Las Vegas, N.M. – An expert and author on public-sector ethics will lead a symposium March 9 from 6 – 7:30 p.m. on big money in American politics.
Bruce Berlin, bestselling author of Breaking Big Money’s Grip on America, said his book and the symposium in Highlands University’s Donnelly Library Annex, Lecture Room G-35, 802 National Ave., is an urgent call to focus attention on the power of huge sums of money influencing U.S. elections and public policy.
“As a result, some people see the United States as a plutocracy run by and for the very rich,” Berlin said.
Berlin said his book also explores how a nonpartisan democracy movement can overcome the ruling status of big money and convert the U.S. government into one that instead serves the true needs and desires of the American people.
“Breaking big money’s grip on our government is critical to solving other crucial issues, like affordable health care, climate change, gun violence, homeland security, immigration reform, Social Security, and income inequality,” Berlin said.
The Highlands University Department of History and Political Science is sponsoring Berlin’s talk.
“Bruce Berlin’s book is timely in its message coming on the heals of the controversial 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding Citizens United that allows corporations to speak with their money in the political process,” said Steve Williams, a history professor who chairs the Department of History and Political Science. “In addition, the book is timely because a record amount of money was spent on the November 2016 presidential election.”
Citizens United is a conservative Political Action Committee and 501(c)4 nonprofit organization that formed in the U.S. in 1988. Its stated mission is to restore the U.S. government to citizen control.
Williams said it’s important to get young people interested and involved in the political process because they are the future of the country.
“Young people have the power of the vote, but they do not exercise it enough. This is a recognized national problem. Hearing Bruce Berlin might get young people to care and get them to the ballot box,” Williams said.
He said Berlin has an exciting and dynamic message.
“Real change can come from citizens being united and working together. So however bleak the current situation might look, there’s hope here, too,” Williams said.
Berlin has devoted his life to social justice issues for more than 45 years. Early in his career, he founded and was executive director for the Trinity Forum for International Security and Conflict Resolution. He has been involved in a number of local, state and national political campaigns.
He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he has worked on nonpartisan efforts to revive democracy in America, promote peace in the Middle East, and diversify Los Alamos National Laboratory, among other issues.
Berlin will also sign copies of his book after his free talk. Light refreshments will be served.