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June 28 2013

Une excellente analyse, dans le non moins excellent 'Jacobin Magazine', qui rappelle que Machiavel,…

Une excellente analyse, dans le non moins excellent 'Jacobin Magazine', qui rappelle que Machiavel, loin d'être un technicien du pouvoir, fut avant l'heure un théoricien de la lutte des classes ("conflitto tra gli umori", dans son langage), de la souveraineté populaire et de l'égalité. Le Prince (comme les Discours sur la première décade de Tite-Live, moins connu), est un manuel à l'usage des peuples — auxquels il dévoile les mécanismes de la domination exercée par un despote ou par l'oligarchie —, et non le bréviaire de la tyrannie.

« What Would Machiavelli Do ? », by Chris Maisano

The popular imagination gets Machiavelli all wrong — he was a patron saint of class struggle and a staunch republican.

Like Karl Marx and Adam Smith, Machiavelli is one of those canonical thinkers who are much more widely quoted than read. Far from being the evil courtier of popular imagination, in The Discourses in particular Machiavelli emerges a theorist of class struggle and an advocate of democratic control of the elites by the people in a republican polity.

As the political theorist John McCormick describes him:

Machiavelli excoriates previous writers for denigrating popular judgment and participation, and for extolling the supposedly superior governing capacities of princes and patricians. Departing from the opinion of these writers, Machiavelli argues that well-ordered republics structure themselves such that common people contain, contest and control the behavior of political and economic elites, and they place ultimate judgment over legislation and political punishment in the hands of the many and not the few. More specifically, like Rome, they establish magistracies for which wealthy and prominent citizens are ineligible, like the tribunes of the plebs, and they empower the people to veto public policies and indict individuals that threaten the common good — a common good unabashedly determined from the perspective of the people and not the elite.

The main lessons from The Discourses are that “the few always act in favor of the few,” and that the ambitions of the rich are so destructive that they must be vigorously suppressed in order to maintain the egalitarian foundations of republican liberty.

#Machiavel #idées #science_politique #philosophie #Italie #Renaissance

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