Re: [OPE] One party state?

From: Alejandro Agafonow <>
Date: Sun Jun 07 2009 - 05:04:58 EDT

You say Jurriaan that there is pluralism in Cuba. But this is a very naïve idea of pluralism, because it solely establishes the fact that people subscribing different comprehensive doctrines are coexisting in the same territory. Since your argument leaves outthe conditions under which this coexistence takes place, you are completely missing the point of pluralism and democracy. Trying to build an alternative idea of democracy based on a simple pluralism where political persecution is allowed, makes you fall in a dangerous relativism.   Modern democratic theory doesn’t hide the fact that majority rule doesn’t exist for the majority. A simple majority rule is totalitarian in nature and that’s why political theorists have thought in complex political institutions to qualify majority rule in order to host an ample spectrum of sensibilities.   Your relativism Jurriaan makes you reject the *particular type of pluralism that we have at home*. You apparently are trying to embrace the kind *pluralism* that we can find in other countries, even if it turns out to be compatible with political persecution. Well, this is very Eurocentric in nature for two reasons:   1) It is like saying: *Poor developing countries. They are no able to have democratic institutions like we have. We have to think in a different concept of democracy that suits these people, because they are not like us and they won’t be able either*. Since I come from a developing country I can’t but feel underestimated and therefore I reject this arrogant position.   2) This shows a lack of historical literacy. Democracy is not a European monopoly and we repeatedly find historical periods where European and North American countries equate to the more hostile developing dictatorships while, at the same time, we find developing countries fulfilling advanced democratic criteria. For example, Uruguay and Lebanon until some decades ago; Costa Rica since 1948; Chile between 1930 and just after Pinochet in 1970s, and Venezuela between 1958 and 1980s.   Finally, I just want to remark that majority rule plays a very limited role in the definition of democracy. To think the contrary is to have a very primitive and schoolchild idea of democracy.   Regards,A. Agafonow ________________________________ De: Jurriaan Bendien <> Para: Outline on Political Economy mailing list <> Enviado: sábado, 6 de junio, 2009 12:07:48 Asunto: [OPE] One party state? What troubles me is that in modern ideological discourse the very notion of "democracy" is fudged. Democracy is equated with pluralism, i.e. if you have pluralism then you have evidence of democracy. The ideological function of this equation is to hide the fact that majority rule does not exist for the majority. Pluralism is then in turn often equated with freedom of speech, or the co-existence of "other voices", but this does not of course mean ideologically that other ideas are take seriously at all. Democracy=pluralism is a liberal opinion about democracy. Of course there is pluralism in Cuba, it is physically impossible for all these people to agree about everything. Unpacking this, it turns out that democracy is equated with a "particular type" of pluralism. Now what is that type? The type we have at home. So the argument is then really that those foreign folks are not democratic, because they don't have our kind of democracy. That's pretty banale. In that case, we might as well argue that the US and Cuba are both one-party states, with equal force of logic and evidential support. Jurriaan E-mail message checked by Spyware Doctor ( Database version: 5.10260 _______________________________________________ ope mailing list

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