Download e-book for kindle: Against Elections: The Case for Democracy by David Van Reybrouck

By David Van Reybrouck

Democracy is in undesirable overall healthiness. the indications are commonplace: the increase of fear-mongering populists, frequent mistrust within the institution, character contests, and point-scoring in preference to reasoned debate, slogans rather than expertise. opposed to Elections offers a brand new prognosis —and an old therapy. David Van Reybrouck reminds us that the unique objective of elections used to be to exclude the folk from strength via appointing an elite to control over them. He demonstrates how over the years their impact has been to lessen the people's participation in govt to an absolute minimal, be certain energy is still within the arms of these who already wield it, and strength politicians to pass judgement on guidelines now not on their benefits yet on their probability to win or lose votes. and that is whilst elections move good. but for many of democracy's 3000-year historical past governments weren't selected by way of election in any respect: they have been appointed, very like the jury method, via a mixture of volunteering and lottery. Drawing on gigantic studying, a global array of proof, and more and more profitable trials, Against Elections demonstrates how a worldly and useful model of this historic approach could paintings at the present time and hence get rid of the underlying reason behind democracy's disease. pressing, heretical, and entirely convincing, this booklet leaves just one query to be replied: what are we ready for?

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The last time we saw such vehement anti-parliamentarianism in Europe was between the wars. Because the First World War and the crisis of the 1920s were commonly seen as the outcome of nineteenth-century bourgeois democracy, three leaders inveighed bitterly against the parliamentary system: Lenin, Mussolini and Hitler. Nowadays it is often forgotten, but fascism and communism were originally attempts to make democracy more vital, based on the idea that if parliament was abolished, the people and their leader would be better able to converge (fascism) or the people could govern directly (communism).

The results are of great significance: The most important finding that emerges from our project is that what is shared across different types of protests, actions, campaigns and initiatives is extensive frustration with formal politics as it is currently practiced. The terms ‘angry’, ‘indignant’ or ‘disappointed’ are an expression of this frustration … German society is far less affected by austerity measures than other European societies … Yet, despite the relatively positive situation in Germany, there is a striking public display of subterranean politics in Germany just as in other European contexts.

It didn’t lead a strike (a real one, that is) or a sit-in, or a blockade of a recruitment centre, or a takeover of the dean’s office. The IWW free-speech fights of a century ago look positively Prussian by comparison. With Occupy, the horizontal culture was everything. 41 Dutch sociologist Willem Schinkel adds: ‘Occupy is in a sense the simulation of ideological resistance. ’42 Occupy demonstrates the malaise more than it suggests any remedy. Its diagnosis of representative democracy was correct, but the alternative was weak.

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