Saturday, October 3, 2015

10/3 Another Stab at the Constitution

The piece we are looking at today is a modern commentary and analysis of the Constitution. Last class we spent more time looking at the historical context of the Constitution itself, as well as the Federalist Papers, which was also a commentary on the Constitution, and considered still be the most authoritative interpretation of the Constitution.

In today's piece which is taken from The New York Times, several prominent scholars give their analysis over controversial or problematic aspects of the Constitution. In many regards most of what the contributors suggest would seem to be fairly radical changes to the Constitution, of course in the past, such changes have occurred.

The first commentary by Jamal Greene, questions whether to create term limits for federal judges, as he says: 
In a democracy, no one person should wield so much power for so long. Article III of the Constitution provides that federal judges “shall hold their offices during good behaviour.” In practice this language means they serve for life absent voluntary retirement or impeachment. Were we to draft the Constitution today, we would be wise to reconsider this provision.

His reasoning for this seems to rest on two main points: one, he argues in some cases judges simply become too old to effectively render judgements in cases, something which requires a person to be at the peak of their mental faculties. Two, he argues that life-term appointments makes the selection process of judges too political. Federal judges are nominated by the President, but approved by the U.S. Senate. Over the last 20-25 years this process has become incredibly complicated due to the inability of opposed political parties to come to agreement (you might remember the Gallup piece from a few weeks ago which pointed to polling data which supports this).

He argues that the example of other countries that have term limits or mandatory retirement ages might be a good example, and seems drawn to the idea of an 18-year term. 18 years is by any standard a long-term in office, but many would still be opposed to limiting the terms of judges.

The second piece by Rachel Barkow, looks at the eight amendment of the Constitution and how it might relate to the current problem of imprisonment in the U.S. Despite the repeated claims to being the land of the free, the U.S. leads the rest of the world in the number of people in prison, which as she points out is made up of significantly larger portions of minority groups in the country. Certainly the profit motive is still alive and well at least, because running prisons has become a profitable industry as of late, led by corporations like the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) which also lobbys the government for longer prison terms and less leniency, not because it feels threatened by criminals, but because shorter prison terms would mean less business. The U.S. is also the third largest in terms of the number of executions carried out by the justice system behind only Saudi Arabia and China.

Barkow looks to the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, or what we refer to as the Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments) which bans the use of "cruel and unusual punishment." Putting aside the idea of executions which she does not go into, but obviously would be opposed to, she argues that the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment should prohibit excessively long prison sentences as well:

As I have suggested elsewhere, clarifying and expanding the Eighth Amendment could help. It should specifically state that excessive terms of incarceration are prohibited, just as it bans excessive fines. It should expressly prohibit mandatory sentences so that every case gets the benefit of individualized attention by a judge. And it should insist that legislatures create a record showing that they considered empirical evidence about the law's likely impact. 
It is important to see that before any action can be undertaken, there must be some groundwork for this action in the Constitution. In this case she argues that the Eighth Amendment lays the groundwork that would make the movement towards shorter prison terms a legitimate, and legal course of action.

The third piece by Akhil Reed Amar, looks at the limitations on naturalized citizens for holding office, specifically the President. The Constitution states that only citizens born in the U.S. are eligible to be President of the U.S., as he says:
But those American citizens who happen to have been born abroad to non-American parents — and who later choose to become “naturalized” American citizens — are not the full legal equals of those of us born in the U.S. True, naturalized Americans have always been allowed to serve as cabinet secretaries, Supreme Court justices, senators and governors. And at the founding, anyone already a citizen could be president, regardless of birthplace. (Alexander Hamilton, for example, though born in the West Indies, was fully eligible to serve as president under the Constitution he himself helped draft.) But modern-day naturalized citizens are barred from the presidency simply because they were born in the wrong place to the wrong parents.
We can look back to the readings from Bourne and Chesterton and relate their views on transnationalism or as Chesterton called it the "the nationalization of the internationalized" to this restriction. Do you think Bourne and Chesterton would be in favor of lifting this restriction? Do you think it is fair to continue this restriction, or should any citizen regardless of birth be eligible to one-day become President of the U.S. On a related note, the bizarre obsession with the current President's birthplace relates to this, if the President were born in Kenya as many on the political right-wing suggest, then he would be ineligible to be President. Of course in this case, the racial overtones of this so-called argument are obvious.

The fourth piece by Elizabeth Price Foley argues for the importance of federalism. Federalism is a doctrine which explicitly divides the power of government between the center (or federal) government and regional states which retain some independence and autonomy from the center. Some other countries have what is called a unitary government where the top-level of government appoints all the lower levels as well, thus power and control is in the hands of the top government officials. In our country, the governor of New York for example has certain freedoms to act that the President and Congress cannot limit. In practice, however, especially in recent times the extent and influence of the federal government has increased, mainly as a result of the influence the federal government has in directing funds for the states in multiple areas like education or even to maintain roads.

Foley argues that this expansion of government power threatens the idea of federalism which the Constitution is based on:
Federalism isn't about states' rights. It's about individual liberty. The Supreme Court emphasized this in Bond v. United States (2011): "By denying any one government complete jurisdiction over all the concerns of public life, federalism protects the liberty of the individual from arbitrary power. When government acts in excess of its lawful powers, that liberty is at stake." And lest you think this emanates from the court's right wing, Bond was unanimous.

As the last line indicates however, this view has increasingly become seen as more of a conservative or right-wing opinion. She goes on to point out how the Supreme Court had recently ruled against certain aspects of the health care law that would force state governments to act. Again, think back to the Gallup poll, which showed that when the opposing party is in power, people on the other side favor greater restrictions on government power. If a Republican government was in office today, would conservatives still argue for federalism as strongly as they are now?

The fifth piece by Alexander Keyssar argues to abolish the electoral college. We know the President is not elected through a direct popular vote, but is chosen by electors equal to each states representation in Congress, meaning that elections are decided on a state by state basis. This is one of the more well known and controversial aspects of the Constitution today. As he says:
Moreover, we have learned a lot in the last 225 years about shortcomings in the framers’ design: the person who wins the most votes doesn’t necessarily become president; the adoption of “winner take all” rules (permitted but not mandated by the Constitution) produces election campaigns that ignore most of the country and contribute to low turnout; the legislature of any state can decide to choose electors by itself and decline to hold an election at all; and the complex procedure for dealing with an election in which no candidate wins a clear majority of the electoral vote is fraught with peril. As a nation, we have come to embrace “one person, one vote” as a fundamental democratic principle, yet the allocation of electoral votes to the states violates that principle. It is hardly an accident that no other country in the world has imitated our Electoral College. 

