segunda-feira, 9 de fevereiro de 2015

Political Parties: A Sociological Study of the Oligarchical Tendencies of Modern Democracy - Robert Michels

Direct, or Representative, Democracy  - and the view of
Robert Michels
 ""The technical specialization that inevitably results from all extensive organization renders necessary what is called expert leadership
Consequently the power of determination comes to be considered one of the specific attributes of leadership, and is gradually withdrawn from the masses to be concentrated in the hands of the leaders alone. Thus the leaders, who were at first no more than the executive organs of the collective will, soon emancipate themselves from the mass and become independent of its control."

Yet this politically necessary principle of organization, while it overcomes that disorganization of forces which would be favorable to the adversary, brings other dangers in its train. We escape Scylla only to dash ourselves on Charybdis.
Organization is, in fact, the source from which the conservative currents flow over the plain of democracy, occasioning there disastrous floods and rendering the plain unrecognizable.

"Organization implies the tendency to oligarchy. In every organization, whether it be a political party, a professional union, or any other association of the kind, the aristocratic tendency manifests this very clearly. 
The mechanism of the organization, while conferring a solidity of structure, induces serious changes in the organized mass, completely inverting the respective position of the leaders and the led ...
As a result of organization, every party or professional union becomes divided into a minority of directors and a majority of directed."

"With the advance of organization, democracy tends to decline. "


"For democracy ... the first appearance of professional leadership marks the beginning of the end, and this ... on account of the logical impossibility of the “representative” system, whether in parliamentary life or in party delegation.
Jean Jacques Rousseau may be considered as the founder of this aspect of the criticism of democracy. He defines popular government as the exercise of the general will” and draws from this the logical inference that “it can never be alienated from itself, and the sovereign — who is nothing but a collective concept — can only be represented by himself. 

Consequently the instant a people gives itself to representatives, it is no longer free.”
A mass which delegates its sovereignty, that is to say transfers its sovereignty to the hands of a few individuals, abdicates its sovereign functions. For the will of the people is not transferable, nor even the will of the single individual."""Victor Considerant ... also followed in the tracks of Rousseau: “If the people delegate their sovereignty, they resign it. The people no longer govern themselves; they are governed. . . . Then, People, delegate your sovereignty! I guarantee you a fate the opposite of Saturn's: your sovereignty will be devoured by your daughter, the Delegation.”"

"Carlo Pisacane, the theorist of the national and social revolution in Italy, expounds in his "Saggio sulla Rivoluzione" how the men in whose hands supreme political power is placed must, from their very nature as human beings, be subject to passions and to the physical and mental imperfections therefrom resulting.
For this reason the tendency and the acts of their rule are in direct contrast with the tendency and the acts of the mass ... "

"Victor Considérant fiercely opposed the theory that popular sovereignty is guaranteed by the representative system. Even if we make the theoretical admission that in abstracto parliamentary government does indeed embody government by the masses, in practical life it is nothing but a continuous fraud on the part of the dominant class. Under representative government the difference between democracy and monarchy, which are both rooted in the representative system, is altogether insignificant — a difference not in substance but in form. The sovereign people elects, in place of a king, a number of kinglets.Not possessing sufficient freedom and independence to direct the life of the state, it tamely allows itself to be despoiled of its fundamental right. The one right which the people reserves is the “ridiculous privilege” of choosing from time to time a new set of masters."

"To this criticism of the representative system may be appended the remark of Proudhon, to the effect that the representatives of the people have no sooner been raised to power than they set to work to consolidate and reinforce their influence. They continue unceasingly to surround their positions by new lines of defense, until they have succeeded in emancipating themselves completely from popular control. "

"Gaetano Mosca speaks of “the falsity of the parliamentary legend.” He says that the idea of popular representation as a free and spontaneous transference of the sovereignty of the electors (collectivity) to a certain number of elected persons (minority) is based upon the absurd premise that the minority can be bound to the collective will by unbreakable bonds.
In actual fact, directly the election is finished, the power of the mass of electors over the delegate comes to an end.

The deputy regards himself as authorized arbiter of the situation, and really is such. 
If among the electors any are to be found who possess some influence over the representative of the people, their number is very small; they are the big guns of the constituency or of the local branch of the party. In other words, they are persons who, whilst belonging by social position to the class of the ruled, have in fact come to form part of the ruling oligarchy."

"This criticism of the representative system is applicable above all in our own days, in which political life continually assumes more complex forms.
As this complexity increases, it becomes more and more absurd to attempt to “represent” a heterogeneous mass in all the innumerable problems which arise out of the increasing differentiation of our political and economic life.
To represent, in this sense, comes to mean that the purely individual desire masquerades and is accepted as the will of the mass.
In certain isolated cases, where the questions involved are extremely simple, and where the delegated authority is of brief duration, representation is possible. But permanent representation will always be tantamount to the exercise of dominion by the representatives over the represented."

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