“We are living in a new era of large-scale catastrophes whose causes, ruinous effects and remedies demand bold new thinking about the way manufactured public silence operates as the currency of power. Calamities such as Fukushima, Deepwater Horizon and the recent near-collapse of Atlantic-region banks and credit institutions, John Keane argues, force us to reconsider the meaning of democracy and the inherited reasons why the old European ideal of freedom of communication is desirable – far more precious than our ancestors could possibly have imagined“.
Chiara Bottici and Benoit Challand:
“Since its Greek inception, direct democracy has been plagued by the dilemma arising from the fact that the participation of some in the deliberations taking place in the public square implied the exclusion of “others” (e.g., women, slaves) who had to take care of (re)production. The new logic of occupation breaks this vicious circle by making the collective care of basic needs not simply a precondition for democracy, but also an expression of democracy itself.
…the protests in Arab countries signified a radical break in terms of a new sense of citizenship based on two general revolutionary principles:
The first is the logic of intersectionality and inclusion: People did not protest for their own sake and interests alone. They were unified and willing to assume the attendant risks for other socially vulnerable segments of society.
The second is what we can call “presentism,” that is, the attempt to reclaim the present time and refuse the alienation of a jobless future and bleak political prospects.
It has become commonplace to say that the Arab revolts and Occupy Wall Street have failed because they did not manage to transform political institutions. This is the wrong stick with which to measure their achievements. By occupying public squares, these protests have occupied the space of democracy and thus taught us that democracy does not begin with the ballot box, but rather with us“.