Book: Against Elections by David Van Reybrouck (Bodley Head, 21 July 2016)
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Press release from the publisher
'Choosing our rulers by popular vote has failed to deliver true democratic government: that seems to be the verdict of history unfolding before our eyes. Cogently and persuasively, David Van Reybrouck pleads for a return to selection by lot, and outlines a range of well thought out plans for how sortitive democracy might be implemented.'
J M Coetzee
'In compelling us to subject all our received ideas and deeply-held convictions to rigorous scrutiny, this fine iconoclastic work could not be more timely.'
Democracy is in bad health. Against Elections offers a new diagnosis - and an ancient remedy.
Fear-mongering populists, distrust in the establishment, personality contests instead of reasoned debate: these are the results of the latest elections. Yet for most of its 3000-year history, democracy did not involve elections at all: political appointments were made through a combination of volunteering and lottery. In fact, as this ingenious book shows, elections were recently invented so as to exclude the people from power by appointing an elite to govern over them.
Drawing on vast learning, an international array of evidence and a growing number of successful trials, this hugely influential manifesto presents the practical case for a true democracy - one that actually works. Urgent, heretical and completely convincing, Against Elections leaves only one question to be answered: what are we waiting for?
David Van Reybrouck is considered 'one of the leading intellectuals in Europe' (Der Tagesspiegel) and is a pioneering advocate of participatory democracy. He founded the G1000 Citizens' Summit, and his work has led to trials in participatory democracy throughout The Netherlands. He is also one of the most highly regarded literary and political writers of his generation, whose most recent book, Congo: The Epic History of a People, won 19 prizes, sold 500,000 copies and has been translated into a dozen languages. It was described as a 'masterpiece' by the Independent and 'magnificent' by The New York Times.
See: Against Elections - The Case for Democracy, by David Van Reybrouck (Penguin, link)
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