Un éclairage sur les debats actuels: Pierre-Joseph Proudhon et la critique de la democratie representative
The Shedding of Light on the Current Debate: Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and his Criticism of Representative Democracy
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In 1848, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (1809–1865) refused to yield to the enthusiasm of the Republican Camp about universal suffrage and the link established between political and social reforms. In his first book published after the Revolution of February (La solution du probléme social), he questioned the legitimacy of the republican conception of representation. But if the short history of the Second Republic soon confirmed his fears about the abuses inherent in representation, his criticism of universal suffrage sounds still useful when we want to apprehend the present day debate devoted to direct democracy. In any presidential system, the time of elections becomes the moment when a nation looks at themselves. In France, as in many other western countries, the elections bring substantial debates about the democracy. In 2007, the calls for direct democracy made up a central point of political debates and were related to a long time defiance to the representative system. They strangely echoed the debates that took place in the Second Republic after the deputies’ betrayal of the electoral law of May 31, 1850. In the article we show how Proudhon’s political thought can help us think about direct democracy.
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