Anti-democratic values: Making the case for consensus

In this essay written for the June C4SS Mutual Exchange Symposium, Derek Wittorff argues that the left’s focus on democracy and a falling off of interest in consensus-based approaches is short-sighted, and pushes even anarchists down paths of hierarchical control.

Democracy: the universal war cry of justice. We’re told by the left — both moderate and radical — that all socio-political problems almost always arise from… Continue reading

The Second Greatest Lie: An Anarchist Critique Of Democracy

In the United States it is coming up to the midterm elections. Tis the season we register to vote! Miserable canvassers surround my daily trips to run errands, asking me to register with a fake enthusiastic tone. Everyday I register to vote. Today, I am a member of the “Libertarian party” whatever that means. Yesterday I was a Democrat, tomorrow I think I will be a Republican!


Representative democracy in America is a joke. Many anarchist critiques exist of this specific node of apparatus control, and I am happy they do! We all know representative democracy is a lie, but what about democracy itself?

Many anarchist preach the politic of “direct democracy” to take the place of representative democracy. There is no specific definition of what this means, besides that it is “direct” and allegedly comes from the individual’s choice, rather than the coercive nature of hierarchy. This translates to many different theories, from workers deciding on delegates to represent them (direct representative democracy?), to individuals in a community deciding what happens to the social infrastructure of their everyday lives. It gets decidedly more complicated when we reach the field of how we tally votes and individual decisions, and their influence on the overall decision. Do we only accept a pure consensus? Or can we fall back on a majority decision if pushed? Continue reading

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