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Future Hindsight

Future Hindsight

Author: Mila Atmos

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Future Hindsight is a weekly interview podcast seeking to spark civic engagement, inspire hope, and reinvigorate our social contract.
165 Episodes
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Intersectionality As an Assemblymember, González-Rojas works to address a variety of intersectional issues facing her community, ranging from housing to healthcare. Her prior experience as a reproductive justice advocate has trained her well for intersectional lawmaking, which is often siloed by the political process. This approach serves the people most marginalized and helps create dynamic bills that tackle multiple areas of injustice to help constituents. Excluded Workers’ Rights Excluded workers are not protected by many of the labor laws that govern most sectors, which include undocumented, part-time, and contract workers. They perform critical duties in our economy and have little recourse against various forms of exploitation and discrimination. During the COVID pandemic, excluded workers were labeled ‘essential’, and should be protected because they protect us and our economic system. Reimagining Public Financing New York City has publicly subsidized elections, but New York State and most of the rest of the country do not. An easy way to help democracy is to pass sweeping campaign finance reform to level the playing field and remove wealth from the equation. This allows a new crop of diverse voices and perspectives to succeed in elections, creating stronger, broader, legislation to help all Americans, not just rich ones. FIND OUT MORE: Jessica González-Rojas serves in the New York State Assembly representing the 34th Assembly District, which includes the diverse Queens communities of Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst, Woodside and Corona. She is an unapologetic social justice leader fighting for the values of dignity, justice, and equity. Jessica has dedicated her life – on both the local and national level – to fight for immigrant rights, racial justice, and gender equity. For 13 years, Jessica served in leadership at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice, the only national reproductive justice organization that is dedicated to building Latina power to advance health, dignity, and justice for 29 million Latinas, their families, and communities in the United States. She has been a leader in progressive movements for over two decades. Jessica successfully forges connections between reproductive health, gender, immigration, LGBTQ liberation, labor and Latinx civil rights, breaking down barriers between movements and building a strong Latina grassroots presence. Jessica is a long-time leader in community and electoral politics. Prior to running for State Assembly in 2020, she was elected to the New York State Committee from 2002-2006. She has received proclamations from the New York State Senate, New York State Assembly, New York City Comptroller and New York City Council for her local and national advocacy. You can follow her on Twitter @votejgr.
Youth Vote Power Young people wield a lot of power when they vote. A whopping 73% of youth who were registered to vote by NextGen turned out to vote. This type of turnout can change the outcome of an election. Because voting is a habit, investing in youth leads to long-lasting change in the electorate. Letting young people know the power they have can make a tremendous difference. Voting Rights and Immigrants The current battle over immigrants is not just about immigration. It is also about race, power, and voting. Purging naturalized citizens, preventing DACA recipients from becoming citizens, and undercounting in the US census are all efforts to enact racist policies and to suppress votes. Keep the Door Open When Cristina first organized undocumented workers in Texas, she was met with hostility from pro-labor unions. Over time, they realized the work she was doing benefited everyone, and are now her allies. Leaving the door open for others to change their mind and work with you is a valuable tool that can yield positive results. FIND OUT MORE: Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez is a civil rights leader and former 2020 U.S. Senate candidate. She has spent the last twenty years taking on some of the most powerful special interests in her home state of Texas, organizing construction workers, immigrant mothers and young voters to build a government and economy that works for all of us. Today, Cristina is the Executive Director of NextGen America, the nation’s largest youth voting rights organization. NextGen has registered and mobilized millions of young people to the polls, with the goal of harnessing the power of young people to reshape the political outcomes of our country – not for an election cycle but a generation. Previously, Cristina founded two of Texas’ largest voting and civil rights organizations. She founded Jolt, a statewide organization focused on mobilizing the Latino vote, when she was six-months pregnant and in the wake of the 2016 election. Under her leadership, Jolt mobilized tens of thousands of young Latinos and developed some of the nation’s most creative strategies to engage young Latinos, like #Poderquince that supports young quinceañeras to use their sweet 15 birthdays as a platform to register and mobilize Latino voters. You can follow her on Twitter @cristinafortx.
The Power of State Legislatures State legislatures pass the laws that affect our daily lives. When Democrats won the ‘trifecta’ in Virginia in 2019, they controlled both chambers of the House and the governor’s office. Immediately, they passed voting rights legislation, abolished the death penalty, improved the criminal justice system, abolished no-knock warrants, and more. Purple District Network Sister District identified a gap in resources for legislators from purple districts. The Purple District Network focuses on providing support by sharing best practices, governance techniques, and strategies for being effective. They also give lawmakers access to alumni of their program, allowing for mentorship, networking, and strategizing across state lines. Redistricting Flipping and holding districts is key to progressive strategies in 2021-22, especially because of the redistricting process after the 2020 census. Democrats were unable to take any state legislatures back from Republican control last year. However, several states do have bipartisan redistricting commissions, which will make redistricting fairer for Democrats; and there are several competitive upcoming state races. FIND OUT MORE: Lala Wu is a Co-Founder and the Executive Director of Sister District. Since its founding in 2016, Sister District has raised millions in small dollar donations directly for candidates and reached out to voters through doors, calls, texts, and postcards on behalf of over 100 state legislative candidates in key swing