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Unchain Democracy: Restoring Power to the Majority

Wednesday, February 6, 2019 -
10:00am to 12:00pm PST
Northern California Grantmakers
160 Spear Street, Suite 360 | San Francisco, CA 94105
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In her award-winning book, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America, renowned author and historian Nancy Maclean uncovers the 60-year campaign to make libertarianism mainstream and fundamentally upend the rules of democratic governance by shifting control from a popular majority to a wealthy minority. 

Join MacLean in person and other movement leaders for an in-depth look at both our history and our hoped-for future in which the very rules of democracy itself are re-written to create a stronger, more inclusive democracy. Congress’s new “For The People Act”, as well as state and municipal structural democracy reforms underway across the country, are signs that both our leaders in Washington and activists in the states understand the centrality of this battle. With our guests, we’ll discuss how these democratic reforms, familiar and unfamiliar, can redress the imbalance of power in America, and where and how funders might join the struggle to "unchain democracy." 

A signed copy of the book will be available to all participants. 

Target Audience

This program is open to all NCG members and non-members. If you have difficulty registering, please email

Nancy Maclean, William H. Chafe Professor of History and Public Policy, Duke University

Nancy Maclean is the William H. Chafe Professor of History and Public Policy at Duke University and the award-winning author, most recently, of Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America, a finalist for the National Book Award and the winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Award in Current Affairs and the Lillian Smith Book Award. 


Dan Cantor, Chair of the Working Families Party

Dan Cantor is the chair of the Working Families Party National Committee, and was founding director New York Working Families Party in 1998. The party is now active in 17 states, and has members in all 50. Before co-launching the WFP, he was a union organizer in New Orleans and Detroit; a community organizer in Arkansas, Texas and Missouri; and a foundation program officer in New York.


Neva Walker, Executive Director, Coleman Advocates

Neva Walker is the executive director of Coleman Advocates, a Bay Rising member, and on the steering committee of SF Rising. At age 28, Neva was the first African American woman elected to the Minnesota Legislature in the state’s history. She ran a precedent-setting grassroots election campaign that involved young people of color at every level of leadership. She served eight years as a legislator before stepping down to return to her organizing roots and relocating to the Bay Area.


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