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Head of Zeus
Rebel: How to Overthrow the Emerging Oligarchy by Douglas Carswell

Politics has never been more unpredictable. Radical populists and insurgents have turned politics-as-usual on its head. Rebel explores how we got here, where we are heading and what we can do about it.

Douglas Carswell argues that these insurgencies are a reaction against the emergence of a political and economic oligarchy that has subverted our democracy and stifled our market system. 'Politics,' he writes, 'is a cartel. Like the economy, it is rigged in the interests of a few.' This leaves our liberal, democratic order – the mechanism that has allowed a historically unprecedented proportion of humanity to flourish – facing a twin assault: oligarchs on the one hand, radical populists on the other.

Reassessing history and politics, Rebel puts forward a bold new thesis: we are not the first to face such a threat. Oligarchic cartels have clogged the arteries of nations and economies throughout history, triggering radical insurgencies in protest. But all too often the radicals have strengthened the hand of the oligarchs: the Roman, Venetian and Dutch republics all succumbed to cartels. 'Anti-oligarch radicals,' the author notes, 'have often made the oligarchs seem the more attractive option.' So, too, today, he suggests.

In the face of these twin threats, Carswell mounts a robust defence of the liberal, democratic order. Drawing on his first-hand experience in taking on – and beating – the established political parties, he proposes a profound reform of politics and capitalism to free us from the cartels, listing the practical steps needed to make this revolutionary change happen.

Head of Zeus * Current Affairs
25 Mar 2017 * 400pp * £8.99 * 9781786691545
'As a revolutionary text, Carswell's is right up there with the Communist Manifesto'
The Sunday Times
'A passionately expressed set of arguments about why our current political arrangements do not work'
Daily Telegraph
'Carswell is as genuine a rebel as parliament contains'
The Times
'Unusual and fascinating'
Irish Independent
'Mr Carswell makes his case well'
The Economist
'There is remarkable breadth of history in this book, ranging from ancient Greece to the present day'
'The big twist is that Carswell thinks that the populist challengers to the status quo [...] are just as bad as the elite that they are trying to replace'
Money Week
Douglas Carswell
Douglas Carswell
Douglas Carswell grew up in Uganda. Elected to Parliament four times, for two different parties, he ended up as an independent MP. He stood down from Parliament in 2017, having accomplished what he went into politics to achieve. He is the author of The Plan: Twelve Months to Renew Britain (with Daniel Hannan) and The End of Politics and the Birth of iDemocracy.
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