The limits to people power

So here at Innermost Parts I talk a lot about power to the people. You know – students need more say in things. We should have a part of the governing structure of the University, the board of trustees should actually listen to us, some members of administration should make an actual effort to know students (others do it quite well) etc.

Now, in my mind I’ve always known that there are limits to that. Democracy is a good idea but holding incessant elections is a problem. There needs to be space for people to make decisions that aren’t held hostage to votes, counter-votes, committee meetings, etc.

I stumbled upon an account of the troubles of pacifica radio. The themes are interesting. I wonder if this is the sort of horror scenario that the Board of Trustees thinks of when we ask for more say in decisions?

Now, I think that’s silly. There’s a big difference between asking for giving students equal representation on already-existing committees and a takeover of the University by a lunatic fringe. Still, this story is one worth reading about and thinking over.

I wonder what an optimal student union setup would be like? Clearly we can’t “throw democracy” at the problem, but surely we can find better ways of doing things.