districts. Lala has successfully led the expansion of the organization's volunteer infrastructure to over 50,000 and has also led the development of strategic partnerships with local and national organizations such as the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, EMILY’s List, Human Rights Campaign, Vote Save America, and more. Prior to Sister District, Lala clerked for federal judges in the Northern District of California and the District of Massachusetts. She was also an attorney at Morrison & Foerster LLP in San Francisco and Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell LLP in Denver where she counseled renewable energy and real estate clients on land use, regulatory, transactional, and litigation matters. Lala graduated from U.C. Berkeley, School of Law and Barnard College of Columbia University. While at Berkeley, she served as Co-President of the Berkeley Energy and Resources Collaborative and successfully represented a Chinese asylum-seeker through the California Asylum Representation Clinic. You can follow her on Twitter @_lala_wu.
Helping Diverse First Time Candidates Run Since its founding, Run for Something has helped elect 515 young, local officials across 46 states. A third of those elected officials are between 25 and 30, 10% are between the ages of 18 and 24, a third are women of color, and 11% are LGBTQ. Electing young diverse candidates compounds on itself. After transwoman Danica Roem was elected in 2017, many other trans people decided to run for office. Local and State Races Run for Something focuses on local and state elections because of their impact on people’s daily lives. Members of state legislatures have control over election administration, school boards have real power over what children learn, city and municipal officials have real control over police reform, and more. Winning local office is often easier to achieve than state or national leadership and has more direct impact on constituents. Better Governance Electing younger, more diverse candidates has resulted in better governance. Jessica Ramos of New York State has introduced groundbreaking legislation to combat wage theft; Florida State Rep Ana Eskamani helped more than 30,000 Floridians access unemployment insurance; and Texas State Rep James Talarico helped lower the price on insulin in his state. FIND OUT MORE: Amanda Litman is the co-founder and executive director of Run for Something, which recruits and supports young, diverse progressives running for down-ballot office. Since launching in 2017, RFS has identified more than 75,000 young people who want to run, endorsed nearly 1,500 and elected nearly 500 across 46 states, mostly women and people of color. Politico named Run for Something (and Amanda) one of the 50 ideas driving politics in 2018. Bloomberg called her one of the people to watch in 2019. Fortune named her to their annual 40 under 40 list in 2020. Before launching Run for Something, Amanda worked as a digital strategist — she served as Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, the digital director for Charlie Crist's 2014 Florida gubernatorial campaign, the deputy email director for Organizing for Action, and an email writer for Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. You can follow her on Twitter @amandalitman.
Pro-Choice Democratic Women Eleanor’s Legacy specifically helps pro-choice Democratic candidates for several reasons. First, due to a long-standing Republican majority in the state legislature, New York State had not codified Roe v. Wade protections until 2019. Second, not all Democrats are pro-choice, and Eleanor’s Legacy only supports candidates who are pro-choice. Lastly, clearly stating your values and building your brand always helps in politics. Importance of State and Local Office Controlling state and local office can mean huge differences for everyday voters. When Democrats took control of the New York State legislature in 2019, they significantly expanded access to voting, immediately protected abortion rights, began to address climate change, and protected survivors of childhood sexual abuse. None of these laws would have been passed if Democrats hadn’t won in local elections. Healthy Political Landscape Although things are improving politically in New York, there is still work to be done to create a truly healthy political landscape. For instance, voter turnout needs to climb beyond the usual 20%. Just as important, more women need to be elected to executive roles. The gains made by women in local and state offices are promising. However, electing a woman mayor of NYC would go a long way in creating a healthier political landscape. FIND OUT MORE: Brette McSweeney is the president of Eleanor’s Legacy, the only statewide organization in New York focused on recruiting, training, and funding pro-choice Democratic women candidates at the state and local level. She was a member of the New York Leadership Council for Hillary for America in 2016 and the deputy New York State director for women’s outreach in 2008. Brette is a graduate of Georgetown and Columbia. You can follow her on Twitter @blmcsweeney.
Normalize Black Women’s Leadership Normalizing Black women’s leadership means that it is as plausible to have a Black woman represent a majority-white district as it is to have a white man represent a majority-Black district. Supporting Black women candidates in all districts will allow more qualified, more diverse candidates everywhere. Political Power of Black women Black women are the building blocks of successful political coalitions on any level of government. They were instrumental in Obama’s election, the “Blue Wave” in 2018, and in 2020. They are the best return on our voting investment because they also organize their families, neighborhoods, churches, unions, and other social groups. Black women have immense political power. Participating in Democracy Voting is only a starting point for participating in our democracy. Organizing for a cause, proposing legislation, and holding power accountable are all ways to be governing partners for our elected officials all year long. By being active participants, we create an environment to innovate our democracy and shape public policy. FIND OUT MORE: Glynda C. Carr is at the center of the national movement to grow Black women’s political power from the voting booth to elected office. In 2011, she and Kimberly Peeler-Allen co-founded Higher Heights to address the dearth of organizing resources for politically active Black women and the lack of support for prospective candidates seeking elected office. Through her leadership, the organization has developed several innovative programs and efforts that have quickly solidified its reputation as the political home and go-to resource for progressive Black women. Carr is the co-creator of #BlackWomenLead—a powerful coalition movement that is creating an environment for Black women to run, win, and lead—and the Higher Heights-powered #BlackWomenVote, a nonpartisan voter-activism campaign that serves as an independent and trusted voice for Black women’s political concerns. Her work to date has helped to elect 11 Black women to the U.S. Congress, including one to the Senate, and increase the number of Black women holding statewide executive office, including helping to elect the first Black woman to serve as New York State attorney general. You can follow her on Twitter @GlyndaCarr.
