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UNITED WE STAND: AN ADMONITION FOR 2017

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January 4, 2017

BY JASON PRAMAS @JASONPRAMAS

As another calendar year begins, it is my custom to prognosticate about what I think is most important for my audience to consider in the months to come. Last year at this time, I asked readers if they wanted to live in a democracy—and I encouraged those who did to join organizations willing to defend and expand the democratic lifeways our society has left.

But how one thinks about democracy depends on where one stands politically. So this year, now that the 2016 election drama has played out, I think it’s worth reflecting on how to unite everyone who believes in American democracy around the cause of saving it. Given that people with very different politics still share a common vision of democracy at a gut level. Though they agree on very little else.

For example, most people who voted for President-elect Donald Trump—outright fascists, theocrats, and incipient monarchs excepted—believe that they did so to defend and expand democracy. Most people who voted for also-ran Hillary Clinton—including former Bernie Sanders supporters who held their noses and took one for the team—believe the same thing. Same goes for Libertarians, Greens, smaller left and right third parties, and a vast array of independents. Most everyone believes that people should have some say over political and economic decisions that affect their daily lives.

However, there is one significant group that doesn’t seem particularly interested in democracy (although they often say otherwise). The “good and the great.” The rich and powerful. The corporate leaders, major investors, and top politicians who comprise the oligarchy that controls the commanding heights of American politics and economics. Trump and Clinton represent different factions of it. And until popular movements reign in that oligarchy, nothing significant will change for the better.

Doing so will have to be a broad effort. Because neither the left nor the right can win this one alone. And removing an oligarchy is no easy task. As such, here’s what I think each political crew should do toward that goal.

Democrats: I wrote my basic prescription for you all a few weeks back … reform your party. Do us all a favor, take it away from Wall Street operatives like Clinton and let the grassroots membership run the show (read up on the midterm 1978 Democratic National Conference for some ideas). Give working Americans someone decent to vote for and there won’t be another repeat of the recent debacle anytime soon.

Republicans: If you’re serious about the small government thing, let’s see some grassroots action against the military-industrial complex, corporate welfare, and the national security state. Also, fight to keep government funding for science and medicine in place. [Evangelical Republicans, keep Matthew 19:24 in mind.]

Greens: Get more of your members elected to local and state offices. The better to develop a core of experienced public servants, and eventually field national candidates who have some hope of striking hard bargains with the major parties to win significant reforms like national health care. Or even some Congressional seats.

Libertarians: Same as the Greens (understanding that you will generally oppose big federal programs). But unseating some of the current crop of racist and nativist Repub elected officials would be super helpful.

Smaller parties, “fusion” parties, and proto-parties: Get larger. We really need to muddle our way to a multiparty parliamentary system.

Non-voters of various political stripes: Even if you don’t believe in electoral politics, or just don’t see a point in voting, there’s still plenty you can do. Help rebuild local and regional democratic institutions like neighborhood associations, benefit societies, community service organizations, clubs, co-operatives, labor unions, and forward-thinking religious groups.

That said, everyone should work in concert to create a more democratic culture. A culture where people don’t just accept decisions handed down to them from on high in any sphere of life, but question them. And demand to be part of making them.

We will debate over every conceivable policy while we build that culture. And that’s OK. In a democratic society, the most important thing is that we’ll be able to have those debates. But without such basic human solidarity—such commitment to “hang together” rather than “hang separately,” as Benjamin Franklin probably quipped—democracy in America is finished.

Apparent Horizon is syndicated by the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. Jason Pramas is BINJ’s network director.

Copyright 2017 Jason Pramas. Licensed for use by the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism and media outlets in its network.

Check out the Apparent Horizon Podcast on:

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PLAY TO WIN: UK LABOUR PARTY LEADER SHOWS THE AMERICAN LEFT HOW TO MOVE BEYOND SYMBOLIC POLITICS

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September 29, 2016

BY JASON PRAMAS @JASONPRAMAS

Last week—as is the case many weeks every fall and spring in Boston—notices of small scripted protests by an array of area progressive nonprofits, unions, and student groups got me thinking about the rut the anti-corporate American left has been stuck in for decades. Most especially about the damage done by the habit of ineffectual symbolic political action on a host of important issues. Combined with tailing after a corporate-dominated Democratic Party establishment. Which, time and time again, ignores or actively betrays its base on key issues like jobs, education, healthcare, global warming, and military spending. As it’s done during the current presidential race.

