Amin: “Consensus or Inventive Democracy?”

“Liberal democracy is not authentically pluralist because it avoids conflict and seeks consensus. The latter is the only means to prevent competition between individuals, the fundamental principle around which liberal society is built, from degrading into chaotic and criminal anarchy. Recognition that there is no alternative to the existing world as it is, i.e. capitalism, is expressed through consensus. Conflicts of interest are thus only conflicts of particular and partial interests that can and must be reconciled. The good technocrat is able to offer solutions, after having heard the lobbyists advance their arguments. Radical political parties hinder more than contribute to the achievement of consensus. Consensus assumes that all subversions can be diluted and ultimately absorbed. The ideal is thus “bipartisanship” as found in the United States, in which the two parties are joined together on the main principles even if they address different supporters (above all not social classes!) with different tastes. Consensus is imposed on everyone. The Constitution is sacred and it absolutely unimaginable that it is possible to replace it with another one (which is not the case in Europe!) and private property provides the inviolable foundation for the permanence of this mode of social organization (no horizon beyond capitalism is imaginable). In contrast, the very definition of democracy is the right to innovation, invention, and imagination. Since nothing in the current social organization is sacred, democracy becomes subversive by nature. Subversion is the driving force of social transformation. Radical democrats do not like consensus, and when it appears to be operating in their society – in situations of war, for example – they are suspicious of its destructive effects on the critical spirit.” – Samir Amin, The World We Wish To See: Revolutionary Objectives in the Twenty-First Century.