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The History of Democracy: A Marxist Interpretation


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Publisher Comments:

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, most recently the uprisings across the Arab world. Brian Roper refreshes our understanding of democracy using a Marxist theoretical framework. He traces the history of democracy as it has passed through various historical moments from Athenian democracy to the Roman Republic, the revolutionary emergence of liberal representative and socialist participatory democracy in Europe and North America, and the global spread of democracy during the past century. Roper argues that democracy cannot be understood separately from underlying processes of exploitation, and the class and social struggles these generate. He offers an engaging Marxist critique of representative democracy, and raises the possibility of alternative socialist and participatory democratic forms, which will be of interest to students and scholars of history, politics, and those in other disciplines who are concerned about the past, present, and future of democracy.

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).

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgements * Introduction * 1. Origins: Democracy in the Ancient Greek World * 2. Democracy Suppressed: The Roman Republic * 3. The Early Middle Ages and the Transition from Feudalism to Capitalism * 4. The English Revolution and Parliamentary Democracy * 5. The American Revolution and Constitutional Redefinition of Democracy * 6. The Revolutionary Revival of Democracy in France * 7. The Revolutions of 1849-49 * 8. Capitalist Expansion, Globalization and Democratization * 9. The Marxist Critique of Capitalism and Representative Democracy * 10. Precursors of Socialist Participatory Democracy: The Paris Commune 1871 and Russian Revolutions 1905 and 1917 * General Bibliography

Product Details

Roper, Brian S.
Pluto Press (UK)
Roper, Brian S. S.
History & Theory
Political Ideologies - Democracy
Political Ideologies - General
Politics - General
Political Ideolog
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
8.25 x 5.5 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Politics » Leftist Studies

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