Democracy is the choice to elect our own leaders and heads of states

Democracy is the choice to elect our own leaders and heads of states. Every country or organisation has a small group of people who serve as leaders or executive members. It is this leadership class rather than the organisations membership will inevitably grow to dominate the organisation power structures. This essay will discuss the iron law of oligarchy as political theory that is also applicable in any form of organisation and also discuss if this theory is indeed an iron law or organisations can function democratically. In this essay we have drawn ideals from Michels since he is the one who coined the term, iron law of oligarchy. We have also discussed some imperative points by Voss and Sherman to discover whether or not the iron law of oligarchy truly is an iron law or it can be broken.
Michels developed the iron law of oligarchy as political theory. An iron law is a regulation or controlling principle that is impossible to prevent (Oxford, 2010) and oligarchy refers to a small group of people having control of a country or organisation (Oxford, 2010). Speaking from what he experienced from politically aware groups and trade unions having a difficulty to function democratically affirming his argument in 1911, Robert Michels stated “he who says organisation says oligarchy.” According to Michels (1959) the iron law of oligarchy is a theory which proposes that all complex organizations regardless of how democratic they are when they commence, gradually become an oligarchy. The iron law of oligarchy it is the trend of a formal organization to be controlled by a small, self-perpetuated elites (Michels, 1911). He observed that since no sufficiently large and complex organisations can function purely as a direct democracy, power within an organisation will always be delegated to individuals within that group, elected or otherwise. According to Michels all organisations come to be run by a leadership class who often function as paid administrators, executives, spokespersons, political strategists and organisers for the organisation far from being servants of the masses. It is this leadership class rather than the organisations membership will inevitably grow to dominate the organisation power structures.
According to Michels (1959) the state is merely the executive committee of the ruling class. This is because the state as led by the ANC ruling party in South Africa as an organisation has policies and laws that favour capitalism over a socialist agenda, and the Executive within this party are the elites. Going back to the iron law of oligarchy, the state ruled by the ANC produced elites, who are democratically put into power by the masses, however when these individuals get into power democracy is no longer something visible to the masses. To support the fact that it has become the oligarchy, South African scholars have argued that the current state during the struggle against apartheid advanced a socialist agenda with the masses, but now that they are in power they have adopted a capitalist system that has vested too much power on a few individuals making them an elite group (Hudson, 1986). This goes back to the point raised by Michels (1959) where he said that even if the majority seize power from the bourgeoisie, it is permanently incapable of self-government as within it will develop a new strong organised minority which raises itself to the rank of a governing class. By controlling who has access to information, those in power can centralise their power successfully often with little accountability due to the apathy.
The iron law of oligarchy which is the rule by the elite or an oligarchy then will seem inevitable as an iron law within any democratic organisation as part of the tactical and technical necessitates of that organisation. As the above illustration depicts, the state can turn from being the representative of the masses to an oligarchical organisation which often makes the executives members more powerful than the masses known as the citizens. For instance, the news around president Cyril Ramaphosa working for the state with the state as a shareholder and a board member in Lonmnin shows that power can put one in a position where there is a conflict of interest. It was reported that he, together with the state and the Lonmin board members permitted police officers to subvert the protest by the mine workers of Marikina. This implies that regardless of how democratic the state might claim to be, it eventually became an oligarchy. It is always about the hierarchical bureaucratic system which allows them to make final decisions that protect the interests of certain individuals belonging to the oligarchy. When workers protested, the state through deployment of the police as it purported the protestors as criminals than citizens fighting for their right (Alexander, 2013). In this way the government intervened to protect the oligarchy. Based on these facts, it appears as though Robert Michels was right to state that it seems impossible for the organisation to function democratically.
Democracy is the choice to elect our own leaders and heads of states. Every country or organisation has a small group of people who serve as leaders or executive members. These influential individuals and not the members of the organisation will unavoidably grow to dictate the organisation and its power structures. This essay will discuss the iron law of oligarchy as political theory that is also applicable in any form of organisation and also discuss if this theory is indeed an iron law or organisations can function democratically. In this essay we have drawn ideals from Michels since he is the one who coined the term, iron law of oligarchy. We have also discussed some imperative points by Voss and Sherman to discover whether or not the iron law of oligarchy truly is an iron law or it can be broken.
Michels developed the iron law of oligarchy as political theory. An iron law is a regulation or controlling principle that is impossible to prevent (Oxford, 2010) and oligarchy refers to a small group of people having control of a country or organisation (Oxford, 2010). Speaking from what he experienced from politically aware assemblages and trade unions determined to function democratically, asserting his disagreement in 1911, Robert Michels stated “he who says organisation says oligarchy.” According to Michels (1959) the iron law of oligarchy is a theory which suggests that all multifarious administrations irrespective of how self-governing they are when they commence, progressively develop into oligarchies. The iron law of oligarchy it is the trend of a formal organization to be controlled by a small, self-perpetuated elites. Robert Michels (1911) witnessed that “since no sufficiently large and complex organisations can function purely as a direct democracy, power within an organisation will always be delegated to individuals within that group, elected or otherwise. All organisations come to be run by a leadership class who often function as paid administrators, executives, spokespersons, political strategists and organisers for the organisation far from being servants of the masses.”
According to Michels (1959) the state is merely the executive committee of the ruling class. This is because the state as led by the ANC ruling party in South Africa as an organisation has policies and laws that favour capitalism over a socialist agenda, and the Executive within this party are the elites. Going back to the iron law of oligarchy, the state ruled by the ANC produced elites, who are democratically put into power by the masses, however when these individuals get into power democracy is no longer something visible to the masses. To support the fact that it has become the oligarchy, South African scholars have argued that the current state during the struggle against apartheid advanced a socialist agenda with the masses, but now that they are in power they have adopted a capitalist system that has vested too much power on a few individuals making them an elite group (Hudson, 1986). This goes back to the point raised by Michels (1959) where he said that even if the majority seize power from the bourgeoisie, it is permanently incapable of self-government as within it will develop a new strong organised minority which raises itself to the rank of a governing class. By monitoring who has admission to organisational statistics, facts and figures, those in power can centralise their power successfully often with little accountability because indifference and apathy.
The state can turn from being the representative of the masses to an oligarchical organisation which often makes the executives members more powerful than the masses known as the citizens. For instance, the news around president Cyril Ramaphosa working for the state with the state as a shareholder and a board member in Lonmnin shows that power can put one in a position where there is a conflict of interest. It was reported that he, together with the state and the Lonmin board members permitted police officers to subvert the protest by the mine workers of Marikina. This implies that regardless of how democratic the state might claim to be, it eventually became an oligarchy. It is always about the hierarchical bureaucratic system which allows them to make final decisions that protect the interests of certain individuals belonging to the oligarchy. When workers protested, the state through deployment of the police as it purported the protestors as criminals than citizens fighting for their right (Alexander, 2013). In this way the government intervened to protect the oligarchy. Based on these facts, it appears as though Robert Michels was right to state that it seems impossible for the organisation to function democratically.