Astra Taylor received the 2015 American Book Award for The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age.
Dorothy Woodend reviews Taylor’s third film in anticipation of its upcoming screening (October 6th – October 12th) at the Vancouver Film Festival.
“Taylor’s film is alive with febrile hope, offering not only wrangling, tangling debate, but real situations, lived experience and democracy in the raw. Even as the social body is sawn apart, there are people working to stitch it back together again. Often these are folk who have historically been left out of the discussion — women, people of colour, gay and lesbian people, and kids.
In What Is Democracy?, genuine action happens not in the Oval Office or a UN conference room, but in makeshift medical centres that sprang up in Greece under austerity measures, a workers’ co-op that employs refugees from across Latin America, or a living room in Miami where young activists debate who gets to be a citizen, whether mobility is more important than capital and, ultimately, “Who gets to count and who gets counted?””