DEMOCRACY & NATURE: The International Journal of INCLUSIVE DEMOCRACY vol. 5, no. 1 (March 1999), PP.145-161


Libertarian Thought, Ideology, and the ‘Classics’: a Review of Cleisthenes, the Athenian PDF





The translation of Pierre Leveque and Pierre Vidal-Naquet’s Cleisthenes, the Athenian[1] by David Ames Curtis, better known as the English translator of Cornelius Castoriadis, is important. Leveque is an historian and Vidal-Naquet a classical scholar associated of left sympathizes and with a history of interventions as a public ‘intellectual’ (or, preferably, merely a public thinker). Cleisthenes is the early 5th century BCE reformer of the Athenian constitution most associated with Athens’ transformation into a ‘democracy’ in old Greek terms―what today gets called more specifically ‘direct’, ‘radical’, or, perhaps, most appropriately, participatory democracy. To the readers of Democracy and Nature, recognition of close relationships between participatory democracy, the ideas the anarchist communist or the libertarian socialist, and investigation of ancient Greek thinking and practices is unsurprising. Castoriadis, along with Murray Bookchin, have, with good reason, inspired the journal, and they in turn are perhaps influenced today more by ancient Greek patterns of thinking and practice, freedom and equality than any other body of thought.[2] Both thinkers, along with Hannah Arendt, have tried to realize a democratic―in that original sense―version of the socialist or communist ideal by re-excavating ancient Greek (and, to a lesser extent, Roman) models.[3] In this, they follow a path pioneered by thinkers such as Niccolo Machiavelli and Jean-Jacques Rousseau before them, or the founders of the American confederal republic. These latter, as Arendt noted, ransacked the past in search of lessons on democracy and republics. In this roundabout fashion, to use Castoriadis’ memorable title, that is, ‘from Marx to Aristotle and from Aristotle to Us’, they sought to uncover and explicate the failures of the 20th century socialist movement via consideration of ancient Greek concepts of the political animal.


Included as well in this volume is a discussion on the invention of democracy by Vidal-Naquet, Castoriadis and Leveque which took place in the Pompidou center on the 2,500th anniversary of Cleisthenes’ reforms, combined with an interesting foreword by Ames. This text can be read in terms of left classical treatments offering a civic orientation opposing Christian influences. The following was a reading of Cleisthenes in relation to a key issue: the opposition of a ‘classical’ orientation to the formation of Christian-modeled ideologies. This historical transition and later oppositions may indeed be more important in theoretical terms than the ‘transition from feudalism to capitalism’. Investigation of classical orientations allows an escape from a history of social movements tied to Christian categories, with its recurring dialectic between ‘church’ and ‘sect’, whether in the early modern form of Christian institutions and canons, or in the late modern form as ideologies, organizations for means of ‘spiritual’ or ‘intellectual’ guidance by vocational or professional elites.[4]


Ames’ efforts are, as I read them, part of an attempt to create a public, that is, non-academic, discussion, or one ideology―free, in the sense that academy serves as the modern base of the technical intelligentsia, the new class, to replace that formed by the clerical estates. At a time when academic ‘leftoids’ corrupt and confuse thinking, and left politics drift from one failure to the next, questions of ideology arise again. This suggests investigation of what is known as the ‘classics’ as a means of avoiding ideological positions. Classics are by definition pre-Christian.[5] Can one think as a political animal in ‘ism’-free terms, without forming an ‘ideology’? Is anarchism or socialism necessarily ideological? What is the relation of these noble attempts to ideologies, that is, to the subject-ideas developed via Church-religious claims for the purposes of clerical elites? Can one speak of a republican ideology? Can one speak of ‘anarch-ism’ as a sect ideology (and thus a potential priesthood)?


Ideology and elites of the spirit


Ideologies are indicated by the ending ‘-ism.’ In terms of Max Weber’s sociology of religion and domination, one can view that ideologies are generated by intellectual and spiritual elites, the ‘founders’ of bureaucratic/clerical institutions. These ideologies have the effect, if not the purpose of destroying citizenship. They create ‘subjects’, and dominate them via means of a clerical/ bureaucratic elite. This is a fair description of both the role of positive social science and those bureaucratic nation-states (now mostly decrepit) which eventually called themselves ‘Socialist’ republics. Historically, this is not surprising since both positive social science and socialism have the exact same roots in the ideological work of Henri de Saint-Simon in the wake of the French Revolution. As importantly, ‘academia’, though it claims otherwise, is institutionally ideological. Its development parallels that of Saint-Simon’s efforts, that is, it has historically modeled itself on the spiritual-bureaucratic organization of the Roman Church, a model evident in the organization efforts of famous scientists and ideologues of the ‘scientific revolution’ such as Galileo Galilei, Marin Mersenne, Rene Descartes, Francis Bacon, and Isaac Newton. Such figures self-consciously supported or engaged in the ideologies of ‘state-building’, applied the ascetic-clerical and educated elite model of the Roman world-wide priesthood to their concepts of intellectual establishments.[6] Ultimately, such was also the case for the founders of social science and state socialism.


Scottish and English liberal thinkers used the model of a clerical elite. Thomas Hobbes places the professional priesthood under obedience to the King in position equal to a similar professional officers’ corps in his model of a Leviathan. Bacon’s model in his New Atlantis is also vocational: rule by scientists.[7] Both figures were profoundly influenced by Christianity’s organizational model; and both are later followed in spirit by the utilitarian movement, modeled self-consciously on the sect-reform methodism and the ideal of an intellectual elite of ‘savants’ forwarded by the Enlightenment.[8] Though the Scottish Enlightenment is classical in education, it rejects systematically the ideal of citizenship. Thus, the crucial indicator is not the ‘a-theism’ of important liberal philosophers like Hobbes or David Hume, but what they share with the more pious John Locke. All three, on the original model of Christian ideologues such as Paul of Tarsus and Augustine, disliked the active citizen. One searches in vain for the word ‘citizen’ in Locke’s famous and influential Second Treatise on Government. Indeed, ‘liberal citizenship’ or a liberal ‘theory’ of citizenship is an oxymoron.[9]


