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  Society Web Research

New Orleans Was Americaís Largest Slave Market: Now Its Southern Monuments are Gone  5/23/2017 
Mitch Landrieu: Article  Here is 'one of the most honest speeches given by a Southern politician.'Mayor Mitch Landrieu explains why these statues must come down, here and across the South.

For Real Democrats: Macron And The Nordic Model  5/22/2017 
Bo Rothstein: Article  There is a particular combination of market and political regulation that delivers the highest degree of human well-being, the Nordic model. New French president Macron is for it. Also, Amartya Sen

Norway Ranks World's Happiest Country; U.S. Falls Behind Even More  3/20/2017 
Andrea Germanos: Article  Addressing the crisis in the U.S. entails enacting campaign finance reform; reducing inequality by expanding the social safety net and funding of health and education.

Trumpís School Choice Plan: Religious Fundamentalism at Taxpayer Expense  3/3/2017 
Jeff Bryant: Article  New education secretary, Betsy DeVos, wants to fund religious schools through vouchers and tax credits. But these schools teach false Christiantiy, that Africans are inferior, that 'liberals' are bad.

Trump's Immigration Roundup Can Split the Country and Provoke Political Violence  1/30/2017 
Steven Rosenfeld: Article  The executive orders against immigrants include setting up concentration camps and using local police to round people up. Trump is creating public disorder and social strife and must be stopped.

Our Society has been Transformed by Feminism  1/19/2017 
Laura Tanenbaum: Article  A wave of disruptive protest fifty years ago helped put womenís liberation on the map--and showcased a radical feminist vision of that remains relevant in the age of Trump.

The White Backlash Continues in Republican Politics and Donald Trump  7/22/2016 
Hua Hsu: Article  Read this to understand why poor whites are supporting Donald Trump. Reference here to Robert P. Jones' book 'The End of White Christian America'.

How A Danish Town Helped Young Muslims Turn Away From ISIS  7/15/2016 
Hanna Rosin: Article  The police in Aarhus, Denmark, are using an approach called 'noncomplementary behavior' to reach young Muslim men. What an idea!

America is Backward Compared to Norway  2/5/2016 
Ann Jones: Article  The violent, anxious, quarrelsome people living in the United States should vote for leaders who use Norway as an example of the good society. Religious hostility in this country is ridiculous.

Renegade Police in Rural Alabama Accused of Mass False Arrests of Hundreds of Black Youths  12/2/2015 
Steven Rosenfeld: Article  For years, other police tried, and failed, to oust the racist cops in Dothan, Alabama, who planted drugs and weapons on black young people.

Old Viking Religion Now Claimed by White Supremacists  11/14/2015 
Jack Jenkins: Article  Since some white supremacists view Christianity as a feminized, weak, self-destructive theology created by Jews and forced on white people, they are turning to Odinism.

Inequality May be Causing a Shocking Rise in White Death Rates in Midlife  11/2/2015 
Paul Starr: Article  Drugs, alcohol, and suicide are killing off uneducated white Americans at an alarming rate a new study finds. Many may be angry over lack of political power and hostile to those with more education.

W. E. B. Du Bois and the Birth of Modern Sociology  2/28/2015 
Aldon D. Morris: Article  A new study of the origins of sociology in this country will be published this summer. Here is an introduction by the author with praise from other black scholars.

Race-Based Public Policy Created Furguson and Other Communities Where Black Males Get Shot  10/16/2014 
Richard Rothstein: Article  Long before the shooting of Michael Brown, official racial-isolation policies primed Ferguson for this summerís events. Racist housing settlement patterns reveal much and explain vast inequality.

Making Sense of Race and Privilege  10/10/2014 
Lawrence Otis Graham: Article  Racial hatred is a dark force in American history and explains much about current political and religious conflicts. Here is a story of a father and son coming to terms with white racism.

Voters Highly Supportive of Public Schools in Election this November  9/25/2014 
Jeff Bryant: Article  Voters, even regular Republicans, are figuring out what's been true for some years now. Republican candidates want to gut public education even if they won't say so directly.

Capitalism Promotes More Inequality in All Things, Including Education  9/1/2014 
Robert B. Reich: Article  Thirty years ago, the average gap on SAT-type tests between children of families in the richest 10 percent and bottom 10 percent was about 90 points on an 800-point scale. Today itís 125 points.

