Democracy and Social Change

Gray, Stanley
Publisher:  SUPA Research, Information and Publications Project
Year Published:  1966  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX11861

Gray maintains that liberal democracy places power in only a few hands and calls for a radical democratization of power within the framework of an economy owned, controlled, and responsible to the public.

Abstract:  Stanley Gray's Democracy and Social Change criticizes the process by which the Canadian government and private institutions make decisions. Gray believes that too much power is centered in only a handful of individuals and calls for citizens to create a better political system centered on the idea of 'Participatory Democracy', "a system where individuals, in all the social, economic and political spheres of society, participate actively and continuously in the basic decisions which affect their lives." The author believes that liberal democracy places power in only a few hands and calls for a radical democratization of power within the framework of an economy owned, controlled, and responsible to the public. Gray highlights how "The students have no effective voice in the administration of their universities and the composition of curricula, the workers have little power over corporate decision-making, the consumer is left to the mercy of the manufacturers, the retailers and the advertisers. Corporations, universities, government agencies are bureaucratic and centralized institutions where decisions are made in a highly arbitrary manner by elites with no constitutional responsibility to the millions of individuals who are affected by their policies." The article presents several cases for a more democratic society where individuals have a greater say in the decision making process. "Acting upon values of peace and freedom, we are trying to organize people in the university and in various communities in order to assert their collective power, to speak for themselves and work for a participatory democracy in Canada."

[Abstract by William Stevenson]

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