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Athenian democracy developed in the Greek city state of Athens, comprising the central city Tate of Athens and the surrounding territory of Attica, around 500 BC. Athens was one of the very first known democracies (although anthropological research suggests that democratic forms were likely common in stateless societies long before the rise of Athens). Other Greek cities set up democracies, most but not all following an Athenian model, but none were as powerful or as stable (or as well-documented) as that of Athens. It remains a unique and intriguing experiment in direct democracy where the people do not elect representatives to vote on their behalf but vote on legislation and executive bills in their own right. Participation was by no means open, but the in group of participants was constituted with no reference to economic class and they participated on a scale that was truly phenomenal. The public opinion of voters was remarkably influenced by the political satire performed by the comic poets at the theaters. Solon (594 BC), Cleisthenes (509 BC), and Ephialtes (462 BC) all contributed to the development of Athenian democracy. Historians differ on which of them was responsible for which institutions, and which of them most represented a truly democratic movement. It is most usual to date Athenian democracy from Cleisthenes, since Solon's constitution fell and was replaced by the tyranny of Peisistratus, whereas Ephialtes revised Cleisthenes' constitution relatively peacefully. Hipparchus, the brother of the tyrant Hippias, was killed by Harmodius and Aristogeiton, who were subsequently honored by the Athenians for their alleged restoration of Athenian freedom. It is well known that the Athenian democracy was a partial one in the sense that power relations and structures did not disappear in the Pol is, not only at the economic level where inequities were obvious, but even at the political level where the hierarchical structure of society was clear with the exclusion of women, immigrants and slaves from the proceedings of the ecclesia. Still, as Hannah Arendt points out, the Athenian democracy was the first historical example of the identification of the sovereign with those exercising sovereignty: The whole concept of rule and being ruled, of government and power in the sense in which we understand them, as well as the regulated order attending them, was felt to be pre-political and to belong to the private rather than the public sphere. Equality therefore far from being connected with justice, as in modern times, was the very essence of freedom: to be free meant to be free from the inequality present in rulership and to move to neither a sphere where neither rule nor being ruled existed. So, it is obvious that libertarian definitions of politics as "the rule of one, many, a few, or all over all" and of democracy as "the rule of all over all" are incompatible with the classical conceptions of both politics and democracy. It is, however, characteristic of the distortion involved that when libertarians attack democracy as a kind of "rule" they usually confuse direct democracy with its statist distortion. This is not surprising, in view of the fact that it is obviously impossible to talk about a "rule" in a form of social organization where nobody is forced to be bound by laws and institutions, in the formation of which s/he does not, directly, take part. Thus, as April Carter points out "the only authority that can exist in a direct democracy is the collective Authority vested in the body politic. It is doubtful if authority can be created by -a group of equals who reach decisions by a process of mutual persuasion". Not surprisingly, the same author concludes that "commitment to direct democracy or anarchy in the socio-political sphere is incompatible with political authority". Therefore, the Greeks, having realized that "there always is and there always will be an explicit power, (that is, unless a society were to succeed in transforming its subjects into automata that had completely internalized the instituted order)," concluded that "no citizen should be subjected to power and if this was not possible that power should be shared equally among citizens." So, although the Athenian democracy was a partial democracy, this was not due to the political institutions themselves but to the very narrow definition of full citizenship adopted by them. A definition which excluded large sections of the population (women, slaves, immigrants) who, in fact, constituted the vast majority of the people living in Athens. Unlike today's "democracies", which (after long struggles), institutionalized universal suffrage but at the same time secured the concentration of political power at the hands of a small political elite, , Athenian democracy was based on the principle that sovereignty is exercised directly by the citizens themselves. This is why classical Athens may hardly be characterized as a state in the normal sense of the word, as a state presupposes a sovereign and a centralized authority. As Castoriadis put it, "the Polis is not a State since in it explicit power the positing of nomos (legislation), dike (jurisdiction) and telos (government) belongs to the whole body of citizens". Still, Athenian democracy had a partial character not only because of the limitations of political democracy but also because of the fact that it was restricted to the political realm only. In fact, as, it was exactly the very limited nature of Athenian economic democracy which, in combination with the limitations of political democracy, eventually led to its collapse. In other words, the final failure of Athenian democracy was not due, as it is usually asserted by its critics, to the innate contradictions of democracy itself but, on the contrary, to the fact that it never matured to become an inclusive democracy. Furthermore, this failure cannot be adequately explained by simply referring to the immature "objective" conditions, the low development of productive forces and so on important as may be because the same objective conditions prevailed at that time in many other places all over the Mediterranean, let alone the rest of Greece, but democracy flourished only in Athens. Vice versa, the much lower development of productive forces did not prevent higher forms of economic democracy than in Athens to develop among aboriginal American communities where economic resources were available to everyone in the community for use and "things were available to individuals and families of a community because they were needed, not because they were owned or ' created by the labor of a possessor.
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Essay on the Athenian Democracy
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Essay On The Athenian Democracy

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              Athenian democracy developed in the Greek city state of Athens, comprising the central city Tate of Athens and the surrounding territory of Attica, around 500 BC. Athens was one of the very first known democracies (although anthropological research suggests that democratic forms were likely common in stateless societies long before the rise of Athens). Other Greek cities set up democracies, most but not all following an Athenian model, but none were as powerful or as stable (or as well-documented) as that of Athens.
             
