Welcome to Politics for the People blog and Book Club for independents.
In 2002, I created a free educational series for independents in New York City. I'm delighted to be able to expand with a bi-monthly Book Club that will allow Politics for the People to reach independents all over the country.
Politics for the People is designed to take you behind the scenes for a look at politics and history from an independent’s point of view.
Our Book Club will read and discuss books of interest to independents. We're now 40% of Americans.
I've been an activist in independent politics since 1984. And I'm an avid reader. In addition, I'm a photographer and will be sharing some of my work here as well.
Our celebration of National Poetry Month kicks off April 1st.
We will be sharing poems submitted by P4P members across the country.
Do you have a favorite political poem or poet? Do you have an original political poem that you have written that you would like to share? Send me a note at Cathy.firstname.lastname@example.org to have your selection considered.
This is the official poster for National Poetry Month. This year’s artist is Maira Kalman.
Click here to visit the poster where each image links to a poem.
OUR NEXT SELECTION:
The True Story Behind The Secret Plan To Steal America’s Democracy
By David Daley
We will be kicking off this selection toward the end of the month.
Our conference call with the author will be on Sunday, June 4th at 7 pm EST.
On Sunday, April 3rd, 2016 the Politics for the People Book Club spent an hour in conversation with Lisa McGirr, a Professor of History at Harvard and author of the book club’s selection The War on Alcohol, Prohibition and the Rise of the American State. I am sharing a few highlights below and you can listen to the entire conversation at the end of this post.
(Note: if the audio links do not appear in the email version of this post, just click on the email to come to the blog.)
Our first audio clip includes my introduction. Lisa shares her journey of writing this book, her research methodology, and what drew her to investigate prohibition. We discuss the strange bedfellows that found themselves supporting and then enforcing prohibition. We also touch on the electoral realignment that that took place after prohibition took effect, and discuss some of the lessons that were missed in prior examinations of the failure of prohibition. Listen to our fascinating start here:
In this next clip Politics for the People, you will hear book club member Michelle McCleary share her emotional reaction to reading Lisa’s book and ask how the revelations Lisa came to in conducting her research impacted on her.
Arizona P4P member Al Bell asks what Lisa hopes people will take from her book and how they might apply it’s lessons to the war on drugs. Lisa explains that supply side eradication strategies have failed in the past and are likely to do so again in the future, and gives us an alternative by focusing on harm reduction strategies. Hear their exchange below.
Steve Richardson then delved further into the idea of law enforcement as social control and asked whether fear based government control was a phenomenon that pre-dated the prohibition movement or was it something entirely new? Lisa thinks it’s a bit of both, as you will hear in this clip:
New Hampshire P4P member Tiani Coleman touched on chapter 8 which focused on the repeal of prohibition. She raised the issue of government regulation, and quoted McGirr when she said that “by lining up in favor of repeal, opponents of reform saw a chance to turn back the clock.” How did they succeed and fail in that regard? And what happens after the pandoras box that is the ‘newly muscular federal power’ has been opened?
New Yorker Lou Hinman provides some thought provoking modern parallels he sees with governments enforcement of prohibition, and asks Lisa to reflect on the growth of the penal state since the repeal of prohibition. Listen here:
Closing out our Q&A session was New York Attorney and P4P member Harry Kresky. He talked about the extent to which regulation is used to transform the movements and freedoms of particular segments of the population and makes analogies to modern social regulations such as New York City’s outlawing of over sized sugary drinks. Where does one draw the line between productive and destructive regulation? And who gets to define that?
You can listen to the entirety of our fascinating call with Lisa McGirr below. It was a spirited, thought provoking and enlightening conversation and I hope you will enjoy it as much as we all did. Happy listening.