Democracy, in the sense I am commending, opens up space for minority voices because it is committed both to freedom as non-domination and the avoidance of arbitrary exclusion. Neither of these things can be achieved, according to the tradition of grassroots democracy, unless a lot of ordinary people get organized and actually hold officials accountable. These are things that require action.
In Blessed Are The Organized: Grassroots Democracy in America (2010), Princeton political science professor Jeffrey Stout recounts a back-and-forth he had with his 20-something son about deeply dysfunctional economic conditions in the U.S. You know the basics: the American worker has been tremendously productive for their company, but isn’t even coming close to sharing the wealth. In fact, since the 1960s, more income went to the top 1% of Americans than the bottom 50% combined. At the end of this casual, fact-filled conversation, Stout’s son proclaimed, “We’re fucked!”
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