But what if there was a way to change the whole political game for the oppositional left? After all, we almost saw such a tectonic shift happen this year with the Bernie Sanders campaign. There have also been glimpses of a more vibrant, creative, and successful progressive politics from the Occupy and Black Lives Matter movements over the last five years. What if left activists could get back to a mass politics that can really win solid victories for working families?

The way forward, it seems, is not yet to be found on our shores. However, it might be on view in the United Kingdom … where Jeremy Corbyn just won yet another vote to remain the leader of the Labour Party.

Who is Jeremy Corbyn?  Think of him as the Bernie Sanders of the UK. But one who has gotten a good deal farther politically than the original Sanders has to date. In his context, being the leader of the Labour Party is kind of like being the head of the Democratic National Committee. Except that the levers of actual power are more built into the Labour Party structure than the Democratic Party structure. And the party sits within a parliamentary political system where its leaders have a lot more control over what their elected officials do than their American counterparts. At the same time, Labour members get to vote directly for their party leaders—unlike Democrats. So when a socialist like Corbyn wins leadership elections twice in under a year and a half, it means that he has the power to help spark changes in his party of the type that Sanders can only dream of presently.

Since Corbyn first ran for Labour Party leader last year—on a platform well to the left of Sanders that calls for an end to austerity policies that hurt working people, renationalizing the once-public UK rail system, unilateral nuclear disarmament, and refusal to support Clinton-style “bomb diplomacy” (sorry, “humanitarian intervention”) in the Syrian war—he has increased the number of voting party members and supporters from 200,000 to over 600,000. Even while fighting a running battle with the corporate-backed acolytes of the neoliberal warmonger Tony Blair for full control of the party. Many of those new members are disenfranchised young voters of the same type that supported Sanders.

What Corbyn is doing with those young folks is fascinating. Upon winning his second leadership election by 61 percent last week, he didn’t talk about beating the ruling Conservative Party in the next general election. Instead he’s planning to deploy the growing militant grassroots of his party to win political victories in advance of the next election. Which looks like a completely different strategy than the one Sanders is taking post-primary—so far focusing his new Our Revolution organization on electing more progressive Democrats to office. Even as that party remains in full control of its Clintonite corporate wing. [Although in recent days, Our Revolution is starting to sound more like Corbyn’s similar Momentum organization—which is all to the good, and perhaps unsurprising given that the two insurgencies have long been in touch.]

And what issue is Corbyn focusing on? Public education. Namely stopping the Conservatives from increasing the fairly small number of UK public exam high schools known as “grammar schools.” He is calling for the large socialist camp coalescing around Labour to defend the egalitarian tradition of quality public education for all in Britain. Rather than allow the grammar schools to continue cherry-picking middle and upper class students, and helping them get into elite universities over the heads of working class students. Thus attempting to perpetuate the ancient British system of class privilege in education long after it was formally constrained. The Labour left is also likely to push to end the charter school-like “academy” (or “free school”) system that is allowing corporations to run many public secondary schools in Britain. Lining their pockets, threatening unionized teachers, and further limiting opportunity for working class students in the process. The Conservatives, for their part, plan to expand the academy system to 100 percent of secondary schools and many primary schools besides. If allowed to proceed unchallenged.

Street protests are absolutely part of what the reviving Labour Party and its allies are doing to challenge the corporate wing of their own party and the Conservative Party. Plus, Corbyn supporters have the possibility of leading their party to victory in a future general election, and starting to implement significant democratic socialist reforms thereafter. Echoing their predecessors in Labour leadership at the conclusion of World War II. Reforms like massive public jobs programs, building lots of good public housing, expanding government-funded lifelong educational opportunities for all, deprivatizing the still-impressive UK national health system, rolling back the assault on unions—while cutting the military budget and raising taxes on the rich and the corporations to pay for it all.

So their protest campaigns against conservative policy initiatives are not limited to small numbers of people waving signs and chanting slogans at the wealthy and their minions in business and government like latter-day Don Quixotes. Corbyn and his supporters are taking control of the Labour Party away from its discredited neoliberal leadership and using it to build a democratic socialist movement in the UK. That very project has been attempted in the Democratic Party before by movements like the Rainbow Coalition – and has been crushed every time. Based on that kind of experience, some American leftists feel that the structure of the party precludes such maneuvers from succeeding. A position potentially strengthened by Sanders’ dispiriting loss in the primary—after what was arguably the strongest attempt to take over the Democrats from the left in history.

