They Can't Represent Us! Reinventing democracy from Greece to Occupy (The New Internationalist) , The New Internationalist, Issue 478, Dec. 1, 2014

The New Internationalist, Issue 478, Dec. 1, 2014

People are becoming so apolitical (or anti-political) they don't even bother to vote, the mainstream media asserts. Yet in recent years, millions have taken to the street, occupied public squares, created people's assemblies, and for weeks or months on end, brought parts of major cities to a halt.

Are they being 'apolitical'? Far from it. Based on extensive interviews with movement participants in Spain, Greece, the US, Venezuela and Argentina, They can't represent us gives a picture of an alternative politics in the making, one which does not always have clear results, as one Greek interviewee says, but is having undeniable effects.

The protests examined are a massive 'no' --to the destructive impetus of capitalism, to a liberal democracy that both claims monopoly status and is easily bought by corporate power. But the movements also say a massive 'yes' to alternatives horizontal ways of organizing, direct and participatory democracy, 'recuperation' of work and other spaces, creation of barter networks, communal services and so on. As the authors say: 'The mobilizations we have seen are laboratories of democracy.'

Activists and intellectuals, Sitrin and Azzellini are good at providing history and context for what is happening. Their book does not pretend to be comprehensive: movements in Britain, Iceland, Ireland are not included. But it's inspiring stuff, politically and intellectually, while the personal accounts vividly bring to life what it is like to be a part of what Sitrin calls 'everyday revolutions'.

(Verso ISBN 978 1 78168 097 1)

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"They Can't Represent Us: Reinventing Democracy from Greece to Occupy"