The sixth piece by Michael Rappaport looks at the process by which the Constitution is changed. Paradoxically he argues that the process of changing the Constitution has come to a point where it is virtually impossible to change. There are two methods for changing the Constitution. The first requires that 2/3 of both houses of Congress agree to an amendment which is then sent to the states to ratify, or approve of the proposed amendment. There is a second method but is has never been used as he says:
The second method is for two-thirds of the state legislatures to call for a constitutional convention that would then propose an amendment (which, again, would have to be ratified by the states). This second method has never been used, because the state legislatures fear a runaway convention. They are concerned that if they call a convention to draft a balanced budget amendment, the convention will end up proposing an amendment on same-sex marriage or school prayer. 
This argument matches up well with Foley's federalist argument since it reserves a more active role for the states, again quoting his argument:
The Constitution should be changed to eliminate the possibility of a runaway convention. The best way to do this is to dispense with a constitutional convention and instead have the state legislatures agree to propose a specific amendment. But any method that allows for a working alternative to Congress’s amendment monopoly would be an enormous improvement.
The seventh piece by Melynda Price deals with another highly publicized and controversial aspect of the Constitution, the "right to bear arms" in the second amendment. Price who is in favor of abolishing this right argues:
I am not naïve enough to believe that doing away with the Second Amendment would do away with gun violence, but I know firsthand the impact of guns and gun shots on children. This nation was constructed and reconstructed in the aftermath of violent and bloody conflicts. Still, the Framers believed that not only the Constitution, but also the peaceful way the document was created, would penetrate the Americans' minds and change they engaged. The Constitution would be the only weapon needed unless there was an external enemy. 
The eight piece by Jenny Martinez deals with the interpretation of the Constitution in a more international setting, that being how important are treaties signed with other countries in the legal process of this country. Martinez points to what is called the "supremacy clause" in the Constitution,  “Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.”

However she addresses the often conflicting tendency of courts to ignore treaties that have been signed with other countries, as she points out:
But the Supreme Court has interpreted the supremacy clause in ways that contradict its text and original purpose; the court has suggested that the clause doesn’t mean what it says as far as treaties are concerned. One of the strangest of these decisions came a few years ago in a case involving Texas’s failure to notify Mexican citizens facing the death penalty that they were entitled by a treaty to speak to their consulate. In that case, Medellín v. Texas, the Supreme Court held that the treaty (and a decision of the International Court of Justice interpreting it) weren’t actually enforceable against Texas.
The ninth piece is by Randy Barnett and concerns the Commerce clause of the the Constitution. This gives Congress the power to regulate business in the country. Barnett argues that this power also has grown too much and exceeds what it is meant for. He argues the clause should be reworded as:
"The power of Congress to make all laws that are necessary and proper to regulate commerce among the several states, or with foreign nations, shall not be construed to include the power to regulate or prohibit any activity that is confined within a single state regardless of its effects outside the state, whether it employs instrumentalities therefrom, or whether its regulation or prohibition is part of a comprehensive regulatory scheme; but Congress shall have power to regulate harmful emissions between one state and another, and to define and provide for punishment of offenses constituting acts of war or violent insurrection against the United States."
Compared with its original text in the Constitution which is much shorter (Article 1 Section 8 Clause 3): "to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes." Is this more complex version necessary? The purpose of the commerce clause is to regulate what is called "interstate business" meaning business that goes on across state boundaries. Commerce or business that takes place wholly in one state then should be regulated by the state it is in, but again in modern times the distinctions between interstate and state commerce are blurred. This also affects the interests of many large corporations which operate throughout the country and beyond even national boundaries.

The final piece by Pauline Maier looks at the most well known part of the Constitution, the first amendment to the Bill of Rights. However she argues that the wording of the text is flawed and argues it should be expanded on:

“Congress shall make no law” is a peculiarly stingy way to begin an amendment that protects the rights of conscience, speech, press, assembly and petition. James Madison proposed more capacious language for those rights. He would have said, for example, that “the civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretext infringed.” He would also have stated that “the people shall not be deprived of their right to speak, to write, or to publish their sentiments; and the freedom of the press, as one of the great bulwarks of liberty, shall be inviolable.”
She argues that this would clearly separate the protections giving to people and to corporations which also appeal to first amendment rights to justify lobbying the government.

These authors represent different political perspectives and isolate different problematic areas of the Constitutions which continue to be debated in the present. Some call for new interpretations of how we understand our rights, others for re-wording or altering certain parts of the text, others still call for getting rid of what they see as outdated features of the Constitution.

People often say that the Constitution is a "living document" meaning that it changes and adapts itself to fit the needs of the era. These writers and others suggest several ways in which the Constitution can be adapted.

The midterm will also be taken online, 10/10 on Blackboard. The exam will be posted under Content and will be available until midnight. The exam will consist of five short answer questions dealing with one or more of the themes we have gone over in class: Power, Citizenship, and the Constitution. If you have kept up with the readings and online lectures you should have no problem with the exam.

Assignment Due 10/10 : Choose one of the authors from the New York Times article and choose a quote from one of these authors. Write out the quote and the meaning of it, and explain why you chose this quote.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

9/26 The Constitution and the Federalist (Part 1)

"Scene at the Signing of the Constitution," Howard Chandler Christy, 1940, U.S. Capitol, Washington D.C.

The Articles of Confederation established the first system of government, first ratified in 1777 and again in 1781. The period between 1783-1789 the government was organized according to the Articles of Confederation. Notably, this system of government had no president, there was a Congress of the Confederation but there was only one branch or house, instead of two, and there was no supreme court. The 13 states which were really more like separate countries at this point and had very broad powers, maintained their own state militias, and in many cases even printed their own money and came up with their own rules on trade. The general consensus on this period of time was that the government was weak and ineffective and as a result of this conflict and disorder was increasing within the states and even between the states.

