We can talk about democracy all we want, but to really start governing ourselves, we must recycle the democracy circle of the Athenian Model, the one and only model of democracy.

Of course, as we learned from the recycling of the three classic models of oligarchy, recycling does not mean making exact duplicates or clones of governments from previous times and different places. Recycling democracy means to reproduce the basic circular structure and its basic features which make it possible for each and all of us to rule together as free and equal citizens. In order to do so, we need to extract the timeless features of real democracy from its daily practice in ancient Athens. But first — because the whole idea that democracy requires a totally different political structure may seem very strange to us — we need to get a clear overall picture of the circle of democracy itself.

The Golden Law of Democracy

A good way to get a quick overview of the basic circle structure of democracy is to contrast it with the basic pyramid structure of oligarchy. Since Robert Michels gives us the structure of oligarchy in his Iron Law of Oligarchy which denies the possibility of democracy, it will be enlightening to counter his law with our own Law of Democracy which gives the structure that makes democracy possible.

Robert Michels’ discovery that there is an Iron Law of Oligarchy which is “preordained” by political structure is a major political insight. It forcefully reveals the truth that the very organization of government imposes an order so strong that it has the power of a supreme law. The organization itself determines who makes the laws of government that rule everyone else. But Michels did not get his Iron Law of Oligarchy quite right. It is not: “Who says organization, says oligarchy.” It is: “Who says hierarchical organization, says oligarchy.” The