When it comes to the flow of information, technology has categorically reversed the balance of power between the public and the elites who manage the great hierarchical institutions of the industrial age—government, political parties, and the media. In The Revolt of the Public, Martin Gurri tells the story of how insurgencies, enabled by digital devices and a vast information sphere, have mobilized millions of ordinary people around the world. Originally published in 2014, The Revolt of the Public now appears in an updated edition, which includes an extensive analysis of Donald Trump’s improbable rise to the presidency and the electoral triumphs of Brexit. Gurri concludes with a look forward, considering whether the current elite class can bring about a reformation of the democratic process, and whether new organizing principles, adapted to a digital world, can arise out of the present political turbulence.
Martin Gurri is a geopolitical analyst who specializes in the relationship between politics and global media. He spent 28 years analyzing open media at the CIA. The Revolt of the Public draws from writing on his blog, The Fifth Wave.
All over the world, elite institutions, from governments to media to academia, are losing their authority and monopoly control of information to the broader public. This book has been my No. 1 handout to anyone seeking to understand this unfolding shift in power from hierarchies to networks in the age of the internet.
cofounder of Andreessen Horowitz
Martin Gurri saw it coming. When, without fanfare, he self-published the first edition in June of 2014, he did not specifically name Donald Trump or Brexit. But he saw how the internet in general and social media in particular were transforming the political landscape.
economist and writer
We are in an open war between publics with passionate and untutored interests and elites who believe they have the right to guide those publics. Gurri asks the essential question: Can liberal representative democracy survive the rise of the publics?
founder of the Hannah Arendt Center and professor of politics and human rights at Bard College
“The internet has been a marvelous invention in lots of ways, but it has also unleashed a tsunami of misinformation and destabilized political systems across the globe. Martin Gurri . . . was way ahead of the curve on this problem.
Mr. Gurri writes that the internet has empowered ordinary citizens by giving them new information and tools, which they then use to discover the flaws in the systems and institutions that govern their lives.