In 1786, the Annapolis Convention met in Maryland. The major result of this convention was an agreement to set another Convention in Philadelphia with purposes of "amending" the Articles of Confederation. The result was between 1787-88 the Constitutional Convention met and produced an entirely new document and with that an entirely new system of government. This is the Constitution that most people are familiar with.

The Constitution is a rather short document consisting of seven articles that broadly lay out the powers and responsibilities of the government and its operation. You may have noticed The Declaration of Independence was not very long either. When we look at the speeches of Abraham Lincoln who delivered two of the greatest if not the greatest speeches in American history, they are also very short. When your aim is to persuade people often times keeping things short works much better than writing long volumes of text. 
Public meetings and gathering-places were thus an integral part of the political process and a means by which "ideology" or a set of political beliefs and attitudes, becomes meaningful for individuals. 

There were many debates within the Convention (the official records of which are still sealed). Many of the conflicts revolved around sharing power between the large states and the smaller states; questions of national debt and state debt incurred during the war; and of course slavery.

The first three articles set up the basic separation of power between the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches of the federal government. Many of the Enlightenment thinkers like Locke or the French thinker Montesquieu (1689-1755) adopted similar frameworks for the division of power and it has become accepted as standard in virtually every government in the world. 

Originally, the legislative branch (the law-making part of government) was supposed to be superior. This was meant to place a check on the power of the "king" and also to protect the "private property" of individuals. The executive branch which is charged with physically carrying out the laws is thus dependent on the legislature for funding (it must get its permission more or less) and the power to raise taxes rests with the legislature as well. 

The Legislative branch is entrusted with making all laws for the country and is composed of two branches: the House of Representatives and the Senate. Representatives are drawn based upon the population of the state. Larger states with larger populations have more representatives. Also if the population of the state increases past a certain point it will gain more representatives (or lose them if the population decreases). Representatives are drawn from different districts drawn up by the states who also control the laws for voting in their respective states. All bills for raising revenue are supposed to originate with the House since it is the more democratic branch of government. Because of its size the position of a Speaker for the House is created as well. The Senate is composed of two senators from each state regardless of size. This was intended as a compromise to give smaller states more equality in government. Senators were originally chosen by the state legislature, and not by the people directly, that lasted until the Progressive era in 1913.

In order for proposed legislation to become law it must pass through both houses of Congress and be approved by the president. The president can veto laws, but the Congress can override the veto if it gets a 2/3 majority in both houses. 

This is probably the most well-known example of the second major principle guiding the Constitution, the system of checks and balances. Similar to the separation of powers, this principle stipulates that the different branches of government have to be in agreement on major decisions and that each branch has the power to limit the power of the other branch. The idea of separation of powers would be pretty much meaningless if it did not include this as well. These two principles were designed above all else to prevent tyranny, even at the expense of effective government, or what Hamilton would call "energetic government." 

This is controversial, because although preventing some (not all) abuses of government authority, it makes it difficult to use the government for more constructive purposes, leading to what is called "gridlock." This is a common topic in the present because of the noted Republican opposition to the Obama administration. In this case, Republicans control the House of Representatives while the Senate is nominally a Democratic majority, so even controlling one part of the Congress is enough to effectively stall any programs or policies favored by the current administration. However, this is complicated because in the Senate at the present the rules have effectively changed to now require a 2/3 majority to pass legislation through instead of a "simple" majority (n > 50%). This is as a result of what is called the "filibuster" and its notable because it is NOT in the Constitution.

The first article is the longest, again an indication that the legislative branch is supposed to be the most important and lays out several other responsibilities of the government over things like immigration and trade. 

 For example, the Commerce Clause in Section 8: "To regulate Commerce with foreign nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes." This short passage actually provides the legal justification for Congress to pass laws regulating things like healthcare or even drugs which are made "illegal" by an act of Congress. 

There is also the Necessary and Proper Clause: "To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof." This clause is controversial because it gives power to Congress to pass laws "necessary" to accomplish its goals. This of course sparks controversy over how the Constitution is interpreted. 

Some favor what they call a strict interpretation of the Constitution meaning the government has no right to pass any laws or act in any way not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution. This interpretation is mostly used by conservatives to limit the government's ability to regulate business or provide "privileges" to minority groups. Others favor a more broad interpretation of the Constitution and use this clause as a legal justification.

The second article deals with the executive branch of government headed by the President of the United States. This article explains the controversial electoral college, an institution that was set up to prevent presidential elections from being decided directly by the people. Instead votes are allocated based upon a number of "electoral votes" possessed by the individual states not by the people of the states. So when we count the results of the election we count the states the president won, not the people who voted for the president. This system tends to benefit the less popular candidate: some elections that were very close in terms of popular vote seemed like huge victories in terms of electoral votes, some have even lost the popular vote and still won in the electoral college like George Bush in 2000 (even counting Florida, Bush still lost the popular vote, however the results of that election are too distorted to use this as a good example of "winning" the electoral college while losing the popular vote). 

The major flaw in the electoral college is the idea of "wasted votes." Consider a state like New York. Since New York traditionally votes for the Democratic candidate in Presidential elections (it did go for Reagan though twice in the 1980s) only one vote more than the Republican candidate or third party candidate receives is necessary to win the election. To use simple numbers if a Republican gets 1,000 votes in NY, the Democratic candidate only needs 1,001 votes to receive the electoral votes for the whole state. If it turns out 5,000 people voted for that candidate, then most of those votes will be wasted, in the sense that they will not add anything to the chances of the candidate winning the election. Now consider the real life population demographics and the fact that the population of New York overwhelmingly outweighs the populations of so many other states with a few exceptions and it is easy to see why many would criticize this system since the citizens of New York would be under-represented compared to smaller states that would have a disproportionately larger influence in determining elections relative to their population size.

In terms of "electoral systems," or a way of selecting candidates for election, this is known as single-member district (SMD), and all elections in the U.S. are decided this way including for Congress and local government as well. An alternative method is known as proportional representation, where the proportion of votes captured by a political party equates into the proportion of representatives they have in the legislature or Congress. In this system votes are not wasted, to go back to our example, all of the votes cast in New York will then go towards the overall proportion of votes received by a party which would increase the proportion of their party representatives in Congress. However in this system there is less of a personal relationship between members of the legislature and their voters or constituents. The SMD system, since it focuses on a specific person in a specific district tends to establish more of a personal relationship between the candidate and potential voters.