The Obama Privatization of Public Housing  9/1/2014 
Rachel M. Cohen: Article  It could be more cost-effective to just appropriate enough direct funds to public housing and keep it in the public sector, but Congress is not about to do so. Now Obama is willing to privatize it.

The Ghost of Dred Scott Haunts the Streets of Ferguson  8/21/2014 
Amy Goodman: Article  White men who have irrational fear of black men should not be policing in black communities. Black people should control black communities. We just need basic democracy! Finally!

Pastors: Key New Facts about Obama's Health Care Law  7/10/2014 
Article  It turns out what conservatives say about the Affordable Care Act is completely wrong. Even the Koch Brothers' ads against it have actually helped people enroll

Educators, Union Leaders, Clergy Organize Against 'Corporate Reform' of Public Schools  10/20/2013 
Jeff Bryant: Article  There has been a sustained attack against public schools and teachers in this country led by politicians of both parties. Now a new movement is pushing back against this attack.

The Corporate War on Our Public Schools  7/14/2013 
Peter Dreier: Article  A new movie, 'Go Public', documents the good work of public schools, unlike those funded by the billionaires who want schools to serve their interests, not the public's.

Thousands Sign New Education Declaration Calling For New School Policies  6/18/2013 
Jeff Bryant: Article  People like Diane Ravitch, Linda Darling-Hammond, union leaders Randi Weingarten and Dennis Van Roekel; parent activists, such as Rita Solnet; authors Jonathan Kozol Dave Eggers, support this effort.

Food Justice and Radical Eating  5/19/2013 
Mark Engler: Article  Corporate agriculture, organic foods, local farming, fair trade are topics here. The views of Michael Pollan, Raj Patel, David Granatstein, Fedele Bauccio, are discussed.

The Economy is Personal: Listening to the Crash Generation  5/17/2013 
Nona Willis Aronowitz: Article  Down but not out, Millennials who came of age during the Great Recession could reshape the American economy and society.

A Wave of Public School Closings and Teacher Firings is Result of Obama Education Policies  3/13/2013 
Bruce A. Dixon: Article  'Race to the Top' promoted by Education Secretary Arne Duncan is having the effect of closing public schools, especially in poor communities, just what Republican conservatives want.

Mumia Abu-Jamal: Like Jesus on the Cross  12/10/2012 
Chris Hedges: Article  Thirty years in solitary confinement have not silenced the voice of this black man, a 'Long Distance Revolutionary' as a new film about him is called. 70% of 2.2 million adults in jails are nonwhite.

Civil Society Awoke and Fell in Love with Itself  2/21/2012 
Rebecca Solnit: Article  State violence attacks the mad, passionate love of the Occupy movement as it heads into the Spring.

Capitalist Pornography: The Social Construction of the Isolated, Lonely Male  12/29/2011 
Harriet Fraad: Article  The emasculation of men is not caused by female equality but by an unjust economic system which hurts everybody, male and female, much misunderstood by the religious right.

Public Theology and Social Democracy  12/17/2011 
Ed Knudson: Article  The social democratic tradition is important for public theology today. Religion in politics globally and in the United States continues to have influence. Michael Harrington had some advice on this.

The Facts are in about Charter Schools and Vouchers: They Flunk  12/17/2011 
Diane Ravitch: Article  The fanatical beliefs about standardized testing, charter schools and so-called school choice are destroying our public schools and failing low-income and minority children. Here is what to do...

Exposing the Well-Funded Campaign to Destroy Public Education  5/7/2011 
Rachel Tabachnick: Article  Betsy Prince DeVos is a key leader in the school voucher movement which does not want to just reform public schools, but destroy them. We now know vouchers don't work.

Unconscious Civilizations become Totalitarian Wastelands  4/11/2011 
Chris Hedges: Article  The goal of Republican politics has been to destroy teachers and the American education system, destroy the 'memory' of society, in favor of stimulus-response consumerism.

The Nordic Way: Social Democracy Promotes Individual Autonomy  2/8/2011 
Sam Pizzigati: Article  Contrary to a hostile political culture which hates poor folks and minorities, Nordic countries build social trust and individual freedom. A business case for more equality.

From Oregon, A Different Father  6/20/2010 
Nicholas D. Kristof: Article  A son comes to appreciate the differentness of his father, a source of hope that human beings might use their power to create justice, fraternity and peace.

