Written by Brian S. Roper
Release date: November 27, 2012 | ISBN-10: 0745331890 | ISBN-13: 978-0745331898
The concept of democracy has become tarnished in recent years, as governments become disconnected from voters and pursue unpopular policies. And yet the ideal of democracy continues to inspire movements around the world, such as the Arab Spring. Brian Roper refreshes our understanding of democracy using a Marxist theoretical framework. He traces the history of democracy from ancient Athens to the emergence of liberal representative and socialist participatory democracy in Europe and North America, through to the global spread of democracy during the past century. Roper argues that democracy cannot be understood separately from underlying processes of exploitation and class struggle. He offers an engaging Marxist critique of representative democracy, and raises the possibility of alternative democratic forms. The History of Democracy will be of interest to students and scholars of history and politics and all those concerned about the past, present and future of democracy.
"In this stunning and panoramic survey, Brian Roper sheds enormous light on the theory and practice of democracy across the ages. Focusing on issues of freedom, oppression and class domination, Roper makes a compelling case for the enduring importance of socialist models of participatory democracy. This is an important and timely book, which will be of great interest to scholars and activists alike." – David McNally, Professor of Political Science, York University, author of Another World is Possible and Global Slump
"Democracy is the product of intense class struggles rather than the incremental decisions of enlightened lawmakers. Brian Roper's insightful and coherent survey convincingly makes this argument through a series of accessible studies that range from ancient Athens through the English Civil War to the workers' revolutions of the 19th and 20th centuries." – Rick Kuhn, Deutscher Prize winner, Reader in Politics at the Australian National University and long-time activist.
About the Author
Brian S. Roper lectures in Politics at the University of Otago, New Zealand. He has been involved in the socialist left and political activism in New Zealand since the early 1980s. He is the author of Prosperity for All? Economic, Social and Political Change in New Zealand since 1935 (2005).
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