Qualifications Women need to highlight their credentials early and often, particularly in economics. Voters do recognize that women understand kitchen table issues and that they mostly shoulder the emotional labor of a family. Effective campaigns use action-oriented language that illustrates how women are effective leaders in a crisis, will be accountable team leaders, and listen to experts and constituents. Finally, women who appear likable are more electable. Addressing Sexism Voters expect women candidates to call out sexism. It’s a chance for a woman to show how she can stand up for herself and, in turn, for her constituents. Gender bias against women is common among both men and women. Confronting these biases—such as ending the double standard in what we perceive as required qualifications—will make it possible for more women to run for office. Building a Pipeline of Women Candidates Electing a woman to the White House requires building a pipeline of strong women candidates in public office nationwide. Writing grants and working with groups that promote women make it possible for more women to win elections. When we see more and more powerful women in politics, gender stereotypes are less likely to be reinforced. FIND OUT MORE: Amanda Hunter leads the Barbara Lee Family Foundation’s nonpartisan efforts to advance women’s political equality and increase women’s representation. With extensive communications experience, Amanda brings her strategic insight to the Foundation’s work. Prior to becoming Executive Director, Amanda was the Foundation’s Research and Communications Director. In this role, she was responsible for promoting the Barbara Lee Family Foundation’s mission to advance women’s representation in American politics by leading all research and communications efforts. Previously, Amanda served as Director of Marketing and Communications at The Phillips Collection in Washington, DC, America’s first museum of modern art, and as Senior Press Representative at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, leading media relations efforts on events like The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor and Kennedy Center Honors. She also served as Deputy Communications Director at the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the trade association for record companies. You can follow her on Twitter @ahuntah.
Motivations and Perspectives The goal of promoting women to run for office is not simply to achieve parity in Congress or in State legislatures. Rather, it should be to recognize that women offer a variety of perspectives and lived experiences that men lack. In addition, women have faced more barriers than men to be elected and are generally more motivated to get things done.  Confronting Our Biases Toughness, experience in national security, and negotiating tactics are often thought of as ideal leadership qualities, which are viewed as inherently male characteristics. Although female leaders do often possess these skills, championing women also means that we need to confront such biases and value traits like compassion, cooperation, and consensus building skills. Women’s Interests All women, like all men, are motivated by a large number of factors in forming political opinions. Our senses of identity are not solely based on gender, which is why there is no such thing as the “women’s agenda.” Women see the world through racial, social, and class identities, which often conflict with and supersede gender identity. However, these factors do intertwine with gender in public policy decisions. FIND OUT MORE: Kelly Dittmar is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Rutgers University–Camden and Scholar at the Center for American Women and Politics at the Eagleton Institute of Politics. At CAWP, she manages national research projects, helps to develop and implement CAWP’s research agenda, and contributes to CAWP reports, publications, and analyses. She also works with CAWP’s programs for women’s public leadership and has been an expert source and commentator for media outlets including MSNBC, NPR, PBS, The New York Times, and The Washington Post She is the co-author of A Seat at the Table: Congresswomen’s Perspectives on Why Their Representation Matters and author of Navigating Gendered Terrain: Stereotypes and Strategy in Political Campaigns. Dittmar’s research focuses on gender and American political institutions. Dittmar was an American Political Science Association (APSA) Congressional Fellow from 2011 to 2012. Dittmar earned her B.A. from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, MI and her Ph.D. from Rutgers University-New Brunswick. You can follow her on Twitter@kdittmar.
Publication of Transcript Levine and the co-editors were outraged by what was happening in the trial and wanted to make sure the general public knew what was going on in that courtroom. They decided to buy the transcripts from the court reporter and edited over 22,000 pages of transcript into a compilation of the most shocking colloquies, which reveal the immense effort put forth by the government to quash dissent against the war in Vietnam and the injustice of Judge Hoffman’s court. About 180,000 copies were sold shortly after the book was published. Injustice Judge Julius Hoffman was anything but fair and impartial during the Trial of the Chicago 7. He openly disdained the defendants and their attorneys, accused them of insulting him, threw some of the defense attorneys in jail, and even ordered the physical gagging of Bobby Seale, the sole Black defendant who was not even part of the protests during the convention, for four days. The guilty verdict and the trial proceedings radicalized a lot of young people at that time. Power of Protest The Trial of the Chicago 7 helped popularize the anti-war movement, which was critical in America’s eventual withdrawal from Vietnam. In response to the trial and the beating of protesters during the Democratic convention in Chicago in 1968, massive marches by conscientious objectors became more intense around the country. The United States ended the war in 1974, not only because it was losing, but also because of public pressure to do so. FIND OUT MORE: Mark L. Levine is a lawyer, writer, and teacher who practiced corporate banking and publishing law in New York City for over forty years. Together with George McNamee and Daniel L. Greenberg, they published The Trial of the Chicago 7. Levine is also an experienced voter protection lawyer. His previous books include Negotiating a Book Contract and The Complete Book of Bible Quotations. A graduate of Columbia College, NYU School of Law, and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, he has taught at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and Zicklin School of Business/Baruch College.