The hostility to civic models and citizenship in English thought is reflected not only in Anglo-American piety, but in the English language, a point Ames notes in his foreword, where he is compelled, ‘somewhat inadequately’, to translate the French word laicisation with ‘secularization’. Lay culture, he observes, is a positive thing, resulting from the long republican struggle against the role of the Catholic Church in France. It contrasts, with ‘secular’, which refers ‘in rather limited and negative terms’ to ‘separation of Church and State’ and to religious toleration of sects. This difference suggests that Ames perhaps should start the struggle in English, insisting on ‘lay’ and ‘laity’ rather than ‘secular’, since the latter term is, ironically, a profoundly Christian word―one of messianic and irrational expectation of salvation after the ‘cycles’ of fallen, earthly life have passed by forever. That ‘secular’ continues to have merely the meaning ‘non-religious’ in English is striking. In German, it is frequently also used to refer to ‘cycles’, as in ‘cycles of accumulation’ in Marx inspired models of capital development, but in English this meaning is lost. More important, ‘-ization’ words follow from the ideological work (the Protestant ethic and its earners) accompanying the construction of the compulsory institutions underlying the law of value, the dynamic of capital accumulation as profit for the sake of profit. This is the foundation of the ‘Whig’ model of history as unending progress, a model inspired on the ‘church’-type of compulsory institution.[10] This meaning or ‘secular’ as messianically directed ‘cycle’, is, not surprisingly, most veiled in English, the ideological discursive medium par excellence of the capitalist mode of production. ‘Laity’, in contrast, exposes the institutional bases. It contrasts with ‘clerical’ and ‘clerks’, that is, the bureaucratically constructed institutions coeval with ‘Christianity’ and ‘Christianism’, the anti-civic and anti-republican canonizers tied to the ideals of ascetic life, universal subjection and universal monarchial rule. Roman clerics, as Weber noted, transformed imperial Roman law and its Latin into the most influential, successful and novel bureaucracies of all pre-modern civilizations; and civic reform, as evident early in the Italian city republics, and later with its main sources in the free and imperially chartered cities of Northern Europe, begins by attacking the corrupting role of priests.


‘Ism’ words are a crucial indicator of ideological ascription founded on the original clerical-bureaucratic Christian model. ‘Ism’ stems from the ancient Greek ending ‘-ismos’, but has no ideological meaning in that language. Thus from the word logos (the verb for ‘to speak’, to offer an ‘account’ or ‘reckon’) one can say logismoi, in the sense of ‘those things reckoned’, and logismos, ‘a reckoning’. But no word approaching ‘logical-ism’ or ‘rationalism’ is possible. This noun construction never develops an ‘ideological’ meaning until much later, with the development of the theocratic, caesaro-papist institutions of Byzantium. The Byzantine Greek word for Christians as an institution, Chrislianismo and Christianismus, thus become the exact transliterations into Latin respectively by Augustine (City of God, XIX, xxiii) and in the Theodosian legal code (16,7,7).[11] If one considers an important 20th century ideology like ‘communism’, or Kommunismus (the German translation), these roots become evident. Communism only gets fixed as an ideology once council communists are expelled from the Communist International, and as a clerical-bureaucratic elite, the Lenin inspired cadre-party, dominates, along with its jealously guarded canon, the ‘holy blue books’ as new left German Marxists ironically called the Marx-Engels collected works. The victory of ‘communism’ and the destruction of civic or communal freedom occur together.[12]


The Christian origins of the socialist ideology


The Janus-faced nature of Paris as both arena of ‘communal’ revolt and the seat of the French absolute imperial nation is a source of this dilemma. The city of St Bartholomew’s Night and the Jacobin ‘Terror’ is also the city of ideology formation as it concerns us. Here the words ‘socialism’, ‘communism’ and ‘anarchist’ were established, all in the 1840s in the wake of the 1830 uprisings and the ebbing of reaction to the French Revolution. Importantly, both ‘socialism’ and ‘communism’ are established explicitly on the model of a Church clerical elite of modern or ‘secular’ savants as is ‘liberalism’ and the utilitarian movement, on the elite model of the philosophe ‘intellectual.’ Saint-Simon’s followers are most important in establishing the word socialism, but the model was a Christian clerisy, as evident in books by Saint-Simon with titles like ‘The New Christianism’ (La Nouveau Christianisme) and ‘Catechism of Industrial Politics’ (Catechisme Politique des Industriels).[13] The French word communisme was coined in 1842 by Etienne Cabet in his utopian novel Voyage to Icaria, and, as Fredrich Engels polemicized in the Robert Owen influenced journal, New Moral World, the Cabet followers tried openly to match this new term with true Christianity. Engels invoked the rational followers of Owen as more critical advocates of ‘authentic humanism’; and together with Marx in the German Ideology contrasted the poetic spirit of Charles Fourier to the business-like calculation and juridical slyness found in Cabet. Indeed, this young Engels has noted what the mature Peter Kropotkin understood much more thoughtfully: Fourier is a coherent and powerful critic of slate-based, elite and bureaucratic visions of the socialist teaching. Marxists, however, cannot eliminate their own political theology since they never asked the theoretical question: how can one organize the ideal of free and equal commune in a political fashion?[14] Thus, their answer has always been a religious-’Whig’ messianic, that is, an irrational and messianic one: the thinkers of the future will ‘solve’ such issues.


Anarchism as sect ideology


That Marxism becomes an ideological canon managed by a clerical elite is obvious (and one progressively replaced by academic Marxism and ‘cultural studies’ since the end of the Cold War). More relevant is the relation of classical concepts of political freedom to ‘anarch-ism’ as an ideology. After all, it never becomes a movement organized in compulsory form by a bureaucratic-spiritual elite. Is this ‘ism’ word ideological? Is it a continuation of the sect tradition with a genealogy leading from the radical heretical movements of the Middle Ages or anabaptism? Fourier, though he developed no ‘isms’ himself, is illuminating on the problems of anarchism as a soil of ‘sect’ ideology. An idiosyncratic genius, his megalomania may exceed the bounds of any later anarchist thinker. He was, he wrote, the first person for two thousand years to illuminate the world’s darkness. Difficult to work with, to say the least, the Fourier movement had little chance until its original fountain stopped flowing. Further, Fourier’s ideas are carved out in vitriolic attacks on Saint-Simon. Fourierism, as movement and ideology, had an interesting but fleeting history in the mid-19th century in France and among some utopian communes in the Americas, organized among others by the intrepid energies of Fourier’s follower, Victor Considerant. But it is the first two observations―regarding (1) its origin as reactive nature to state/church building ideologists, and (2) a corresponding and indigenous gnostic/sectarian megalomania―which provide clues to the question of ‘anarchism’ as ideology, if indeed it is one.


