Thursday, 11 March 2010

The Struggle for Democracy; How we won it and how we lost it.

5th - 25th April 2010
In the run up to the 2010 election this is your essential guide to how we got the vote, where representational democracy has gone wrong and possible alternatives to party democracy.

Recent British histories arrogantly claimed that the ‘we’ brought democracy to the Empire and ultimately the world in the 19th and 20th Centuries. Despite centuries of struggle to wrestle power from an elite few, the vote in Britain is still seen as a gift from the rulers to the people to help bring ‘us’ into the modern age. These days, the establishment of western style ‘democracy’ is used by Britain as a context for invasion, war and occupation.

In April this year through the media of public lectures, debates, history walks and other events, Bristol Radical History Group will be critically examining the British history of democracy and enfranchisement. Tracing a path from the English and French Revolutions via the Spencerites, the Chartists and the Suffragettes to New Labour we will be trying to answer the following questions:

How was the vote for everybody achieved?

Who wanted democracy and who didn’t? What was the composition of the movements that fought for the vote for all? What did these movements actually want?

What were the alternatives?

What did we end up with?

Is democracy historically necessary for capitalism to exist?

Does ‘democracy’, as we know it, have a future?

Join us in uncovering the hidden history of democracy and enfranchisement in Britain. A perfect antidote to the misery of "election fever".

Full details of all the events are here but, on a purely selfish note I would like to emphasise the following event in particular;

‘Every Cook Can Govern’
From Athens To Westminster?

Date: Wednesday 21th April 2010
Venue: GWRSA, Temple Meads station, BS1 6QQ.
Time: 7:30pm
Price: Donation
Speakers: Dan Bennett, Tony Dyer, Dave Cullum

Proponents of parliamentary democracy often hark back to semi-legendary ‘golden ages’ as a foundation of universal enfranchisement. Do these myths have any basis in reality and what relevance do they have today? Dan Bennett and Tony Dyer follow a historical path from ancient Athens via Anglo-Saxon participatory democracy through to the French Revolution. Dave Cullum poses the question, is representative democracy necessary for modern capitalism to exist?

1 comment:

  1. Sounds really interesting Tony, will try to make it.