The Democracy Project

A History, a Crisis, a Movement

326 pages

English language

Published April 9, 2013

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3 stars (1 review)

A bold rethinking of the most powerful political idea in the world--democracy--and the story of how radical democracy can yet transform America. Democracy has been the American religion since before the Revolution--from New England town halls to the multicultural democracy of Atlantic pirate ships. But can our current political system, one that seems responsive only to the wealthiest among us and leaves most Americans feeling disengaged, voiceless, and disenfranchised, really be called democratic? And if the tools of our democracy are not working to solve the rising crises we face, how can we--average citizens--make change happen? David Graeber, one of the most influential scholars and activists of his generation, takes readers on a journey through the idea of democracy, provocatively reorienting our understanding of pivotal historical moments, and extracts their lessons for today.--From publisher description.

8 editions

Okay but ahistorical and neglects a lot.

3 stars

People, including anarchists, often hold David Graeber up as some bright light of philosophy. He's not horrible, but he's always got a lot of glaring holes.

In this particular book, he has some really frustrating points where he applies a regional history to an entire movement or moment (e.g., applies a lens of NYC's way of doing OWS while neglecting to recognise how OWS operated in other places). This is something he always does, and it's really to the detriment of whatever he's developed to share. It's pretty ahistorical because it just neglects that many other areas have our own needs, even while stating otherwise. It also acts as if OWS was a primarily anarchist movement, which is something that I feel is very context dependent. Perhaps it was in some places, but others? Not so much. If that were true, I feel like it wouldn't have been very welcoming …