Frances Fox Piven – Why Americans Don’t Vote and What We Can Do About It – Monday, November 11th at 7 pm


Frances Fox Piven
Why Americans Don’t Vote and What We Can Do About It

Monday, November 11, 7pm
133 West 21st Street, room 101c

RSVP at Eventbrite or by emailing


Frances Fox Piven, sociologist, activist, one of the “nine most dangerous people in the world” (Glenn Beck), and author of the definitive analysis of the barriers to voting in the United States, returns to the School of Visual Arts to analyze American elections, past and to come.

The 2020 presidential elections are already, in spectacular fashion, in full swing. The Democratic field is full, with candidates offering competing visions of how to address the broken healthcare system, wage inequality, the species-threatening developments of climate change, and how to beat Donald Trump. Meanwhile, local elections continue to produce new developments. In the 2018 midterm elections incumbents in New York were unseated by socialist challengers; women ran for office in record numbers; the Republican party closed ranks around the President and his politics; turnout ticked upwards.

But more than anything all American elections are characterized by abysmally low turnout. This even further weights the system in favor of the wealthy and the few. Why is this? What are the main barriers to participation? Does voting matter? What kind of efforts can bring young people, working and poor people, and minorities to the polls? How reparable is US democracy today?

Voter registration forms will be available.

Frances Fox Piven, Professor Emerita of Politics at CUNY, was called by Glenn Beck one of the “nine most dangerous people in the world.” She has been among the most incisive, humane and engaged voices on the left for decades in the struggle for voter rights, welfare rights, working people’s rights, and social reform. She is the co-founder of the National Welfare Rights Organization and the author of Challenging Authority: How Ordinary People Change America, Poor People’s Movements, Regulating the Poor, and Why Americans Don’t Vote.

Visual & Critical Studies