‘Inspirational’ activist author David Graeber dies

Graeber, who was a leading figure of the Occupy Wall Street movement, was 59.

David Graeber. Image: Getty
David Graeber. Image: Getty

The writer, academic and political campaigner David Graeber has died at the age of 59. 

The author of Bullshit Jobs (2018) and The Democracy Project (2014), Graeber was also a professor of anthropology at the London School of Economics and was a leading figure of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Known for his insightful critiques of capitalism, he popularised the phrase "we are the 99%". 

Graeber’s editor at Penguin Press, Tom Penn, said:

“We are devastated to learn of the passing of David Graeber. A voice of boundless influence both in the academy and in political culture, David was 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. We are deeply honoured to be his publisher, and we will all miss him: his kindness, his warmth, his wisdom, his friendship. His loss is incalculable, but his legacy is immense. His work and his spirit will live on.”

Bullshit Jobs was inspired by 2013 essay which went viral and described a society in which huge numbers of people were engaging in meaningless labour which resulted in psychological damage.

Graeber was also working on a new book, written with David Wengrow, The Dawn of Everything: a New History of Humanity, which is due to be published in autumn 2021.

Graeber's death was announced on Twitter by his wife, Nika Dubrovsky, who posted that he died in hospital in Venice. The cause of death has not yet been released. 

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