Neoliberal politics is the politics of the elites, and has very little to do with democracy. At least when compared to the first and true democracies created by the Greeks. Notwithstanding the fact that women and slaves were excluded from politics, the Greek city-states were tremendously creative in many fields of life, such as administration, philosophy, art – and war. The talk explores in what sense the radical impulse from the Greeks can inspire us today, especially in terms of political creation, following and comparing the important work of philosophers Hannah Arendt and Cornelius Castoriadis, author of The Imaginary Institution of Society.
Critics have argued that the situation of the ancient Greeks is too different to be able to inform our own political problems. However, even though our societies are more complex and differentiated, it is often claimed that the world has “grown smaller”. In certain, important aspects, I argue, we find ourselves in a predicament similar to that of the Greeks. Just as the well-being of the polis depended on the involvement of each and every citizen, so the well-being of the planet depends on us today: not as private individuals, but as citizens involved in political creation.