cyberjournal.org/cdr/gri.html

                A community will evolve only when
                the people control their means of communication.
                        -- Frantz Fanon

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