re: pro-democratic

S. Graw (
Sat, 22 Jun 1996 22:32:56 -0400

> "Conservatives" in the US, as someone pointed out, also want to
>seize the concept of "democracy" and fill it with their own elitist,
>racist and imperialist -- in other words, thoroughly UNdemocratic --
>content. ...................
> I think it would be interesting and useful to have a discussion
>of just what "democracy" IS, rather than trying to apply a term which
>is one of the most heavily contested terms in the human vocabulary.
>What did we learn about what "real democracy" is as a result of the
>protests of the 60s?
Grover Furr's suggestion of a thread on "democracy" may alleviate torpid
summer mailboxes, but here's a borrowed throught we shouldn't leave home
In a recent talk, Martin Bernal, the embattled (by neo-con intellectuals)
author of "Black Athena," pointed out the origins of the heavily constructed
form of democracy in US political discourse. In the late 18th & early 19th
century, political discourse about independence and the nature of the
liberated state focussed nearly exclusively on Rome, the republic, and
rights therein. "Democracy" was a non-starter. Only in the 19th century,
when the question of slavery arose in political discourse, did it become
opportune to speak of and construct democracy, Greek style (despite the
discursive non-sequitur of classical slavery!). Incidentally, Bernal's
point was that classical Greece as imagined by North American settlers,
therefore had to become White, i.e. western European, the point where his
"Black Athena," arguing for a racially heterogenous classical Greece, begins
to trod on racist ideology. We shouldn't overlook this 170 years later.
Respectfully, Steve Graw
* From: Steve Graw
* at Cornell U./Field of Development Sociology
* Warren 34/ (607) 255-7684
* "What are we if not our memories?" *