What would our democracy look like without the influence of corporations and industrialists? It has become nearly impossible to imagine an answer to this question. As the late political scientist Jean Hardisty wrote in 2014, neoliberalism—or deregulated market capitalism—”seeks to replace democracy with oligarchy”. Indeed, corporate money and influence are remaking our democratic institutions, from the dark-money lobbying groups and think tanks pushing limitless deregulation, to individual wealthy donors putting their thumbs on the scales of public policy in state legislatures and using new Voter ID laws to suppress the vote. As progressives contemplate how to build a movement for justice that can effectively counter such forces, it is necessary to understand how the Corporate Right—what we might term the Chamber of Commerce wing of the conservative movement—is collaborating with others on the Right to advance its agenda.

PRA has written much in the past about the Right’s attacks on the most vulnerable groups of working people: women, people of color, LGBTQ people. We’ve identified several ways that the Corporate Right is partnering with the Christian Right and using its rhetoric to transform our democratic infrastructure and institutions. Even secular free-market think tanks and self-described non-religious libertarian billionaires are dabbling in this moralistic, Christianized messaging. Our research on these trends has helped to inform some of the most effective recent campaigns for economic justice, including: the fight for domestic workers’ rights, the fight for paid family leave laws, and the fight for fair wages for restaurant workers.

School board meetings across the country have seen an influx of parents and community members over the last few months, many there to fight Critical Race Theory (CRT)—something that the majority of primary and secondary schools don’t teach, and a…

Author Q&A with Marcy Rein, Mickey Ellinger, and Vicki Legion

Until 2012, City College of San Francisco (CCSF) was widely recognized as one of the country’s top community colleges. Founded in 1935 as the San Francisco Junior College, at its peak, it served more than 100,000 students a year in degree and non-…

Watch Now: A PRA Roundtable Discussion

The myth of American Exceptionalism is well-understood to be just that, a myth. But the pandemic-induced national recession has thrown into high relief the true American Exceptionalism: life lived in a constant state of precarity. Precarity…

A Conversation on the Fight for Democracy

On Tuesday, November 17, 2020, PRA convened social justice movement leaders and PRA partners to reflect and strategize together as we discussed what it will take to build real multi-racial, feminist democracy for the long-haul. Reflecting on this…

COVID-19 Opportunism and Betsy DeVos’s Education Agenda

Since her deeply contested confirmation hearings, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has been criticized for incompetence and ignorance regarding the public education system. But this lens obscures the extent to which DeVos’s decisions as secretary…

A Case Study in Right-Wing Organizing

In July, President Donald Trump attacked the city of Baltimore on Twitter, using barely-coded racist language (“rat and rodent infested,” “disgusting”) to express his dislike for the majority African American city that just happened to be home to …

Q&A with the authors of Producers, Parasites, Patriots

A new book, Producers, Parasites, Patriots: Race and the New Right-Wing Politics of Precarity, offers a framework for interpreting and dismantling racist capitalist oppression without getting bogged down in this treacherous narrative of “makers and…

How the Pioneer Institute Co-opts the Concept of Social Justice

This report demonstrates how three of the Pioneer Institute’s leading claims that their education reforms create greater equity in schools are not only unfounded but that these reforms disproportionately harm communities of color and immigrant…

LIBRE’s Quest to Deliver the Latinx Powerhouse to the Right

LIBRE’s overarching goal is twofold: to convince Latinxs that laissez-faire capitalism will empower them and to draw the “sleeping giant” of American electoral politics to the Right.

The Right’s 50-Year Anti-City Agenda

It’s not by chance that the U.S. is full of hollowed-out urban centers. Residents are disproportionately poor and people of color, surrounded by wealthier and Whiter suburbs. It traces back to the Great Migration, which brought great numbers of…

The Privatization Strategy of Pioneer Institute and Betsy Devos

On Wednesday, September 12 a federal judge ruled Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s delay of Obama-era regulation of for-profit colleges as “unlawful.” The regulations forgive federal student loans from “misleading, deceitful, and predatory” lending…

Established in 2012, Turning Point USA (TPUSA)’s mission is to “identify, educate, train, and organize students to promote the principles of freedom, free markets, and limited government.” Claiming to have a presence on over 1,000 college campuses…

Pioneer Institute Lawyers-Up with Janus

Since PRA’s 2016 report on Massachusetts’ most notable conservative think tank, the Pioneer Institute has taken on public sector unions not just in Massachusetts but across the entire country. Recent legal challenges to public sector unions have…

The ascent of Donald Trump to the presidency has dramatically worsened an already grave set of challenges confronting justice-minded people, and has presented the women’s movement in the United States with an historic opportunity to create a…

Charles Koch, the billionaire philanthropist who’s the source of much of the Right’s “dark money,” did not just become a convert to the ultra-capitalist radical right. He is the sole reason why this movement may yet alter the trajectory of the…

What we know about income and Trump voters suggests that they are not the poorest Whites, but those who see their communities losing ground. Middle aged and older Whites who don’t live in major cities are the core population of Trump voters. They…

The Right-Wing’s Blue State Game Plan

In October, the Fiscal and Management Control Board overseeing MBTA, Boston’s public transit system, took quick action …

During 2015, we launched the new PRA Economic Justice Research Project. Here are five ways our work exposed the Corporate Right’s shenanigans in 2015.

The DeVoses exert influence over state and national policy making.

The Threat to Democracy Has Grown

The U.S. is in the grip of an unprecedented dominance of right-wing ideologies and policies. Many progressive commentators see that the same band of New Right actors that have long pushed a conservative agenda are up to their old tricks, trying to…

To say that Sheryl Sandberg ruined my life would be to make the same mistake that Sandberg herself makes—it would be to assume that the successes or failures of an individual woman, feminist or no, equal the successes or failures of feminism.…

An Interview with Rev. Dr. William Barber II, President, North Carolina NAACP

Right-Wing Politics and Democratic Possibilities

More than a million people watched on Youtube as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie sneered at a public school teacher who had the temerity to ask him at a September 2010 town meeting how his policies would help the middle class when so many…

In 2008, ballot initiatives could impact races up and down the ballot, including the Presidential campaign, by elevating an issue and shaping the debate. Dissatisfied voters in particular may see ballot initiatives as a means to fill the leadership…

Privatizing the Common Wealth

Foreword By Patricia Jehlen State Representative - Somerville, MA Ideas are powerful. The relentless, well-funded, and well-connected efforts of the Pioneer Institute to “change the direction of the wind” politically in Massachusetts are well…

The Erosion of U.S. Democracy

Introduction Right-wing leaders often appropriate progressive themes by calling for rule by “the people,” equal opportunity, and “equality” feminism. Their rhetoric has convinced many voters that the Right offers a more fair and direct form of…

Holly Sklar Chaos or Community? Seeking Solutions, Not Scapegoats for Bad Economics Boston: South End Press 1995   Holly Sklar is on a mission to get readers to recognize that we need not be taken in by the “snake oil” of scapegoating…

For those who have worked to further social justice and democratic values in the United States, the election of November 8, 1994 was a defeat. The election results indicate that the American public has repudiated the liberalism that has been the…

In order to understand Black conservatism, it is important to understand the character of the Black bourgeoisie. Developing as it did within the context of white cultural oppression, it is not surprising that the values identified by Black…

For most African Americans the notion of a Black conservative is an oxymoron. The overwhelming majority of us reject conservative political positions because we understand in concrete, everyday, practical terms what conservative policies are and who…