http://www.filmsforaction.org/articles/ ... ign=bufferThe State
States have taken various forms over time, all of which cannot be covered and discussed within this pamphlet. Here, we shall talk about the nation-State, which emerged out of Western civilization from a long and complex process. A discussion of this modern State demands a clarification of its ambiguous relationship with politics. The conventional use of the word “politics,” which equals corruption in many peoples’ minds, is actually an inaccurate use of terms. Politics first originated in ancient Greece, wherein Greek citizens created and participated in a collective process to decide how to manage their own communities. What we commonly call politics today should instead be called Statecraft. Statecraft is the practice of exercising power over citizens. This power is held by professional politicians and bureaucrats and is backed by a monopoly of violence through the institutions of the military, secret service, police, prison industrial complex, and the like.
The State is an organized system of social coercion based on the belief that we are all incompetent beings who cannot be allowed to participate in the decision making of society. Living under this system, people’s unique and diverse identities are reduced to “taxpayer,” “voter,” and “constituent.” The citizen is made a passive recipient of services, rather than an active and knowledgeable participant in the social and political affairs of life. Decisions made on significant issues such as education, health care, housing, and more are kept out of our control and put into the hands of an impersonal web of bureaucrats and legislators, who are removed from our everyday lives.
Although the system enables people to vote for their representatives, we don't have to look far to see that election campaigns are funded by wealthy elites, that elections only partially or superficially address important issues, and that politicians consistently abandon campaign promises. Politicians are professionals whose careers depend on obtaining power. Regardless of the intentions of the politician, he or she soon learns that for their career to remain and prosper they must serve economic interests, rather than the people who they are supposed to represent.
Representative governments and the bureaucracies that sustain them are fundamentally opposed to popular democratic power. Whatever power the State gains is at the expense of popular power, and any power that people gain is done at the expense of the State. It is thus futile to turn to the State with major appeals for change, for these appeals would only be subverted by the State in an attempt to strengthen it's own power. To be sure, there are reforms that are necessary and valuable. But if we only work for the completion of these minor reforms, then the root causes of social and environmental problems will persist, and worse, grow and intensify.
No policy is democratically legitimate unless it has been proposed, discussed, and decided upon by people in a face-to-face assembly. Representatives cannot handle social decision making better than “amateurs”, everyday people who reflect a range of perspectives, and possess detailed knowledge of the experiences of daily life. As long as we live under the State’s power, we cannot expect to have full control over our lives, to fulfill all of our needs, and to be free from oppression altogether.
Major issues which will affect Australia and the World
1 post • Page 1 of 1
- Global Moderator
- Posts: 8630
- Joined: 16 Sep 2005, 15:46
- Location: Victoria