Power to whom?

Though today I find it exceedingly hard to understand just what I meant by the phrase, I well remember chanting "power to the people" at numerous demonstrations. I certainly don't mean to be condescending here toward the beliefs of my youth: there certainly were (and still are) plenty of disenfranchised people who should have more of a say in the governance of their lives. A good case can be made to claim that in modern industrial society (and in post-industrial society as well) individuals become atomized, alienated one from the other. In this individualized state they lack the power necessary to make significant changes in their social lives. It's only when they act as a group that they actually possess the possibility of wielding power.

If there's any logic in this (and even as I write this I continually find myself fluctuating between nodding my head in agreement and shaking it in disbelief) then the very fact of choosing to be part of a crowd is a sign of intelligence, a sign that individuals understand that there is strength in numbers. But were we demanding that someone relinquish power? Were we suggesting that its transfer from one group to another would take place simply as a result of that demand? Even if our groups became crowds, and those crowds became mobs, I doubt that there was anyone among us who seriously thought that we might be able to seize power.

Go to: Are crowds really that smart?