Positioning the left—the actual left—for political victory in the US will therefore be extremely difficult. No two ways about it. And it’s not clear whether trying to commandeer the Democrats like Corbyn’s movement is doing with the UK Labour Party or building up small left-wing formations like the Green Party into a national powerhouse or some combination of the two strategies will lead to the desired outcome.

But one thing’s for sure. Corbyn’s success is built on grassroots activism. If we’re going to see similar successes for the American left at the national level, progressive nonprofits, unions, and student groups in cities like Boston will have to do better than calling sporadic underattended rallies, marches, and teach-ins—coupled with desultory lobby days where their peonage to the Democratic establishment is generally on display to their detriment. And start winning real political battles instead of scoring points on phantom targets.

Apparent Horizon is syndicated by the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. Jason Pramas is BINJ’s network director.

Copyright 2016 Jason Pramas. Licensed for use by the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism and media outlets in its network.

Check out the Apparent Horizon Podcast on:

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PARTY POOPERS: BLUE AND RED STALWARTS SHOULD STOP ATTACKING MINOR PARTY SUPPORTERS

AH IMAGE STEIN

July 30, 2016

BY JASON PRAMAS @JASONPRAMAS 

Blue and Red stalwarts should stop attacking minor party supporters for remaining independent—and start debating ideas

The quadrennial whinefest has already begun.

The RNC and DNC pageants are barely over, the presidential election is still over three months off, and yet major party stalwarts are already trying to police the growing margins of their parties and guilt trip them into voting against their consciences. Sadly, this behavior has become a ritual of American politics. One that needs to end if we’re ever going to have a system that offers voters more choices than “Column A or Column B.” Or, as comedian Barry Crimmins once put it: “Do you want to get hit over the head with a hammer or a mallet?”

In the last few days, I have read at least a dozen impassioned pleas from people on the broad political left in my social network begging anyone who will listen to not be “stupid” and “throw their votes away” by backing the Green Party, the Libertarian Party, or any party other than the Democrats this fall. When begging fails, they turn to hectoring—usually based on the Reductio ad Hitlerum fallacy: 2016 is 1933. Trump is Hitler. If you don’t vote Democrat, you’re letting the Nazis win.

When hectoring tanks, they start the insults. Which soon devolve into digital shouting matches. Convincing no one who wasn’t already convinced. But solidifying their belief that they’re the only ones possessing the relevant facts and the “maturity” to take “rational” action. That their political equation is the only political equation. That their choice is the only “sane” one. But that’s incorrect.

People can share some of the Democrats’ stated “progressive” views and still vote for minor party candidates, or for Trump, or for “None of the Above”—an option that many Americans choose on a regular basis.  Because they understand that, in practice, Democratic presidents often back reactionary policies in the interest of multinational corporations and the rich. And they prefer to vote for the best candidate possible, or simply lodge a protest vote. Which they have every right to do.

I’ve also seen similar arguments being made from the political right—if not as vociferously—mostly concerned about the Libertarian Party “stealing” votes from Republicans. (Although, at the moment, it’s looking like Libertarians will woo voters away from both the Democrats and the Republicans. Providing the potential for umbrage from Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump supporters alike, one supposes).

So just a reminder to all major party supporters—including the Boston Globe’s Yvonne Abraham, whose hatchet job on Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein this week is a textbook example of the behavior in question: people in minor political parties are not in your political parties. They are Greens. They are Libertarians. They are Socialist Party (yes, they’re running national candidates, too), et cetera. And while they certainly have to figure out their relationship to other parties as part of their political strategy, they are not required to do what you want them to do. They are also not “idiots” for hewing to their own political course. Or for failing to fall into line behind the current duopoly.

Even though so-called “third” parties haven’t had a chance at winning major national elections for a longlong time, and even though we don’t have a parliamentary system in the US, that doesn’t mean their efforts are wasted. Or that their votes are “thrown away.”