More Time for Society, Less for Economy  6/8/2010 
Mark Engler: Article  New attitudes and structures for work are needed in this country, new ideas about unemployment and what's most important in life. Rather than longer work hours, how about 'Take Back Your Time Day'.

Government and Social Democracy is Good for Business  4/10/2010 
Jeff Madrick: Article  Finland, Sweden and Norway, all with high taxes and generous welfare systems, are considered by business executives among the 10 most competitive nations.

A Revolution in Spirit: The Market Should Serve Society  4/10/2010 
Benjamin R. Barber: Article  Obama was elected in the midst of a fateful struggle for the soul of capitalism. The economy should serve people.

Society Section

The idea of a "free society" can be understood as a breakthrough political concept. The two words are familiar enough, of course, but we want to here develop a particular meaning for the concept of a free society. But we don't mean it simply in an abstract or academic way. We mean it as an active "political" concept.

And as a political concept it constitutes a "breakthrough" in how political language is put together these days. Imagine yourself as a politician in a community debate with your opponent. Your opponent says, "I believe in a free market." And you, taking a different approach can say, "I believe in a free society."

That is a huge difference. To put the free market first means that economic institutions should be free to do whatever they want even if what they do hurts people. To put the goal of a free society first means that the economy needs to be evaluated on the degree to which it helps create the conditions for a free society. Your opponent will say he/she wants a very limited government which promotes a free market. You can say you want a smart government that well manages the economy so that it benefits everyone not just those at the top, so that everyone has an opportunity to participate in a free society.

You can also say that the evidence is in now about the so-called free market. Whatever the free market ideology, the fact is that government based on such ideology actually results in rising inequality and social breakdown. When jobs don't produce enough income for workers then they can't feed and house and clothe their families and the society breaks down, people become wage slaves, have to work two or three jobs, and have no more free time to engage in the social activities of their choice. A free society is one in which people have time to live their lives as they choose.

If someone asks you, "So, you believe in socialism," you can say, "No, not at all. Socialism is when government owns all the means of production. I believe in capitalism, the strengths of the creative entrepeneur, and especially small business, those are important features of our economy. I think a well managed capitalism can support and encourage those positive features. But the idea of a 'free market' today is a piece of ideology to justify the power of very large corporations over society. People aren't free when a few large corporations run everything which is what is happening today. Very few companies now control the entire food system, for example. That's not freedom, that's complete dependence of society on a few companies. I believe a free society is more important than a free market, but that's not socialism, it means well managed capitalism for the freedom of all."

On social questions, of course, then your opponent would say that government should manage and/or, maybe even control, society. Conservatives like the idea of social order, more police, more military. They want government to control people's private lives according to rather narrow religious morality. You can say you believe in moral values yourself, but that you don't believe government should control society, but goverment should make possible a free society where people actually have the time to enjoy a healthy social and cultural life.

One of the key elements of a "free society" is its freedom and capacity to engage in the creative cultural arts. Contemporary American culture is dominated completely by calculating commercial interests determined to manipulate the minds and hearts of the people to the profit of the corporation. Economics today has become largely culture production, from sports teams to tennis shoes to media celebrity, creating a coarseness in the public atmosphere. The culture must be taken away from the power of the corporation and placed where it belongs, in society, neither under the law of government nor under the profit motive of the economy.

This means that new institutional configurations need to be invented for the major media in the country. The domination of the modern corporation over the information requirements of Americans is simply over-whelming. It must be changed. It is ridiculous that political campaigns are largely efforts to raise money to pay corporate media for access to the personal consciousness of Americans. Society cannot be free when corporations have such complete control of the media and thus the public consciousness. If you have knowledge of specific proposals or interest to change the organizational framework of communication in this country please let us know.

We need a free society, where individuals have real choices. We need a well-managed economy that results in a free society. That is what happens in those Nordic countries which have adopted what is called "Social Democracy." At this website we will be proposing political parties and policies which can help the American people enjoy social democracy.

(Photo in upper right depicts Denman Street in Vancouver, British Columbia, where multiple high rises provide a density which creates a convivial street life of wonderful opportunity and diversity. Click on link to see other photos of Denman Street. In general, Canada has achieved a greater degree of social democracy than the United States.)

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