              It remains a unique and intriguing experiment in direct democracy where the people do not elect representatives to vote on their behalf but vote on legislation and executive bills in their own right. Participation was by no means open, but the in group of participants was constituted with no reference to economic class and they participated on a scale that was truly phenomenal. The public opinion of voters was remarkably influenced by the political satire performed by the comic poets at the theaters.
             
              Solon (594 BC), Cleisthenes (509 BC), and Ephialtes (462 BC) all contributed to the development of Athenian democracy. Historians differ on which of them was responsible for which institutions, and which of them most represented a truly democratic movement.
             
              It is most usual to date Athenian democracy from Cleisthenes, since Solon's constitution fell and was replaced by the tyranny of Peisistratus, whereas Ephialtes revised Cleisthenes' constitution relatively peacefully. Hipparchus, the brother of the tyrant Hippias, was killed by Harmodius and Aristogeiton, who were subsequently honored by the Athenians for their alleged restoration of Athenian freedom.
             
              It is well known that the Athenian democracy was a partial one in the sense that power relations and structures did not disappear in the Pol is, not only at the economic level where inequities were obvious, but even at the political level where the hierarchical structure of society was clear with the exclusion of women, immigrants and slaves from the proceedings of the ecclesia.
             
              Still, as Hannah Arendt points out, the Athenian democracy was the first historical example of the identification of the sovereign with those exercising sovereignty: The whole concept of rule and being ruled, of government and power in the sense in which we understand them, as well as the regulated order attending them, was felt to be pre-political and to belong to the private rather than the public sphere.
             
              Equality therefore far from being connected with justice, as in modern times, was the very essence of freedom: to be free meant to be free from the inequality present in rulership and to move to neither a sphere where neither rule nor being ruled existed.
             
              So, it is obvious that libertarian definitions of politics as "the rule of one, many, a few, or all over all" and of democracy as "the rule of all over all" are incompatible with the classical conceptions of both politics and democracy. It is, however, characteristic of the distortion involved that when libertarians attack democracy as a kind of "rule" they usually confuse direct democracy with its statist distortion.
             
              This is not surprising, in view of the fact that it is obviously impossible to talk about a "rule" in a form of social organization where nobody is forced to be bound by laws and institutions, in the formation of which s/he does not, directly, take part. Thus, as April Carter points out "the only authority that can exist in a direct democracy is the collective Authority vested in the body politic.
             
              It is doubtful if authority can be created by -a group of equals who reach decisions by a process of mutual persuasion". Not surprisingly, the same author concludes that "commitment to direct democracy or anarchy in the socio-political sphere is incompatible with political authority".
             
              Therefore, the Greeks, having realized that "there always is and there always will be an explicit power, (that is, unless a society were to succeed in transforming its subjects into automata that had completely internalized the instituted order)," concluded that "no citizen should be subjected to power and if this was not possible that power should be shared equally among citizens. "
             
              So, although the Athenian democracy was a partial democracy, this was not due to the political institutions themselves but to the very narrow definition of full citizenship adopted by them. A definition which excluded large sections of the population (women, slaves, immigrants) who, in fact, constituted the vast majority of the people living in Athens.
             
              Unlike today's "democracies", which (after long struggles), institutionalized universal suffrage but at the same time secured the concentration of political power at the hands of a small political elite, , Athenian democracy was based on the principle that sovereignty is exercised directly by the citizens themselves.
             
              This is why classical Athens may hardly be characterized as a state in the normal sense of the word, as a state presupposes a sovereign and a centralized authority. As Castoriadis put it, "the Polis is not a State since in it explicit power the positing of nomos (legislation), dike (jurisdiction) and telos (government) belongs to the whole body of citizens".
             
              Still, Athenian democracy had a partial character not only because of the limitations of political democracy but also because of the fact that it was restricted to the political realm only. In fact, as, it was exactly the very limited nature of Athenian economic democracy which, in combination with the limitations of political democracy, eventually led to its collapse.
             
              In other words, the final failure of Athenian democracy was not due, as it is usually asserted by its critics, to the innate contradictions of democracy itself but, on the contrary, to the fact that it never matured to become an inclusive democracy.
             
              Furthermore, this failure cannot be adequately explained by simply referring to the immature "objective" conditions, the low development of productive forces and so on important as may be because the same objective conditions prevailed at that time in many other places all over the Mediterranean, let alone the rest of Greece, but democracy flourished only in Athens.
             
              Vice versa, the much lower development of productive forces did not prevent higher forms of economic democracy than in Athens to develop among aboriginal American communities where economic resources were available to everyone in the community for use and "things were available to individuals and families of a community because they were needed, not because they were owned or ' created by the labor of a possessor.
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