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message 1: by hami (last edited Jul 21, 2018 10:17AM) (new)

hami Does anyone know a good source to read a critic of contemporary representational politics from the perspective of oppressed or unrepresented?

-What comes to my mind is Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire, or Fred Moten and Stefano Harney's The undercommons. The main reason I got interested in the topic is that I have been discussing the effects of Imperialism with a friend and we came to disagree about the functionality of representational politics in different cultures and geographies. I have also recently read an interesting article/essay by Arash Abizadeh, called "Democratic Theory and Border Coercion: No Right to Unilaterally Control Your Own Borders" which was related to international politics, law and foreign policy in relation to human rights.

What I am not interested is a kind of critic of representational politics that is seeking to go beyond politics as a whole, or moving toward direct democracy or direct action without taking into account the vulnerability of minority communities, the underclass, voiceless and the oppressed.


message 2: by Michael (last edited Jul 21, 2018 12:57PM) (new)

Michael James (michaellecturerandauthor) | 12 comments Representative politics was not a topic that Plato concerned himself with but given his principle of specialisation definition of justice, representative politics ought to have been an obvious consequence of that definition. Representative politics was recommended by Aristotle on the grounds that many citizens with extensive responsibilities in the society would not have time to engage in the important discussions of the polis every day. With the growing numbers of citizens so-called "direct democracy" became an impossibility up to the current internet age when many have argued that the US, for example, recently became a direct democracy reminiscent of the direct democracies that Plato and Aristotle criticized in their theories so comprehensively. Representative politics became a major issue in the last election-campaign with the election of Trump thanks to the assistance of a heavy media presence in the primaries plus the extensive social media presence. The question of what exactly is and is not "fake news" becomes a very important issue in such a context. For Plato and Aristotle, the unrestricted flow of emotionally laden information in the democratic polis of Athens where there was no space for the critical evaluation of this information by knowledgeable critics contributed to its bad reputation. Representative politics and the resultant reliance on "experts" or knowledgeable politicians ensured the quality of the information needed to rule. Knowledge of justice was the central concern of both Plato and Aristotle who lived in an era where educational systems such as ours did not exist. That the politicians of our modern eras cannot deliver the results we need to actualize the ideals of Plato and Aristotle is of course partially a condemnation of our educational systems that play in division two compared to the Academy and the Lyceum.


message 3: by Alan, Moderator and Author (last edited Jul 21, 2018 11:37AM) (new)

Alan Johnson (alanejohnson) | 3973 comments Mod
Hami wrote (post 1): "Does anyone know a good source to read a critic of contemporary representational politics from the perspective of oppressed or unrepresented?

-What comes to my mind is Pedagogy of the Oppressed b..."



As founding moderator, I have moved your new topic to the "Political Philosophy" folder and renamed it "Representative Politics." If "Representational Politics" means something different to you from "Representative Politics," please let me know.

Please review the rules on the home page of this group as well as in the "Rules and Housekeeping" topic that is hyperlinked on the home page. Note that the rules require posters to consult with me before creating new substantive topics. This is an example of why that rule exists, as you initially placed the topic in the wrong folder and apparently misnamed it. That said, I am permitting the renamed topic in the appropriate folder because I can see that it may be an appropriate separate topic.

Alan E. Johnson
Founding Moderator


message 4: by hami (new)

hami Thank you Alan for sorting the post.
Thank you Michael for the response and the great background.

Do you have any suggestions to read on this topic that can also take into account the current situation of representative politics, Trump, raise of alt-right, racism and other similar phenomena in relation to the marginalization of people from the public sphere and political life, or extreme polarization of politics?


message 5: by Alan, Moderator and Author (last edited Jul 22, 2018 03:43PM) (new)

Alan Johnson (alanejohnson) | 3973 comments Mod
Hami wrote: "Thank you Alan for sorting the post.
Thank you Michael for the response and the great background.

Do you have any suggestions to read on this topic that can also take into account the current sit..."


This is a vast topic. I am more knowledgeable about the situation in the United States than elsewhere. The problem in the United States, in my view, is that various institutions have thwarted the will of the majority of the people. First and foremost is the US Electoral College. Significantly, Trump won the presidency as a result of obtaining a majority of the votes in the Electoral College. His opponent, Hillary Clinton, beat him in the popular vote by almost three million votes. How could this happen? In my recently published book The Electoral College: Failures of Original Intent and a Proposed Constitutional Amendment for Direct Popular Vote, I discuss this question in depth. I start with the conception of the US founders of the Electoral College as formulated in the 1787 Constitutional Convention. I then proceed with the history of the Electoral College, culminating in the election of 2016. I conclude with a proposed constitutional amendment for direct popular vote with a provision for instant-runoff (ranked choice) voting in the event no presidential candidate receives a majority of the popular votes cast.

There are other impediments to the electoral success of majorities in federal and state elections. Many states have onerous election laws and practices that impact minorities and poor people more than the middle class. Gerrymandering is quite prevalent. These and other such issues are discussed, with hyperlinks to sources available on the internet, in our topic Electoral College (USA) and Other Issues Regarding Electoral Procedures.


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