American Ideals The Declaration of Independence clearly lists the promises Americans are entitled to: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. If people want to use drugs to pursue that happiness, they have a right to do so under the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson himself argued that a government deciding what we are allowed to ingest would be like living under tyranny. Drug prohibition policy, which is based on lies about the negative effects of drug use, would be un-American to him. Legalization and Decriminalization Legalization is the foundation of a humane drug policy because it makes room for regulation. Regulation can generate tax revenue and allows for quality control, which in turn ensures users are not taking adulterated substances that may not be safe. Decriminalization of drugs means you will not go to jail for using or owning certain drugs. However, selling drugs is still a criminal offense. America needs both legalization and decriminalization. Average Users The average drug user in America is the average American across all income brackets. The vast majority of drug users are responsible adults who hold jobs, pay taxes, are good parents, and will never be addicted. They consume drugs in the way most people use tobacco or alcohol. Only between 10-30% of drug users—even of substances like heroin and alcohol—are addicted. The false narrative that drug users are criminals, addicts, or mentally deficient is harmful and perpetuates prohibition drug policies. FIND OUT MORE: Dr. Carl L. Hart is the Chair of the Department of Psychology at Columbia University and the Ziff Professor of Psychology in the Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry. Professor Hart has published numerous scientific and popular articles in the area of neuropsychopharmacology and is co-author of the textbook Drugs, Society and Human Behavior (with Charles Ksir). He has appeared on multiple podcasts, radio and television shows—including Real Time with Bill Maher—and has also appeared in several documentary films including the award-winning “The House I Live In.” His essays have been published in several popular publications including The New York Times, Scientific American, The Nation, Ebony, The Root, and O Globo (Brazil’s leading newspaper). You can follow him on Twitter @drcarlhart.
Punishment Bureaucracy The Punishment Bureaucracy defines the array of institutions that powerful members of our society have constructed to enforce their dominance in society. This includes police officers, probation officers, prosecutors, judges, private prisons, companies who profit off prisoners, handcuff and police gear manufacturers, and many others involved in the caging of Americans. Instead of being a justice system, the Punishment Bureaucracy helps maintain the status quo and profits massively from incarceration.  Who Gets Incarcerated? Our current system is used for social control, not public safety or preventing crime. Police often justify their existence to protect civilians from violent crime. However, only 4% of all police time is spent on violent crime. Most police time is spent punishing those who cannot afford to pay fines or those in possession of marijuana or other drugs. The most common arrest in the US is driving with a suspended license, and suspension most often occurs when someone can’t afford to pay a court fee. Police spend most of their time controlling sections of the population to protect the interests of elites, not solving crime and arresting criminals. Justice Reform Many of the leading ‘criminal justice reformers’ are the same people who built up mass incarceration and the punishment bureaucracy. For example, bail reform from the 1980s has paradoxically resulted in tripling the number of pre-trial detainees. Instead of calling for additional funding for police training or body cameras, we need to increased spending on arts and education, proper mental health counseling, and many other real improvements that improve everyday lives. Our current legal system is designed to control the population; working within that framework is unlikely to yield positive results. FIND OUT MORE: Alec Karakatsanis founded the non-profit Civil Rights Corps and serves as Executive Director.  Before that, he was a civil rights lawyer and public defender with the Special Litigation Division of the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia; a federal public defender in Alabama, representing impoverished people accused of federal crimes; and co-founder of the non-profit organization Equal Justice Under Law. Alec is interested in ending human caging, surveillance, the death penalty, immigration laws, war, and inequality.  He graduated from Yale College in 2005 with a degree in Ethics, Politics, & Economics and Harvard Law School in 2008, where he was a Supreme Court Chair of the Harvard Law Review. If you’re a teacher or professor assigning this book to your class, be sure to reach out to contact@civilrightscorps.org so that you can get a free copy for your students and for an incarcerated person!     You can follow him on Twitter @equalityAlec.
White Collar Crime White collar crime, as originally defined by Edwin Sutherland in 1939, are offenses committed by someone of high social status and respectability in the course of their occupation. Today, we tend to define white collar crime by the nature of the offense, instead of the status of the offender. We think of financial crimes such as fraud or embezzlement, which have a devastating impact on huge portions of the country. Precisely because of the high status of white collar criminals, very few are prosecuted and held accountable for their actions. Massive Scale White collar crime operates on a massive scale. Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, has pleaded guilty to federal crimes related to its opioid marketing scheme. Over 200,000 people have died of prescription opioid overdoses. In addition, embezzlement and fraud cost US citizens an estimated $800 billion per year. By contrast, property crimes like larceny and theft are heavily policed and account for only about $16 billion in costs per year. Future Accountability The Department of Justice can, and should, create a new division that focuses on prosecuting, convicting, and incarcerating big money criminals. Prosecutors need better tools to succeed, such as: strengthening laws surrounding white collar crime; ending the practice of anonymous shell companies to prevent money laundering; corporate transparency laws; as well as protecting and promoting whistleblowers and journalists who uncover these types of crimes. FIND OUT MORE: Jennifer Taub is a legal scholar and advocate whose research and writing focuses on corporate governance, banking and financial market regulation, and white collar crime. Her latest book is Big Dirty Money: The Shocking Injustice and Unseen Cost of White Collar Crime. Taub is a professor of law at the Western New England University School of Law where she teaches Civil Procedure, White Collar Crime, and other business and commercial law courses, and was the Bruce W. Nichols Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School during the fall 2019 semester. You can follow her on Twitter @jentaub
