Monday 4th of December 2023

a bit more flogging of candidates would be welcome to maintain the true spirit of democracy...


This was the first step in becoming a representative of the Tiaxcallan people.


Next came the real hardship: starving, beating and bloodletting rituals for about two years on top of learning the moral and legal code of the city.


beating democracy into the bastards...

For decades, archaeologists thought democratic republics such as classical Athens and medieval Venice were a purely European phenomenon. Conventional wisdom held that in premodern, non-Western societies, despots simply extracted labor and wealth from their subjects. But archaeologists have identified several societies in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica that upend that model. They argue that societies such as Tlaxcallan in the central Mexican highlands and Tres Zapotes along the Mexican gulf coast were organized collectively, meaning that rulers shared power and commoners had a say in the government that presided over their lives. These societies were not necessarily full democracies in which citizens cast votes, but they were radically different from the autocratic, inherited rule found—or assumed—in most ancient societies. Archaeologists now say that these collective societies left telltale traces in their material culture and urban planning, such as repetitive architecture, an emphasis on public space over palaces, reliance on local production over exotic trade goods, and a narrowing of wealth gaps between elites and commoners.

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Here the work is based on the research by Professor Richard Blanton, Purdue University



Archaeology, economic anthropology, regional analysis, political anthropology, cross-cultural analysis, theory.
Since joining Purdue in 1976, he has done approximately 36 months of archaeological field work over many field seasons in Guatemala, Mexico, and Turkey, and has also completed several cross-cultural comparative research projects.  He has reported on this research in twelve books and 67 articles and chapters published through diverse outlets, including Cambridge University Press, Science, American Anthropologist, American Antiquity, Journal of Field Archaeology, and Current Anthropology.  He is best known for his research on the evolution of pre-Hispanic Mesoamerican civilization, especially in Central Mexico and the Valley of Oaxaca, but has also contributed to several more general anthropological topics, including the economics of peasant households and household archaeology, the evolution of market systems in early civilizations, pre-modern world-systems, and cultural ecology.  Blanton’s recent theoretical and comparative research on the nature of early state formation and political economy is regarded as a new departure that is making a contribution to the current discourse on the evolution of complex human societies.  This work is cited in the literatures on early civilizations in the Mediterranean, Africa, South Asia, and China, as well as the New World.  He was a founding member of the Society for Economic Anthropology and has served as its president, and now serves on a committee that is publishing a world-wide sample of archaeological cultures for comparative research, sponsored by the Human Relations Area Files.  His current research, funded by the National Science Foundation, uses a comparative method to evaluate Rational Choice and Collective Action Theory as they apply to pre-modern state formation, and he is working with two colleagues to establish a new archaeological project in Tlaxcala, Mexico.

Blanton also helped to develop dual processual theory,[11] Dual-processual theory posits that political leaders employ one of two basic processes to build and maintain power. Using the first, called a “network” strategy, political leaders use ties to other polities, supernatural powers, or sources of esoteric knowledge and goods to build power, and maintain it by excluding others from access to those sources of power. Using the second, called a “corporate” strategy, political leaders use the bonds of kinship and social groups to build power, sharing access to those groups broadly, but positioning him or herself as the “first among equals.” These are not intended to be seen as exclusive categories, but rather as ends of a continuum of political strategy. Dual-processual theory has had significant impact on archaeological thought.


Democracy isn’t a one-shot deal that happened one time. It comes and goes, and it’s very difficult to sustain.”


Richard Blanton, Purdue University



"Beating our political candidates to remain honest might work far better than feathering them with satire."


Gus Leonisky, Satirical Institute



utopic utopia


Decades of failed visions, like the collapse of communism, mean the idea of utopia has come to have pejorative connotations.

It's been tarnished by an association with fanatics, like Hitler and Pol Pot.

And to pragmatists, utopia might be a byword for the pointless pursuit of impractical and unachievable goals.

But although we live in a very different era to when Thomas More coined the word in his landmark book The New Island of Utopia, just over 500 years ago, there are scholars who say these ideas still have a place.

Jacqueline Dutton is an expert on the history of Australian utopias, and sees manifestations of utopianism all around us, in ideas like co-housing, urban agriculture, recycling, "second chance" food, and "sharing economy" innovations like Uber, Airbnb and couchsurfing.

"These ideas were considered counter-cultural and only belonging to hippy communities or radical people in the 1960s and 70s," she says.

"[They] were incredibly radical and marginalised ... and it's actually only taken us 50 years really to embrace [them] as part of our everyday life."

Even commonplace technocratic language like "alternate scenario planning" hints at utopianism, Dutton believes.

"It sounds a bit more boardroom than utopianism, but essentially it's about projecting a different way of being," she says.

"Basically, behind utopia, there is this desire for a better way of being in the world."

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Read from top and see:

Humanism and the quest for good in social constructs...


removing bad symbolism...

Workers in New Orleans donned helmets, masks and bulletproof vests on Monday, as they removed the first of four Confederate monuments from the city.

The statue was erected in 1891 to honor the failed rebellion of the Crescent City White League militia, which sought to topple the biracial government after the Civil War.

"If there was ever a statue that needed to be taken down, it's that one," Democratic New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu told The Hill.

The obelisk was removed in the early morning hours, around 1:25 am, without fanfare or warning due to safety concerns for the workers, who had reportedly received death threats. The removal was overseen by the New Orleans Police Department SWAT team, which had sharp shooters positioned on the roof of a nearby parking garage. K9 units were also present to check the scene.


"All of what we will do in the next days will be designed to make sure that we protect everybody, that the workers are safe, the folks around the monuments are safe and that nobody gets hurt," Landrieu said.

Logos on the construction team’s trucks were also covered and their license plates removed.

“At one point, city officials called to criticize a TV station for taking video that they said was zoomed in too close and could reveal the workers’ identities,” the Olean Times Herald reported.

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the democratisation of democracy...

There is an article on the ABC's websit that ends with:



"This is a way of getting back to an idea that was in Athens and has kind of gradually leached out of our democracy, which Abraham Lincoln summed up so well — government of the people, by the people, for the people," he says.

Whether such radical suggestions for changing democratic representation would, or could, work is a moot point.

Dr Gruen and Professor Brennan concede they are speculative. But they also believe change is needed in order to safeguard democracy, because as it stands democracy is in grave danger.

Professor Keane talks of an "enveloping gloom" and also warns that time is running out.

"I have spent much of my life writing about the past, the present and the future of democracy and I feel as though I'm engaged in a kind of undertaking process, that I'm a director of some funeral parlour.

"It's pretty bleak and there are very few exceptions to current trends."




The alternatives to democracy are slippery slopes. Democracy works despite being a bit wonky and unruly. To give anyone the power to rule over others is fraught with problems unless the person who become entrusted with this power is altruistic to the bones. Only an Artificial Intelligent machine could achieve this feat -- and it could easily be corrupted by programming. Let the savage unruly beast of democracy be -- whether it looks like anarchy to some and/or despotism to others. We shall make sure no-one has "absolute" power.