This book (Democracy rebirth by Dick Simpson) covers in depth the parts of the political history of the United States and Chicago in particular, which are not addressed often. Let’s put it bluntly: we used to hear about the “Democratic machine” from our opponents when they want to say that nothing good ever comes from Democratic officials. We rarely think about what IS the “Democratic machine.” Maybe it’s my ignorance, but it was the first time in my life that I understood that this is not an insult but an actual mechanism of ensuring that the Democratic party stays in power. And it’s the first time I heard it from a person, who is a Democrat, served as an elected official, and is very serious about returning a true democracy to US politics. Some quotes I find important:
The cure for the dichotomy between the imperatives of capitalism and democracy lies in government regulation of the economy, a fairer system of taxation, and more generous government programs in education, health, and welfare. What is needed is the Goldilocks effect—neither too much nor too little government. We need government regulations and programs that allow capitalism to succeed without destroying either competition or democracy. We need policies that tax wealthy individuals and corporations more fairly and that provide a basic income to the poor to raise them and their children out of poverty.
The standard work week that is today forty hours will need to decrease while minimum wage and income will need to increase to a livable wage. In the future, humans will be directing the work of machines using computer software and artificial intelligence. On the other hand, professionals are ever more tied to electronic communication so that there are in many ways more tied to their jobs for longer hours. The nature of work will need to change in ways that are more humane for everyone.
The last chapter summarizes political actions which should be taken to achieve a Democracy’s rebirth, including an automated voter registration system, control over campaign contributions, and elimination of machine politics.
P.S. I learned about this book when I attended this event in the Chicago Public Library.