The Social Democrat is a news, information and advocacy site dedicated to monitoring and promoting the practice of social democracy in America. (For our conception of the social democratic philosophy, click here.) With a primary focus on the national government of the United States, we also cover social democracy–related news from individual American states as well as developments in social democracy’s European heartland.
There are several components to the site. In "The Daily Feed," we curate timely news items from well-respected sources, relevant to the social democracy project. We hope to offer respite here from the frenzy of "news-as-entertainment" by bringing focus to those daily developments that truly matter. Several feature articles per month expand on some vital area of social democratic history, theory or practice; these are written by The Social Democrat editors or outside contributors. The "Social Democracy Outlook" column is a monthly sum-up of social democracy–related news. Consult here to see what you may have missed! Finally, the site offers a collection of links, organized by theme (“Links by Topic”), to outstanding articles pertinent to social democratic concerns.
We make no effort to cover the daily news cycle or to involve ourselves in every controversy which fills the media-sphere during any given week. Our focus is doggedly to bring to your attention those issues relevant to building social democratic societies: good jobs at adequate wages for all; a comprehensive social safety net; investing in human capital through education and training; removing impediments (such as gerrymandering) to true democracy; protecting the environment; and maintaining our public spaces, to name some of the more prominent. Though we have our views on the foreign policies of the United States and other nations, we will seldom touch on U.S. foreign policy here except as it relates to building a fairer, more inclusive and saner society between the Rio Grande River and the 49th parallel. It is our view that the most effective act of leadership the United States could commit in today’s world (while not suggesting it be the only one) would be to build the most ideal society possible in the United States. It is our solid conviction that the path to that ideal society is through the full implementation of the ideals of social democracy.
ABOUT US / TIPS FOR USING THIS SITE
The Social Democrat is edited by W.E. Smith. Educated at Towson University and the University of Maryland School of Law, Smith is the author of several novels, including Tanaki on the Shore, Heaven Help Us All (published under the pen name Moose Eliot) and I’ve Got a Right to Sing the Blues. Smith divides his time between Washington, D.C., and the mountains of North Georgia.
Using This Site
Much of The Social Democrat’s content consists of annotated links to articles from other publications and websites. Among these are several major newspapers. Most traditional newspaper sites have now imposed paywalls: that is, you are allowed to click only a limited number of articles per month without buying a subscription. The number of free articles per month varies from 15 for the New York Times down to only 2 for the Chicago Tribune. Here are some suggestions for maximizing the number of links you can visit per month:
• Buy a Subscription:
First, if you are not currently subscribed to a major national newspaper, The Social Democrat strongly suggests that you obtain at least one subscription. Unless you have a preference for your local area, and if you can only subscribe to one paper, we recommend either the New York Times or the Washington Post. For shear volume of quality reporting as well as commentary and analysis, it is our view that these two publications are at the top of the pack. Close behind is the Los Angeles Times, which possesses the two additional virtues of (1) offering a West Coast perspective and (2) providing a window into a state which is a leader in building social democracy. Digital subscriptions to any of these three newspapers (New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times) will gain you access to a good portion of the best news, information and commentary available. Annual costs run about $100 per paper. (No, it isn’t free, but if we are to fight the social democratic fight, we must be armed with information and ideas!) Consider: how much did you spend on lattes last year?
• Take an Introductory Offer
Most of the publications we link to offer near-free introductory offers. If you have identified a large number of links you would like to read from a given publication, accept their introductory offer and start reading.
• Check Library Privileges
Check with your local public or school/university library. It’s possible you have free access to various newspapers through these institutions.
• Amazon & Washington Post
If you are an Amazon “Prime” member, you can obtain 6 months of The Washington Post FREE (perhaps because Jeff Bezos, Amazon owner, now owns the Post). After the 6-month free period, you will receive a discounted rate of $3.99 per month.
• Favor Non-Paywalled links:
There are several news sites that have not (yet?) imposed paywalls. Among these are the major news services—Reuters, Associated Press (AP) and United Press International (UPI)—as well as the Denver Post and The Guardian.
• Mix It Up:
After many of the news items in our “Daily Feed,” you will find links to two or more sources that carry the story that day. Choose strategically.
• Switch Devices
The various paywalls (for now, at least) identify your presence associated with the specific device you are using (latop,. phone, tablet). Therefore, if a newspaper’s paywall cuts you off after, for example, 4 articles for the month, you can switch to another device and read 4 more, and so on. Keep you fingers crossed that the paywall masters won’t find a way to prevent this strategy.