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[W]e we have to understand that there's always been an enormous gap between what those ruling America mean by "democracy", and what that word means to almost anyone else.

I have to get darkly amused sometimes, because this is kinda what is bound to happen when you mostly rip off political systems from other not-so-hierarchical societies, get freaked out at some of the implications (and things like equal involvement regardless of gender), change things to suit your own ideas about how the world should work, and try to prop up the resulting mess with Greek columns.
(Not the only example of this kind of totally voluntary federation, just the most studied and influential here.)

Even more amusing, since viewed from one angle, this kind of federation setup based on consensus and catherding is a participatory, constitutional democracy; from another, very practical anarchism.

The idea of a consensus "Will of the People"--excluding special interest or majority tyranny--is still pretty scary, apparently.

ETA: Typo fixed. My fingers are not cooperating today. These, incidentally, are also some of the reasons that I have lost most patience with some Euro-Anarchists who don't know their history and think they've got the One True Way going. Another story entirely. ;)
David Graeber: Occupy Cif: The US imagines itself a great democracy, yet most Americans despise its politics. Which is why direct democracy inspires them
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Bob Lai
Consider that evangelicals are afraid of a changing, more liberal world and/or some kind of heretofore secret Muslim conspiracy 'taking over'; that Wall Street is trying to frame OWS as people who 'want redistribution of wealth' (i.e. 'handouts'/'entitlements'), we begin to see that the 'will of the people' is more 'what the people are afraid of.'

It's a decade after 9/11, and we're still crying in our soup, still wailing about the evil terrorists, pitching the next 'enemy' - the content pirate, the foreign hacker, the anarchist protester - again, all fear, fear, fear, all the time.
Unfortunately so, on all counts. [T]he 'will of the people' is more 'what the people are afraid of.' is a much more elegant way of phrasing one of the points I was trying for.

I would have hoped that the fearmongering would have faded out some by now, rather than continuing to escalate, but no such luck. I guess it's harder to recognize how you're being manipulated once you've become convinced you have reason to be terrified. (Understandable, if disappointing.) And so it turns into a vicious cycle.
I think there must be two different usages of the phrase "the people" in there -- my take on things is that it's the rulers who are terrified of the "will of the people", and will do anything to keep that will from coalescing around real change.

Unfortunately for them, real change is the only thing that will solve this crisis, and it gets worse the longer they put it off.
I was thinking more in terms of the elites with that, as well, though getting other people to think that zero-sum divide and conquer is really their own idea also plays in here to some extent.

Concentration of power has caused so much of the current mess, not to mention over the longer term. And no wonder there is strong resistance to change. :(
I definitely agree on the "concentration of power" thing -- that does seem to be one thing a lot of people agree on (...though some of them seem to be under the illusion that it's only a problem if that concentration is governmental, while others only see it as a problem if it's corporate power... feh).
*nods * Either or both. And when it starts to become difficult to distinguish them, well...
Bob Lai
And while 'control' is often intended to cope with uncertainty, overly rigid/inflexible rulesets introduce their own vulnerabilities, especially in security. To this end, 'control' also impacts our expectations and safeguards on privacy; legislation like SOPA and PROTECT IP are examples.
In general, people will accept abusive authority/control if there is a perceived benefit of stability, or the perceived benefits outweigh the 'cost' in corruption/fraud. So it's not the bank bailout alone that has brought about efforts like Occupy - it's that the bailout is accompanied by record unemployment and foreclosures and rising costs.

This is supported by a media that no longer reports objective fact, but spews opinion and paints a picture of a world that is sooooooo complex and terrifying that a) you can't be trusted to decide for yourself; b) you need 'experts' to tell you bloody well everything. (That is, control is also expressed when you reduce the ability of another to make choices.)

In the end, the model needs to change from fear-based control to trust-based control.
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