In this article the author proposes to seek an antidote to the de-politicizing tendencies of our age by reanimating the mechanism that transmits social conflicts and grievances into politics. The article launches a new fundamental right – the ‘right to politics’, and in the course of its elaboration it addresses a puzzling contemporary phenomenon: namely that the rampant economic and social crises Western democracies have experienced since 2008 have produced neither radical protest nor a shift in policy orientation. Not only has social protest amidst the recent economic meltdown been rather meager, but it has often been expressed as an endorsement of the status quo, rather than its rejection.
Against pronouncements of the recent demise of both democracy and the political, I maintain that there is, rather, something amiss with the process of politicization in which social grievances are translated into matters of political concern and become objects of policy-making. I therefore propose to seek an antidote to the de-politicizing tendencies of our age by reanimating the mechanism that transmits social conflicts and grievances into politics. To that purpose, I formulate the notion of a ‘fundamental right to politics’ as the opposite of the techne of policy-making. I articulate this right via a reconstruction of the logical presuppositions of democracy as collective self-authorship. I then recast the concept of non-domination by discerning two trajectories of domination – ‘relational’ and ‘systemic’ ones, to argue that in a viable democracy that makes full use of the right to politics, the dynamics of politicization should take place along both trajectories; currently, however, matters of systemic injustice get translated in relational terms and politicized as concerns for inclusion into and distribution within the existing system of social relations, rather than its radical overhaul.
The right to politics and republican non-domination
Philosophy & Social Criticism 0191453715623394, first published on December 30, 2015 doi:10.1177/0191453715623394