As Bookchin has discovered, ‘Switzerizing Anarchist’ appeared as a Cromwell party term of abuse during the English revolution. But this is not all. Evidently, the word ‘anarchism’, it would appear, though rare, predates the age of ideologies following the French Revolution by nearly two centuries! In English at least, it has the odd quality of being one of the very oldest of the ‘ism’ words. A Sir Edward Dering, in A Collection of Speeches in Matters of Religion wrote in 1642 amidst the English Revolution: ‘This bill will prove ... the mother of all anarchisme’. Thomas Blount’s 1660 Glossographia, Or Dictionary Concerning Hard New Words managed a positively teachable definition: ‘the Doctrine, Positions or Art of those that teach anarchy; also the being itself of the people without Prince or Ruler’.[15] Importantly, however, ‘anarchism’ has obviously appeared as the dangerous reaction to the oldest ‘ism’ in the English language, namely ‘Christianisin’, a synonym for ‘Christianity’ which had a fleeting existence from period of the English reformation (late 16th century) until the end of the 19th century, when it was subsumed by its earlier and more common brother, ‘Christianity’. This development marks the success of intense repietization of English and American society (largely via methodism) in the wake of the less Christian 18th century. Christians managed to veil the ideological nature of this first ideology as the Protestant ethic managed to in early victories with the social and political demands of a labor movement which itself was not yet ‘ideological’, but still largely civic and rational in its discursive orientation, though the utilitarian or liberal movement itself was a self-consciously ideology on the model of Christendom.


The modern history of anarchism as doctrine suggests the dilemmas of sectarian hypernegativity. P-J Proudhon is famous for an imaginary dialogue penned in the early 1840s. He rejects ‘republican’ with a specious argument and ‘democrat’ with none. He provocatively called himself an ‘anarchist’ because, beyond mixed government, it was ‘less than anything’.[16] Proudhon’s early writings, alas, are violent polemics not only against Saint-Simon and his followers, but also against Fourier and his. Considerant, a fellow of considerable patience, called Proudhon ‘that strange man who was determined that none should share his views’. If continuity in the formation of a liberty oriented view of social justice is to be found, it was not between the followers of Fourier and Proudhon. Though provocatively and negatively an ‘anarchist’, Proudhon called his doctrine ‘mutualism’. Michael Bakunin and Proudhon seem to have gotten along vis-à-vis conflicts with Marx. But otherwise each spoke only the great influence they had on the other. Anarchism as a social or even political movement can be traced to its openness to working with bourgeois ‘democrats’ and the early followers of Marx, evident in Bakunin’s willingness to work in both the ‘League of the Just’, and then, in the First International, until it was excluded from both.[17] Indeed, it doesn’t have a doctrinal formulation qua ‘anarch-ism’ until the later speeches and essays of Kropotkin, first as a modifier, ‘anarchist’, of ‘anarchist communism’ in his 1891 pamphlet of that name, and finally as a teaching, anarchism, in essays published in Russian and English after the turn of the century, such as Modem Science and Anarchism.[18]


This late development of a coherently organized teaching calling itself ‘anarchism’ is ironic. Kropotkin is one of the few non-megalomaniacal anarchist writers of substance. Educated, dedicated, polite and thoughtful, he bears responsibility more than any other for maintaining a coherent continuity.[19] He never generated a following of disciples seeking intellectual-forceful hegemony on the model of a clerisy. Nonetheless, his greatest failing, noted by most later thoughtful critics, is the fuzzy overlap between his optimist love of humanity and his endorsement of a ‘Whig’-messiah model of history as progress.[20]


Without too much exaggeration, improvement on Kropotkin doesn’t much occur until reconsideration of ancient Greek models by the ex-Trotsky sect-members, Castoriadis and Bookchin, in the wake of the Second World War. Wizened by intellectual struggles with Marxism, both are democratic and classical offshoots of Hegelian-Marxism. Their continuation of the institutional-sectarian dilemma of libertarian politics suggests a revision of Marx’s famous 11th thesis:

philosophers have only changed the world via cliques of academic- clerical elites; the point, however, is to think a project to found it democratically.

The fate of Bookchin’s teaching and Castoriadis’ project reflect difficulties establishing a coherent continuity of theory and practice. Arguably the two most important libertarian social and political thinkers of the 20th century, their corpus will be completed without one noticing the other outside of tortured attempts to avoid each other’s conceptual themes. Thus on the one hand we find an essay arguing for the move from ‘ecology to autonomy’.[21] It would be hard not to see the hostility, at least in Germany, of the Autonomen movement to ecology outside of such arguments. Though the latter development was most caused by Green realo participation during the mid-1980s in the purchase of water-cannon trucks for the police, such arguments do not help maintain a libertarian view retaining a coherent understanding of ecology. This kept Castoriadis publishable in the ex-Trotskyist circles of ‘cultural studies’, but with the result of ignoring the ecological problem. On the other hand, one finds unfortunate attempts to etymologize the word autonomy out of the tendency of libertarian social and political thought with claims that the word represents an individual outlook appearing with the Roman Empire.[22]


Though a stoic sense of self-rule is retained by republican voices in the Roman Empire, perhaps as the fortune of those destined to maintain an upright carriage in imperial times, ‘autonomy’ does appear as an idea with the Roman Empire. It is located in the development of the democratic city, and as understanding of democratic constitution nearly as important to this period as other Greek words like isogorea, isonomia, and demokratia.[23] Sectarian thinking appears together with the problem of escaping from clerical and landed grips of organized and ascetic religion. Thus, the anabaptist movement thought one could read the bible literally to free oneself from priests. But it failed to recognize that the Bible was composed and made canonic by priests. In general, sect thinking founders on its insistence that one textual body of knowledge can be correct, while the others are false.[24]


‘Classical’ approaches provide a possible outlet for sectarian tendencies apparently endemic in the history of anarchist thinking in general since they are pre-Christian. They are pre-ideological in a specific historical sense of missing Christianity (as the model for the epoch of ‘ideologies’ beginning in the nineteenth century). Leveque and Vidal Naquet offer a specific investigation of the problem of rational or intellectual generation of a plan for reform of the constitution. Their book is a remarkable investigation of the development of the political-intellectual movement, that of the Pythagoreans (seen outside the later neo-Platonic interpretations of this ‘sect’) up to and including its apparent application for Athens’ democratic constitutional order of Tribes, Trittyes, and Demes as multiples of 3, 5, and 10. Thus, from the perspective of sectarian feuding as crucial to the ideological form of libertarian socialism, Vidal-Naquet and Leveque focus on classical examples may prove illuminating in two respects. First, it suggests a general lesson for the problem of transforming church and sect doctrines into republican thinking which undoes its priest-canon religious roots: avoidance of ideological expressions in general as ‘positive’ attributes by avoiding ‘ism’ words in cases not merely descriptive. Second, this can be combined with a general left interest in revitalizing classical orientations and vocabulary by contesting this vocabulary in a non-ideological fashion.


