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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Premiere of Democracy (the Journal)

Sorry I've been off the box for so long--I just returned from a week long conference in Vancouver and am now getting ready to present my piece on the constitutional infirmities of indeterminate sentencing later this week.  In the meantime, readers of Prawfs should cruise over to Democracy: A Journal of Ideas, which launches today.  It's edited by a couple FOP's, Kenny Baer and Andrei Cherny, and Jed Purdy (Duke, law) and some of the usual suspects have made contributions to the launch issue.  Here's the pitch from the editors as to why we need a new journal.

In this moment when we are seeing the failure of these conservative ideas -- in our mounting budget deficits, growing inequality, and diminished leadership in the world -- it is time for progressives to put forward their own bold vision to guide America through the challenges of the twenty-first century. We hope Democracy can serve as a place where progressives from across the spectrum can develop new approaches to the central domestic and foreign policy challenges of our time and have serious and substantive discussions about what progressives believe and want for the nation. We see our role as upsetting tired assumptions and as pushing the boundaries of what is accepted by, and expected from, progressives.

Working with us to guide the work of Democracy is an all-star Editorial Committee which includes Louis Caldera, Chris Edley, Bill Galston, Les Gelb, Elaine Kamarck, Robert Reich, Susan Rice, Isabel Sawhill, Theda Skocpol, Anne-Marie Slaughter, and Sean Wilentz. We launch Democracy today with a deep belief in the power of ideas -- that they are the foundation upon which policies are developed, movements are built, and America grows. As progressives undertake a massive effort to rebuild the progressive infrastructure, a quarterly journal of ideas is the missing piece of the puzzle.

Welcome to the conversation!

Posted by Administrators on June 20, 2006 at 10:24 AM in Law and Politics | Permalink


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Oh, I'm utterly shameless in my worship of n + 1. I actually have a lifetime subscription, and periodically I flip through my mental file of "things to write about" to see if I can come up with something to pitch to them. I'm particularly fond of the Mark Greif pieces, myself. I think the tone is part of the draw for me -- I'm still young and bratty enough that I can identify with it.

Posted by: Paul Gowder | Jun 21, 2006 9:11:20 PM

I thought you were kidding that n+1 was on your must read list! I think of it as pretty obscure; their circulation must be about what this blog's is. I think it is a bit uneven: that Brooklyn-Partisan-Review-wannabe tone (being careful not to be too TNR or Dave Eggers or Lingua Franca) can get tiring. But there are some smart brains writing there, I confess. Marco Roth's essay on Derrida was a high point for me (http://www.nplusonemag.com/derrida.html)

Posted by: Ethan Leib | Jun 21, 2006 6:14:41 PM

Oh, never mind, you did. Good!

Posted by: Paul Gowder | Jun 21, 2006 4:34:53 PM

I guess blogs sorta do the work of filtering... except don't we all find (I know I do) that blogs don't filter nearly close enough to one's own preferences? I find myself reading way too many blogs, and I'm consciously trying to cut back.

A good Idea Journal(tm) filters pretty nicely too, on a larger scale. For example, I now know at least one writer whose books I don't plan to read, because he got utterly and convincingly destroyed in the last issue of n + 1. (I'm totally in love with n + 1, incidentally. Anyone who hasn't read it should do so.)

By the way, how come you haven't plugged your review of that cosmopolitianism book? I, for one, thought it was quite good. I wanted to clap at parts. And, of course, I found it through politicaltheory.info

Posted by: Paul Gowder | Jun 21, 2006 4:29:13 PM

I thought blogs were helpful in telling you what to read from all those journals. Blogs do much of the work of filtering, no? And I'd have the same reaction to a highly touted new blog that people just MUST read about politics and ideas!

Posted by: Ethan Leib | Jun 21, 2006 3:07:55 PM

Ethan: The same could be said for blogs. (Although starting one of those publications is a lot more appealing than starting a blog.) The good old-fashioned market will surely cure any unnecessary splintering. A publication that can't reliably produce interesting stuff will wither on the vine or (like Commentary) find itself read only by people who already agree with it. Does anyone really read all, or even a significant number of, those journals? (Personally, I only read n+1 and Boston Review, and I have no plans to add another unless it's really good.)

Posted by: Paul Gowder | Jun 21, 2006 10:07:59 AM

My sense is that Kenny and Andrei are hoping to be the quarterly counterpart to what was (is?) the National Interest/Public Interest. In terms of funders, a look at their board of advisors reveals some big names in Dem financing: Robert Abernethy, Jonathan Cowan, John Dyson
Terrence McAuliffe, Steven Rattner, Simon Rosenberg, Deane Shatz, Adam Solomon, Andrew Stern. Interesting question about fragmentation. My guess is that they're staking out a position as a liberal quarterly, so long articles that aren't part of the news cycle, stuff that might be scholarship a la Policy Review for center-left. They're certainly open to pieces from prawfs too.

Posted by: Dan Markel | Jun 20, 2006 6:45:12 PM

Not to be contrarian here but is there really need for yet another journal about "ideas" and politics? It strikes me that consolidation rather than further splintering might save us all subscription costs and time filtering through TNR, The American Prospect, The Progressive, National Review, The Weekly Standard, Slate, Salon, Policy Review, Salon, LRB, NYRB, Harper's, The Atlantic, Commentary, The Wilson Quarterly, The American Scholar, Boston Review, Tikkun, Dissent, TLS, n + 1, World Policy Journal, Ethics and International Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, and on and on.

Who is funding this enterprise, by the way? I can't quite figure it out.

Posted by: Ethan Leib | Jun 20, 2006 1:55:44 PM

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