Anarchist Critique of Radical Democracy: The Impossible Argument

Regular price $ 16.95

by Markus Lundström

PM Press

1/24/2023, paperback

SKU: 9781629639987


In the spring of 2013, a wave of urban riots swept across Sweden after police shot an elderly man in his own home.

When community residents from his marginalized city-district demanded an official apology, they were ignored. The anti-police insurgences that followed addressed deep problems of the Swedish welfare state, and the official responses revealed glitches built into democracy itself.

In this updated edition of Anarchist Critique of Radical Democracy: The Impossible Argument, sociologist and historian Markus Lundström explores the boundaries of Swedish democracy. He probes in-depth interviews with community residents to explain how the 2013 riots intensified a profound democratic conflict: the social divide between the governors and the governed. Resistance to this divide is then traced through the defiance of governance and approaches to democracy in the history of anarchist thought.

This book offers an original introduction to anarchism. It relates the diversity of anarchist thought to anti-police riots and the radicalization of democracy.


"The very best and most fruitful interrogations of political life often come from a deep and scrupulous plunge into a single event. So it is with Markus Lundström's brilliant analysis of the battle in the streets of Husby in 2013. The result is a subtle, philosophically informed, and original understanding of the possibilities for enacting the promise of anarchism." -- James C. Scott, author of The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia

"Lundström's comprehensive, accessible and inclusive examination of anarchist thought defends an approach to democracy that combines uncompromising critique with a conception of anarchising change." -- Ruth Kinna, author of Anarchism: A Beginner's Guide and Anarchic Agreements: A Field Guide to Collective Organizing

"This book offers a powerful critical inquiry into the relationship between anarchism and democracy. Lundström traces a genealogy of critique that sheds new light on the conflict at the heart of democracy and its imperative to govern. Anarchism, he contends, must be understood as elsewhere to such appeals to authority. In placing anarchism outside of these bounds, Lundström compellingly argues that we must move beyond the enchanting discourse of democracy, even in its radicalized form, to accept anarchism on its own terms." -- Simon Springer, author of Fuck Neoliberalism: Translating Resistance

"This book takes seriously tensions within anarchism between making democracy more participatory vs. making a more radical arrangement beyond democracy. Lundström exemplifies these tensions, and appeals to a variety of anarchist writers for the theoretical tools to think this tension productively." -- Kathy Ferguson, author of Emma Goldman: Political Thinking in the Streets

About the Author:

Markus Lundström is a political sociologist focused on anarchist, fascist, and social movement studies. He is the author of The Making of Resistance: Brazil's Landless Movement and Narrative Enactment and co-editor of Nordic Fascism: Fragments of an Entangled History.