California’s Recall Was Worth Every Penny

When It Comes to Supporting Democratic Infrastructure, $276 Million Is a Bargain

It’s hard to think of a better bargain in our high-cost state than the failed recall election against Gov. Gavin Newsom. At an estimated cost of $276 million—less than $7 per Californian—our state got a months-long democratic exercise that inspired dramatic new public investments, improved the governor’s performance, and may even save lives.

Maddeningly, many Californians who claim to be defenders of democracy persist in calling this democratic triumph an expensive waste of money. (Some of these thoughtless critics even have the gall to call themselves Democrats.) If they don’t want …

Book Prize Winners 2011 to present

The 2022 Zócalo Book Prize Celebrates Human Connectedness

For 12 Years, We Have Honored Excellence in Nonfiction Exploring Community and Social Cohesion

Since 2011, Zócalo Public Square’s annual book prize has recognized the U.S.-published nonfiction book that best enhances our understanding of community and the forces that strengthen or undermine human connectedness …

Sack Octavius and Newsom! The Recall Is as Old as the Roman Republic | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Sack Octavius and Newsom! The Recall Is as Old as the Roman Republic

The Tool for Removing Elected Officials Has Had Centuries of Champions—from the Levellers to Lenin

The recall—the tool being used in an attempt to remove Gavin Newsom as California’s governor before his term is over—might seem strange or novel. It’s neither. The recall is nearly …

Boyle Heights Is Where Democracy Happens | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Boyle Heights Is Where Democracy Happens

Celebrating a Los Angeles Neighborhood Nexus for New Arrivals, Community Organizing, and Creativity

The Los Angeles neighborhood of Boyle Heights has long demonstrated the resiliency, openness to immigrants, and commitment to democratic action that the United States desperately needs now, said speakers at …

The Internet Needs Its Own Government | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The Internet Needs Its Own Democratic Government

The Digital World Should Be Ruled by an Independent Coalition Beyond the Reach of Big Tech and Nation-States 

Today’s methods for governing the internet do not constitute a coherent system, much less a democratic one.

Instead, internet governance is a contest for power between the most powerful tech companies, …

A Letter From Santiago, Where Chileans Are Seeking a New Constitution | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

A Letter From Santiago, Where Chileans Are Seeking a New Constitution

Hopes Are High for Transforming the Country's Democracy, but the Risks May Be Even Higher

Chile is raising hopes and winning praise worldwide as it elects delegates to a new convention with the goal of replacing the current constitution, a 1980 product of Augusto Pinochet’s …