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Source:  The New Yorker

In its first five minutes, “What Is Democracy?,” a new documentary by writer, organizer, and filmmaker Astra Taylor, provides more possible answers to her titular question than most English-language media does in a year.

Then, with the help of some modern readers of ancient texts, Taylor reminds us of Plato’s warning: that the rich would want to keep getting richer, forcing the poor into debt, splitting society into two, and leading the poor to buy into a demagogue’s promises, thereby dooming democracy to turn into tyranny.

All that said—by this time, we are seven minutes into the film—Taylor begins to make it clear that she will provide no definitive single answer to the question. This is a documentary essay in the guise of an investigation.

The movie is radically democratic: Taylor poses the question to philosophers, activists, a poet, politicians, trauma surgeons, a barber, and refugees.

With the exception of a couple of politicians, talking heads are identified only by name, underscoring the point that democracy, whether as practice or as a concept, belongs to everyone.

Read the story at The New Yorker.

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