With regard to the ancient reading of the polis, the most important opposition is the Christian model of tutelary or Herrschaft association (in Weber’s terms), with its transcendental and closed ideology and clerisy. The formulation of the subject and the rise of a priesthood to manage the spiritual bureaucracy accompanied the corruption of the city to mere urbanity. This lead to Alexandrian dynasties, the proliferation of mystery cults, mysticism and neo-Platonic ideas, and ultimately the development of the Roman Christian church as an empire (Paul, Augustine, Justinian).[25] Vis-à-vis the city, this is the most incommensurable development in the formation of the ‘West’. It means that the question of considering the original formation of ancient city or political life must contrast sharply with the re-development of the polis out of a Christian context, as in early modernity.[26] In contrast to the clerical-state interpretation of man offered by Plato, Augustine, Hobbes and Weber, Troeltsch’s interpretation of the ‘social teaching’ of ‘sect’ history provides paths to republican readings and materials of civic freedom. As he notes, in the history of teleologies where civic models which, as in the case of the 13th century political thinker, Marsiglio of Padua predominate, one sees a privileged role for various ‘material causes’. These ‘lower’, ‘weightier’ or ‘more grave’ powers or ‘entellechias’ in the arrangement of groups intersect with pantheist and anti-monarch sentiments in intellect-practice and esoteric-redemptive sects of the early Christian reformation, providing a seed-bed of republican and confederal potentialities.


Pre-Christian intellectual interventions: Pythagorean doctrine and democratic constitutions


In a different context, namely that before the advent of one-God religion, Leveque and Vidal-Naquet offer an interesting model for Athens’s relation to sect, religion, philosophy and civic founding as rational action. For Leveque and Vidal-Naquet, civic founding in Athens is rational and inspired by science or philosophy, namely the Pythagorean sect. Cleisthenes, they argue, took his rational model from Pythagoras’ theories. Pythagoras developed a musical theory of proportions and mathematical/geometrical relations in the form of a sect or esoteric group of followers, and was crucial to revolutionary upheavals in the Greek cities of southern Italy. He established his teaching in Croton and Sybaris, colonies in Southern Italy, no doubt, as Castoriadis argues, demonstrating the role of colonial margins in innovation and reform. But in Croton, Pythagoras’ own initiatives failed, or rather overshot the mark. It was in Athens, with the history of Alcmaeonid politics and Cleisthenes’ constitution, where Pythagorean rational proportion is established as a political reality or practical embodiment. In this respect, Leveque and Vidal-Naquet take a hint from Vlasto’s analysis of the political and religious content in the early philosophers or physeilogoi.[27] However, rather than looking at the political content of pre-Socratic doctrines, Leveque and Vidal-Naquet invert the relation, and demonstrate a plausible practical realization or phronesis-based, constitutional expression of a pre-Socratic teaching. This revolves around the complex, three-layered space orientation and declassing structure. The reforms mixed the three original aristocratic-clan ‘tribes’ into a series of sortition local-groups as city wards, divided proportionately into sections respectively from the sea-coast, the plains, and the mountain areas of Attic Peninsula. This followed from a doctrine of Pythagorean proportions in establishing the civic and egalitarian system of lot for choosing members of the council, the main legislative-administrative body (pp. 63-70).[28]


The relation of art, religion and rational intellect in the Athenian polity relates not only to the typical Walter Benjamin problem of ‘messianic’ content. In the Leveque and Vidal-Naquet reading, such ‘now-time’ contents appear in the detective-historical work in excavation, following Arendt’s model of being inspired by past republican and classical models as a means of understanding modern revolutionary thought (‘ransacking the past’).[29] ‘Now time’ in Benjamin refers to that blast of energy from the past that forms during revolution, a blast reflected even in the classical costumes of the Jacobins. This idea is elaborated by Arendt in the last chapter of On Revolution (with an image reflecting her more differentiated critique of violence) as ‘lost treasure’―references to the classical assembly as modern ‘communal’ or ‘council’ communism which appear magically in revolutionary times. This provides a rational rather than a theological reading of Walter Benjamin’s doctrine of material messianism or ‘now-time’ dialectic.[30] In terms of ‘aestheticization of politics’, another Benjamin theme introduced by Ames in relation to the city as a Pythagorean ‘work of art’, Cleisthenes suggests that the civic religion of Athens, expressed as art, as tragedy, minors in both the material form and the formal elements of genre. In tragedy, both theater audience itself and the chorus recreate the demos. The key point reflection of political or democratic life is arranged in the polis that marks an historically unique[31] form of the politics and aesthetics, as guided by balance or proportion. Namely, Athenian theater is a rational version of fertility religions, and its defining feature is balance, proportion, equipoise and collective purgation as a ‘cultural’, not a political, act. It fits with the notion of the ‘just’ stemming from early natural science as a hylozoist or living ‘balance.’[32] Leveque and Vidal-Naquet’s book is an example of the potential lying in left investigation of ‘classical’ models of citizen constitutions. I should like to conclude this essay on ideological and ancient models relating theory to practice with more than the general observation that classical democracy provides a pre-ideological orientation to addressing the sect dynamic in the history of libertarian thinking. Waking up the left via excavation of ‘classical’ or civic thinking in the fashion proposed by Arendt, or searching, in the words of Agnes Heller’s students, Michael Crazier and Peter Murphy, for the ‘civic center’,[33] are tasks pioneered by Castoriadis and Bookchin, however much they reproduce sectarian effects in the process. The central idea developed by Vidal-Naquet and Leveque is that the democratic ‘founding’ or ‘reform’ carried out by Cleisthenes transformed the old, or established a new arrangement of space and time in Athens. In a civic and theory sense―as evident in the ‘science’ of the early philosophers―time and space become reason attributes of the city constitution. The calendar―in the sense of passage of civic deities related to ‘tribes’ or groups delegated to magisterial offices―and the geographical pattern of civic space―in the sense of transforming territorial ‘counties’ into ‘wards’ of a civic constitution―accompany Clesthenes’ revolution. The general point is that a civic association of citizens as group personality, the basic model of Aristotle’s Politics, that is, citizenship as ‘taking turns ruling and being ruled’, is a development running counter to the feudal and patrimonial notions of territory (see p. 147n3). The polis is a self-institution which is non-territorial. ‘Territory belongs as little to the concept of polis that one recent argument bears the title ‘polis without territory’. There is no Greek expression for the region or area of the state (Staatsgebiet). Greek expressions for the political community are of a purely personal sort, ‘oi Athenaioi’, not ‘Athens’, but ‘o demos ton Athenaion’ or ‘e polis ton Athenaion', ‘The constitution is constitutioned of men, not of houses’, declares Themistokles. The polis, following Aristotle, is the totality of the citizens.’[34] The non-territorial nature of the polis is adopted by personality-based models such as those of Marsiglio, Althusius, and Gierke in early modem republic form, and contrasts structurally to the mechanical notion of space and time represented in modem state paradigms such as found in Descartes, Hobbes, Jeremy Bentham, J.S. Mill, Alfred Mahon, Weber, Carl Schmitt and Karl Haushofer.[35]


