The Democracy Project (David Graeber book)

Published 2021-03-08

This is the third book of Graeber’s that I’ve read this year. Like Debt, it tries to achieve multiple ambitious goals in a single book. In this case: demonstrate that the modern U.S. is far from a ‘democracy’; tell a first-hand account of the Occupy movement; explain how little-a anarchism works, in practice; and attempt to expand readers’ political imaginations. Also like Debt, it achieves all its goals, but because there are so many of them, the book as a whole feels quite slippery.

I almost wish Graeber could have written a sci-fi novel, where he could speculate more colorfully about what a “free society” would look like, and where he could more directly convey the experience of living in such a society. I appreciated all the explanations of how OWS conducted meetings, but since I wasn’t there to experience them, I still find it very hard to imagine how they could ever work on the scale of a city, let alone a nation or a world.

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