Silent Coup: How Corporations Overthrew Democracy

REVIEWS, 3 Jul 2023

Claire Provost and Matt Kennard | Waterstones – TRANSCEND Media Service

Silent Coup: How Corporations Overthrew Democracy by Claire Provost and Matt Kennard, Bloomsbury Publishing, 5 Apr 2023, 296 pp.


As European empires crumbled in the 20th century, the power structures that had dominated the world for centuries were up for renegotiation. Yet instead of a rebirth for democracy, what emerged was a silent coup – namely, the unstoppable rise of global corporate power.

Exposing the origins of this epic power grab as well as its present-day consequences, Silent Coup is the result of two investigative journalist’s reports from 30 countries around the world. It provides an explosive guide to the rise of a corporate empire that now dictates how resources are allocated, how territories are governed, and how justice is defined.

Media Reviews

Silent Coup is investigative journalism at its best, charting the rise of corporate power after World War II, where the freedoms fought for were redefined.

 — Jan Woolf, The Morning Star

This wide-ranging inquiry-based on intensive on-the-ground investigation-unearths ‘a parallel world, outside of scrutiny…with very real consequences’. An ugly world, out of control, unaccountable, but with overwhelming power. It ranges from investor-state legal systems to intricate systems of corporate welfare that aid elites and investors. Always concealed in elaborate devices of seeming to do good. Silent Coup is a highly revealing expose of the hidden real world.

— Noam Chomsky

Silent Coup opens a window onto multiple battlefields on which brave communities resist irresistible conglomerates world-wide. Because these momentous clashes remain under the radar of global public opinion, reading this book constitutes, in itself, an act of precious resistance.

— Yanis Varoufakis

Silent Coup shows us how corporations have insulated themselves from democratic decision-making and stolen our collective power. Through impressive and important investigative journalism, the authors reveal how, why and where corporate power has hijacked democracy. We have to understand this world-spanning corporate power to build a global movement so powerful that we can take back our democracies and secure our collective future.

— Jeremy Corbyn

Silent Coup is investigative journalism at its best. It shows us how corporations rule the world: suing sovereign, democratic governments in invisible courts to erode constitutions and the democratic rights they enshrine-and writing laws and treaties to privatise the earth’s resources and public goods. Sovereign communities and countries are being displaced by sovereign companies and the supranational systems they have built to establish their control, creating in the process our age of corporate colonialism. The book is vital reading for all who care for human freedom, human rights and democracy.

— Vandana Shiva

Silent Coup is an outstanding work of secrets revealed: all the more so for its classic eyewitness reporting. It shows that democracy’s true enemy is within, a dark alliance of rapacious capital and corrupt law. We have been warned.

— John Pilger

Silent Coup is a crime story: a gripping description of the murky legal, and regulatory structures and policy changes that privilege big corporations. It’s a tragedy, outlining the terrible consequences for people and nature, for democracy and accountability. It’s a lesson in economics, providing fascinating and important insights into the functioning of global capitalism today. But finally it’s also a story of hope, about apparently powerless people resisting these trends in the struggle for better and more just futures. Don’t miss this.

— Jayati Ghosh

Quite an eye-opening look at the various abuses of corporate power across the globe and how they have caused quite a bit of harm and perhaps unintended consequences . . . absolutely worthy of reading and could enhance the overall discussion of related topics. Recommended.


Silent Coup is a ground-breaking piece of work. Through personal journeys and encounters, it reveals the truth about how little our votes mean when corporations and dirty dealers are pulling their corrupt strings in the background. This book needs to be read aloud. Silent Coup shows us where we’re heading to if we do nothing. This book is not about theories, it’s about reality. It’s what real investigative journalism should be about, but it’s written in a no nonsense, engaging, and accessible style. This is stuff we really need to know.

— Benjamin Zephaniah

This brilliant book presents an entirely innovative framework to understand why the world looks like it does and not what it is. It explains why the media is largely ignoring the most important story of our generation. It explains how civic society around the world is being systematically dismantled by greedy corporations, governments, judicial bodies, and international institutions. It crackles by exposing hypocrisy at every level of officialdom. It demonstrates that voting in Western democracies is only the window dressing that hides power that few see with the naked eye but that this book reveals in startling and grotesque detail. If you read only one book this year, this should be it.

— Steven Donziger

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