“Democracy,” wrote John Dewey, “is more than a form of government.”The image we are given of democracy is often reduced to administration, the implementation and management of the necessary, but the legitimacy of the state in democracies is inseparable from some notion of the general will. Democracy, as Rousseau argued, requires some process for the formation of the “general will,” by reference to which decision-making can be measured. The Occupy movement is an attempt to form the general will in new ways. As such, it is a potentially fundamental contribution to resolving the contemporary crisis of democracy.
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December 22, 2011