What Multiracial Democracy Requires

November 5, 2021

Freedom and liberation. Repair and redress. Material equity.

The Roosevelt Rundown features our top stories of the week.

A New Paradigm for Justice and Democracy

Ignoring race is not a viable political or policy strategy.

Building a society that ensures economic and political power for all people is.

To get there, we need a new paradigm for racial justice, as Roosevelt Deputy Director of Race and Democracy Kyle Strickland and Roosevelt President and CEO Felicia Wong explain in a new report

Neoliberalism and racial liberalism—the prevailing paradigms of the last 50 years—promoted race-neutrality and promised that markets would compete away racism. They failed, empirically and emotionally. 

“Together,” Strickland and Wong write, “these old paradigms excluded and divided. They limited our politics and institutions. And they hindered the policies and narratives that could advance racial equity and justice.”

Drawing on themes from a century of research, scholarship, and activism, Strickland and Wong outline an emerging paradigm that recognizes this truth: Race and economic policy are inextricably linked. And the values of today’s racial justice movement—freedom and liberation, repair and redress of historical harms, and material equity—are central to this shift in thinking.

“Today’s movement openly recognizes the mutually reinforcing systems of racial capitalism, white supremacy, and patriarchy as significant barriers to racial justice,” they write. “We will not see transformative policy change, structural reform, or a stable and lasting multiracial democracy without a new paradigm.”

And “the only kind of democracy we can have going forward is multiracial.”

Read more in A New Paradigm for Justice and Democracy: Moving beyond the Twin Failures of Neoliberalism and Racial Liberalism.


A Green Steel Deal

In a win this week for both workers and the climate, the US and EU announced a trade deal on green steel and aluminum—a plan that could remake two of the highest carbon-emitting industries and would be the first US trade agreement to set specific carbon emission targets.

“This latest EU-US statement is a signal of what a foreign policy for the middle class looks like,” Roosevelt’s Todd Tucker said. “Workers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and beyond can supply the green materials the global economy needs to prosper, and our companies, labs, and universities can innovate the technology needed to green the industry around the world.”

Read more from Tucker about how an external tariff on steel imports can address the climate crisis in “A Green Steel Deal: Toward Pro-Jobs, Pro-Climate Transatlantic Cooperation on Carbon Border Measures.”


How Corporate Power Breaks the Family Budget

“In checkout lines across the country, families are feeling firsthand the crunch of price increases,” Roosevelt’s Niko Lusiani writes. But “misguided suggestions to cut federal investments and raise interest rates miss the point.”

“To lower families’ bills in lasting ways, policymakers must address two . . . less-explored but long-standing problems that predate the pandemic: concentrated market power and chronic public underinvestment in our care, housing, and renewable energy infrastructure.”

Learn how the Build Back Better Act could help.


What We’re Reading and Listening To

Climate Reparations: The Case for Carbon RemovalNew York Magazine

The Life-Altering Differences between White and Black Debt [podcast]The Ezra Klein Show

How Schumer’s Left Turn Shaped the Democratic Agenda and Set Up a Chaotic Final Scramble over Biden Proposals [feat. Roosevelt’s Felicia Wong]Washington Post

As Housing Costs Spike, Voters Look for Hope in Rent Control – Bloomberg CityLab