London, E2 6ED United Kingdom
Did democracy ever exist? Why is it no longer possible?
Democracy is in crisis. In every major company it has been stole by elites or in the hands of strong men. In democracy’s name we see a raft of policies that spread inequality and xenophobia worldwide. It is clear that democracy—the principle of government by and for the people - is not living up to its promise.
In fact, real democracy—inclusive and egalitarian—has in fact never existed. In this urgent and engaging book, Astra Taylor invites us to re-examine the term. Is democracy a means or an end? A process or a set of desired outcomes? What if the those outcomes, whatever they may be—peace, prosperity, equality, liberty, an engaged citizenry—can be achieved by non-democratic means? Or if an election leads to a terrible outcome? If democracy means rule by the people, what does it mean to rule and who counts as the people? The inherent paradoxes are too often unnamed and unrecognized. But to ignore them is no longer possible.
Democracy May Not Exist, but We’ll Miss It When It’s Gone offers a better understanding of what is possible, what we want, and why democracy is so hard to realize.
Astra Taylor is the author of The People's Platform (winner of the American Book Award) and made two documentary films, Zizek! and Examined Life. Taylor’s writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, n+1, and The Baffler, where she is a contributing editor. She lives in New York City.
Shiri Shalmy is a cultural worker and organiser. Over the years she has curated and produced a large number of public art exhibitions and projects, as well as work around radical education and organised labour. She is particularly interested in developing autonomous, self-organised structures around class politics and in movement building through direct action. She is a co-founder of Antiuniversity Now and an organiser with the grassroots campaigning trade union United Voices of the World.