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Roosevelt House presents a live Zoom discussion of The Fight for the Soul of the Democratic Party: The Enduring Legacy of Henry Wallace’s Anti-Fascist, Anti-Racist Politics by John Nichols. In it, Nichols traces the progressive roots of the Democratic Party back to FDR’s Secretary of Agriculture, Secretary of Commerce, and Vice President Henry Wallace. The author will be in conversation with environmental lawyer and grandson of Henry Wallace, David Wallace Douglas.
Providing essential perspective on the political battles of our time, The Fight for the Soul of the Democratic Party illuminates the legacy of one of the giants of the mid-twentieth century, whose progressive vision remains as relevant today as ever. Seventy-five years ago, as fighting in the European and Japanese theaters drew to a close, Wallace predicted that if the New Deal was not renewed and expanded in the postwar era, a domestic variant of the fascists abroad would use fear mongering, xenophonbia, and racism to regain economic and political power. Nichols tells the story of how Wallace’s campaign against militarism and for racial justice and health care as a human right made him an early champion of liberal reform within the party, but also precipitated his ouster from it—culminating in the denial by party bosses and segregationists of his place on the Democratic Party’s 1944 ticket.
Through a chronicle of similar campaigns in the decades that followed, Nichols offers vital insights into both the nature of the Democratic Party and the path forward as a party of peace, liberty, and justice.
As Representative Ro Khanna put it, “John Nichols reminds us that Henry Wallace was the true heir to Roosevelt’s New Deal.” And according to Reverend Jesse Jackson, Nichols “recognizes that fights that were not won in the past by advocates of economic and racial justice and peace can now be won—if we are determined enough, and hopeful enough, to carry the struggle forward.”
John Nichols is the Washington correspondent for The Nation magazine, a contributing writer for the Progressive and In These Times, and the associate editor of Madison, Wisconsin’s Capital Times. He’s the author of several books, including The Death and Life of American Journalism: The Media Revolution that Will Begin the World Again (with Robert W. McChesney), The Genius of Impeachment: The Founders’ Cure for Royalism, and The “S” Word: A Short History of an American Tradition … Socialism.
Grandson of Henry A. Wallace, David Wallace Douglas is an environmental lawyer, advocate, and writer who led for 30 years the Santa Fe-based non-profit, Waterlines, providing technical help and funding for drinking water projects in rural communities in developing countries. He has also worked to support international sanitation and hygiene programs and poverty-focused foreign aid. He is the author of Wilderness Sojourn: Notes in the Desert Silence, Letters of Faith, and is the co-author with his wife Deborah of Pilgrims in the Kingdom: Travels in Christian Britain. He serves as President of the board of directors of the Wallace Genetic Foundation.
This event will be held online via Zoom.
Those who RSVP will receive a reminder to join shortly before the program begins.