The impeachment process is also explained in Article II as it is in Article I. A president can be impeached or removed from office but it has to follow a precise procedure. The House must formally lay charges against the president, the Senate then becomes like a court where the president is tried. The House brings the charges and acts as prosecutor, but the Senate votes on it and acts as jury. 

There have only been two impeachments in U.S. history against Andrew Johnson after the Civil War for supposedly sabotaging Reconstruction in the South, and Bill Clinton in 1998. However the Senate voted against impeachment and they were not removed from office. 

The primary responsibility of the president is dealing with foreign affairs, and in this area the president has more room to act without the approval of Congress. Notably, the power to "declare war" on another country rests with Congress, yet this is another aspect we do not follow anymore, there has not been a "declared" war since World War II. 

An unwritten role of the President is to be the leader of the civil religion, much in the same way as religions often have a "supreme leader."

The third article deals with the Supreme Court and the Judicial branch which is charged with interpreting the laws of the country in reference to the Constitution. Although not provided in the Constitution this evolved into the power of "judicial review" which gives the court power not only to interpret laws in reference to the Constitution in specific cases, but to strike down or cancel laws which conflict with it. 

The article also separates "original jurisdiction" from "appellate jurisdiction." Original jurisdiction refers to cases that would go directly to the Supreme Court. They are fairly few mostly affecting cases involving foreign officials, federal officials, or if the U.S. itself is a party in a case including treason. Most of the time, and most of the famous cases that have come before the court, the court was acting in terms of its appellate jurisdiction or appeal. People appeal to the Supreme Court after they have gone through lower courts, although the Supreme Court can choose not to hear a case. Most crimes are under the jurisdiction of the state court, including the most serious crime murder. If you kill someone you will most likely be tried by the state not the federal government, unless you kill a federal official. However the Supreme Court does have the power to override the decisions of lower courts.

The remaining articles deal with the relationship between the federal government and the states, the process of adding amendments to the Constitution, and the process of ratifying or approving the Constitution. Following that is a list of the Bill of Rights and the other amendments to the Constitution. We will talk about the Bill of Rights more next class. Article IV deals with some of the rights of the states and their relation to the government. The U.S. government is set up as a federal system, this means there is a division of power between the U.S. government, the state governments, as well as local municipal government. These different levels of government also follow the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial division of power. The American political system is very complex because of this. Many states like France, the United Kingdom, and Japan have unitary states meaning there is one government authority and all local officials are usually appointed by higher officials. Germany has a federal system, although it is only made up of 16 states instead of the 50 states now in the U.S. (originally 13 of course). India is also a federal system made up of 28 states and 7 "union territories" directly administered by the federal government. Russia is a federal state made up of 83 different units. A federal system is most common in countries where there is either a lot of ethnic division like in Russia or India or smaller autonomous states are now part of the unified federal state like in the case of the U.S. or Germany.

There is a controversial passage in Article IV that protects slavery: "No person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law of Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due." There is also a clause in Article 1 Section 2 that refers to counting slaves as 3/5 of a person for determining representatives and taxes. 

There was controversy over this when in 2011 the new Republican majority House of Representatives began their session by reading out the Constitution, however they omitted these controversial passages. How would you interpret something like that? What is the meaning of reading out the Constitution word-for-word except to symbolically show that they are adhering to the "true principles" of the Constitution and implying that the country has lost its way perhaps. Yet does it not defeat the purpose when it seems that they are not willing to confront the "bad" aspects of the American past, in effect by basically censoring aspects of American history that do not fit into the idealized vision of American history that conservatives tend to put forward? It undermines the whole idea that they are trying to return to the "true" America, when their idea of truth is so selective and sanitized, or at least they are unfamiliar with the saying, "the truth hurts." This has serious consequences considering that many believe that it was the failure to discuss slavery candidly and honestly in a system supposedly based on discussion and debate that eventually led to the breakdown of the system and the Civil War (the word "slave" or "slavery" is nowhere mentioned in the Constitution). There are those who believe the Civil War would have happened earlier if they did have this honest discussion, and there were those who were willing to have this discussion even back then but who were outside the political system, however, if anything these kinds of "oversights" today are suggestive of a failure to learn the lessons of history more than anything else. 

After the Convention had completed its work, copies of the Constitution were circulated throughout the states. People in the states elected delegates to serve on state conventions to ratify the Constitution. The first state to ratify was Delaware in late 1787, New Hampshire was the decisive ninth state to ratify in June 1788. Nine states out of thirteen provided the 2/3 majority needed to ratify the Constitution. Two states, North Carolina and Rhode Island did not ratify the Constitution till after George Washington was elected president. The system of government established officially went into effect March 4th, 1789. Washington was inaugurated as president April 30th, 1789, the only president to be unanimously elected (both terms).

9/26 The Constitution and the Federalist (Part 2)

 Supporters of the Constitution began to refer to themselves as "federalists" for the support of the federal system of government. Opponents who favored more power to the states and wanted to keep the federal government weak were referred to as "anti-federalists." 

In order to persuade the public to support the Constitution several of the leading "federalists" James Madison (1751-1836) who would become the 4th President of the U.S., Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804), and John Jay (1745-1829) published articles under the pseudonym, or pen-name, Publius. As I have said with ideology, these articles attempted to interpret events of the day: in this case that the Constitutional Convention has produced a document that is "good" for the people to approve of and should be ratified. 

The articles were published first in New York newspapers but then reprinted throughout the country. They were intended to persuade a large segment of the public to adopt certain values or even to act in a certain way. They have been collected in book form and are referred to as The Federalist Papers or more simply The Federalist and are still considered the definitive interpretation of the Constitution.

