5 Years Later: Blessed Are The Organized

BlessedA Summary of Jeffrey Stout’s Blessed are the Organized by Tommy Airey

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.
Jeffrey Stout

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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Are We Activists or Inactivists?

From Jeffrey Stout, Princeton Professor of Political Science in Blessed Are The Organized: Grassroots Democracy in America (2010)

To maintain a position of dominance, even the most powerful people in the world rely on the inaction of others and the resignation that lies beneath it. The powerful became powerful by organizing others to work for them and creating incentives for profitably cooperative activity. It appears to be against the interests of the rich and the lucky for everyone else to be similarly well organized. The rich and the lucky benefit from making large-scale democratic reform appear hopeless. Paradoxically, they also benefit from making large-scale change seem easily achievable, for example, by casting a vote every four years for a candidate who promises something called “change.”