Small parties run national elections for any number of reasons, but two big ones are to qualify for federal election funding and to earn a slot in the presidential debates. Others include: support for lower level candidates, demonstrating that their party has a national presence, the possibility of forcing one of the major parties to cut a deal on a key policy issue, and gaining visibility for their ideas. Whatever the reason, they are not stealing votes from anybody. They are vying for constituencies like any other party and trying to win them over and gain their support.

That’s politics, folks. It’s real life. The more power that’s at stake, the uglier it gets. As we just saw (and perhaps are still seeing courtesy of Wikileaks) with the highly questionable Clinton victory over Bernie Sanders in the race for the Democratic nomination.

Therefore I suggest that major party backers remember that fact in the coming months and beyond. You all can try to convince minor party members and independents to join your party based on the strength of your ideas. But, given the degeneration of the Democrats and the Republicans into caricatures of their past politics—the social democracy of the former morphing into neoliberalism, and the conservatism of the latter descending into a chaotic stew of faux-populism, racism and nativism—and given that both parties have long stood for militarism, imperialism, and state capitalism, it should be no surprise at all that more and more people are looking for political alternatives.

I certainly am.

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Also, a quick shout-out to Black Lives Matter Cambridge and Somerville allies for organizing this week’s “Setting the Record Straight” counter-demonstration in Union Square. That in response to the protest rally called by the Somerville Police Employee’s Association (SPEA) and the Mass Municipal Police Coalition (MMPC) in support of removing the “Black Lives Matter” banner that Mayor Joe Curtatone—in a welcome turn from his more problematic political stancesrefuses to take down from Somerville City Hall. And replacing it with an “All Lives Matter” banner. A position based on the myth of “seemingly daily protest assassinations of innocent police officers around the country,” according to the original SPEA letter to Curtatone.

Yes, cops are people, too. But the city’s support for Black people’s humanity—and their demands for justice in an unjust and structurally racist political economic system that has historically been defended by police (and their often virulently racist unions)—takes nothing away from that.

More to the point, as the current excellent BLM slogan puts it: “If All Lives Matter, #Prove It!” Let’s see SPEA and MMPC support punishing killer cops and admit that there is literally no comparison between police deaths in the line of duty—which are actually in decline—and the ongoing execution of Black people by cops. Then there will be grounds for some genuine dialogue between area police and Black Lives Matter.

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Apparent Horizon is syndicated by theBoston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. Jason Pramas is BINJ’s network director.

Copyright 2016 Jason Pramas. Licensed for use by the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism and media outlets in its network.

MANCHESTER DIVIDED: SEIU ‘FIGHTS FOR $15’ IN NH WHILE ITS CANDIDATE FIGHTS FOR $12

Republican Debate Night_020616_DSC_3124_Images©2016 Derek Kouyoumjian

Photo by Derek Kouyoumjian

February 8, 2016

BY JASON PRAMAS @JASONPRAMAS

The “protest pit” outside the Republican Presidential Debate at Saint Anselm College in Goffstown, New Hampshire on Saturday evening was a fenced-in area in a field about a quarter mile down the road from the main entrance to the campus.

Bumper to bumper traffic ran in front of the pit. Odd given that NH State Police were letting few cars onto the campus. Most were told to turn around. No one that Republican leadership didn’t want in was getting anywhere near the Carr Center where the debate was taking place.

Powerful lights shone down on the scene from one side—lending it an eerie cast. Behind the fence facing the road were a couple hundred supporters for a few of the Republican candidates. But that was just the first layer. Behind them were about 500 activists with the Fight for 15 campaign—organized andbankrolled for $30 million as of last August by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Whose leaders had bused in SEIU staff and members; student activists; and allies from other unions and immigrant organizations from around the region. At least 13 busloads from southern New England overall, according to the campaign’s registration form for the event.

A respectable showing, if not the “massive crowd of underpaid workers” that SEIU’s press release had promised.

So there they were. Supporters of a $15 an hour federal minimum wage. A fairly diverse group. Standing in a snowy field on a back road, enthusiastically waving banners—some quite creative, cylindrical and glowing from within like Japanese lanterns—and periodically trading chants with the mostly white right-wing activists in front of them.

Republican Debate Night_020616_DSC_3138_Images©2016 Derek Kouyoumjian

Photo by Derek Kouyoumjian

Their presence was part of SEIU’s current tactic to raise the profile of the Fight for $15 campaign byprotesting presidential debates and other high profile events like the Super Bowl in recent months. Which makes sense as far as it goes.