Federalist No. 10 for example is important because it lays out the theoretical framework that underlies the current system of government. Madison makes it clear that the purposes of the federal government, or the Union, the union of all the states is beneficial because it will best control the effects of "factions." Today we would call them "special interests" but the meaning is the same. Sometimes, people seem to think that the U.S. government was founded by moral idealists but on the contrary the founders seemed to have a very pessimistic view of human conduct. Madison cautions that you cannot even deal with the "causes" of faction because to do that would very likely violate our liberties but can only control the "effects" of faction, as he says:

James Madison
The latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man, and we see them everywhere brought into different degrees of activity, according to the different circumstances of civil society. A zeal for different opinions concerning religion, concerning government, and many other points, as well of speculation and practice; an attachment to different leaders ambitiously contending for pre-eminence and power; or to persons of other descriptions whose fortunes have been interesting to the human passions, have, in turn, divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to cooperate for their common good (pp. 92-93).
In fact, it may only be contemporary liberals who are guilty of being too idealistic and sound almost naive when they act surprised that there is so much partisanship or factional conflict in politics today, like for example on taxes. Madison seems much more aware of this: 
The appointment of taxes on the various descriptions of property is an act which seems to require the most exact impartiality; yet there is, perhaps, no legislative act in which greater opportunity and temptation are given to a predominant party to trample on the rules of justice. Every shilling with which they overburden the inferior number, is a shilling saved to their own pocket (p. 93).

However the greatest danger from factions, Madison thought were "majority factions" (i.e. the poor). Madison is confident that a minority faction can be handled by the mechanisms of popular government, although he assumes people would actually do something and not just sit back passively if a minority was trying to take control or "usurp" authority. Majority factions however have spelt doom for democratic governments since ancient times Madison argues. He believes that the Constitution contains the "cure" for the democratic "disease." He singles out two aspects: representative government and the large size of the state. He identifies these as the major difference between "republican" and "democratic" government. Democracy was kind of a dirty word for many of the founders and they preferred "republic" (Latin for "the people's business") instead. The point he is trying to make is that he believes that voting for representatives from among the "wise property owners" would add stability to the government. 

In a reversal of ancient political philosophy: he argues the large size of the republic is more stable than a smaller democracy which must remain close to the local people. His arguments for size are: 

a) The more people there are in the country the more chance competent and capable people will be found for office where you are more limited in choices in a smaller community. 

b) And that in a larger population it will be harder to fool all the people. 

c) He also argues that a larger population makes it harder for factions to dominate, as he says: "Extend the sphere and you take in a greater variety of parties and interests; you make it less probable that a majority of the whole will have a common motive to invade the rights of other citizens; or if such a common motive exists, it will be more difficult for all who feel it to discover their own strength, and to act in unison with each other" (p. 95). 

But again it must be stressed that the primary fear of the "wise property owners" was the faction of the poor, and suggests a dimension of class conflict that is normally not acknowledged: "A rage for paper money, for an abolition of debts, for an equal division of property, will be less apt to pervade the whole body of the Union than a particular member of it; in the same proportion as such a malady is more likely to taint a particular county or district, than an entire State" (p. 96).

In No.s 39 and 48 he outlines some of the principles of the federal system and when it impacts the states (federal) and when it will impact the people directly (national) and outlines the importance of "separation of powers" and the dangers of legislative tyranny if too much power is concentrated in one branch of government.

In No. 51 he again outlines the dangers of factions and again suggests that the diversity of society will reduce the influence of factions. This is called "pluralism" today and is still dominant in American politics:

Whilst all authority in it will be derived from and dependent on society, the society itself will be broken into so many parts, interests, and classes of citizens, that the rights of the individuals, or of the minority, will be in little danger from interested combinations of the majority. In a free government the security for civil rights must be the same as for religious rights. It consists in the one case in the multiplicity of interests, and in the other in the multiplicity of sects. The degree of security in both cases will depend on the number of interests and sects; and this may be presumed to depend on the extent of the country and number of people comprehended under the same government (p. 105).

The last selection from Madison's letters deals with the infamous 3/5 compromise in the Constitution. Since the number of people in your state influences the number of representatives your state gets, Southern politicians hypocritically thought to count slaves as people in order to increase their representation without of course granting any political rights to slaves. Northerners, hardly more moral, objected that slaves are property not people. The "rational" compromise was to count slaves as 3/5 of a person.

85 articles were written altogether. Madison wrote 29, Hamilton wrote 51 (Jay wrote five and is hardly mentioned).

Four of Hamilton’s articles are included: no.’s 15, 21, 23, 78
Alexander Hamilton
No.s 15, 21, 23 are focused on pointing out the weaknesses of the present government under the articles of Confederation, and advocating the stronger national government, or in Hamilton’s terms, "energetic government," that is designed in the Constitution.

No. 78 is an early defense of the principle of "judicial review" which gives power to the Supreme Court to strike down laws or other actions that contradicts the Constitution

What were the flaws of the government under the Articles of Confederation that Hamilton was specifically concerned with? Why was a strong national government the solution to the problems that Hamilton saw? Consider the following quote by Hamilton from no. 15, “Power controlled or abridged is almost always the rival and enemy of that power by which it is controlled or abridged” (p. 112), another way of stating the idea of checks and balances, power checks power.

In Federalist 23, Hamilton says this about the Union, the term used to describe the national government as representing all the states together: “The principal purposes to be answered by union are these--the common defense of the members; the preservation of the public peace, as well against internal convulsions as external attacks; the regulation of commerce with other nations and between the States; the superintendence of our intercourse, political and commercial, with foreign countries” (p. 116).

Hamilton defines four purposes for the union, what are they and how is the union supposed to make good on its purposes? What are the weaknesses that make the present system of government unable to fulfill these goals?

“Internal convulsions” is most likely a reference to Shay’s Rebellion, an uprising of farmers in Massachusetts in 1786 protesting the high levels of debt they incurred, many of them war veterans, and whose houses were being foreclosed on.

Hamilton was much more comfortable using military force than most of the other founders, even George Washington. Consider this quote also from Federalist 23: 
The authorities essential to the common defense are these: to raise armies; to build and equip fleets; to prescribe rules for the government of both; to direct their operations; to provide for their support. These powers ought to exist without limitation, because it is impossible to foresee or define the extent and variety of national exigencies, or the correspondent extent and variety of the means to which may be necessary to satisfy them [Hamilton’s italics] (p. 116).

In Federalist 78, Hamilton gives his argument for judicial review. He says:
There is no position which depends on clearer principles, than that every act of a delegated authority, contrary to the tenor of commission under which it is exercised, is void. No legislative act, therefore, contrary to the Constitution, can be valid. To deny this, would be to affirm, that the deputy is greater than his principal; that the servant is above his master; that the representatives of the people are superior to the people themselves; that men acting by virtue of powers, may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid (p. 120).
A Constitution is, in fact, and must be regarded by the judges, as a fundamental law. It therefore belongs to them to ascertain its meaning, as well as the meaning of any particular act proceeding from the legislative body. If there should happen to be an irreconcilable variance between the two, that which has the superior obligation and validity ought, of course, to be preferred; or, in other words, the Constitution ought to be preferred to the statute, the intention of the people to the intention of their agents (p. 121).

