The Leaderless Revolution: How Ordinary People Will Take Power and Change Politics in the 21st Century

Carne Ross, Author
Carne Ross. Penguin/Blue Rider, $22.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-399-15872-8
Hardcover - 261 pages - 978-1-84737-534-6
Paperback - 261 pages - 978-1-84739-639-6
Open Ebook - 272 pages - 978-1-101-56815-6
Paperback - 244 pages - 978-0-452-29894-1
Ebook - 272 pages - 978-1-84983-574-9
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Writing before the Occupy movement erupted, Ross (Independent Diplomat: Dispatches from an Unaccountable Elite) explores how the current interconnectedness of the world provides a fecund framework for leaderless revolutions, and why we should take advantage of it. Drawing on his experience as a former British diplomat, Ross believes we need to replace the current political system with what Stanford Professor James Fishkin calls "deliberative democracy," wherein a representative sample of individuals are brought together to decide on an issue. Ross wants people to take back the power from special interest groups and lobbyists and make their own decisions in a collaborative environment, trusting people to manage their own affairs. He cites successful examples in post-Katrina New Orleans (where 92% of involved citizens supported the "Unified Plan" for rebuilding the city) and in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Though Ross urges individuals to act, he provides no real specifics on how to proceed beyond encouraging people to locate their convictions, "[a]ct as if the means are the end," and use nonviolence. It may be that the leaderless nature of the revolution prevents Ross from being too prescriptive, but readers expecting a precise answer to the titular "How" will be disappointed. (Jan.)
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