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a deeper democracy

ideas – conversations – campaigns

'Slavery to monarchs and ministers, which the world will be long freeing itself from, and whose deadly grasp stops the progress of the human mind, is not yet abolished'

Mary Wollstonecraft

[Any suggestions – Mail here]

exploring Democracy

Many of the publications listed here are by contributors or friends and supporters of deeper democracy.org.uk site. Others are included because they explore issues that are central to what this site is about. As a list it is inevitably partial and partisan.  If you think we should include or review something (self-published is fine) then please let us know.   Given Amazon’s attitude to unions and paying their fair share of tax, whenever possible Ive tried suggesting other sources.

Towards a Deeper Democracy

Colin Miller 

A shorter version of the pamphlet Towards a Deeper Democracy by Colin Miller and Gabriel Chanan which explores why we need to create a deeper democracy, why it must be based on existing successful initiatives and why it must be based within neighbourhoods and communities. The longer version can be downloaded here

Finding Our Voice: Making the 21st Century State

Neal Lawson & Gabriel Chanan

a collection of essays by  politicians, and others from the left left and right of progressive politics exploring how the state should function in the 21st century. Though differing politically they agree on the need to trust people to shape the state.    

The Question of EVEL: a review of literature & Opinions

Colin Miller 

Commissioned by Compass in 2015 this report provides an overview the critical constitutional questions facing a future Labour government in relation to arrangements  between the four nations that make up the UK and continuing over-centralisation of power in  England. The discusses the possible options for organising a participative constitutional assembly.   

Rethinking Community Practice

 Gabriel Chanan & Colin Miller

This book explores the contribution that community development workers and others can play in empowering neighbourhoods through the development of local participative and deliberative partnerships. The book seeks to develop a new praxis based on an understanding of a range of theoretical perspectives such as community development, systems and organisational their, with real world practice and examples. 

Flatpack Democracy: A DIY Guide to Independent Politics

Peter Macfadyen

The story of how a group of residents took control of Frome, a small town in Somerset, and then set about making politics empowering, relevant, effective and fun. The book both explores and provides ideas that will help others have a greater say in the decisions that affect their lives. 

Neighbor Power: Building Community the Seattle Way

Jim Diers

Jim Diers was appointed as Seattle Council’s first director of the City’s Department of Neighborhoods in 1988.  This book provided real-life examples of how to build active, creative neighbourhoods through practical participatory democracy.   

Shakespeare and Democracy

 Gabriel Chanan

 A groundbreaking exploration of  how Shakespeare moved towards a democratic concept of society over the course of his plays. Whilst Shakespeare could now nothing of modern democracy, he played a fundamental role in building the culture that underlies it. 

Open Tribe

 Sue Goss

Democratic politics thrives on openness, but all around us we see to opposite, mutual suspicion and defensiveness. In this book Sue reflects on her conversations with a range of political, academics campaigners and thinkers on how we can do things in a different, more open and inclusive way. 

Against Elections: The Case for Democracy

 David Van Reybrouck

The book argues that for most of its 3000 year history, democracy did not involve elections: member of the public were appointed to positions in government through a combination of volunteering and lottery. Elections were invented to exclude people. This book argues the case, with practical examples, of a return to a fully participative form of governance.

The Leaderless Revolution

 Carne Ross

Carne Ross has experienced an extraordinary intellectual journey, from his former role as a senior diplomat to becoming a  radical critic of our existing systems and an advocate for  deep democracy. His ideas have been informed by his experience in Iraq, the Occupy movement and the radical experiments in devolved direct democracy in Rojava in Kurdistan eastern Syria.  

Reclaim the State: Experiments in Popular Democracy

 Hilary Wainwright

Reclaim the State shows that the possibility for the creation of a new kinds of politics and state  already exists. The book explores how people across the world are creating new, stronger forms of democracy and organisations. Hilary explores participatory budgeting, ‘community led regeneration’ initiatives, radical squatter experiments and the community creating alternative plans to those being forced upon them.  

Models of Democracy

 David Held

Something of a classic. This book is an excellent and highly readable primer that explores and discusses models of democracy, including models from the classical world, representative systems and more radical approaches including   direct, participative and deliberative approaches.  

Empowerment Skills for All

Gabriel Chanan & Colin Miller

‘A democratic society is based on empowering its members’ is the opening sentence of this report that was commissioned by the Homes and Communities Agency. Focussing on skills, knowledge and strategies, the report discusses the role of  public servants and services in empowering communities. 

Management: Towards High Standards in Community Development

 Colin Miller

Very few books have been published on the particular  challenges of managing a community development team or organisation. Using case studies the book explores deliberative and participative approaches in managing teams and the importance of the concept of learning organisations . The book also disusses supervision, team planning and evaluation, providing support and dealing with staff issues. 

Annual: Audit of Political Engagement

Hansard Society

These annual reports are an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the ‘health’ of our democratic and political systems. The most recent (2017)  covers 2016 and the EU referendum. 

Democracy Max: An Inquiry into the Future of Scottish Democracy

Electoral Reform Society 

Democracy Max is an independent inquiry initiated by ERS Scotland into ‘What makes a good Scottish democracy’. In contrast to much of the current debate around Scotland’s constitutional future being led by political parties, Democracy Max provided a non- partisan space where those with different views could debate and discuss ideas and where political rhetoric could be challenged and unpicked.