Objectification Pride and greed are vices of domination that are at the root of sexual harassment and assault. Narcissistic gender pride casts women as objects to be used, instead of full human beings. This objectification has made it acceptable to subjugate women. Greed prevents holding the rich and powerful members of society accountable, often making it easier for them to offend repeatedly with impunity. Sexual Assault and Harassment Sexual assault and harassment are abuses of power, most often of men over women. Sexual harassment is a federal offense, defined as unwanted sexual discrimination under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which includes hostile work environments, and a pattern of unwelcome discrimination by gender. It can be purely verbal and discriminatory. By contrast, sexual assault means any non-consensual sexual act that includes a wide range from touching to rape, and depends on each state. This is a crime, and thus is prosecuted at the state level. Radical Love and Justice Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. advocated for purifying anger and discarding retributive punishment. Retribution and outrage do not create healing or overcome grief. Instead, he proposed combining outrage with a forward-looking faith and a love of humans that recognizes the root of goodness in everyone. Seeking justice through reconciliation and love is a radical way to construct new structures and new relationships, free of revenge and retribution. FIND OUT MORE: Martha C. Nussbaum is currently the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago, appointed in both the Department of Philosophy and the Law School. In addition, she is an Associate in the Classics Department, the Divinity School, and the Political Science Department and a Member of the Committee on Southern Asian Studies. She received her BA from New York University and her MA and PhD from Harvard University. She has taught at Harvard, Brown, and Oxford Universities. Professor Nussbaum is internationally renowned for her work in Ancient Greek and Roman philosophy, feminist philosophy, political philosophy, and philosophy and the arts and is actively engaged in teaching and advising students in these subjects. She has received numerous awards and honorary degrees and is the author of many books and articles. She has received honorary degrees from sixty-three colleges and universities in the US, Canada, Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Europe.
Non-Traditional Labor Several kinds of non-traditional labor in the US leave Americans vulnerable to coercion at work. Prisoners work during their sentence at reduced or even no wages. Student athletes also work hard in employment-like conditions but do not get remunerated. Workfare workers are forced to do menial labor in order to qualify for welfare. Graduate students also work for their advisors and don’t qualify for minimum wage. Although not technically considered employment in the US, these are jobs and should be considered as such. Status Coercion Unfair treatment is allowed to proliferate in non-traditional workplaces because bosses hold enormous power. Prisoners are forced to work to keep their “good standing” status, and are denied the right to exercise, purchase better meals, or call loved ones. Student athletes are at the whim of their coaches and must strive to stay in their good graces to receive playing time. Workfare workers are forced to work the menial tasks set forth by their bosses or risk losing their welfare eligibility. Graduate students must stay in the good graces of the professor they work under or risk losing their work or place in the university. Reframing Coercive Work The first step to ending status coercion is to reframe how we think about work. We must acknowledge that graduate students and student athletes—no matter how lucky or privileged—are workers and deserve the protection other workers get. We need to acknowledge that prisoners are also laborers, and that workfare workers are performing real work. Once they are treated as workers, we must give them the tools to bargain collectively, assert their rights, and earn minimum wage. FIND OUT MORE: Erin Hatton, PhD, is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Her research focuses on work and political economy, while also extending into the fields of social inequality, labor, law and social policy. Hatton’s new book, Coerced: Work Under Threat of Punishment analyzes four very different--and unusual--groups of workers:  incarcerated, workfare, college athlete, and graduate student workers. Drawing on more than 120 in-depth interviews across these four groups, in this book she uncovers a new form of labor coercion and analyzes its consequences for workers in America. Her first book, The Temp Economy: From Kelly Girls to Permatemps in Postwar America, weaves together gender, race, class and work in a cultural analysis of the temporary help industry and rise of the new economy. You can follow her on Twitter @Eehatton.
Musical Chairs American poverty is a bit like a game of musical chairs. The US only has good opportunities for 8 out of 10 Americans, meaning 2 people always lose. Instead of adding new opportunities or chairs, we shuffle the opportunities around, but 2 of every 10 people still end up without the opportunities. This shows that poverty is a result of the systems we have in place, not personal shortcoming, and if we continue shuffling the opportunities, we will continue having a poverty problem. Poverty Myths Being poor in the US is subject to several damaging myths that make it harder to reduce poverty rates country wide. We think of a poverty rate between 10-15% of the US population, but shockingly 60-75% of Americans will spend at least one year of their lives in poverty. Another myth blames poor Americans for their own poverty, not the systems that maintain poverty in America. We also assume the costs of poverty are borne by the poor, but US taxpayers pay more than $1 trillion per year due to the externalities of poverty. Social Safety Nets The US has a much weaker social safety net than other developed countries. We view poverty as a personal shortcoming that is not to be rewarded with welfare programs or healthcare. Since we think the poor are undeserving of help, we do not invest in social safety nets, creating high rates of poverty. Social safety nets reduce poverty by 75-80% in other counties, whereas the US safety net only reduces it by 25-30%. The most successful anti-poverty program in the US is Social Security. FIND OUT MORE: Mark R. Rank is recognized as a foremost expert on issues of poverty, inequality, and social justice. His research on the life course risk of poverty has demonstrated for the first time that most Americans will experience poverty at some point during their lives. To date, he has written 10 books on a range of subjects, including an exploration of the American Dream, a new understanding of poverty and inequality, and the role of luck and chance in shaping the course of our lives. In addition, he has published articles in numerous academic journals across a wide variety of fields. He has provided research expertise to members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, as well as many national organizations involved in issues of economic and social justice. His work has been cited by then-President Barack Obama, as well as Senator Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. You can check out his book Poorly Understood here.
