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ISBN: 9780865719439

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Civilizing the State

Reclaiming Politics for the Common Good


Across the world, the liberal nation state is on its knees. Rising inequality, deep political polarization, and the pervasive power of corporations are tearing apart the social contract and threatening to crush democracy.

Civilizing the State traces the history and development of the liberal state and its changing role from the enabler of capitalism to protector of citizen welfare, to its hollowing out and capture by corporate and elite interests rendering it unfit to address the compounding crises of inequality, injustice, ecological collapse, and loss of legitimacy.

Author John Restakis explores citizen-powered alternatives and experiments in co-operation, deep democracy, solidarity economics, and commoning from Spain, India, the global peasant movement, and the emerging stateless democracy of Rojava rising from the wreckage of the Syrian civil war.

The final section views the current crisis as an opportunity to reimagine the state not as handmaid to predatory elites but as a partner state that promotes equity, economic democracy, co-operation, and human thriving, driven by deep democracy and a fully sovereign civil society.

Incisive, penetrating, and inspirational, this is essential reading for all engaged citizens with a stake in co-creating a better future for all.


John Restakis

John Restakis is the former Executive Director of the BC Co-operative Association and has been a consultant for co-op development projects in Africa, South America, and Asia. He is a practitioner, educator, and pioneering researcher in international co-operative economies and the author of Humanizing the Economy. He lives in Vancouver, BC.

Chapter Title Abstract Contributors Pages Year Price


The introduction outlines the world’s environmental, political, economic, social and public health contexts from which the book arises, and makes a call for transformative change based on … 9 $0.90


In Treason of the State, the author contextualized his work by examining the history of welfare and poverty policies in the United States. He also explores co-operation, democracy and … 17 $1.70


The Commons: Dispossession and Reclamation begins with an examination of the loss of groundwater in Chennai, India, looking at the political, economic and land-use histories leading to it. The … 17 $1.70


The Way of the Peasant begins with the impact of industrial agriculture on peasant farmers in India, before focusing on the resistance to these impacts through the anti-globalization and … 15 $1.50


Deep Democracy in Kerala looks at the history of the Indian state of Kerala and how it has become a model of alternatives to economic growth. 16 $1.60


Living Without Approval: Stateless Democracy in Rojava questions the role of the nation-state via a case study of the Rojava region in northeast Syria, where democratic confederalism is emerging … 20 $2.00


The World Unmasked takes a look at what was learned about governance, the role of the state, our cultural values and differences during the COVID-19 pandemic. 18 $1.80


Transformation and Integration considers what might happen to our economic and political systems in this time of great inequality, political polarity, and global environmental crisis, reflecting … 14 $1.40


From Welfare State to Partner State delves into imagining a new form of civil society and governance that involves democratization and empowerment, which has been called the Partner State. 17 $1.70


Civilizing the State: Principles and Policies further articulates the previous chapter’s vision for a Partner State by looking at what principles and policies support its implementation. 7 $0.70


The Epilogue follows up on threads from throughout the book, with current updates in India, the United States and Syria. 6 $0.60