This article addresses two debates. First, there is the issue of how the left can (re)invigorate contemporary western democracies in the face of the growing apathy, disillusionment and violent antagonisms that emerge in the context of neo-liberal reforms, inequality, fundamental- ism and terror. In positing the value of Jacques Rancie`re’s work to speak to this issue, it will also take up a position within a second debate over the precise implications of Rancie`re’s work for democratic politics today. The article will argue that it is worth revisiting Rancie`re’s work despite various conflicting interpretations. It will show that contra the claims of his critics, his conception of politics need be neither opposed to direct action, nor ineffective or too narrowly conceived. Instead, ‘politics’ understood as the moment that ruptures our social (police) order provides us with a vibrant, ever-adaptable strategy of resistance and renewal that could be used to inspire and revitalize a new left.