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'What Is Democracy': New film raises provocative questions about our politico-economic system

What is Democracy?

Film director Astra Taylor looks at the question What Is Democracy and reminds us that wrestling with ideas is central to the ongoing struggle to rule ourselves.

Coming at a moment of profound political and social crisis Astra’s new film What Is Democracy reflects on a word we too often take for granted. What does it mean for the people to rule -- and is that something we even want? Taylor's idiosyncratic, philosophical journey takes us from ancient Athens' ground-breaking experiment in self-government to capitalism's roots in medieval Italy; from modern-day Greece grappling with financial collapse and a mounting refugee crisis to the United States reckoning with its racist past and the growing gap between rich and poor.

While touching on some of the most urgent issues of our day -- inequality, xenophobia, education, globalization -- Taylor reminds us that our challenges are not exactly new. We may think we are on the cutting edge, charting an unprecedented course, but age-old debates resurface and figures like Plato and Rousseau remain shockingly relevant to our current predicaments.

Instead of providing easy answers, What Is Democracy reminds us that wrestling with ideas is central to the ongoing struggle to rule ourselves. If we want to live in democracy, we must first ask what the word even means.

About the Director: Astra Taylor is a filmmaker, writer, and political organizer. She directed the philosophical documentaries What Is Democracy, Examined Life and Zizek, the author of the American Book Award Winner The People’s Platform, Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age. Her new book,  Democracy May Not Exist, but We’ll Miss It When It’s Gone, will be out from Metropolitan Books in early 2019.

Image Copyright: Astra Taylor and NFB. Used with permission.

Face2Face is produced by David Peck. For ore information about his podcasting, writing and public speaking please visit his site here.

With thanks to producer Josh Snethlage and Mixed Media Sound.

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