How does this relate back to the idea of separation of powers and checks and balances, which define the American system?

Although Hamilton invokes “the people” to justify the power of the courts over the legislature, the courts were often times used to strike down laws that were seen as hurtful to business interests. Since the legislature was more democratic there were fears that popular interests would pass laws to redistribute wealth or tax profits more.

In current debates the role of courts in protecting moneyed interests against the rest of the population still seems to be strong. One of the most recent examples is the controversial Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, which critics argue strengthens the influence of money in politics like this editorial from The New York Times:

Assignment (Due 10/3 ): Choose one passage from the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution or the Federalist Papers and write out the passage and interpret it, follow the same format as previous assignments. 

Saturday, September 12, 2015

9/12 Power

This will be the first online lecture, we will be in class again next week.

For today's class there were three essays we are going over, "Despite Negativity, Americans Mixed on Ideal Role of Gov't" by Frank Newport and "Americans Names Government as Number One Problem," by Justin McCarthy, both published by Gallup Inc. There was also the essay "Two Faces of Power" by Peter Bachrach and Morton Baratz. The essay comes from the American Political Science Review [abbreviated as APSR in the syllabus] the most influential academic journal in the field of political science. Journals like this publish essays of contemporary scholars in the field (reviewed by other scholars), this particular essay is the most cited article of this journal.

In this essay, Bachrach and Baratz are concerned with analyzing political power. The concept of power is a central concept in political science, but its meaning is not always clear. Power is usually understood as a relationship between people, not an individual quality that someone possesses. Since power is defined as a relationship between people, power is by definition a social relation. Part of the reason this article is so influential is because they begin from a previous discussion regarding the nature of power between sociologist C. Wright Mills and Robert Dahl, a leading "pluralist theorist" in political science.

Mills most famous work in this area was The Power Elite first published in 1956 at the height of the Cold War. Mills argued that political power in the U.S. was concentrated among what he called the "power elite" or the close-knit group made up of government bureaucracy, the military, and corporate elites. This view was affirmed by of all people Dwight Eisenhower, Allied Commander during World War II and President of the U.S. during the 1950s, who in his farewell address warned of the "military-industrial complex."

However, there were many criticisms of Mills. Bachrach and Baratz side with Dahl, arguing that Mills sees power in a one-dimensional sense, unlike the theory of pluralism which sees power divided up between different groups. The theory of pluralism, is found in the Constitution and the Federalist Papers, but developed in modern times by theorists like Dahl that sees power as divided between different groups and institutions which provide a check and balance on each other. Pluralists argue that Mills ignored empirical evidence that shows multiple groups are able to exercise some power over each other, power is defined as influence in the law-making process or decisions made by the government. Dahl's work shows the division of power between local communities in his book Who Governs? published a few years after Mills in 1961. However Dahl limits his research to the local community but Mills is analyzing the highest levels of political power.

The pluralist approach to analyzing power can be broken down as follows:
a) key issues: identify important public issues that are open to disagreement.
b) actors: who are the key groups or individuals involved in this issue?
c) behavior: analysis must give a thorough and detailed account of the behavior of actors in this decision.
d) outcome: what are the actual policies or laws adopted regarding key issues?
By following this approach, pluralists believe you can give an accurate analysis of who wields political power.

Bachrach and Baratz, however, also argue that Dahl is also one-dimensional because he limits his definition of power to decisions in a formal political setting. They call this the first face of power, but the second face of power has to take into consideration what they call the "mobilization of bias" but is now generally referred to as "framing." To frame an issue is to define what is considered an important issue and what are the appropriate choices for dealing with this issue. In other words, Dahl takes for granted the choices that people make in a political setting but does not consider that political debates might censor or exclude other important issues or alternatives. The ability to limit discussion, according to Bachrach and Baratz, is an exercise of power, but one that is completely missed by Dahl. To influence what is considered an important issue is one example of this whether it is the environment, drugs, abortion, or gay rights, before the 1970s these issues were not significantly debated in national politics. Another example could be the limited choices given by the Democratic and Republican parties both of whom are rated very low in terms of public opinion. In a modern setting, the media plays an important role in determining "key issues." Simply by reporting on certain issues or focusing on certain aspects of issues the media gives the impression that these are the important issues. To properly analyze power requires you to investigate how issues are framed, what is excluded, and most importantly who benefits from this. Only once this step has been taken can you analyze power in the way described by pluralists.

Power is also exercised when issues are "re-framed" or in other words when the boundaries of discussion are changed. Two examples can be the "Occupy Wall Street" movement that reframed the economic discussion in the country to focus on income inequality using terms like "we are the 99%." Also, the "Black Power" movement in the late 1960s and 70s that changed the discussion on race in the country by taking a more militant stance than the earlier civil rights movement, as well as, focusing more attention on institutionalized racism in the North. By changing the debate, or reframing the issues, these groups were able to exercise power.

The concept of power was further expanded on by sociologist Steven Lukes who argued there are actually "three dimensions of power": the first being political decisions (Dahl), the second is framing (Bachrach and Baratz), and the third is power to influence values or social norms. Lukes argues it is ultimately what people consider to be right or wrong, or normal, that will influence what choices are available and what decisions are made.
In political science one way of trying to interpret and measure political values is to conduct public opinion polls. A small sampling of a few thousand people are given a questionnaire to fill out, the results of which are combined and calculated in a way that is believed to reflect the general attitude of the entire population. Modern public opinion polls were created by George Gallup in the 1930s who also founded the organization that bears his name, still generally considered the most influential company that conducts these polls. Polls also help shape discussions by identifying what important issues are, and thus also exercise power.

The results of this poll and commentary reflect the generally negative opinions that Americans have towards the government. Negative attitudes towards the government would mean that choices for government action will be limited. Overall the poll shows that people are distrustful of the government but are also skeptical of taking away too much government power. In terms of political parties, when a party is in power their supporters clearly support more government intervention, than when they are out of power.

