Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, Vol 5, No 1 (2009)

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Towards a Critique of Political Democracy

Mario Tronti

Abstract


Starting from the idea that democracy always binds together a practice of domination and a project of liberation, Tronti formulates the conditions for a critique of democracy that would permit a rebirth of political thought in the current conjuncture. Bringing the heterodox Marxist traditions of ‘workerism’ and the ‘autonomy of the political’ together with the feminist thinking of difference, Tronti underscores the identitarian tendencies of democracy and the difficulties of combining democracy with a genuine notion of freedom. For Tronti, democracy is increasingly synonymous with the pervasiveness of capitalism understood as ‘bourgeois society’, and the victory of ‘real democracy’ (as one might speak of ‘real socialism’) is the sociological victory of the bourgeoisie. The homo oeconomicus and the homo democraticus are fused into the dominant figure of democracy, the ‘mass bourgeois’. Against the depoliticizing consequences of ‘democratic Empire’, Tronti proposes a profound rethinking of our notion of politics, one which should not shy from reconsidering the elitist critiques of democracy.

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