Liberal or Social Democrat?  

Is there a difference between a liberal and a social democrat that amounts to a distinction? If there is, is it a distinction with merit? Michael Walzer is a social democrat; it is an honorary badge. For a long time, …





A Charter for the 99 Percent  

After November 6, 2012, the big sound rippling around the world was not a chorus of bipartisanship, not a whoop of euphoria, but a collective sigh of relief. Still, it must not be forgotten that nearly half of America’s voters …





An Election Won With Class  

Soon after Barack Obama won a second term with surprising ease, Pulitzer-Prize-winning artist Clay Bennett depicted a wealthy, white-haired man staring grimly at his television screen while around and behind him four servants, white and black, go about their jobs …



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The Horizontalists  

By working outside structures of power one may circumvent coercive systems but not necessarily subvert them. Localizing politics—stripping it of its larger institutional ambitions—has its advantages, but without a larger structural vision, it does not go far enough.



The Presidential Obsession  

Liberals have an obsession with the presidency. Since Franklin D. Roosevelt strode across the political arena like a colossus (albeit a colossus in a wheelchair), liberals have tended to equate success with electing one of their own to the White …



Is America Ready for Democracy?  

Is this country ready for democratic elections? That’s a question we often ask about countries emerging from despotic rule or civil war. But it’s a good general question; it invites political introspection and collective self-criticism. With regard to our own …



Citizenship and the Right to Birth Control  

Calling this year’s political fight about funding for contraception a “war on women” may be a catchy slogan and a strong mobilizing call. But as an analysis, it is misleading. True, birth control does affect women disproportionately, because women still …



Big Dollar, Little Democracy  

Republic Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress—and a Plan to Stop It by Lawrence Lessig Twelve, 2011, 381 pp. Money talks. It is also a conversation stopper. Almost any discussion among progressives of what is really needed to solve the nation’s …



The War Against Social Security  

The People’s Pension: The Struggle to Defend Social Security Since Reagan by Eric Laursen AK Press, 2012, 818 pp. Eric Laursen has written a highly readable, exhaustively researched history of the last thirty years of struggles over Social Security. His …



Social Movements and Election Campaigns  

Social movements can be very grand. Years ago, Richard Rorty wrote an article in Dissent describing Christianity and Marxism as prototypical social movements (“Movements and Campaigns,” Winter 1995)—they aimed to transform the world and to create “new” men and women. …




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