Tag: post-democracy

In his wonderful October: The Story of the Russian Revolution, China Miéville uses the phrase ‘epochal tetchiness’ to describe the political contribution of Russian liberals prior to 1917. Their angry, disjointed responses to events failed to influence the changes which provoked their outrage, leaving them acting frantically without consequence as they were superseded by history. […]

One of the more irritating framings of Donald Trump’s rise to power has been to stress his ‘disruptive’ credentials*. Such accounts often focus on the role of Jared Kushner, who has been granted a dizzying array of responsibilities in the Trump Whitehouse, prompting Gary Sernovitz to observe the overlap with recent events in Saudi Arabia: When […]

What does it mean for policy to be insulated from politics? That’s the question we ultimately confront when investigating the putative depoliticisation of the economy. Matters which should be publicly resolved, through organised processes of contestation, instead get decided privately. We can cite examples of such transitions, consider whether they embody a broader tendency and […]

In the last few weeks, I’ve written a few times about the epistemological questions posed by post-democracy. This notion put forward by Colin Crouch sees transitions within mature democracies as involving a hollowing out of democratic  structures rather than a dramatic shift to non-democracy. As he described it in a recent interview I did with […]

There are two issues which have long fascinated me that seem more salient with each passing day. Our struggle to conceptualise long term social change from within (particularly the possibility of civilisational collapse) and the transition away from democratic government. Cinematic spectacle dominates the imaginary through we conceive of either, whether this is our imagery of what a collapsed […]

From The Black Box Society, by Frank Pasquale, pg 52: An unaccountable surveillance state may pose a greater threat to liberty than any particular terror threat. It is not a spectacular dangers, but rather an erosion of a range of freedoms. Most insidiously, the “watchers” have the power to classify those who dare to point […]

I really like this framing by Zizek on pg 177 of his Trouble in Paradise. The discourse on ‘populism’ should be read through this lens: the bewilderment and scorn elites feel when this polite agreement breaks down. In this sense, in a democracy, every ordinary citizen effectively is a king –but a king in a […]

From Zizek’s Trouble in Paradise, pg 35. As he goes on to say on pg 107, “the ‘eternal’ marriage between democracy and capitalism is nearing divorce.” These elites, the main culprits for the 2008 financial meltdown, now impose themselves as experts, the only ones who can lead us on the painful path of financial recovery, […]

This is a difficult issue to know how to treat, but I think it’s an important one. Declining political literacy of the sort described here by David Shultz in American Politics In An Age of Ignorance, loc 143-157 is a unnecessary but  sufficient condition for ‘shadow mobilisations’ of the kind which are the most worrying […]

This address to Congress seems remarkably relevant given current events in the United States. It’s quoted in The Deep State, by  Mike Lofgren, page 30: Unhappy events abroad have retaught us two simple truths about the liberty of a democratic people. The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if […]

I’m really enjoying Humans Need Not Apply by Jerry Kaplan. Much more so than I expected to in fact. He offers a thoughtful and incisive insider’s critique, in the style of a less verbose Jaron Lanier, concerning the likely trajectory of contemporary digital capitalism. On pg 105 he writes about the “new regime” creeping up on […]

A really interesting article about the current political turmoil taking place in Portugal and its implications for democracy within Europe: If this “soft coup” stands, taxes, interest rates, public ownership, investments, and economic strategies to control inflation and unemployment—long the battleground for conflicting ideologies—will no longer be issues to be decided democratically. Unelected bodies, like […]

Absolutely fascinating comments offered by Varoufakis in response to unfolding events in Greece: In the wake of Tsipras’s unexpected move on Thursday to call early elections, Varoufakis said: “Tsipras made a decision on that night of the referendum not only to surrender to the troika but also to implement the terms of surrender on the […]

Superb and worrying article in the LRB. I’d like to know more about international parallels to this trend in the UK, as it strikes me this is a very important dimension to the emergence of post-democracy: Unlike most other litigation costs, these fees must be paid up front; if you can’t pay, your claim won’t […]

An excellent piece on Democrat Audit looking at the role of the ‘reasonable technocrat’ in the unfolding of the crisis in Europe. It’s important to analyse the moral underpinnings of technocratic discourse, looking at what makes it plausible and important to those who see the world in this way: a self-congragulatory pragmatism, regarding oneself as […]

Earlier today Tony Blair gave a speech in which he finally took the gloves off. As someone with a growing interest in theorising post-democracy, I found it oddly intriguing. To anyone acquainted with the writing Anthony Giddens was spewing out in the 1990s, it was familiar stuff. Despite the fact his politics would long since have placed him […]