An interview with Russell Maroon Shoats on Democracy, Matriarchy, Occupy Wall Street, and Food Security

Interviewer: How would you define democracy?

Maroon: In it’s broadest sense – to me – democracy is the ability of the individual to exercise self-determination in the core areas of economics, education, entertainment, labor, law, politics, religion, sex, war and peace; taking under consideration the need to both support and guide children until they can responsibly exercise those things on their own.

If one falls victim to believing what Marimba Ani calls “rhetorical ethics,” (the practice that has held sway surrounding the word democracy) then you would dismiss my definition as superfluous. Nowadays, however, more of the masses, globally, are accepting the fact that except for a small minority, democracy is something they do not exercise in any of those core areas.

So the question we must ask ourselves is “How do we construct societies where the individual is able to broadly exercise self-determination?

Interviewer: Do you find the concept of democracy to be useful to popular movements?

Maroon: For the already mentioned reasons, the exercise of democracy/self-determination is paramount at every stage of a popular movement, and for such an effort to remain true to the word “popular.” After all, individuals usually feel a need to look out for their own interest, and to promote and support democracy/self-determination goes hand in hand with that need. If a popular movement deviates from that, then it too will fall into the practice of utilizing rhetorical ethics if it continues to call itself popular.

Read the rest of the interview here.

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