Democracy  &  Nature, Vol. 9, No. 3


Beyond Social Democracy? Takis Fotopoulos’ Vision of an Inclusive Democracy as a New Liberatory Project

Arran Gare

Abstract: Towards an Inclusive Democracy, it is argued, offers a powerful new interpretation of the history and destructive dynamics of the market and provides an inspiring new vision of the future in place of both neo-liberalism and existing forms of socialism. It is shown how this work synthesizes and develops Karl Polanyi’s characterization of the relationship between society and the market and Cornelius Castoriadis’ philosophy of autonomy. A central component of Fotopoulos’ argument is that social democracy can provide no answer to neo-liberalism, so the only viable alternative to neo-liberalism is the form of inclusive democracy he elaborates. Reviewing Castoriadis’ concept of autonomy, it is argued that while Fotopoulos is certainly correct given the present deformed nature of social democracy, there is no reason to exclude social democracy as such from what Fotopoulos calls the tradition of autonomy. It is suggested that if the working class movement could free itself from the capitalist imaginary and return to its quest for autonomy, a synthesis of a radically reformed social democracy and inclusive democracy could greatly improve the prospects of each to successfully challenge not only neo-liberalism, but also the emerging liberal fascism of USA, Britain and Australia.