David Graeber, anthropologist and activist, has died at the age of 59.
His cause of death is unknown.
On September 3, Graeber’s wife, Nika Dubrovsky, announced his passing on social media.
“Yesterday the best person in a world, my husband and my friend . @davidgraeber died in a hospital in Venice.”
We learned yesterday of the death of fellow worker, activist, and anthropologist @davidgraeber. Graeber has written numerous books on direct action and anti-capitalist theory. He also coined the phrase, “We are the 99%” during OWS. Rest in power, fellow worker. pic.twitter.com/Wa6DvSYZAm
— Industrial Workers of the World (@iww) September 3, 2020
Graeber’s Activism – Occupy Wall Street
David Graeber is perhaps best known for being involved with the Occupy Wall Street movement that came into existence in 2011.
Occupy Wall Street united people of all races and backgrounds in one common goal: to denounce that the greed and corruption of the top 1% should be not be tolerated or allowed by the 99%.
Like its name indicates, Occupy Wall Street began in New York but has since spread to over 100 cities in the United States and 1,500 cities around the world.
In addition to being a professor of anthropology at the London School of Economics, David Graeber was an accomplished author.
His books include:
- Debt: The First 5000 Years was released in 2011.
The book introduced the concept that debt existed long before coins or currency were invented.
It explored the concepts of barter and trade as they applied to religion, slavery, war, and marriage.
- The Democracy Project: A History, a Crisis, a Movement was published in 2013.
It talked about his Occupy Wall Street work and about how the current democratic system leaves many feeling disengaged.
Graeber theorizes how it can be called a true democratic system if not all voices and backgrounds are represented and included.
He challenges with the thought that consensus and equality need to be factored into a re-energized democracy.
- The Utopia of Rules on Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy came out in 2015.
It examines how bureaucracy shapes and affects people’s lives without them even realizing it.
- Bullshit Jobs: A Theory was published in 2018.
Graeber talks about the popularity of meaningless jobs and the consequences they cause.
Graeber’s Illness And Death
David Graeber put out a video on August 28 admitting that he hadn’t been feeling well.
However, he did spend nearly 5 minutes talking about a completed project and an upcoming book about pirates.
Clearly, his demeanor and mindset was not indicative of a man on his deathbed.
So his death did come as a surprise to many.
Devastated to hear about the death of David Graeber. He was an intellectual giant, full of humanity, someone whose work inspired and encouraged and educated so many.
If you haven't read his work, consider doing it now and let his legacy live on.
Rest In Power, David Graeber.
— Owen Jones 🌹 (@OwenJones84) September 3, 2020
Tom Penn, Graeber’s editor at Penguin Random House, was “devastated” and called Graeber “a true radical, a pioneer in everything that he did”.
“David’s inspirational work has changed and shaped the way people understand the world. In his books, his constant, questing curiosity, his wry, sharp-eyed provoking of received nostrums shine through. So too, above all, does his unique ability to imagine a better world, borne out of his own deep and abiding humanity.”