Assignment Due 9/19: For the first assignment which you will post on your blog choose a specific passage from one of today's readings. Write out the passage, then underneath write a short paragraph explaining the meaning of the passage you chose. Under that write another paragraph explaining what made you choose this passage and why you think it is important. This will be the format for all the assignments posted on the blog.

Next week we will be in class, please bring to class the essays by Bourne and Chesterton (only Ch. 1, pp. 1-18). Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

5/9 Interest Groups

Interest Groups and Social Movements
Interest Groups
Interest groups include organizations like the AFL-CIO which represent labor unions; the U.S. Chamber of Commerce which represents business interests; the National Rifle Association (NRA) which represents the rights of gun owners; the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) lobbys for civil rights legislation. All of these groups are formal organizations which seek to influence policy through certain prescribed channels and methods which I will discuss shortly. The U.S. has so many interest groups that the true number of groups is unknown. The most well-known groups like the ones mentioned above are highly organized. The question of political organization is a crucial one that may have somehow been overlooked when the country was founded.

Theories of democratic government had argued that the will of the majority had to be limited to prevent it from oppressing minority groups (e.g. Madison Federalist #10; Tocqueville, Democracy in America). Modern theories argue that minority interests often win out over the majority. The reason for this is the ability to organize.

In the early 20th century, Robert Michels developed what is known as the "iron law of oligarchy" (oligarchy being a Greek word meaning rule by the few). The "law" states simply that as any organization grows in size and become more complex this will lead to control of the organization being placed in the hands of those who have superior technical and organizational skills.

In the 1960s, economist Mancur Olson Jr. developed what he called the "logic of collective action," collective action referring to the combined efforts of people pursuing certain goals, obviously most if not all political actions, are collective actions as well. Olson argues that you can separate "diffuse interests," the will of the majority, from "concentrated interests," minority interests. Take for example how trade policy is made in the country: a certain sector of the economy, whether it be industry, agriculture, or services, might lobby the government for tariffs on certain products from foreign countries. This would result in higher prices being placed on these items. A majority of people might be opposed to this but since the interests of the minority are much more concentrated in that their income, and even their jobs might be on the line, so they will literally work harder to lobby the government then the majority of people whose interests are more diffuse, meaning the increase in price will not hit them as hard as say someone who risks being laid off. This notion of different interests turns on its head the conventional notion of politics and constitutional government which developed the notion of checks and balances and separation of powers precisely to reduce the influence of the majority. Is it possible then that the U.S. Constitution is overly guarded against the will of the majority? If it is true that minority interests often are better organized than the majority and are able to translate that into political policy, then it is very likely to be true.

Related to the idea of diffuse v. concentrated interests is what Olson calls the "free-rider problem." A free rider is basically someone who benefits from something but contributes nothing to maintaining this benefit. What made Olson's account of collective action so influential was that he argued that it was rational to be a free-rider, meaning if you think of reasoning as the ability to figure out what is in your best interest, then Olson argues it is rational to free-ride. This leads to a paradox however, where if everyone free rides than no one will do the work needed to maintain the benefit, for example a clean public park or demonstrating for a labor union. How then can you solve the free-rider problem? Olson argues four solutions:1) you can either keep the size of the group small enough so that people get some benefit from being in the group itself, a feeling of friendship or solidarity, that you do not get in a large organization, this however, will limit the effectiveness of the group; 2) create "selective benefits" that are only given if you participate in the group; 3) use coercion to force people to participate; 4) someone takes it upon themselves to provide the cost of the benefit. Olson offers this as an explanation for the often hierarchical structure of many interest groups, which are hardly run in democratic fashion, whether they are business associations or unions. However some critics argues that Olson and Michels are too pessimistic and too narrowly focused on individual groups. While it might be true that all organizations degenerate over time even as they grow larger, if you take a step back and look at the larger society there are always more groups forming to replace older organizations. Of course this is not an easy process and often there is intense struggle and conflict for newer groups to replace older ones. Still it offers one possible solution for the "iron law of oligarchy." Understanding this larger process however would take us out of looking at only interest groups and looking at the larger dynamic between interest groups and social movements, however a few more things about interest groups before moving on.

I already mentioned briefly the different types of interest groups, you also have to consider the different tactics used by groups to influence policy.

  1. Most common is lobbying which refers to meeting directly with legislators and trying to influence their decisions on voting for laws. Lobbyists are not missionaries, however, and are not trying to convert people but usually are looking for people who already think the same way on most issues. This is why political parties are important because they provide a sense of political identity that interest groups can use to determine who to approach, and help establish connections between interest groups and candidates. Lobbying assumes that you have direct access to key policy-makers in government and is usually reserved for the most influential groups. 
  2. Another tactic is the influence of campaign contributions to finance election campaigns, something which every politician is always looking for.
  3. Economically well-connected groups can use the threat of moving as a way to influence policy, by effectively leaving or exiting from the political arena. Many sports teams have used this tactic to influence local governments to vote for tax breaks or other concessions.
  4. Outside lobbying refers to large groups who write or phone legislators in order to influence their vote. This is seen as more of a "grass-roots" approach to lobbying. 
  5. This tactic is most effective when you have a large group of people, as is the threat of voting against a candidate. Many groups opposing tax increases on the rich have used this tactic against Republicans in the House of Representatives in order to make sure they do not vote for tax increases. Those who do not comply are voted out of office, or even in the primary, during the next election.
  6. Demonstrations and boycotts can be another way of influencing policy. This tactic is probably most famous for being used during the early civil movements like the Montgomery Bus Boycott organized by Martin Luther King Jr.
  7. Litigation is another tactic used by the civil rights movement as in Brown v. Board of Ed. To litigate means to bring your issue to court in the form of a lawsuit. An important political battle is being fought over the limits in damages corporations have to pay in lawsuits.
  8. Often times to maximize the number of supporters in a campaign, interest groups will form coalitions or alliances with other groups.
  9. Control over information is another important tactic used by interest groups. Many of the areas law makers have to make laws for are highly technical (e.g. science and medicine) and are forced to depend upon interest groups for supplying the relevant information, which obviously gives groups an advantage.
  10. Public information campaigns are directed towards voters and tries to motivate them to lobby legislators. Since the flow of information is from interest groups to the broader public, often these campaigns can be very one-sided and even manipulative.
  11. Sometimes violence is used even by formally organized groups, (e.g. employers have been known to use violent means to disperse striking workers) but usually this tactic is associated with social movements which are more informal. 

