Thursday, April 11, 2013
CUBA AND ITS NEIGHBOURS: Democracy in Motion by Arnold August
In this groundbreaking book, Arnold August explores Cuba’s unique form of democracy, presenting a detailed and balanced analysis of Cuba’s electoral process and the state’s functioning between elections. By comparing it with practices in the U.S., Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador, August shows that people’s participation in politics and society is not limited to a singular U.S.-centric understanding of democracy. For example, democracy as practised in the U.S. is largely non-participatory, static and fixed in time. Cuba, by contrast, is a laboratory where the process of democratization is continually in motion, an ongoing experiment to create new ways for people to participate. August argues forcefully for the need to develop mutual understanding of different political systems and, in doing so, to not be satisfied with either blanket condemnation or idealistic political illusions, both resulting from a refusal to analyze the actual inner workings of each process.