The Bristol Radical History Group
Election Special 2010
‘Every Cook Can Govern’
From Athens To Westminster?
Proponents of parliamentary democracy often hark back semi-legendary ‘golden ages’ as a foundation of universal enfranchisement. Do these myths have any basis in reality and what relevance do they have today? Dan Bennett and Tony Dyer follow a historical path from ancient Athens via Anglo-Saxon participatory democracy through to the French Revolution. Dave Cullum poses the question, is representative democracy necessary for modern capitalism to exist?
Every Cook Can Govern
Daniel Bennett's talk will encompass historical debates about democracy following the English and French revolutions and how aspirations about representative democracy lost sight of the Athenian ideal of real and participatory democracy. He will end with a discussion of the possibility of election by lottery, the equivalent of rule by jury.
Tony Dyer's talk will look at how Anglo-Saxon democracy developed out of a natural democratic system that empowered all members of a community to participate in the decision-making process - it will then look at the outside pressures that saw this participation undermined and neutered in the name of 'civilised' democracy, resulting in the electoral system today whereby power has passed from the many to a few.
Democracy And Capitalism
Dave Cullum poses the question, is representative democracy necessary for modern capitalism to exist?
An expert barrister in health and safety law, Dan Bennett is also the author of A Brief History of Corporations (reprinted by Bristol Radical History Group) a widely sold pamphlet in Britain and the US. Dan has also used his expertise at the bar to handle the town green planning applications for the several areas in Bristol threatened by development.
Bristol born Tony Dyer is an active green campaigner and frequent blogger (as Aurea Mediocritas) on local political and environmental matters.
Dave Cullum was once the Captain of the record breaking Easton Cowboys Cricket Club 2nd XI, is still a connoisseur of fine ciders and authored of Society and Economy in West Cornwall c1588-1750 (Exeter University, PhD thesis, 1994).