What’s more, when civil society takes to the streets, states have responded in the worst way possible: States of Emergency, repression, and unnecessary violence. Max Weber already mentioned that when there is a lack of ability to create consensus, the only option that remains is coercion.
It’s curious to note that Argentina has not yet has a similar experience, despite having an extremely difficult economic situation accompanied by dramatic social deterioration. On the one hand, the government hasn’t disregarded the poorest, multiplying social programs that seek to contain them. On the other, the Peronist opposition reorganised, providing an electoral alternative which has successfully incorporated trade unions, grass roots organisations, students, entrepreneurs, and many others who are unhappy with the measures of the current government.
Perhaps political parties and the representative democracy model, designed for a different world, are just outdated and we must think about and build new mechanisms to articulate both state and society. However, as we already know, in the realm of politics it is far easier to destroy than to construct new alternatives. For now, I will be content with working to (re) construct the current political party model so that they can become instruments for social dialogue, consensus among the generations, and representation of all social sectors. It shouldn’t be too difficult to create inverse incentives by provoking drastic changes in the financing of politics, the regulation of media outlets and social media, and the increase in citizen participation that would allow for incidence on public policies.
Surely this isn’t the only challenge within current democratic states, but it’s certainly a departure point. If we choose to do nothing, as the 20th century has taught us, the costs could be far too high for us to bear.
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