Can a professional association be a-political?

Does a professional body have the responsibilities of a citizen? There is a line of argument which claims the opposite – that since membership to professional associations is often not optional for those who wish to practice a profession, the body can not be a political one because this violates the autonomy of individuals who should be able to work in the profession they wish without supporting any particular political view. However, there is also a logic which puts those who never take a stand on anything, who remain apolitical, in the 2nd circle of hell. Dante is not a founder of democracy, to be sure, but is not democracy founded on political action, devotion, involvement, rather than the apathy which permits autocracies to continue to function and impose their hierarchies of birthright? There is a new hierarchy of birthright, or at least their is if we impose the false history of an originally fair and just meritocracy – in fact the hierarchy of birthright never left. John Jackson, American founding father, wished that the president be referred to as “your highness”, and Bill Clinton was in fact the first american president to come from a less than ludicrously rich family. Thus, there is no and never was a democracy that could be enshrined and protected by autonomy – rather democracy remains something to be continually striven for. The role of professional associations as political bodies in this striving is as old as professions associations themselves: The Royal Scientific Society in France played a not unimportant role in the French Revolution, but more recently political associations have given the middle class frameworks in which to organize as a class to pursue their class interests. Democracy is pursued not in the individual consciousness but rather in the communal one, and thus for professional associations to shy away from the possibility of taking a political stance is to fragment the middle class into an heterogeneous smooth space, but one without it’s own strategy or war machine that could repel the intrusion of the authoritarian state into the lives and minds of its citizens, pursuing nothing but the continual securing of it’s own power through its increase.

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