Ideal Peacebuilding The ideal peacebuilding model is context-specific. It heavily relies on grassroots peacebuilding efforts by the local community to address specific causes of violence. It also relies on outsiders using the traditional top-down approach to connect with government officials, elites, rebel leaders, and other power players. These responses should be led by locals with knowledge and supported by outsiders with resources. Communities must make the decisions that impact themselves, instead of outsider interveners. Bottom-Up Peacebuilding Bottom-up peacebuilding is a way to end conflict that focuses on identifying the roots causes of violence in a specific community, and addressing them directly. It engages all participants to reach long-lasting solutions to distinct and sometimes unrelated issues, resolve disputes through mediation, and work with outside organizations to help fund grassroots operations. Bottom-up peacebuilding has often succeeded where top-down peacebuilding efforts have failed. Peace, Inc. Peace, Inc. refers to the standard worldwide system of intervention and peacebuilding, also known as top-down peacebuilding. It focuses on brokering deals between elites, leaders, diplomats, and other high-level players, while ignoring the communities that are directly affected by conflict. It treats outsiders as experts and relegates locals to an inferior status. While outside intervention can bring expertise and resources to war-torn areas, Peace, Inc. tactics are often practically ineffective and can even result in harm.  FIND OUT MORE: Séverine Autesserre is an award-winning author, peacebuilder, and researcher, as well as a Professor of Political Science at Barnard College, Columbia University. She is the author of The Trouble with the Congo, Peaceland, and The Frontlines of Peace, in addition to articles for publications such as Foreign Affairs, International Organization, and The New York Times. She has been involved intimately in the world of international aid for more than twenty years. She has conducted research in twelve different conflict zones, from Colombia to Somalia to Israel and the Palestinian territories. She has worked for Doctors Without Borders in places like Afghanistan and Congo, and at the United Nations headquarters in the United States. Her research has helped shape the intervention strategies of several United Nations departments, foreign affairs ministries, and non-governmental organizations, as well as numerous philanthropists and activists. She has also been a featured speaker at the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the United Nations Security Council. You can follow her on Twitter at @SeverineAR.
Public-Private Paradox: America has clearly delineated public and private domains: the public domain is regulated, and the private domain is not. A public-private paradox occurs when a decision made in the private domain creates issues in the public domain. In the case of fracking, choosing to allow drilling in your land is a private decision. That decision creates many externalities such as overuse of roads, unwanted sights and sounds, contaminated well water for the neighborhood, which harms the public good. Tragedy of the Commons The Tragedy of the Commons explains how individual decisions pertaining to common resources can lead to degradation of that resource, hurting everyone. It’s in everyone’s own best interest to use as much of a common resource as possible, because if they don’t, someone else will. Unfortunately, when everyone does this the shared resource is often quickly degraded. In the case of fracking, many landowners decided to lease land because their neighbors were doing it, and choosing not to lease would mean absorbing the externalities of fracking without any compensation. American Property Rights American landowners own their land “up to heaven, and down to hell,” meaning they own both the air and subsurface rights along with their land. This is quite different from almost all other countries, where subsurface mineral rights are owned, regulated, and sold by government bodies. Landowners in the US make entirely private decisions to allow oil and gas drilling on their property without the consent of their neighbors, and in some cases without any regulation from local, state, or federal governments. FIND OUT MORE: Colin Jerolmack is a professor of sociology and environmental studies at NYU, where he also teaches courses on human-animal relations and chairs the Environmental Studies Department. His first book, The Global Pigeon explores how human-animal relations shape our experience of urban life. His second book, Up To Heaven and Down to Hell: Fracking, Freedom, and Community in an American Town follows residents of a rural Pennsylvania community who leased their land for gas drilling in order to understand how the exercise of property rights can undermine the commonwealth. He also co-edited the volume Approaches to Ethnography: Modes of Representation and Analysis in Participant Observation with Shamus Khan. He lives in New York City with his wife and two sons. You can follow Colin on Twitter @jerolmack.