In their discussion of the transformation of space as homogeneity in the teaching of Pythagoras into Cleislhenes’s numero-graphical reform of Athens, Leveque and Vidal-Naquet miss key elements of mixing and of space-filling lying at the center of a civic model. Following from ambiguities, perhaps, in the rational concept of space in their structure-thinking predecessors, a more animated interpretation of pre-Socratic space as mixing balances rationalist predilections.[36] A general ‘homogeneity’ or homomorphic character to the city in the sense of its order of space, argue Leveque and Vidal-Naquet, is crucial to Cleisthenes’ model. But this spatial homogeneity is vital and moving, as suggested by a political interpretation of the ‘seeds’ or ‘potentialities’ in Anaxagoras’ model of cosmic reason.[37] As an emigre resident of Athens and personal friend of Perikles, Anaxagoras continues the affair of pre-Socratic philosophy and the Alcmaeonid clan. Anaxagoras’ model of ‘mind’, as a constant mixing and remixing of ‘seeds’ or ‘potentialities’ in various diverse unities reflects the literal motion of the citizen of individual civic potentialities, as ‘combination and separation,’[38] to larger assembled and deliberative organs, such as assembly, council and courts. As a process of seed mixing and remixing, Anaxagoras’ model of mind is a flow of ‘homoeomeries’ or ‘things with like parts’ which ‘gather together’, a ‘gathered-together’ component of mind, a unity of parts according to the reign of noos or ‘mind’.[39] As a mental-cosmic picture, this represents ‘metaphorically’ the filled spaces which embodied the collective or arranged, practices and reasons of the citizen body as constitutionally assembled groups, assembling and reassembling in rational motion according to the reign of constitutional mind or laws. In assembled form, these bodies are literally a gathering of minds for deliberative purpose, a gathering whose general or combined intelligence, is in practical or general matters, as Aristotle argues, more than that of smaller groups of specialists or technicians, however ‘highly’ educated.[40]


This image of a space filled with living mind, an intellect-practice sphere in literal terms, offers insight into a different emphasis in the description of democratic space as established via Cleisthenes’ reforms. The space of in-habit, that is, districted ward space and illustrated on the maps provided by Leveque and Vidal-Naquet, is a matter-space representation less crucial, indeed, quite secondary to the essential space, the defining feature of the citizen body: the actual and filled mental space of an assembly itself, gathered together for purposes of deliberation. Mix and circulation of ‘seeds’ or little potentialities, quasi ‘animal-minds’, in Anaxagoras’ thought, is realized first and foremost in assembly as filled space, a concept space sharply in contrast to a Newton-Hobbes, mechanical space serving as the model for the territorial or geo-political state and its notion of fenced, dependent-labor, or socially ‘constructed’, bondage-built, containerized spaces.[41] Focus on the filled space of present citizens, and not the size and shape of the constitutional district markings, the condition of the latter’s general equal quality―and comparable as a secondary quality to the sources of philosophy as another ‘dialogue’ of citizens, a ‘dialogue’, in Arendt’s sense, ‘with oneself’ on the model of friendship.[42] This Socratic image is a kind of super-imposition in the mind of the practice experience of deliberating in assembly. Rhetoric training and debate for real stakes, filled space of assembled deliberation, the Assembly, with such a quantity of practice reason (or practically habituated minds), constitutes the primary sort of space, that Hempl, Leveque and Naquet argue, ‘without territory’ (p. 9, n. 3) in the Constitution of the Athenians.[43] Such lived-space contrasts with late clerical and Newtonian concepts of cosmic space abstracted in academic or transcendent fashion from the ‘life-world’ found as the Christian middle-ages replace the ancient city republics.


[1] Pierre Leveque and Pierre Vidal-Naquet, Cleisthenes the Athenian: An Essay on the Representation of Space anti Time in Greek Political Thought from the End of the Sixth Century to the Death of Plato (New Jersey: Humanities Press, 1996). Subsequent references in the text. Tliis excellent book, alas, is obscenely priced.

[2] Castoriadis is rather particular in this regard calling himself a ‘libertarian socialist’, while Bookchin writes and acts as an anarchist in the strain developed by Peter Kropotkin as ‘anarchist communism’ or what Bookchin calls ‘communalism’. Vidal-Naquet's relation to the theory-practice question is more that of an engaged academic than one whose consciousness forms inside the communist movement and the labor movement. Nonetheless he has the distinction of being suspended as an Assistant Professor for protesting against French policies during the Algerian War, and, by his own account, has been proposing the use of sortition in election to academic policy councils, with little success, since 1968 (p. 109). Though not as internationally well known, he is in this respect comparable, as a historian, to the English E.P. Thompson.

[3] Much nonsense has been written by academics, Marxist ideologists, and Hebraic true believers about Arendt. Her entire intellectual project, in my reading, though she stumbled a bit after the Nazis wreaked her desire to become a philosopher, is an attempt to investigate the political reasons for the failure of the project of social justice developed by the communist movement, and formulate alternatives not to the ideals of communism, but to their failed practices. I encourage those who may think otherwise to recall the long and serious marriage to the Communist, Heinrich Blucher, and her views of Rosa Luxemburg, expressed above all in her review of J.P. Nettl’s biography of the latter.

[4] Troeltsch, The Social Teaching of the Christian Churches, 2 Vols. On the modern ‘clerisy’ or new class of ‘savants’ or intellectuals, see Julien Benda, The Treason of the Intellectuals, with ‘intellectuals’ being the translation of the French word clercs, ‘clerks’ and/or ‘clerics’.

[5] I use the word ‘classic’ reservedly to refer to the politics and reason of the ancient city republics because it is itself a ‘class-based’ elite term used for an elite reading of these texts by the modern readers of the Enlightenment. This appears via increasing restriction of those citizens who authentically represent the spirit of the ancient citizenry with its ‘highest’. Ancient Latin, which knew few or no such hierarchic metaphors. The wealthiest class of the centurian assembly―as in the expression ‘first class’ and in the spirit of the gentry to which the English and German ‘classics’ under influence of thinkers like David Hume, James and John Stuart Mill, the French philosophers, and the Weimar 18th century literati. Importantly for the republican view of Rome, ‘first class’ also began, the republic matured in the era prior to the Punic Wars, to mean something close to ‘first rank’, that is, those who regularly were required to do the most dangerous military duly. See Claude Nicolet, The World of the Citizen in Republican Rome (California, 1980), chs 3 & 4.

[6] In the case of academia, an additional and earlier source is the ‘Academy’, Plato, organized in the process of developing his philosophy as an attack on the democratic arrangements of the Athenian constitution. Plato’s philosophy in its mystical and hierarchic form becomes the single greatest influence in the development of Christianity’s theology. Plato, as both Vidal-Naquet and Castoriadis agree, is the ‘most violent critic’, the ‘sworn enemy’, of democracy (pp. 110, 124).

