Sunday, February 18, 2007

What Social Democrats Might Learn from Anarchists

Ok, so, as George Darroch notes, I can hardly call myself an anarchist. As I wrote in the original post, while I think that the ideology itself is appealing, I just don't think that it's practicable.

That being said, however, I do think that even dull (sortof) social democrats like myself can take something from anarchism. That is the ideal of de-hierarchyialising power. While the democracy component of social democracy is infinitely better than everything else we've tried thus far (to borrow from Churchill) it's hardly, truly democratic (in the sense of every citizen having an equal input in deciding either who represents them or, more directly, the laws they live under). Clearly, wealth and media access (not to mention a few other things) gives some people considerably greater say than others. So while democracy may entail less hierarchy than feudalism or dictatorship, it leaves much to be desired if your ideal is a society where political power is distributed in a way that treats us all as equals.

On top of this I think that a less hierarchical state would actually dispose its social functions better than the one we have at present. So there we go: social democracy that is not only more social and more democratic. If only we could tackle hierarchy.

It's beyond the scope of this sunny afternoon for me to explain just how I think this ideal might be enacted so for now I'll just end with four words - participatory democracy, deliberative democracy - and a promise to, hopefully some time soon, learn and write more about these tools.

1 comment:

jo said...

Two more words...Libertarian Socialism.