What doesn’t make sense is why SEIU pulled out 500 people onto a chilly windswept hill in suburban New Hampshire to protest for a laudable reform that their chosen presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, absolutely does not support.

Clinton, like Barack Obama, has come out in favor of a $12 an hour minimum wage. Bernie Sanders, the only candidate whose politics are in line with labor unions like SEIU, is also the only candidate who publicly supports the Fight for $15 campaign’s main goal—a $15 an hour minimum wage. Barely a living wage at all in many parts of the country. Hardly the huge ask that opponents make it out to be. Especially given the wage freeze imposed on most Americans by corporations and our political duopoly since the 1970s.

Photo by Jason Pramas

Photo by Jason Pramas

Yet the leaders of the 1.9  million member SEIU backed Clinton last November. Joining the heads of a number of other large American unions in supporting the candidate with a proven record of pushing policies completely antithetical to union demands. Like the insurance industry scam known asObamacare instead of “Medicare for all.” And they have alreadypumped millions to Clinton Super PACs over the heads of their largely voiceless members.

In response, a coalition of progressive unions and activist union members has formed Labor for Bernie to win as many union endorsements for Sanders as possible. Even as Sanders hasamassed a $75 million warchestfrom mostly small donations—without the truckloads of cash that labor unions have traditionally lavished on Democratic candidates over the past few decades.

With Sanders doing very well in the NH polls as of this writing, and clearly capable of staying in the race all the way to this summer’s Democratic National Convention, it appears that SEIU leadership made a serious miscalculation this election. And the fallout from that miscalculation is already playing out in the very state where they organized the standout for their Fight for $15 campaign over the weekend.

Two New Hampshire SEIU locals—560 (Dartmouth College workers) and 1984 (NH State Employees’ Association)—broke ranks with SEIU leadership last fall and backed Sanders for President. Both locals were present in Goffstown on Saturday.

Whether Bernie Sanders wins the nomination and election or not, current SEIU leadership—and the leadership of every union marching in lockstep with the worst elements of the Democratic Party—is going to face increasing pressure from its rank-and-file members to stop supporting pro-corporate anti-labor candidates like Clinton. Likely culminating in major grassroots insurgent campaigns aimed at removing union leaders perceived as sellouts—as has happened on many occasions in labor history. It remains to be seen whether such internal reforms will happen before the major unions collapse under the death of a thousand cuts being inflicted on them by their traditional political enemies and their erstwhile allies alike.

SEIU and less democratic unions like it could forestall the looming civil war in their own ranks—and increase the American labor movement’s chance of survival—by learning from the more democratic practices of the 700,000 member Communication Workers of America (CWA)—whose leadership stepped aside last year and let their members directly decide: a) If they should endorse any candidates for POTUS, and b) Which candidate they should endorse.

CWA members, some 30 percent of whom are Republicans, voted to back Sanders in December.

This article is syndicated by the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism — and stands in for this week’s Apparent Horizon column. Jason Pramas is BINJ’s network director. He has been a member of three SEIU locals (925, 285 and 888) over the past 17 years, and helped lead a successful union drive with SEIU Local 509 last year at the cost of his job.

Copyright 2016 Jason Pramas. Licensed for use by the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism and media outlets in its network.

SANDERS SHRUGGED

Image by Kent Buckley

October 20, 2015

BY JASON PRAMAS @JASONPRAMAS

One of the marks of what scholars call hegemonic discourse is the assumption that a society’s ruling ideology is considered so “normal” that it does not even need to be named, let alone explained. So it is with the Boston Globe and capitalism.

Most of the Globe’s editorial board, columnists, and reporters,  like virtually the entire mainstream American press corps,  start from the position that capitalism is the best of all possible political economic systems. And, while it may need periodic reform on behalf of “the neediest” in our society (as they like to put it), fundamentally “there is no alternative”—as Margaret Thatcher famously quipped—to capitalism. Understood as free markets, free trade, and corporate globalization. Yet only a handful of Globe staff, like conservative columnist Jeff Jacoby, openly state that position with any regularity.

How then are the Globe’s mainstream capitalist journalists to deal with the increasingly successful Presidential candidacy of Sen. Bernie Sanders, a socialist running as a Democrat?