[7] See Horkheimer and Adorno’s Dialectic of Enlightentnenf (New York: Continuum, 3970), opening pages.

[8] See John Stuart Mill’s description of the utilitarian movement in his Autobiography (New York: Signet, 1964), pp. 151-157.

[9] Scholars influenced by ‘classical’ models such as George Grote’s History of Greece or Ernest Barker’s writings (summarizing several decades of attempts to apply Greek civic models to democratic reforms of the English state) provide important predecessors. Yet it is only with T.H. Marshall’s essay on ‘Citizenship and Social Class’ (1950), that is, with the development of a social democratic view, that English thought can claim to have considered seriously the question of citizenship. One new academic wave of new writings on citizenship is the footnotes to Marshall. See e.g. Bart van Steenbergen, The Condition of Citizenship (London: Sage, 1994), and Bryan S. Turner, Citizenship and Social Theory (London: Sage, 1993). Interestingly, Marshall’s essay coincides not only with the establishment of what comparative politics calls England’s ‘post-war settlement’ as a social democracy, but also with the final end of the British empire and establishment of a ‘commonwealth’.

[10] A reading of Max Weber and Carl Polanyi illuminate this point. Like Castoriadis and Bookchin, Polanyi’s historical work is influenced by Aristotle’s thought on economics. Anarchist teaching has historically, with the odd exception, been hostile to clerical Christianity. In terms of contemporary debates regarding ‘Eurocentrism’ and the colonization of the world by Europeans, the role of clerical Christianity and its offshoots cannot be emphasized enough: the capitalist world-system is nothing less than the ‘secular’ activities of Christian-inspired, monotheist energy. This point is not only evident in investigation of the rise of modem colonization and chattel slavery in the wake of the Christian-feudal ‘reconquest’ of Spain from Islam, itself a clerical-monotheist heresy of Christianity. Christianity’s missionary zeal acquires the world in many respects as a coincidental byproduct of reconquest or a struggle with its own heresy, Islam. Christian Europe’s struggle with its own heresy, Islam, is not only the key motivator. Even as such Christian adventurers as the Portuguese sailors learnt the slave trade from Islam and established their far-Eastern colonies, it was not the Indian or Chinese feudal systems which provided the greatest opposition to evolving Portuguese naval power and missionary/commercial energies, but Arab, that is, Muslim traders, those who controlled the Indian Ocean sea-lanes before defeat by the Portuguese. This point becomes a richer topic for investigation in the light of Elisabeth Young-Bruehl’s fascinating new book on The Anatomy of Prejudice (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1996). Young-Bruehl distinguishes between ‘ethnocentrism’ on the one hand, which is found generally in human groups of all sorts, and what she calls ‘ideologies of desire’, such as racism, anti-semitism, homophobia, and misogyny. Particularly in the first three of what she calls ‘ideologies of desire’ (though Young-Bruehl doesn’t examine this issue historically in detail) are offshoots of Christian ascetic-missionary energies stemming from the late Roman Empire that is, understanding “historical models of fate” or “necessity” as correctly to “ideology of desire.”

[11] It bears noting that Augustine, probably the single most important source of the first ideology-word, the Byzantine Christianismo, didn’t know Greek very well, if at all. Interestingly, the only pre-Christian group of intellectuals or intellectual movement which began to develop a scope and influence like an ideology, namely, that of the Stoics, has no ancient expression translatable to the highly modern ‘stoicism’. The Latin word is stoicis, that is, merely, ‘the stoics’.

[12] State socialist nations always required imperial-bureaucratic capital ‘cities’, ‘head’ cities or monarchial-oligarchic seats and power centers, ultimately purged of any local civic action, for ‘geopolitical’ reasons. The reestablishment of Moscow as the imperial administrative center of the Lenin and Stalin ‘soviet’ empire reflects this. So does the desperate attempts of their latter-day followers in China to crush the ‘statue of freedom’ in Tienanmen Square (ratified by ex-peasant Deng Xioping), or Leninoid-conservative dictators like Franjo Tudjman in Croatia or Milosevic in Serbia who annul or cancel city elections.

[13] ‘Catechism’ means a handbook of questions and answers for teaching the tenets of a religion, based in an inquisitorial model, that is, close questioning, and its internalization as the Christian concept ‘conscience’.

[14] Marx’s most famous reflections on this subject, in his writings on the Paris Commune, have been subject to withering critical comments by Arendt and Bookchin.

[15] He has translated the ancient Greek word anarchia, used by the ancient Greek historians, to mean ‘absence of a leader’, ‘people without government’, or in classical Latin, the word interrex, a period, such as that of the Thirty Tyrants, in which no magistrate or ‘archon’ held power. The term is invoked in classical times by oligarchic writers. Democratic sources are silent, though, to return to Cleislhenes and his constitution, the process of lot or sortition guaranteed enough magistrates that it would have required a well aimed asteroid to obliterate them all.

[16] Quoted in Edward Hyams, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (New York: Taplinger, 1979), p. 46.

[17] It bears noting that even inside the Communist International, strong libertarian elements remained, such as in the Dutch, Norwegian, and sections of the German Communist Parties, that is, on the margins of a statist ‘Euro-centric’ core. Such elements were not completely excluded from the Comintern until the late 1920s. Libertarian politics in Spain was broken by the new clerical/state ‘Communisism’ until Stalin’s goons exterminated it during the Spanish Civil War.

[18] Though Kropotkin cannot be accused of promoting in this somewhat positivist tract the ideal of ‘rule by scientists’ with which Bakunin had so powerfully denounced Marx and his followers, this doctrinal essay muddies up the indigenous rational pantheist or animist outlook present in his writings, most clearly in his ethics.

[19] This can be seen even today in the publication Freedom, however little it represents the thoughtfulness of its original founder.

[20] The city-based artisans from whom he expected revolution, with a messiah expectation comparable if not as philosophical as that represented by Marxian socialism, did not appear. The constitutional problems of founding confederations of democratic social polities eluded him.

[21] See Castoriadis, ‘From Ecology to Autonomy’, Thesis Eleven, Vol. 3 (1981), p. 8-22.

[22] See Murray Bookchin, ‘Communalism: The Democratic Dimension of Anarchism’, Democracy and Nature, No. 8 (1995), p. 305. Bookchin’s concern with the relation of the term autonomy to monarchic or imperial government would seem better served via focus on Kant’s ‘principle of autonomy’ (Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals, Section 3 (Indianapolis: Bobb Merrill, 1969), p. 67). Though autonomy is the key term uniting practical and natural scientific reason in Kant, its model as a law of practical reason comes from the Newtonian premises of pure reason. The context here is a legal relation to constitutional monarchy, to the Prussian state, not the independent or autonomous association of practicing citizens. The Greek word ‘autonomy’ has no real philosophic history in the period between the end of classical literature (ending with the rise of Caesar in the writings of Diodorus) until Kant retrieves it, and integrates it into his mechanically premised philosophy.

