Category Archives: populism

white working class alienation from government

In a recent long post, I argued that one reason white working class Americans are alienated from government is that they lack the productive political power that comes from organizations, such as political parties that rely on ordinary members, and unions. Moreover, because … Continue reading

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why the white working class must organize

It is inexcusable to vote for Donald Trump, a cruel and incompetent charlatan. To imply that anyone is justified in voting for him sets a patronizingly low standard. Our fellow Americans can do better than that. At the same time, Trump’s demographic base … Continue reading

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a political defense of Hamilton

The political theorists Jason Frank and Isaac Kramnick make the political case against Hamilton, the musical. In the debates among the founders, Alexander Hamilton was the elitist, the one with the most “contemptuous attitude toward the lower classes.” He was “perfectly … Continue reading

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the library of Albert Shanker

This is part of the library of Albert Shanker (1928-77), which lines the walls of the conference room of the Albert Shanker Institute, which is inside the American Federation of Teachers’ Building in Washington. I was there earlier today. It … Continue reading

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bottom-up struggles against corruption: a frontier of democracy

(En route to Storrs, CT) Corruption is no minor issue, nor is it mainly a concern for fastidious bourgeois reformers in rich countries. Consider, just for instance, that one quarter of India’s teachers are missing from school on any given … Continue reading

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St. Margaret of Cortona and medieval populism

This is highlight #3 from our recent vacation in Italy. St. Margaret of Cortona was a remarkable person–more on her in a moment. The picture is a narrative of her life painted around 1298, or just one year after she … Continue reading

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deindustrialization and Ferguson

“With Selma and the voting rights bill one era of our struggle came to a close and a new era came into being. Now our struggle is for genuine equality, which means economic equality.” — Martin Luther King, Jr., March … Continue reading

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two perspectives on our political paralysis

Let’s define “governing” in a democracy (and I mean really governing, as opposed to administering or muddling through) as putting an agenda before the people, achieving a mandate, and enacting the agenda before the next election offers a verdict. No … Continue reading

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disadvantaged youth most likely to credit the rich for their own success

My friend Connie Flanagan reports on her study of 600 US adolescents: It was adolescents in the least privileged circumstances (whose parents had lower levels of education, whose schools were located in low-income communities, and whose classmates reported few discussions … Continue reading

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the Supreme Court reflects the “degeneracy of the times”

In 1870, Linus Child of Boston, MA hired an attorney to lobby Congress for personal financial relief and promised to pay the attorney one quarter of the value of the award if it came to pass. The attorney was successful, but Child … Continue reading

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