Julia Cagé’s solutions for a renewed democracy

Delivered. An inveterate optimism runs through the new book by economist Julia Cagé, Free and equal in voice (Fayard), that we first want to greet, against a background of sanitary disaster. Written during confinement, this “Advocacy for democracy” has great ambitions: it wants to be a feminist and universalist, nourished by theoretical readings (from Hannah Arendt to Chantal Mouffe or John Dewey) but turned towards action. The author, who introduces herself as “Bottle-fed to Jean-Jacques Rousseau”, refuses to issue a “Umpteenth politico-philosophical treatise on the conditions of representation”. No, instead, the media specialist declines in five chapters solutions to guarantee pluralism, equality of representation, but also to “Regain democracy”, “regain the public good” and finally, “Invest in the media”.

The urgency of “suggesting, of debating”

A vast program, which the economics professor at Sciences Po manages to articulate with fluidity, guiding the reader in a withdrawn style in this profusion of proposals. Thanks to a health crisis seen as “A historic opportunity” to relaunch the democratic exercise on new bases, Julia Cagé “Glad[t] the multiplication of proposals “. “It’s time to invent! It is urgent to suggest, to debate, to deliberate ”, she writes.

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To begin with, the economist evacuates the arguments of ” progressive “, which caricature, she says, the demand for democracy drifting undemocratic. “It is not the refractory masses who are blocking change, but rather the oligarchy in government which clings to old forms of power and takes refuge behind the illusion of representation to deny the masses their legitimate demand for participation” , she writes. At a time when the institutions of the Ve Republic seem to be struggling to create consensus, Julia Cagé defends, against the theorists of populism, a middle way, that of alternation ” continuously “. Deliberate regularly through citizens’ initiative referendums to ” uproot “ antagonisms, involving the opposition more in decision-making at the highest level, so many avenues for defusing democratic malaise.

Against the cult of political incarnation, Julia Cagé calls, urgently, to “get out of this dictatorship of the providential man (even if it is a woman)”

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