Democracy promises rule by all, not by the few. Yet, electoral democracies limit decision-making to representatives and have always had a weakness for inequality. How might democracy serve all rather than the few?
Democracy Beyond the Nation State: Practicing Equality examines communities that govern their own lives without elites or centralized structures through assemblies and consensus. Rather than claiming equality by abstract rights or citizenship, these groups put equality into practice by reducing wealth and health divides, or landlessness or homelessness, and equalizing workloads. These practices are found in rural India and Brazil, in Buenos Aires, London, and New York, and among the Iroquois, the Zapatistas, and the global networks of La Via Campesina farmers and the World Social Forum.
Readable accounts of these horizontal democracies document multiple political frames that prevent democracy from being frozen into entrenched electoral systems producing modern inequalities. Using practice to rewrite political theory, Parker draws on collective politics in Spivak and Derrida and embodied relations from Povinelli and Foucault to show that equal relations are not a utopian dream, not nostalgia, and not impossible.
This book provides many practical solutions to inequality. It will be useful to students and scholars of political theory and social movements and to those who are willing to work together for equality.