The Semisovereign People: A Realist's View of Democracy in America

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This book started out to be an attempt to formulate a theory of political organization. While the emphasis has shifted somewhat in the course of the writing, it is still a book about political organization, an attempt to work out a theory about the relation between organization and conflict, the relation between political organization and democracy, and the organizational alternatives open to the American people. The assumption made throughout is that the nature of political organization depends on the conflicts exploited in the political system, which ultimately is what politics is about. The thesis is that we shall never understand politics unless we know what the struggle is about. The great problem in American politics is: What makes things happen? We might understand the dynamics of American politics if we knew what is going on when things are happening. What is the process of change? What does change look like? These questions are worth asking because obviously tremendous things are going on in American public affairs, even in quiet times... To understand why Americans generally have been unconscious of the process of change it is necessary to take a new look at the dynamics of American politics. Throughout this book the emphasis has been on the dynamic character of the American political system. The concepts formulated here constitute an attack on all political theories, all research techniques and concepts tending to show that American politics is a meaningless stalemate about which no one can do anything. Because so much is going on, one object of the book is to show the need for a new public policy about politics.--from the Preface.

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Contents

The Contagiousness of Conflict
1
The Scope and Bias of the Pressure System
20
Whose Game Do We Play?
46
Copyright

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