Finally, before moving on to the discussion of social movements, there are two main ways to classify interest group politics: pluralist or corporatist

Pluralism is the system we have in the U.S. Pluralism refers to the large number of independent groups which act independently of each other and try to pursue their own interests, as opposed to a corporatist system which usually has a smaller number of groups. In a pluralist system groups like business and labor act as separate, and often antagonistic interests, while in a corporatist system business and labor are brought together in an institutional environment which seeks to create cooperation between these groups and is characterized by large trade associations with close ties to the government that is lacking in a pluralist system. Economists Peter Hall and David Soskice argue there are six crucial areas that distinguishes a pluralist system (or in their terms a liberal-market economy LME) from a corporatist system (coordinated market economy CME). [Note their analysis is mostly concerned with economic structure].
  1. Finance: pluralist systems usually finance their activities through capital markets (banks) and are publicly traded on stock exchanges relative to their "market value." Corporatist systems are usually self-financed in cooperation with other business firms, or rely on financing from the state.
  2. Industrial relations: pluralist systems create more adversarial relations between business and labor. Wage contracts are negotiated between business and labor representatives. In a corporatist system wages are decided by institutions which represent both business and labor, union officials even serve on corporate board of directors
  3. Skill formation: In a pluralist system workers invest in their own skills. Employers have little incentive to invest in worker training since workers leave often and find new jobs. Corporatist systems usually have better job training programs which are funded by unions and employers, and where employment at firms is usually much longer
  4. Product markets: In a pluralist system businesses have to compete against each other for a share or a piece of a certain market. Marketing and advertising campaigns are common ways of increasing market share. A corporatist system divides up markets between firms which negotiate between each other for a share of the market
  5. Inter-firm relations: In a pluralist system, technology is shared by firms through licensing. A corporatist system allows for technology sharing in a more cooperative setting
  6. Firm-employee relations: In a pluralist system corporate managers have much more freedom and power than they do in a corporatist system.

Hall and Soskice argue that in a liberal-market economy like the U.S. these six areas will all complement each other and be the same, while a country like Germany that is more corporatist has the same corporatist features in all six areas. In other words, you do not really find mixtures of the two types, these institutions all complement and reinforce each other. Although they focus on economic groups, this structure be it pluralist or corporatist basically sets the rules for which every kind of interest group has to work by.

Social Movements
A social movement is different from an interest group mainly by its level of organization, although most social movements have some kind of organization structure, it is usually not as formalized as an interest group. This has various advantages and disadvantages. Lack of formal organization gives social movements greater flexibility than interest groups, however they often lack the resources of organized interests. At the same time interest groups might have closer ties to government but often lacks the numerical support that large social movements often have. Social movements are not necessarily good while interest groups are bad. Social movements can range from anything from the civil rights movement to the rise of fascism in Europe in the 1930s. Many social movements use the tactics of interest groups, like bus boycotts for example, but often social movements can use violence as well. In the two films we watched, Cocalero, and An Election in Africa, both feature social movements which eventually grew into political parties, distinguishing them from political parties in the U.S. which are much closer to organized interest groups, of course this is partly explained by the relative lack of organized interest groups in Bolivia and Ghana respectively.

Theorists of social movements like Doug McAdam have argued that there is a structure for how social movements operate which must take into account three factors:
  1. The political opportunity structure: meaning what are the options for political action given by the political system. An authoritarian government will usually have a more restricted opportunity structure than a democratic government. However you must also consider political opportunities created outside of national boundaries by global social movements and international organizations
  2. Mobilization structure: refers to how the movement itself is able to generate collective action by mobilizing its supporters. The growth of communication technology and social media has greatly increased the ability to mobilize people
  3. Framing: refers to how the goals of the movement are articulated. Ideology is important as well because a belief system which ties supporters together and gives them a way of framing or interpreting the goals of the movement.

There is a logic to social movements, which brings up the same problems of collective action, namely the free-rider problem. People have an incentive to free-ride as well, if civil rights legislation is passed it will benefit all minority groups affected, but there is still a tendency not to contribute assistance and to allow someone else to do the work of providing this benefit.

Another approach to the logic of collective actions is given by Albert Hirschman, who argues there are three primary responses from a group or individual to a declining institution: exit, voice, or loyalty. Hirschman developed his analysis originally by looking at the responses of consumers to businesses but then argues this model can be used for politics as well. The most common response of a consumer to a product they do not like anymore, is to exit, meaning to take their business elsewhere, but in a political sense this can be done as well, for example sports teams which threaten to leave a city, or even people threatening to leave a country (e.g. various celebrities vowing to move out of the country is George Bush or Barack Obama is elected President—of course no one ever really leaves). However, the idea of threatening to leave, or exit leads to the second response, voice, to express your discontent with the institution and desire to change or reform it. So when confronted by a situation one does not like, one can either try to leave the situation, or express their discontent and try to change the situation. What then determines the influence of voice? There are many factors involved like resources and connections, but also the threat of exit has to be considered as well. Simply put, if I am threatening to leave you but you do not take this threat seriously then you are less likely to give in to my threat, however if you do believe I might actually leave you might be more willing to make concessions. Finally, there is loyalty, which means you do nothing and wait for things to change. The level of loyalty influences the threat of exit. If I am loyal I am less likely to leave. Hirschman's goal was then to specify in real situations the values of exit, voice, and loyalty and to predict the likelihood groups would use these responses in situations. Hirschman's logic like Olson's can be used for both interest groups and social movements. Social movements are groups that utilize voice more than exit, since they do not seek to leave the country, but obviously the difference between voice and loyalty would be what separates a person in a social movement from an average person.

To sum up then the goals of interest groups and social movements can be very similar, as are the problems that limit their effectiveness, most importantly the free-rider problem. The major difference between interest groups and social movements is the level of organization, and in that regard many social movements as they become more formalized over time become more like interest groups (or in some case change into political parties). In many ways then the more successful a social movement is, the more it risks losing the essential parts of it that make it effective in the first place. The tactics chosen by interest groups and social movements are related to their level of organization and ability to mobilize people, and these tactics can be thought of in terms of exit, voice, and loyalty as possible responses.

Assignment Due 5/16: Choose a passage from the reading. Write it out, explain what it means and why you chose this passage.