[23] It typically appears together with eleutheria, ‘free’ as ‘free and equal’, by Thucyidides in relation to critique of Athenian incursions on other free cities, and by Demosthenes in relation to Athens or other free cities vis-à-vis the growing power of Alexander. See e.g., Thucyidides, ‘The Peloponesian War’, 1.39044; 2.21; 2.29; 2.63071; 2;9608; 3.10011; Demosthenes, On the Liberty of the Rhodians’, 7.30032, and On the Accession of Alexander’, 1.26 in Orations', and Herodotus, ‘History’, 1.96. No doubt the term has an aristocratic bias in Thucydides vis-à-vis the hegemony exerted by democratic Athens on other city-states in the Eastern Mediterranean archipelagos; and the term reflects the problem ‘autonomy’ as ‘independence’ which can serve as aristocratic defense against internal/external democratic tendencies in a fashion comparable to the way the doctrine of ‘national sovereignty’ does protect dictatorial regimes today. But the libertarian thinking of Castoriadis or Bookchin does not do much to address this difficult dilemma; and this problem is the chief reason libertarian thought is not taken seriously. It is also central to contemporary debates about the liberal democratic ‘West’ and its ‘Eurocentric’ attitudes. But word mincing over liberty, democracy and autonomy does little to address this dilemma.

[24] Though the examples below on sect problems refer to twentieth century libertarian thought, the historical scope of this problem is much larger, and can be sought in those fascinating periods where reform Christian movements begin to morph into a ‘renewal’ or renaissance of ‘classical’ models. The revival of citizenship and civic freedom is the first condition for this development, under which the anti-political and clerical impetus of Christianity begins to produce reason and civic standing. See John Ely, ‘Libertarian Ecology and “Civil Society’”, Society and Nature, No. 6, pp. 127-133. Ernst Bloch noted the civic content crucial in aquinas’ transformation of Christian doctrine from neo-Platonic to a hierarchic version of Aristotle, but which nonetheless had civic content. The transformation of the cult of saints into civic religion, begun but unfinished in the early Italian city-republics, constitutes another crucial moment, as does the role of the semi-independent German cities in the early, and especially the so-called ‘radical’ reformation. Finally, in early modernity, Dutch revival of republican models amidst the struggles for religious freedom, resulting in the beginnings of a civic consciousness of so-called ‘classical’ forms, may be the most striking example. The victory of the nation-state via modernization of feudal monarchial houses based on increasingly country-based, extra-civic economic activities which produced the capitalist mode of production, largely ruined this possibly as constitutional development following the crushing of Bohemia by counter-reformation monarchs in the mid-17lh century at the Battle of White Mountain. Thus, someone like Rousseau, the disenfranchised ‘citizen of [Calvinist] Geneva’, is a bizarre late bloom. Subsequent attempts, dominated by oligarchic scholars who developed the ‘classical’ view, in Germany, in England and its colonies, naturally chose Plato’s elite models, or Plutarch and Cato’s country republican ideals because they never developed city life as a practical way of life. Liberal fear of government thus dominates the potential of a truly political animal. Arendt’s marvelous, Cleisthenes-based interpretation of Jefferson’s call to change the ‘counties’, that is, the landed estates of the count, into ‘wards’ never addresses the way the American republic, even in its early confederal form, never developed from ‘towns’ into the ‘city space’ not ‘fenced’ (the root of ‘town’), but defended by a competent militia. Private, home-based militias founded on farms and claiming local ‘sovereignty’ reproduces the general corruption of city-oriented life as it did in the late 6th and early 7th centuries as feudal order, represented in the Visigoth Laws, transformed the expression comitati civitatis, ‘council of the city’, into ‘count of the city’ insofar as what was originally the ‘council building’ is replaced as a noun with the ‘body of the count’ now exclusively inhabiting the old council building. The Lockean individualist mentality, viewing the ‘government’ opposed to the local farm-owner, of the early American farmer militias inherits this feudal local prejudice. Despite all mythology, the sad truth of this early project lies in this feudal attitude. The country folk who learned toughness never learned civic spirit because the city-country split resolved more successfully in the ancient cities failed. In the public mind, US ‘Americans’ are citizens of a ‘county’, not of a city or polity. The US colonies never achieved their Marathon; and George Washington, pulling his hair all the while, was forced to professionalize the military on Prussian models. ‘Civic’ theory and practice never developed, and has remained a rare growth in the English-speaking world, a plant watered by immigrant or near immigrant socialist inspired writers like Kropotkin, Arendt, Bookchin, or Gregory Vlastos, and explicitly anti-scholarly writers like Lewis Mumford―all whom struggle against the Christian, liberal and positivist doctrines dominating the academies of monarchial Britain and the USA, a landed and imperial ‘republic’. See Peter Murphy, ‘Perigrini,’ Thesis Eleven, No. 46 (August 1996).

[25] The dual definition of democracy developed in Fotopoulos’ essay suggest this problem, divided into an ‘ideological level’ and a ‘political level’ (‘Beyond Statism...’, p. 70). My critical comments are directed at this essay because of its merits. The definitions, from an ‘Athenian' viewpoint and focusing here simply on these two phrases, are infected with Christian-rooted categories. In terms of the thinking and acting citizen, there is no ‘levels’. To be sure, when Pericles and Anaxagoras hung out together, their heads may have been higher, standing in the agora, then when Pericles was sitting on a stone in the Assembly, listening to someone else and thinking in practical, political and potentially consensual terms. But most likely they were laying about in the latter’s house. Otherwise, both ‘ideological’, or reasoning about ideas, has no place metaphorically, unless we think about ‘ivory lowers’, or the seventh floor of the Stale Department, where the ‘thinking’ is done for the ‘practical’ types on the street, or lower down in the building. ‘Levels’ need many-storied buildings and the bureaucratic-clerical hierarchies inhabiting them, whether as a model for Harvard University, the US State Department, or IBM. Rather than attribute ‘ideologies' to others, that is, ‘statists’, perhaps it is better to contest the early meaning of ‘state’, whose core civic meaning, in my investigation of the republican word status, is ‘standing up’ like a citizen! It doesn’t become ‘hierarchic’ until enough slaves have been transformed into an indigenous and reproducing population of dependent labor in the mid to late imperial period, and as lawyers and priests become increasingly important in the new multi-storied buildings housing bureaucracies, replacing magistrates: first and foremost the emperor’s ‘palace’ on the ‘palatine’ hill and its Praetorian guards. Before that, ‘standing up’ was a core-periphery metaphor. Those who did not have such an ability to stand were those defeated in wars with Rome, dragged back to Rome, and enslaved. Similarly, where we would use the word ‘ideology’, just replace it with ‘connecting thoughts’ or ‘thoughts about ideas’. Such care, I suggest will do precisely what Fotopoulos argues: maintain thinking as an ‘open system’.