If recent articles referencing Sanders are any measure, the Globe is choosing to deal with him by setting up straw men about his stated ideology and then knocking them down.

Take Joan Vennochi’s latest column, “When did Democrats become the party of free stuff?” In it she states that “progressive ideology” (whatever that is) “is increasingly about asking government to provide more for its citizens—and more for noncitizens, too.” She juxtaposes that already problematic typification to JFK’s famous call to “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for you country.” She cites that call as being “strongly rooted in the notion of self-reliance,” and in the belief that “government is not there to serve us. We are there to serve it.”

No Bernie Sanders Scandinavia is not a socialist utopia The Boston Globe

She then moves on to paint Sanders and his ideas as essentially a threat to said Kennedy values. The crux of her argument hinges on the definition of socialism that she chooses to use. Which, to get to the point, is incorrect. In this case, Vennochi cites a recent Washington Post blog post that describes socialists “as people who believe ‘that the government should provide a wide range of basic services to its citizens free of charge or at a discount, typically including university education and health care, as well as child care, housing, telecommunications, energy, and more.’ They also believe these services ‘should be available to everyone, not just the neediest.’”

The problem with that definition of socialists and socialism is that it describes a welfare state, not socialism. Welfare states are possible under pretty much any type of modern government. One of the earliest welfare states began under a German emperor in the late 1800s. There have been welfare states in fascist nations, like Italy under Mussolini, in capitalist dictatorships like Singapore under Lee Kuan Yew, and here in the United States to a degree between the 1930s and the present. And yes, also in social democratic (a.k.a. democratic socialist) countries like Sweden—particularly from the 1960s to the 1980s.

So the definition of socialism is not the fact that it allows for a strong welfare state.

Socialism encompasses a broad sphere of ideas, but most socialists share in the belief that human beings should have equal rights (not one set of rules for privileged groups, and another for everyone else), that there should be democratic control of both political and economic institutions worldwide, and that a socialist society must strive to eliminate private control over the means of production. So that the working people of the world—the “99 percent”—can finally control our own destiny.

It’s commonly thought that socialism has to spring from national governments, but elements of socialism can also be introduced by regional and local governments, and critically by trade unions, nonprofit organizations, and co-operatives. Many anarchists are in fact libertarian socialists who believe that networks of very democratic local governments and smaller scale non-governmental organizations should run society— not nation-states, multinational corporations, and huge political parties of the traditional left, right, or center.

There can still be capitalism in socialist societies, but it is typically limited—and kept away from the commanding heights of core economic sectors like healthcare, housing, education, and energy. Also, politics is kept more free from the influence of concentrations of individual and corporate wealth in such societies, helping to ensure that the rich don’t use their funds to seize control over government as completely as they are now doing in the US.

Other articles referring to socialism in the Globe recently have the same flaw as Vennochi’s piece. To the extent they address socialism directly at all, they mischaracterize it. Then dismantle their mischaracterization.

I’ve been watching capitalist reporters take that kind of “ranting at an empty chair’ approach for my entire adult life when it comes to any ideology left of the Democratic Party, and have always thought it to be a cheap tactic and intellectually dishonest. If the Globe was a real forum of ideas, they would at least invite prominent socialist thinkers—of whom there are a number in Boston—to openly discuss and debate what socialism, democratic or otherwise, might mean for America on an ongoing basis.

A good step in that direction would be running the text of the speech that Sanders is planning on the meaning of democratic socialism in its entirety. A better one would be allowing local thinkers across the political spectrum—the full political spectrum, including intellectuals on the anti-capitalist left—to debate the merits of Sanders’ speech in the Globe’s pages. There are several people I could recommend. But why not invite the most famous left thinker on the planet, who lives here in the Boston area, and who theGlobe has resolutely snubbed for the last 50 years: Noam Chomsky.

Here’s his email: chomsky@mit.edu. He answers all communications faithfully. Heck, if the Globe wants, I’ll invite him for them. Globe editors are welcome to flag me at jason@binjonline.org. Anytime. My line, as ever, is open.

Apparent Horizon is the first column syndicated by the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. Jason Pramas is BINJ network director.

Copyright 2015 Jason Pramas. Licensed for use by the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism and media outlets in its network.