In 2020, in some of the darkest days of the COVID pandemic, one of our Open Democracy Team members proposed an "Open Democracy Book Club." To our surprise, 300 citizens registered for the first book and discussion in January. Certainly, the pandemic gave us some time at home to read, but the hunger to learn about the problems and how to fix them was there already. Our Book club now more than 500 members!
To understand our three guiding questions, in relation to our democracy:
Where are we?
How did we get here?
What do we do about it?
Books and Discussions
We work on a new book every six weeks or so, culminating with a discussion. We have the author speak for 30 minutes, then break up into Zoom breakout rooms for small group discussions, usually facilitated by an Open Democracy staff member or volunteer.
Everyone is welcome to participate, whether or not you have had the chance to read the book.
Our Next Books have been decided for 2023!
Our first book club meeting will be January 17, 2023 at 7 pm. We will be discussing Democracy Vouchers. In Democracy Vouchers, Tom Latkowski shares everything you need to know to start championing this transformative campaign finance system in your city and state.
The author will join us for the first half hour of the meeting for discussion and Q&A. You can find the full details and RSVP HERE.
On April 13th we welcome bestselling author, Pulitzer Prize-winning former New York Times reporter and Emmy award-winning producer and correspondent Hedrick Smith to our book club for a discussion of his book Who Stole The American Dream?
This book is essential reading for all of us who want to understand America today, or why average Americans are struggling to keep afloat. Smith reveals how pivotal laws and policies were altered while the public wasn’t looking, how Congress often ignores public opinion, why moderate politicians got shoved to the sidelines, and how Wall Street often wins politically by hiring over 1,400 former government officials as lobbyists.
Full details and RSVP HERE.
On June 13th we will review Carol Anderson's One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy. Focusing on the aftermath of Shelby, Anderson follows the astonishing story of government-dictated racial discrimination unfolding before our very eyes as more and more states adopt voter suppression laws. In gripping, enlightening detail she explains how voter suppression works, from photo ID requirements to gerrymandering to poll closures. In a powerful new afterword, she examines the repercussions of the 2018 midterm elections. And with vivid characters, she explores the resistance: the organizing, activism, and court battles to restore the basic right to vote to all Americans. Full details and RSVP link are available HERE.
On September 14, author Kristin Eberhard will join us to discuss her book Becoming a Democracy: How We Can Fix the Electoral College, Gerrymandering and our Elections. A field guide to better elections for both sides of the aisle, Becoming a Democracy illuminates the meaningful, concrete actions that can transform our elections and make sure everyone's vote counts (and that they get to vote in the first place).
Full details and RSVP can be found HERE.
How to Get the Book
While there's no cost for being a part of the Open Democracy Book Club, it's up to you to get the book. On the RSVP page for each of the events, we'll post information about the book, including the author's bio and ISBN number and other info you'll need to find it. We encourage you to order it through your local bookseller, get it from your local library but you order any way you wish.
Sept 15, 2022 Daring Democracy: Igniting Power, Meaning, and Connection for the America We Want Paperback by June 9, 2022 -The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together by Heather McGhee
April 14, 2022 - How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt
Jan 13, 2022 "Democracy in Chains" with Nancy MacLean
Oct 14, 2021 "Our Time is Now" by Stacey Abrams
May 27, 2021 "The Politics of Joy (and Sacrifice): The Fearless Walks and Historic Talks of Doris "Granny D" Haddock", a compilation of inspiring speeches given by Doris with Dennis Burke
Apr 15, 2021 "They Don't Represent Us" with Lawrence Lessig
March 4, 2021 "Unrigged: How Americans Are Battling Back to Save Democracy". with David Daley
January 21, 2021 "Corporations are Not People: Reclaiming Democracy from Big Money and Global Corporations" by Jeff Clements
Sign Up Below
We'll notify you of the new book, the date of the discussion, and sometimes discussion questions. You'll also be added to the Open Democracy Book Club email discussion, where you'll be able to ask questions and have discussions with your fellow readers.
Doris "Granny D" Haddock and 31 other people were arrested on April 21, 2000, while Granny D was reading the Declaration of Independence in the Capitol Rotunda.
"We no longer have proper representation," Ms. Haddock, the 90-year-old woman who walked across the continent for campaign finance reform, told a press conference on the Senate lawn before she led the group into the Rotunda. "Our elected leaders are consumed by the need to raise election funds from special interests, and they no longer are able to represent the needs of the people or of our ravaged earth. We must declare our independence from the corrupting bonds of big money."
Granny D's statement at her sentencing still resonates, today.