focus of this week's discussion on he new talk by Bob Avakian will be...

The "Divine Right of Kings" and "Democracy"—Two "Cohering Mythologies" of Two Different Systems of Exploitation

In feudal society, it was "natural" that everyone had their particular place. I've spoken to this before: Thomas Aquinas—who was a theologian, but also a theoretician in a broader sense, whose ideas corresponded in basic terms to the relations of feudal society—put forward the idea that everything in the universe, even rocks, had their place, all ordained by God. And then there is "the divine right of kings," a cornerstone of feudal society. This was considered such an outrage by bourgeois revolutionaries and bourgeois theoreticians. Recently, I was reading Thomas Paine again, and he goes on and on about what an absurd and criminal idea the divine right of kings and hereditary role of kings is. All this guarantees, he insisted, is that you could get a moron having absolute power in society just as well as a wise person. You could get someone mentally defective being declared to have divine right to rule. And on and on.

Well, yes, this condemnation of the "divine right of kings" is understandable, from the point of view of the rising bourgeoisie, which needed to break through the constraints of feudalism ultimately in the economic base. But let's not be reductionist—they did battle it out in the realm of the superstructure, and the theoreticians of the rising bourgeois class and the bourgeois revolution believed what they were arguing for, at least overwhelmingly. To them that really was an absurd and criminal idea—the divine right of kings and the absolute order of things as established in such a way that to try to change it would be to go against the very fabric of reality and of the universe as ordained by God and maintained by God's will. As much as those bourgeois theoreticians saw this as absurd and outrageous, in the feudal order it was just the opposite: to rebel against the king, the monarch, was to rebel against God and the God-ordained order.
And everyone, from the nobles to the serfs, was supposed to know their role and play their role accordingly and appropriately.

Now, if we move a little bit further away from the bourgeois era and look back on it from the historical perspective of where things need to go and can go—not are bound to go, but need to go and can go—we can see that the great talisman of bourgeois democracy, elections and the right of the governed to choose those who govern them, in fact, in the reality of the functioning of bourgeois society, has no more absolute legitimacy than the divine right of kings. It is just another form in which the needs and interests of the ruling class are asserted in this particular kind of society, and a mechanism through which—and through the control over that process of bourgeois politics and elections—the interests of the ruling class are maintained and enforced. It is their version—DEMOCRACY, ELECTIONS is, in effect, their version—of the divine right of kings. It is a cohering mythology of a certain system. It's not mythology that they have elections, it's mythology what those elections are purported to be all about and what happens through them. In reality, they are not an expression of "the will" or "the sovereignty" of "the people," but an expression of the process through which the capitalist class maintains its system of exploitation and its domination, its dictatorship, over the classes and groups in society that it exploits and oppresses.

And the "human nature" that goes along with this society is no different—the "human nature" that people constantly assert as why things are and have to be the way they are, is nothing other than a reflection of the underlying relations and dynamics of a certain system, the system of capitalism. (read rest of excerpt here)

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