David Van Reybrouck, author of Against Elections, spoke at the Hannah Arendt Center last week about bringing principles of lottery into democratic government as a way of reinvigorating representative democracies that are seen to be corrupt and sclerotic. Van Reybrouck was in conversation with Zephyr Teachout and Roger Berkowitz. You can watch the conversation here. https://youtu.be/iRQ9PCk69Z0Form more information visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRQ9PCk69Z0
Arendt & Marx
[caption id="attachment_19691" align="alignright" width="300"] By Paasikivi - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0[/caption]
Samantha Hill remarks on Arendt's recently published lectures on Marx, included in the new volume of her writings, Thinking Without a Banister, edited by Jerome Kohn.
Form more information visit: https://medium.com/amor-mundi/arendt-marx-c53301d57f11
"Arendt says that we have to take Marx seriously, because he was trying to grapple with the fundamental crises of the modern age: the problems of labor and history. This is where the significance of his thinking lies for Arendt. He was fixedly attentive to the political, economic, and social questions of his historical moment. It is not that Marx's writing broke the tradition of Western political philosophy and opened up space for totalitarianism. Instead, she writes it is that "One might argue that the thread of our tradition was broken, in the sense that our traditional political categories were never meant for such a situation, when, for the first time in our history, political equality was extended to the labor classes."Marx saw that labor was undergoing a fundamental transformation. The sources of wealth were changing, and so too were the origins of social values. All men in capitalist society are sooner or later transformed into laborers. Marx saw the laboring class as an underprivileged group engaged in a fight for liberation and social justice. Arendt says that what he failed to see was that this passion for liberation and social justice is only applicable to individuals in the modern era, and not to any one social group. In Arendt's reading of Marx she saw not just the condition of labor, but the corresponding social values that would come to define a society characterized by the laboring activity. In Marx's elevation of labor, Arendt saw the erasure of all other occupations, vocations, and human activities."
Our Ideological Moment
[caption id="attachment_19686" align="alignleft" width="300"] By Ali Zifan - This file was derived from: USA Counties.svg, CC BY-SA 4.0[/caption] Jedediah Purdy takes stock of the burgeoning “crisis of democracy” literature and finds it harbors nostalgia for either expertise or ethics. What is missing, Purdy argues, is a return to ambitious and imaginative ideological contestation.
“It was another habit of the long 1990s to assume that because the political problems of ideological contest had been solved, what remained was a matter for either experts or ethicists. It isn’t surprising that, when expertise seems to be losing its authority, the diagnosis falls back on ethics—the demonstrably odious character of the president, but also the norms of American political culture, and, at bottom, the attitudes of its citizens… Arriving at the wrong answer is more excusable than posing the wrong question. The crisis-of-democracy literature doesn’t get the questions quite right. It looks across the world for parallels to what is happening in the United States today, a comparative approach that manages to be both U.S.-centric and historically narrow. It might have been more illuminating to investigate the long-running illiberal, anti-democratic, racist, nativist, and plutocratic strands in American politics. While these books acknowledge “inequality” and “insecurity,” and even sometimes the ways liberalized trade and finance can undercut democracy, they don’t grasp the thought that capitalism and democracy might be in deep tension. Maybe for the world to be safe for democracy, it needs to be less safe for at least some versions of capitalism. The focus on the norms of political elites is in one way a refreshing change from the technological determinism of the long 1990s, which tended to treat neoliberal globalization as an inevitable product of technology, with governments either leading, following, or getting run over if they stood in the way. Attention to norms at least acknowledges that politics matters. But it is a modest focus, limited to ensuring government becomes neither bloodletting nor openly corrupt. A more robust approach would have been to ask how political leadership and mobilization can open up new ideological frontiers, for better or worse. Nativist campaigns create nativists, racist campaigns racists. Socialist campaigns create democratic socialists. It seems entirely possible—though nail-bitingly uncertain—that this fall, and in two-plus years, American majorities will reject today’s nativist, racist, and plutocratic movements. But in favor of what? To come to terms with the crises of democratic capitalism and the ideological openings of the post–Cold War era, it will have to be more than a renewal of moral seriousness and elite responsibility. Not long ago it seemed to many respectables that we lived in the best of all possible worlds, allowing for some improvements around the edges. Now nearly everyone sees that another world is possible—a much worse one, narrower, crueler, and more nihilistic. In fact, that “best” world seems to have had the defect that it fostered the worse one. The most important political question of this time, then, is whether a still better world is also possible—and, if so, what that world would be.”You can revisit the Hannah Arendt Center’s 2017 conference Crises of Democracy here.Form more information visit: https://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/normcore-trump-resistance-books-crisis-of-democracy