[act-ma] Cambridge Forum Announces Fall 2014 Program Schedule

director at cambridgeforum.org director at cambridgeforum.org
Tue Sep 2 09:29:25 PDT 2014

Cambridge Forum
Program Schedule
Wednesdays at 7:00 pm.   **(unless otherwise noted)
First Parish in Cambridge
3 Church Street
Harvard Square
Cambridge, MA 02138

Fall 2014

The Health of American Democracy

The United States has long celebrated the notion of rugged  
individualism as one of its founding values.  Brave colonists seeking  
religious liberty sailed the Atlantic to settle in a wilderness;  
determined pioneers seeking “elbow room” overcame the challenges of  
the inhospitable west to find their stake in the nation; bold  
entrepreneurs built industrial and trade empires from nothing.  All of  
this was possible, according to the national narrative, because of  
democracy.  But does a democratic form of government only foster the  
centrifugal force of individualism?  Does it not also imply a  
balancing centripetal force of community?

Ever since Ronald Reagan rallied supporters with the idea that  
“government is not the solution; government is the problem,” the  
question of the proper role of government has been part of our  
national policy debates.  What role does the idea of  the common good  
and community benefit have in a healthy democracy?  What is the place  
of individual liberty?  What is the appropriate balance between power  
and responsibility?  These are the questions that Cambridge Forum  
addresses this fall.  Speakers examine the role of government in  
promoting the public welfare, the ways that citizens can work together  
effectively; and the particular challenges that international forces,  
such as climate change and globalization, pose to our nation and its  
citizens in the 21st century.

September 17		Uncertain Justice: The Supreme Court and the Constitution*

Laurence Tribe, eminent Constitutional Law scholar at Harvard Law  
School, discusses his new book (co-authored with Joshua Matz),  
Uncertain Justice: The Roberts Court and the Constitution, on the day  
the United States celebrates its 227th Constitution Day. Is the  
Roberts Court really the “least dangerous” branch of our federal  
government, as Alexander Hamilton opined in Federalist Paper No. 78?    
Tribe argues that this Supreme Court is shaking the foundation of the  
nation’s laws and reinterpreting the meaning of the Constitution.

Book:  Uncertain Justice: The Roberts Court and the Constitution (Henry Holt)

October 1		Carbon Tax to Combat Climate Change

The notion of a carbon tax as the most efficient way to combat  
greenhouse gas emissions was first proposed by MIT professor David G.  
Wilson in 1973 and was greeted with silence. James Hansen proposed the  
idea again 30 years later and was greeted with scepticism.  Now  
Massachusetts has taken up the idea.  A panel including Massachusetts  
State Senator Mike Barrett, co-sponsor of a bill proposing the  
nation's first carbon tax; physicist and activist Dr. Gary Rucinski;  
and Anne Kelly, director of public policy at CERES, discusses using a  
carbon tax to combat global warming and create a sustainable economic  
future.  How would a carbon tax work?  What impact would it have on  
jobs and the economy?  What hurdles would it have to clear to be  

Co-sponsored by Environmental Tax Reform-Massachusetts.

October 8		Immigrant Struggles, Immigrant Gifts

This summer's focus on the 50,000+ children crossing the southern  
border of the United States is the latest in a series of events that  
has brought U.S. immigration policy into sharp relief.  Are current  
policies adequate for today's immigrant experience?   How is modern  
immigration different from that of previous generations? By examining  
the immigrant experience of various ethnic and religious groups  
throughout U.S. history, the book Immigrant Struggles, Immigrant Gifts  
demonstrates that the same patterns of native resistance, immigrant  
struggles and contributions have occurred over and over again. This  
panel discussion, featuring historian Deborah Dash Moore;  
Constitutional Law expert William G. Ross; and policy analyst Alex  
Nowrasteh of the Cato Institute, puts today’s immigration debate into  
a larger political, historical, sociological and legal perspective.   
Diane Portnoy, founder and CEO of The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc.,  

October 16**		This Changes Everything*

Naomi Klein , award-winning journalist and best-selling author, has  
been exploring the interface between environmental degradation and  
capitalism for more than a decade.  Her new book, This Changes  
Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate,  provides a far-reaching  
explanation of why the climate crisis challenges us to abandon the  
core “free market” ideology of our time, restructure the global  
economy, and remake our political systems.  Who benefits from the  
status quo?  How deeply are the current power structures embedded in  
our political economy?  How difficult will it be change them?

Co-sponsored by Janet Burns

Book:  This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate (Simon and  

November 12		   Back to the Past:  Putin's Russia*

Russian-American journalist, author, and LGBT activist Masha Gessen  
voluntarily left Russia last year when tightening anti-gay and lesbian  
policies threatened her family.  Her account of Vladimir Putin's rise  
to power and its devastating impact on the nascent democratic  
government of Russia (The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of  
Vladimir Putin) opened a window onto changing culture of Russia as  
well as the nature of its powerful and enigmatic leader.  Her newest  
book, Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot, recounts the  
arrest, trial, and imprisonment of Pussy Riot.  What do Gessen's  
experience and insights tell us about Russia today?  How might this  
new understanding change America's international policies?

Books:  	The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin
		Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot

November 19		The Civil Rights Movement Comes to Harvard Square

Fifty years ago the Civil Rights Movement, which was culminating  
nationally with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, came to  
Harvard Square in music.  Club 47 (predecessor to the current Club  
Passim) booked African American artists active in the Southern Civil  
Rights Movement.  What did these performers experience in Harvard  
Square?  How did their music resonate in Cambridge?  A panel,  
including Betsy Siggins, who booked acts at Club 47 and Jack Landron,  
who performed as Jackie Washington, discusses the music that brought  
the Civil Right Movement home to Harvard Square.

Co-sponsored by Folk New England and Passim

December 10		Christ Actually: Jesus in the 21st Century*

Award-winning author James Carroll discusses his new book, Christ  
Actually: The Son of God for The Secular Age.   Carroll asks what can  
we believe about—and how can we believe in—Jesus in the post-20th  
century world of wars and Holocaust and the drift from religion that  
followed?  Answering his own question, Carroll revisits Christ’s  
crucial identity as a Jew. What can the ordinary humanness of the  
Christ figure mean to the 21st century?  How can Christ, who is no  
Christian himself, transcend Christianity to speak to people in  
today’s world?

Book:  Christ Actually: The Son of God for The Secular Age (Viking)

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