[26] Machiavelli’s hostile attitude towards Christianity in this respect reveals these ‘incommensurable’ world-views, to use a term from Paul Feyerabend’s history of science. But the most important dynamic or metamorphosis to watch is how the sect and church dialectic relates to the civic and reformation movement’s attack on Rome. The church-sect dialectic changes, especially in the Netherlands, into the civic idea and theory of the republic (Grotius, Lipsius, Althusius). In the history books, the reformation reading and the republican reading of the Dutch city confederation appear only poorly related to each other, though both were conflicts of great magnitude.

[27] See Gregory Vlastos, ‘Equality and Justice in Early Greek Cosmologies’, in The Presocratics (Princeton, 1997).

[28] The constitutional feature of amateur city office was based on legislative or council subcommittees, with only a democratic or assembly relation to the foreign-policy executive, or panel of generals.

[29] For those who tire of being attacked for ‘romantic’ attitudes to the polis or ‘Euro-centric’ bias (to use a word coined by Nazi Lebensraum ideologue, Karl Haushofer), the civitas, etc., I suggest an anti-Heidegger game: anyone who doesn’t want to consider these institutions ought to write about ‘rules’ and ‘ruling’ without reference to Greek or Latin. This at least prevents them from talking about ‘civil society’, ‘politics’, and lots of other things as well.

[30] It contrasts to the progressive historicist, industrial, structuralist and positive doctrines associated with various Marxist readings such as those of Habermas/Wolin (‘modernity’), Roberts (technique as industrial expansion), Rose and Jameson, Muller (‘structural’ version of autonomous Marxist literary criticism), and positive in sense of analytic Marxist doctrines. See Richard Wolin and Waller Benjamin, Habermas, Philosophical-Political Profiles, pp. 129-165; Julien Roberts, Walter Benjamin: An Introduction', Gillian Rose, Dialectic of Nihilism·, Jost Moller, ‘Faschismus und Demokralie’, Die Beute, No. 2 (1994) and autonome l.u.p.u.s. gruppe, Lichterketten und andere Irrlichter (Berlin; ED-archiv, 1995). I use ‘magically’ here because Benjamin himself never investigated this process rationally. Neither does Arendt clearly distinguish between ‘reform’ and ‘revolution’. Neither word exists in ancient city vocabularies. Multiple periods of militant ‘reform’―or three centuries of civic ‘stasis’―is, I submit, a more accurate term to describe the formation of the democracy of the Athenians than ‘revolution’ in a messiah-conceived sense. ‘Stasis’, as the struggle of those who stand upright in the city, can replace ‘crisis’ or a liberty-oriented view of the materialist concept of history. Social and political equality, ‘communism’ with the ‘ism’, is not a ‘mode of production’, which are landed forms of exploitation. It is the radicalization of the ‘transition’ period between ‘modes’ of production, such as Greek and Roman cities between ancient and Christian empires, the Italian cities between ‘feudal’ and ‘capitalist’ modes, or the civic struggles which characterize transitions in ‘capitalism’ between regimes of accumulation, such as the city-labor movement in the late 19th and early 20th century, and the city-based student new left of the 1960s between ‘Fordism’ and ‘post-Fordism’, which in the new world order, on a ‘Windows’ + ‘Intell’ or ‘Wintell’ basis, can probably now properly be called ‘Gatism’.

[31] Castoriadis, 121ff in Cleisthenes’, Ellen Meiksens-Wood, Peasant-Citizen and Slave: The Foundations of Athenian Democracy (London: Verso, 1988), pp. 90ff.

[32] Vlastos, ‘Equality and Justice’, pp. 77-82.

[33] Michael Crozier and Peter Murphy, The Left in Search of a Center (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1996).

[34] Aristotle, ‘Politics’, 1274a2ff; Cicero ad Atticus, VII, 11, 3, quoted in Ernst Mayer, ‘Vom griechischen und romischen Staalsgedanken’, Eumisa: Festgabe fur Ernst Howald (Zurich: Rentsch, 1947), p. 34.

[35] Mahon, Haushofer and Schmitt, all military reactionaries, invented ‘geo-politics’. See John Ely, ‘The Polis and “the Political”: Civic and Territorial Models of Association’, Thesis Eleven, No. 46 (August, 1996), pp. 34-58.

[36] Vidal-Naquet acknowledges the influence of Claude Levi-Strauss on his work.

[37] See G.S. Kirk and J.E, Raven, The Presocratic Philosophers (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1957 [1975]), pp. 362-389. The hylozoic tendency, the reintegration of ‘earth mother’ or ‘mother earth’ in rational terms, follows all genuinely democratic and republican movements. Livy underscores the relations between the rise of the plebian assemblies and the importation of the ‘great mother’ cult to Rome. More importantly, Leveque and Vidal-Naquet provide tremendous evidence for the role of the rational pantheist views of the so-called ‘pre-Socratic’ ideas about nature and justice in the democratic constitutional reforms that spread though the Mediterranean in the 6th and 5lh centuries. This rational movement corresponded to the establishment of truly ‘civic’ religions, that is, the chthonic and fertility-oriented ‘mystery’ cults, whose ‘deities’ began to subvert the anthropomorphic-aristocratic Olympian Gods through the same period in which the Pythagoras-influenced Cleisthenes established the ornaments of civic religion, such as the eponymous heroes which capped the marvelous sortition machine in Athens’ agora, the political ‘heart’ of the flowing system of civic and military participation, just as the adjacent council building and the assembly field above became the constitution’s raiional-filled spaces, or brains (pp. 46-51, 63-72).

[38] Aristotle, ‘Physics’, I, 4, 187a23.

[39] Frag. I, Simplicius, Phys. 155, 26, in Kirk and Raven, p. 368.

[40] Aristotle, ‘Politics’, III, 15, 1286a 20-32.

[41] Ely, ‘The polls and ‘the Political’, pp. 48-50; Meyer, ‘Vom griechische ... pp. 36, 54f.

[42] Arendt, The Life of the Mind (New York: Harcourt-Brace, 1978), pp. 185ff.

[43] Emphatic: ‘territory’ is a term of Church Latin. Latin speaking citizens wrote and spoke about agri, ‘farm land’, a term with legal properly arrangements, to be sure, but obviously different in everyone’s mind from city-space, which is not for farming. A term like territory, reducing all legal space to something like ‘farm land’ or ‘owned land,’ is alien to the citizen, who always knows the difference between his farm and the city to which he is a deliberating member. ‘Territory’ as a term for state or empire arises with the establishment of permanent camps, or forts on the outskirts of the Roman Empire.