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Research The Groningen Research Institute for the Study of Culture (ICOG) Research Research centres Research Centre for the Study of Democratic Cultures and Politics Events & Colloquium

DemCP - ROBERT OVETZ: "We the Elites: Why The U.S. Constitution Serves the Few"

When:Tu 08-11-2022 16:00 - 18:00
Where:Heymanszaal, Academy building & online

This guest lecture is hosted by the Research Centre for the Study of Democratic Cultures and Politics.


Written by 55 of the richest white men, and signed by only 39 of them, the US Constitution is the sacred text of American nationalism. Popular perceptions of it are mired in idolatry, myth and misinformation - many Americans have opinions on the constitution but have little idea what it says.

This book examines the Constitution for what it is – a rulebook for elites to protect capitalism from democracy. Social movements have misplaced faith in the constitution as a tool for achieving justice when it actually impedes social change through the many roadblocks and obstructions we call "checks and balances." This stymies urgent progress on issues like labor rights, poverty, public health and climate change, propelling the American people and rest of the world towards destruction.

Robert Ovetz’s reading of the constitution shows that the system isn’t broken. Far from it. It works as it was designed to.

About the speaker

Robert Ovetz, Ph.D. is a Senior Lecturer in Political Science and teaches labor relations in the Master of Public Administration program at San José State University. Robert worked in the NGO sector for many years. His research focuses on the global labor movement.

He is the author of the new book We the Elite: Why the US Constitution Serves the Few, a class analysis of the US Constitution, (Pluto Press, 2022), editor of Workers Inquiry and Global Class Struggle: Strategies, Tactics, Objectives (Pluto Press, 2020), and author of When Workers Shot Back: Class Conflict from 1877 to 1921 (Brill 2018/Haymarket Press 2019). Robert is the Book Review Editor for the Journal of Labor and Society and is a labor writer for the magazine Dollars & Sense and The Chief.

He can be followed at @OvetzRobert and emailed at rfovetz His writings can be found at