Destroying Democracy

Neoliberal Capitalism and the Rise of Authoritarian Politics
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  • Publication Date: August 2021
  • Dimensions and Pages: 234 x 156mm Extent: 280pp
  • Paperback EAN: 978-1-77614-699-4
  • eBook EAN: 978-1-77614-702-1
  • PDF EAN: 978-1-77614-701-4
  • Rights: World
  • Recommended Price (ZAR): 420.00
  • Recommended Price (USD): 35.00


Democracy is being destroyed. This is a crisis that expresses itself in the rising authoritarianism visible in divisive and exclusionary politics, populist political parties and movements, increased distrust in fact-based information and news, and the withering accountability of state institutions. What is less obvious is that the sources of the democratic rot are integral to the systemic crisis generated by neoliberal capitalism, which assigns economic metrics to all aspects of life. In other words, the crisis of democracy is the political crisis of neoliberal capitalism. Over the last four decades, democracy has radically shifted to a market democracy in which all aspects of human, non-human and planetary life are commodified, with corporations becoming more powerful than states and their citizens.

Volume six of the Democratic Marxism series focuses on how decades of neoliberal capitalism have eroded the global democratic project and how, in the process, authoritarian politics are gaining ground. Scholars and activists from the left focus on four country cases – India, Brazil, South Africa and the United States of America – in which the COVID-19 pandemic has fuelled and highlighted the pre-existing crisis. They interrogate issues of politics, ecology, state security, media, access to information and political parties, and affirm the need to reclaim and re-build an expansive and inclusive democracy.

Destroying Democracy is an invaluable resource for the general public, activists, scholars and students who are interested in understanding the threats to democracy and the rising tide of authoritarianism in the global global South and global North.

Acronyms and Abbreviations
Preface: Neoliberal Capitalism in the Time of Covid-19: Destroying Democracy and Rising Authoritarianism Michelle Williams and Vishwas Satgar

Chapter 1: The Crisis of Democracy: Neoliberal Capitalism, Authoritarianism and Reclaiming Democracy Michelle Williams
Chapter 2: The Rise of Eco-Fascism Vishwas Satgar

Chapter 3: Populism and Fascism: Lessons from the 1920s Ku Klux Klan Linda Gordon
Chapter 4: What Do ‘Unruly’ Right-Wing Authoritarian Nationalists Do When They Rule? The United States under Donald Trump Ingar Solty
Chapter 5: Brazilian Democracy Facing Authoritarian Neoliberalism Alfredo Saad Filho
Chapter 6: India’s Trajectories of Change, 2004-2019 Alf Gunvald Nilsen

Chapter 7: The Dialectic of Democracy: Capitalism, Populism and Working-Class Politics Devan Pillay
Chapter 8: Democracy and the Right to Know in South Africa’s Capitalist Transition Dale T. McKinley
Chapter 9: South Africa’s Post-Apartheid Media and Democracy Mandla J. Radebe
Chapter 10: Securitising Protests as Domestic Instability in South Africa Jane Duncan
Chapter 11: Prospects for a Left Renewal in South Africa Gunnett Kaaf
Conclusion: Vishwas Satgar

Michelle Williams is professor of sociology and chairperson of the Global Labour
University (GLU) at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

Vishwas Satgar is an associate professor of International Relations at the University
of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. He is also the editor of the Democratic
Marxism series, principal investigator for the Emancipatory Futures Studies in the
Anthropocene project and a democratic eco-socialist.


Jane Duncan is a professor in the Department of Journalism, Film and Television at the
University of Johannesburg.
Linda Gordon is a professor of History and University Professor of the Humanities at New
York University.
Gunnett Kaaf is a fiscal policy research manager in the Free State Provincial Treasury, and a
Marxist activist and writer based in Bloemfontein.
Dale McKinley is an independent writer, researcher and lecturer as well as research and
education officer for the International Labour, Research and Information Group.
Alf Gunvald Nilsen is a professor of Sociology at the University of Pretoria.
Devan Pillay is an associate professor and former head of the Department of Sociology at the
University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.
Mandla J. Radebe is a communication practitioner, senior research associate at the University
of Johannesburg’s School of Communication and a Fellow of the Johannesburg Institute for
Advanced Study.
Alfredo Saad-Filho is a professor of International Development at King’s College London,
and was a senior economic affairs officer at the United Nations Conference on Trade and
Ingar Solty is a senior research fellow in Foreign, Peace and Security Policy at the Rosa
Luxemburg Stiftung’s Institute for Critical Social Analysis in Berlin.

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