Arendt’s proposal that will allow you to have ongoing participation for ordinary citizen as well as constitutional law as ground rules.
Jefferson’s wards could have been the building blocks of a new kind of government
Ward members will elect peers to county level, etc. The idea is to reconcile freedom with authority.: A ward system is based around division of power. Dividing a national gov’t into regions and dividing the regions into states and then to counties and then to wards. Arendt claims this structure of authority will be generated from the bottom up.
The principle is clear, the details are not. Arendt proposes an alternative “federalism” (dividing and localizing power, a decentralizing power)
The problem is that party systems > council systems in nearly every revolution
Councils “sprang up” in a variety of revolutions—without any blueprints (pg. 253-254).: we know revolutionaries themselves didn’t want to be ruled.
Parties coopt or crush councils: Robespierre turns on sociétés populaires; Lenin turns against soviets. : Parties realized that they are threats to their power.
The People: The people are participate and are direct participants.
You end up with a party system. The point of parties is to select representatives and get political power transferred from the citizenry to the power politician.
The council system would be “republican,” yet “aristocratic (rule of the best)
People who care will enjoy (positive) freedom; people who don’t will have (negative) liberties.: The idea is who will will take part in setting policies and electing people of the pyramid. Those who care enough besides their private interests will undertake this process of political negotiation.
This system fosters political excellence—not that of economic experts or party politicians.: Arendt’s not talking about the best human beings. She knows the founders of the Roman republic were not morally the best. She says there are certain qualities that shine through once you start deliberating and deciding. One quality is trustworthiness. Another quality is courage, someone who takes stands and don’t bow to popular pressure. Another, Good judgement.
Arendt’s project is to seek out an on-going, post-revolutionary politics
Arendt insists “there is an alternative” to party politics: federal republicanism.:
Arendt insists that freedom is the aim of human life—not knowledge or morality: Arendt insists that the point of life is to be free. To not be ruled and to govern yourself