Partners for Dignity & Rights

A New Social Contract

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All of us as individuals, communities and a society should have fundamental rights to education, health care, housing, work with dignity and the other foundations of a decent life. But right now, all too many of us are denied those basic needs. Business as usual isn’t working: our economic and political systems are not adequately responding to the challenges of income and deprivation, racism, ecological degradation, anti-democratic politics, and other urgent problems. We need a New Social Contract: one that offers a framework grounded not in profiteering, social hierarchies, or concentrated power, but in human rights, equity and inclusive democracy.

As such, we must rewrite the rules of power that have led us to the current crisis of rights and democracy our country is facing. A significant part of the answer to that challenge lies in communities, workers, and social movements on the frontlines. If we face a democracy in peril, who better to guide us toward a different future than those with the most at stake, who also have the boldest solutions?

The New Social Contract project focuses on these community and worker-driven solutions. Our goal is to generate dialogue on how we will build a new, bottom-up understanding of ourselves as a country that can inform and shape our most important collective decisions and shared assumptions. 

The New Social Contract offers a framework grounded in human rights, equity and inclusive democracy. It organizes dialogues and workshops on what kind of new social contract we need and offers materials and analysis emerging out of community and social movement efforts.

We launched our New Social Contract initiative in 2018 to with a report, “A New Social Contract: Collective Solutions Built by and for Communities,” to help share the bottom-up vision for a just a society we see emerging across movements and compiling exciting worker- and community-led model solutions that could be much more widely scaled and replicated. 

In the years since we’ve published more resources including a collaborative New Social Contract for Workers report and our Democratizing Workers’ Compensation report, organized a speaking tour, launched a webinar series, and produced several videos.

The New Social Contract is not our invention–this vision and its policy solutions are being developed organically by social movements all the time–so our engagement in this work is necessarily a collaborative effort. We’re now working with Race Forward and other partners on A New Social Contract for Multiracial Economy Democracy–a report, multimedia, tools and trainings that will focus on the critically important models of racially and economically equitable decision-making in government and throughout the economy to ensure that all individuals and communities have meaningful self-determination in their lives.

For more information, check out:

Our Work
A New Social Contract
Dignity in Schools
Health Care
Public Budgeting
Land and Housing
Low Wage Workers

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