The Commonwealth Club of California is the nation's largest public affairs forum. The nonpartisan and nonprofit Club produces and distributes programs featuring diverse viewpoints from thought leaders on important topics. The Club's weekly radio broadcast — the oldest in the U.S., since 1924 — is carried on hundreds of stations. Our website features audio and video of our programs. This podcast feed is usually updated multiple times each week.
The Making of Latino Identity: An American Story
As the Latino population grows in every region of the United States, Latinos are increasingly playing an influential role not only in presidential politics, but throughout American culture. Yet the unique racial identity of Latinos is not a new story for the country.
Latinos have long influenced everything from electoral politics to popular culture‚ yet many people instinctively regard them as recent immigrants rather than a longstanding racial group. Why is this, and what does it have to do with how Americans view and identify different racial groups in the country? In her new book, Inventing Latinos‚ Laura Gómez, a leading expert on race law‚ and society at UCLA‚ illuminates the making and re-making of Latino identity that has spanned centuries‚ leaving a permanent imprint on how race operates in the United States today.
Throughout her career, Professor Gómez has explored how Latinos have become recognizable as a racial group in the United States. She traces the roots of Latino identity to Spanish colonization of the New World, as well as the legacy of American imperialism in Mexico, Central America and the Spanish Caribbean in the 19th and 20th centuries. This complicated history, combined with discrimination, has always positioned Latinos as “perpetual foreigners” in the United States. Latinos, however, are pushing back more than ever on this identification and having their voices heard on these and other issues.
Please join us for an important discussion on race and history, just weeks before Latinos are expected to play an influential role in the presidential election.
Fareed Zakaria: Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World
No one ever could have predicted the global impact of COVID-19. The pandemic is speeding up history, but how?
CNN host Fareed Zakaria will help us understand what our post-pandemic world will look like. Beyond the immediate effects, we must be prepared for political, social, technological and economic consequences that might take years to unfold.
Hear more as Zakaria offers his insights on how to make sense of our changing world.
Who Gets to Vote in America?
Going into a pivotal national election, voter suppression threatens to tilt election results in states across the country and drown out the rising influence of both minority and young voters in America.
After the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013, voting restrictions, predominantly engineered by Republicans, have proliferated in size and scale. Using tactics such as voter ID laws, voting precinct consolidation, gerrymandering and voter purging, the people in charge of voting at the state and federal levels have made it harder for non-white, poor and young voters to cast their ballots.
We’re excited to host a discussion with individuals who have dedicated their careers to making sure everyone who wants to vote in America has the right to do so. They’ll discuss the consequences of voter suppression, what everyone can do to advocate, and the fight ahead.
Ari Berman is a senior reporter for Mother Jones, covering voting rights. In addition to voting rights, his writing covers American politics and the impact of money on our electoral system. His critically acclaimed book Give Us the Ballot covers the time since the dramatic passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, the turbulent forces it unleashed, and the continuing battles over race, representation and political power.
As president and executive director of the National Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee), Kristen Clarke leads one of the country’s most important national civil rights organizations in the pursuit of equal justice for all. In addition to voting rights, the Lawyers’ Committee seeks to promote fair housing and community development, economic justice, equal educational opportunity, criminal justice, judicial diversity and more. Prior to the Lawyers’ Committee, Clarke led the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.’s work in the areas of voting rights and election law across the country.
Alex Padilla has served as California’s secretary of state since 2015, and he’s prioritized increasing voter registration and participation and strengthening voting rights. While California has the highest number of registered voters in America at more than 15 million people, the state’s population of almost 40 million means it has the second-lowest percentage of registered voters when compared to population. With initiatives like the Motor Voter Act, Padilla and his office are working to raise that number.
As president of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, Michael Waldman leads the center’s initiatives on voting rights, money in politics, criminal justice reform and constitutional law. The Brennan Center is widely regarded as a leading organization on voter rights and election security, and Waldman and his team are on the forefront of the fight to vote.
In partnership with the Brennan Center for Justice
When Is More Not better? How to Nurture Resilience
Growth in the economic prosperity of the average family in America has slowed to a crawl, especially since the deep economic pain of the COVID-19 pandemic. As corporations wake up to the urgent need for change—as evidenced by the Business Roundtable’s updated purpose of the corporation last year—business executives need tools for contributing positively to society rather than operating in a way that delivers value to some but not all.
Join us as Roger Martin shares his thinking and his new book, When More is Not Better. He will discuss how America’s obsessive pursuit of economic efficiency is driving inequality, making our economy more fragile, both socially and environmentally, and damaging American’s faith in capitalism.
He will discuss why we must stop viewing our economy as a machine that can be perfected with increasing levels of efficiency and instead understand it as a natural system—complex, adaptive and systemic. It is more like a rainforest than an oil refinery, he says, and it requires a fundamental balance of efficiency with resilience.
Martin will explore specific actions business leaders can take to restore balance, changes to how they run their businesses, all of which have been tried and tested in other contexts.
He will discuss how meaningful change actually happens in the world and provide concrete lessons and a practical model for businesses, policymakers, academics, civil society organizations and individuals who seek to transform our world for good.
Brian Christian: The Future of AI
Time and time again we have created artificial intelligence (AI) systems to help solve our problems, but what happens when the AI systems become the problem?
Artificial Intelligence systems have been created to help humans work faster, respond more justly, manage more and make fewer mistakes, but now the solution has become the issue. As these systems progress and become more prevalent, ethical and existential risks have emerged. Brian Christian argues that it turns out there is only so much AI can do before it becomes painfully clear that humans need humans. We need empathy and connection when determining bail amounts. We need doctors who know our names in order to feel cared for, not just machines that have downloaded our health data. Not everything can be outsourced, but so much already is and it now becomes a dilemma how to rein it in. What happens when our machines outsmart us, or an enemy outsmarts our systems? How do we realign?
Christian investigates these questions and more in his new book, The Alignment Problem: Machine Learning and Human Values. Join us for our conversation about what must change culturally and in the world of tech to ensure that humanity remains our north star.
Climate Ambition with Gina McCarthy, Annie Leonard and Tamara Toles O’Laughlin
How are the leaders of some of the nation's biggest environmental organizations responding to a year of race and health crises?
Groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), 350.org and Greenpeace helped move climate onto the presidential agenda last year, pushing Joe Biden and other Democrats’ stances on bold action. Now, organizers and advocates are backing recovery plans that bolster clean energy jobs, help strengthen communities and dismantle systems that exploit people and the planet. How enthusiastic are they about Joe Biden’s $2 trillion climate plan?
Can activism finally bring America’s political ambitions in line with climate science? Join us for a conversation on the state of our climate with Annie Leonard, executive director of Greenpeace, Gina McCarthy, CEO of the NRDC, and Tamara Toles O'Laughlin, North America director of 350.org.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Benioff was great - lousy host
The woman who introduced Benioff interrupted and attempted to be funny to the point of distraction. Bad form.
Even though I’m not doing anything I feel entitled to explain how to preform a proper podcast after all I have been a man all my life.
Lately they have been riding the identity politics train, which is really sad. We don’t need more societal atomization and emphasis on racial differences - a uniquely American and failing approach to societal tensions. Education, class, labor issues are the great equalizers of any society.