By David Van Reybrouck
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Additional info for Against Elections: The Case for Democracy
We insist that in every country in the world people must traipse off to the polling stations, no matter how much collateral damage may result. Our electoral fundamentalism really does take the form of a new, global evangelism. Elections are the sacraments of that new faith, a ritual regarded as a vital necessity in which the form is more important than the content. This focus on elections is actually rather odd. For almost three thousand years people have been experimenting with democracy and only in the last two hundred have they practised it exclusively by holding elections.
Obviously there are also local, regional and supranational echelons, each with its own dynamics and reciprocity, but the national level best lends itself to a broad investigation of the health of representative democracy. Three unmistakable symptoms denote the crisis of legitimacy. First, fewer people are voting. In the 1960s more than 85% of Europeans took part in elections. 11 In absolute numbers, this means millions of Europeans no longer wish to use the ballot box and they represent a quarter of those entitled to vote.
Based on studies and trials from around the globe, 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 top be answered: what are we waiting for? About the Author 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 Belgium and The Netherlands.