Publication Details

Passant, J. (2015). Book Review: The History of Democracy: a Marxist Interpretation by Brian S. Roper. Australian Options, (79 Summer), 35-36.

Link to publisher version (URL)

Australian Options Magazine


Brian Roper's book on the history of democracy from a Marxist perspective is an ambitious one. Roper starts with Athens and Rome and then, as capitalism rises, examines the revolutions in England, America and France and after that the 1848 revolutions across Europe. He then looks at the Paris Commune and The Russian Revolution. In doing this, Roper describes three distinct but related forms of democracy - Athenian democracy which was a form of participatory democracy limited to sections of society; liberal representative democracy which, while nominally open to all, is actually limited to operating within narrow propertied confines; and socialist participatory democracy whose aim is to encompass all areas of society.