Written by 55 of the richest white men, and signed by only 39 of them, the US constitution is the sacred text of American nationalism. Popular perceptions of it are mired in idolatry, myth and misinformation – many Americans have opinions on the constitution but have little idea what it says.
Our speaker’s new book examines the constitution for what it is – a rulebook for elites to protect capitalism from democracy. Social movements have misplaced faith in the constitution as a tool for achieving justice when it actually impedes social change through the many roadblocks and obstructions we call ‘checks and balances’. This stymies urgent progress on issues like labour rights, poverty, public health and climate change, propelling the American people and rest of the world towards destruction.
Robert Ovetz’s reading of the constitution shows that the system isn’t broken. Far from it. It works as it was designed.
Our speaker, Robert Ovetz, is a Senior Lecturer in Political Science at San José State University, California, USA. He is the author of the new book We the Elites: Why the US Constitution Serves the Few (Pluto, 2022). His previous publications include When Workers Shot Back: Class Conflict from 1877 to 1921, and he was the editor of Workers’ Inquiry and Global Class Struggle. He is the book review editor of the Journal of Labor and Society and writes about labor for Dollars & Sense magazine.