‘ The people in a society legitimate the sovereign power; the sovereign power is derived from the people who participate in the ritual act of legitimation when a new sovereign assumes the office. There is nothing false about this myth and its ritual expression; they refer to the constitution of the people in the state. ‘The myth,” to paraphrase Malinowski, “is the founding charter of the state.” ‘
That is taken from a slightly longer blurb i recorded in an earlier post titled ‘A couple of paragraphs from the book, “Formation of the State” by Lawrence Krader.’ I ended that post with this group of questions:
“So, i may wonder, how does one go about changing myths? How can we do violence to myths? What weapons do we have? What weapons can we make?”
I hate this society so much. I really do. I love much about it, but taken together i hate it. As silly as it sounds, i always hold on to some hope that when i wake up and read the news there’ll be reports of mass demonstrations or general strikes or crumbling institutions of power. I have no hope that any of my political dreams can be made real via voting or elections or representative democracy.
That said, this election cycle has been surprisingly pleasant for, what is slowly becoming, a jaded anarchist like myself. I very much believe the above quote from Krader. What largely holds this society, and the states attempting to manage it, together is a belief in the society’s legitimacy. The electoral ritual is by far the most important ritual that allows the vast majority of people in the occident to tolerate their circumstances. If a majority of people really ceased to have faith that elections and mass-democracy offered some power over our political administrators, i feel pretty confident we would find that the world we live in today wouldn’t be tolerated much longer. Maybe that’s just a delusion, but at the very least, the possible social disruption that a mass loss of faith in electoral democracy might cause could offer a little wiggle room for more robust movements of resistance/abandonment.
I hope Hilary Clinton wins the democratic nomination, and i hope Donald Trump wins the presidency.
– Clinton for the dem nominee because maybe the same anarchist-making-despair and anger that filled all of us naive Ron Paul supporters back in ’12 can be loosed on mainstream ‘leftists’. Maybe a handful of liberals, disillusioned with representative democracy, will read Bookchin and Lefebvre or something. I don’t know, but I imagine something comparable to the flood of anarchists (and neo-reactionaries) created by the Paul campaign’s failure will happen for the Sanders supporters and youthful leftists in general.
– Trump for similar but more grand reasons. If such a bombastic, watered-down-reality-tv-fascist, buffoon could become president (of which I have my doubts) then there could be very little case left for liberal mass democracy. The west would have to deal with a very open example of their ultimate institutions having produced such catastrophe.
In my wildest dreams a Trump presidency would be followed with a swelling of the anarchist and post-left ranks to just openly abandon compliance and faith in modern capitalism and statism, and for people with fresh hearts to build the relationships, institutions, and lives they want, for real, without the mediation of politicians in apotheosis. That won’t happen, but at the least a lot of rhetorical and cultural space will open up that dismisses electoral democracy as a meaningful route to social change. The more the better and I look forward to the new social creations that might be born as the modern age wanes.
In other words: Trump is, for the moment, the greatest possible weapon we have against the myth of the legitimate sovereign power.
May his trail of destruction serve as a path to our new world.
Never doubt the need for people to cling to their institutions and myths. Trump has emerged the victor, and while i see a few hearts gaze to a new dawn, most people leap upon their preferred or needed boogeymen: Russia, conservatism, the ‘alt-right’, Wikileaks, racism, or the lazy voter.
You can either look at the evidence and work to shift course, or you can condemn your children to the same fate some decades from now. You don’t need this world, this world needs you.