After presenting Capitalism v. Democracy in Europe, I’m starting to put together a US schedule. I’ll be talking at the Harvard Coop, Duke Law, Bowdoin College, Maine Law, Common Cause RI, Roger Williams Law, and GSU (here in Atlanta). Dates and times are posted here and more events will be coming soon. Hope to see you there!
Month: July 2014
European reactions to plutocracy in the United States
Over the last few weeks, I’ve presented my book in Vienna, Prague, Budapest, and Barcelona. The results have been the same in each city and in each type of setting, whether the United Nations, NGOs, or government agencies: people are astounded by money in politics in the United States and by the Supreme Court case law that has struck down so many important campaign finance reforms. Although astronomical, record-setting sums are involved, it’s not the amount of money that’s most surprising. This is, after all, a large country with privatized mas media and little public financing for campaigns and political parties. The sums, antics, and undemocratic dynamics in play are predictable enough. Many countries have gone through sad chapters in their democratic histories– times when democracy seemed an empty promise and corruption the norm. The civic ‘shock and awe’ that I’m quickly becoming accustomed to is the foreign reaction to the Supreme Court’s judicial reasoning, not so much to the price of our politics. The Court’s explanations for why state and federal legislatures are not allowed to meaningfully reform the system strike people as stranger than fiction. European audiences, perhaps most sensitive to the flaws in extreme capitalist ideology, can’t believe that the U.S. Supreme Court has issued official state justifications for an unregulated open political market, the sovereignty of donors and spenders, the demise of political equality, and so on. Of course all of this is what my book is dedicated to exposing, and so I couldn’t be more pleased with the reactions I’m getting. They show that I’m getting my points across. Some of those main points were published over the weekend by Salon.com– This is not a democracy: How the Supreme Court allowed the 1 percent control