New Socratic Method Socrates used direct questioning to make ancient Athenians reflect critically on their views, which often made people look foolish. The New Socratic Method is a kinder, gentler version that can actually change people’s minds without resentment. Clarifying questions can reveal why ideas are bad without antagonism. The New Socratic Method can be used to strengthen mental immunity and root out bad ideas. Reason’s Fulcrum Reason’s Fulcrum is a key part of the mind’s mental immunity. It states that if two people have differing points of view, the one with the best reasons supporting their argument will “win” and the loser must reflect and change their mind. When Reason’s Fulcrum is used, good reasons can change people’s minds. When it isn’t working, people lose the sense that speech and actions have accountability, and it becomes very difficult to change minds. Substantive Collaborative Dialogue One of the best ways to strengthen mental immunity in yourself and others is to have the difficult conversations you might otherwise shy away from. Asking hard and often philosophical questions like “What is a bad idea?” or engaging with family and friends who hold bad ideas can actually boost your mental immunity. Collaborative reasoning and exchanging honest dialogue is the best way to spread good ideas and build mental immunity. FIND OUT MORE: Andy Norman, Ph.D., directs the Humanism Initiative at Carnegie Mellon University. A public philosopher and award-winning author, he is developing the conceptual foundations of cognitive immunology—the emerging science of mental immunity. He thinks this science explains how demagogues short-circuit minds and how ideologies corrupt moral understanding. In his book Mental Immunity: Infectious Ideas, Mind-Parasites, and the Search for a Better Way to Think, he identifies several mental immune disorders and develops the kind of mind-vaccine that could inoculate future generations against the worst outbreaks of viral nonsense. You can follow him on Twitter @DrAndyNo.
Thanks, HelloFresh! Go to HelloFresh.com/hopeful12 and use code hopeful12 for 12 free meals, including free shipping! The Erosion of America Since the 1980s America has experienced an erosion of government regulations, societal norms, and equality. Trickle-down economics created a massive wealth gap. The Iran-Contra scandal set a new, low accountability standard for the highest levels of government. 24-hour news appeared as the Fairness Doctrine fell. This background, coupled with reality TV and social media, provided the perfect conditions to mainstream someone like Donald Trump. Myth of American Exceptionalism Every country is susceptible to democracy decay. American exceptionalism has helped mainstream government corruption because it blinds us from warning signs like illegal government acts or the threat of authoritarianism. Pretending that institutional collapse cannot happen in the US, makes it difficult to admit that we have experienced decades of decline in our institutions. Trump: Political Insider The idea that Trump is a political neophyte is a PR fiction the media attached itself to in the run-up of the 2016 election. Trump was mentored by GOP operative Roy Cohn and flirted with a presidential run as early as 1984. He considered running again in 1988, and then ran in 2000, and again in 2012. Trump has a more than 40-year interest in politics and has remained close with political operatives like Roger Stone throughout. FIND OUT MORE: Sarah Kendzior is a writer who lives in St Louis, Missouri. She is best known for her book Hiding in Plain Sight: The Invention of Donald Trump and the Erosion of America,  her reporting on political and economic problems in the US, her prescient coverage of the 2016 election and the Trump administration, and her academic research on authoritarian states in Central Asia. She is also the co-host of Gaslit Nation, a weekly podcast which covers corruption in the Trump administration and the rise of authoritarianism around the world. Since 2017, she has been covering the transformation of the US under the Trump administration, writing on authoritarian tactics, kleptocracy, racism and xenophobia, media, voting rights, technology, the environment, and the Russian interference case, among other topics. She is an op-ed columnist for the Globe and Mail, where she focuses primarily on US politics. She is also a frequent contributor to Fast Company, NBC News, and other national outlets. From 2012-2014 she was an op-ed columnist for Al Jazeera English. In addition to working as a journalist, she is a researcher and scholar. She has a PhD in anthropology from Washington University in Saint Louis (2012) and an MA in Central Eurasian Studies from Indiana University (2006). Most of her work focuses on the authoritarian states of the former Soviet Union and how the internet affects political mobilization, self-expression, and trust. You can follow Sarah on Twitter @sarahkendzior.
Evil Geniuses Influential conservatives have capitalized on a wave of cultural nostalgia after the turbulent 1960s to turn our economy into a version of extreme capitalism. Economists like Milton Friedman, politicians like Ronald Reagan and Mitch McConnell, and CEOs like the Koch Brothers have used money, policy, secrecy, and cultural movements to demonize the federal government and rig our economy for the rich. Together with neoliberalism from the left, the New Deal was replaced by the raw deal.  Investing in America The US government is responsible for many of the greatest inventions of the last century, but does not capitalize on these discoveries. If the government acted like a private enterprise, it would have more money to invest in communities as well as support innovation. In Republican-led, individualist Alaska, royalties earned from natural gas and oil drillers is distributed to all Alaskans every year. The program is a form of socialism, a universal basic income. The government could use the Alaska model to reap the benefits of its assets, like charging industry for air pollution. Constant Engagement Continuous civic engagement is the way to undo decades of economic and civic destruction. Showing up to vote once every two or four years is not enough. Doing the steady work of championing good candidates who believe in the big ideas, and discussing the issues in a non-binary way are key to achieving basic fairness. Engagement looks different around the US, and what works in Queens, New York, will not work in Colorado or Nebraska. FIND OUT MORE: Kurt Andersen is a writer. He spent his first 20 years in Nebraska, and most of the rest in New York City. His most recent book is Evil Geniuses: The Unmaking of America: A Recent History, a companion volume to Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History, both of which were New York Times bestsellers. He was the host and co-creator of Studio 360, the cultural magazine show produced by Public Radio International from 2000 to 2020. It was broadcast on 250 stations and distributed by podcast to almost 1 million listeners each week. Andersen was honored twice by New York State Associated Press for the best radio interview of the year, and the program won Peabody Awards twice. As an editor, Kurt co-founded the transformative satirical magazine Spy and served as editor-in-chief of New York. He also co-founded Inside, a digital and print publication covering the media and entertainment industries, oversaw a relaunch of Colors magazine, co-founded the online newsletter Very Short List, and served as editor-at-large for Random House. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College, has been awarded honorary doctorates by the Rhode Island School of Design and Pratt Institute, and taught at the Art Center College of Design (where he was "Visionary in Residence") and the School of Visual Arts. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife Anne Kreamer. You can follow him on Twitter @kbandersen.
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Comments (13)

