Past Event

Politics, Power & the People--Where Do Social Justice & Electoral Politics Collide?

Guest Speaker Annoucement

Bill Ayers: Wednesday, Chicago Cultural Center

Alysia Tate: Thursday, Valois

Joel Bleifuss: Thrusday, Caffe de Luca

In the last year, Al Gore won an Oscar, an Emmy and a Nobel Peace Prize for his environmental justice work. Are we better off that he lost the presidency?

After serving one term as president, Jimmy Carter set across the globe creating peaceful solutions to international conflicts, from Haiti to North Korea, and promoting economic and social development in the U.S. and abroad. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002.

Many point out that both men have affected greater change out of office than when they were positioned at the height of power within the world of electoral politics. Countless individuals committed to making the world a better place have chosen the path of electoral politics. However, to what degree can a politican create social change? How have Gore’s and Carter’s ability to influence public opinion and policy changed because they are no longer in office?

Is electoral politics the best way to advocate a message? To what extent are politicians constrained by their office? How do the power and constraints of a politician compare to that of populist leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr., Pat Robinson, and Gloria Steinem or to public intellectuals like Naomi Wolf, Cornell West, and William F. Buckley, Jr.? To what degree should community organizers or intellectuals engage in electoral politics to achieve social change? Where do personal action, community organizing, and electoral politics intersect? What are the strengths and limitations of each?

Suggested Readings:

For more informaiton, please contact Kristin Millikan at 312.422.5580.