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By Owen Paine on Saturday September 8, 2007 06:11 PM

Reader advisory: this post is not for liberal souls!
Demokratia ... has always been a word denoting conflict, a factional term, coined by the higher classes to denote the excessive power (kratos) exercised by the non-property-owning classes (demos).
--Luciano Canfora
This is of course a fragment from a citation-quote Father Smiff attached above the head of his now-legendary "stop traffic" post.

Zero in on the translation for kratos: "excessive power". I submit this proposition: all state power must be excessive to the class it points its spears at. A revolutionary state is maybe even the most excessive -- it wants to demolish the life of a class entirely -- at least as that target class knows itself.

All you minarchists-to-anarchists already know this: states are indeed nasty institutions. But I'd argue that we the weebles must be about nasty business, when we finally get a shot at power, even party power.

If the class behind some collapsed ancien regime cries for a return to an open society, or even if it simply wants to horn in on the doings of some recently won national sovereignty (vide Hurricane Hugo) -- then remember: what any out-of-power class naturally finds useful in protection from "their" state becomes -- once they hold power --- a means to the subversion of that power.

There's another Greek word for this. Dialogue? Dialysis? Something like that.

Comments (5)


Need some sort of example of [a thing that an out-of-power class finds useful in protection from "their" state but which becomes, once they hold power, a means to the subversion of that power]. It's all too abstract for me right now.

I take it weebles are us? I thought they were these little toys that wobbled but didn't fall down.


"Need some sort of example "

you name a civil liberty or right of person

or on the other hand
a right of property or due process


Okay... sorry about this. I'll take out-of-power class to be proletariat, and civil liberty to be freedom to organize. Now when the proletariat takes power (hypothetical), freedom to organize becomes a way for them to subvert... someone else's power?


open society and its discontents



in the workers state
by a turn of the tables
" freedom to organize becomes a way ... to subvert... " prole power
i repeat

open society and its discontents

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