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scissorqueen08

this is a very narrow perspective.

Dec 13th
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Ginger Bomb

Family care giver's not just for elders, but the special needs children that doesn't allow a parent to return back to the workforce. We live to take care of our families, we have no self value anymore bc we can't contribute to our family's finical needs, we struggle living on one income, no longer able to have a savings, to be able to be self sufficient, we're barely surviving, & I don't want pity, I want help to have a life that's fulfilled for everyone! Things must change, we.owe it to the one's who can't do it for themselves!

Dec 10th
Reply

Trey Kirkpatrick

some of your comments and rhetoric about gavin mcginnis, and jordan Peterson are very negative opinions. though some of the views are radical,non of them have ever been homophobic,racist, or bigoted. Jordan Peterson is an asshole, but he doesn't hate anyone,nor has expressed hatred for anyone else. I personally used to be extremely liberal.until I actually started researching the actual events,persons,and stipulations of there speeches. many times the actual speech and message has been hijacked, edited and spun in a completely false narrative. both of the people that were discussed on your program refused to use gender pronouns, but they do not refuse the human rights of thses people or groups. in my opinion, there are far less people In this country that are actually racist,bigoted, or homophobic. most people I know just want to be safe,happy, and loved. the media on both sides,just wants to divide us as a country. knowledge is power, think for yourself,do research, find the real truth. then, and only then draw a conclusion. Question everything you are told and see. it's the only way we can rise up. love is the answer, and there is alot more of it ,that the media wants to hide from you. politics, and politicians are not your friends,hold them responsible. they do not have and fiduciary duty towards us. they work for their best interests. not ours. thanks for reading this , spread love every chance you get. "you could always be nicer "( Dalai Lama)

Sep 19th
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Mahan

A powerful episode. thankyou all

May 18th
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Sharon Reimer

Let's do it!!!!

Apr 10th
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Arielle Niss

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Mar 13th
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Nha Cai 388bettop

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Mar 10th
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Okamifan1 Productions

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Mar 9th
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Donald Moyer III

who are you?

Mar 9th
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