AbstraktThe paper attempts to present the ideas of Robert Michels, known as the author of the “iron law of oligarchy.” Unfortunately, this disciple and coworker of Max Weber is relatively unpopular in Poland. His fundamental work has not been published in Polish so far, while his thoughts appear to remain both original and topical. According to Michels, the need for organization and leadership comes from the masses, which tend to be passive and require direction. In the opinion of the author of the Political Parties, the mass character of ‘contemporary’ social phenomena makes directly-democratic leadership impossible. Even those institutions that are the most fervent supporters of the idea of such democracy are only an ‘average’ reflection of this ideally-typical system. An average model illustrates to what extent decision-making practices maintain only the appearances of democratic standards whereas the whole system observes an intensifying deficit of direct democracy. Robert Michels discusses the technical and administrative conditions of leadership and its autocratic nature, which is the
core of the paper.
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