By David Van Reybrouck
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Extra resources for Against Elections: The Case for Democracy
It didn’t lead a strike (a real one, that is) or a sit-in, or a blockade of a recruitment centre, or a takeover of the dean’s office. The IWW free-speech fights of a century ago look positively Prussian by comparison. With Occupy, the horizontal culture was everything. 41 Dutch sociologist Willem Schinkel adds: ‘Occupy is in a sense the simulation of ideological resistance. ’42 Occupy demonstrates the malaise more than it suggests any remedy. Its diagnosis of representative democracy was correct, but the alternative was weak.
Because these are not democratically elected, they represent a far-reaching technocratisation of decision-making: bankers, economists and monetary analysts have got their hands on the levers of power. This is not just about foreign organisations. Every modern nation state has given itself a technocratic slant by removing competences from the democratic arena and depositing them elsewhere. The power of central banks and constitutional courts, for example, has grown markedly. It seems governments have thought it sensible to take crucial tasks such as monetary supervision and constitutional reform out of the clutches of party politics and the electoral calculus that goes with it.
13 The figure for Antwerp is particularly astonishing, considering that the battle for the mayoral sash dominated the national media for months. 15 Democracy has a serious problem of legitimacy if citizens no longer wish to take part in its most important procedure by going to the polling station. Is it still possible to claim that Parliament represents the people? Shouldn’t a quarter of seats be left empty for four years? Second, alongside low voter turnout we are seeing high voter turnover. Those qualified to vote in Europe not only vote less, they are more capricious.
Against Elections: The Case for Democracy by David Van Reybrouck