NHPR: Monadnock Lyceum Lecture and Book Launch

NHPRPoor (in) Democracy: How America is Defaulting on Democracy, and the Long Walk to Get it Back

Lecture: Sunday, July 19th, 11am
Rebroadcast: Sunday, August 3rd, 9pm


Daniel Weeks, the executive director of Open Democracy (a non-partisan advocacy organization founded by Doris “Granny D” Haddock), maintains that democracy is in default. According to Weeks, American government no longer works for the American people, because special interest money has infected the political process. On issue after issue of national concern, ordinary people are paying the price for systemic corruption in Washington. Nowhere are the effects of America’s democracy deficit more strongly felt than among the 50 million people living below the poverty line. From voting to lobbying to funding political campaigns, these “second-class citizens” are systematically excluded from politics by a host of formal and informal means.

Listen to the full lecture here.

Read more at NHPR.org or MonadnockLyceum.org

Ledger-Transcript: Is poverty tied to political corruption?

Lyceum hosts campaign finance reform activist during N.H. Rebellion Campaign

MonadnockLedgerTranscriptPETERBOROUGH — Daniel Weeks knows he’s not an expert on poverty. But, a two-year, 10,000-mile journey across the country on a Greyhound bus showed the campaign finance reform activist that the U.S. poverty gap has as much to do with elections as it does with social inequality. “We must start recognizing that poverty is a democracy problem. Our democracy is impoverished,” said Weeks at the Monadnock Summer Lyceum Sunday.

Full story at Monadnock Ledger Transcript 

Announcing: “Democracy in Poverty: A View from Below”

Cover50 Years After Voting Rights Act, New Book Exposes Gaping Holes in Voting and Representation

Harvard Safra Center ebook available on Amazon

What is the connection between poverty and politics today? Does money determine a person’s political voice? Is poverty a democracy problem? To tackle these thorny questions, political reformer Daniel Weeks traveled 10,000 miles through thirty states by Greyhound bus, speaking with hundreds of fellow citizens living in poverty and recording his experiences on a poverty-line budget of $16 a day. From benches on Capitol Hill to the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, from the desert colonias of New Mexico to Skid Row in L.A., his profiles and careful analysis put a human face on poverty and political inequality in the 21st century.

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Telegraph: Bus tour of poor America on $16 a day

Nashua Telegraphdt.common.streams.StreamServer.cls / OCT 22, 2014

NASHUA – “Richard,” a 28-year-old Montgomery, Ala., man, is the first to admit he “did some stupid stuff” that led to him to drop out of school then drop in to a federal penitentiary to serve time for some armed robberies. Now 28 and out of prison, Richard is nevertheless saddled with the “felon” label, a red flag for potential employers, an automatic banishment from public housing and food stamps. Given all that, it might seem incidental that Richard’s felon status also means he cannot vote.

But to well-known writer and activist Daniel Weeks, Richard’s case is an example of a far greater problem, and illustrates quite clearly the complex relationship between institutional poverty and political power that leaves people like Richard with little if any hope for a political voice.

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WMUR: 1 in 5 working families in NH is low-income

NH’s Business on WMUR TVWMUR / JUN 8, 2014
A new analysis of New Hampshire’s working poor in the June issue of Business NH Magazine shows that 1 in 5 families is low-income and 4 in 10 jobs pay wages that are below or near the poverty federal line, even as the cost of housing and other basic needs continue to soar. Author Daniel Weeks and Business NH editor Matt Mowry discuss the findings with Fred Kocher, host of “NH’s Business” on WMUR TV (ABC) in Manchester, NH. [Watch the interview]

Business NH Magazine: Who Are the Working Poor?

BNHcoverBusiness NH Magazine / JUN 2014
(Excerpted from the Magazine) Does America’s longstanding vision that work and reward go hand-in-hand still hold true today? … For millions of citizens born and raised in difficult circumstances, “working poor” is not an oxymoron. Five years after the Great Recession officially ended, the number of low-income workers in the United States has swelled to the highest rate in over 25 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Fully half of American jobs now pay less than $33,000 per year and one in four pay poverty-level wages of $22,000 or less. The National Employment Law Project reports that 60 percent of all jobs lost during the Great Recession were in mid-wage occupations while 59 percent of jobs gained through 2012 were in lower-wage occupations; meanwhile, the number of high-income jobs lost and gained was unchanged at around 20 percent. As a consequence, Americans in the bottom income quintile now receive the smallest share of income–3.3 percent–since record-keeping began in the 1960s, according to the Census Bureau. In sharp contrast, the share of income gains flowing to the top 1 percent from 2009-2012 reached 95 percent, according to U.C. Berkeley economist Emmanuel Saez.

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Interview: Voting And The Cycle Of Poverty

NHPRThe Exchange on NHPR / JAN 15, 2014
Behind the numbers are the experiences of America’s poor, which, more often than not, go unheard. This divide is the problem that N.H. writer and activist Dan Weeks addressed in the project he undertook last year, to travel around some of the poorest areas of the country by bus and see poverty close up, as well as the ways that it intertwines with a lack of political voice. Today we’ll talk with him about the series of articles he wrote for The Atlantic on his trip and what he saw. []