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Exploratory Principles: Making Progress Together for People and the Planet


The Clean Slate for Worker Power project began in 2018 with an exploration of how we could address the crises of political and economic inequality in America through labor law reform. Since the release of our recommendations report, we have been engaging with partners across the labor, climate, and racial justice movements to strategize around implementing innovative, collaborative approaches to advance a more just and equitable society. In 2022, we convened over thirty activists, advocates, academics, and labor leaders to discuss how we might start to rethink the power dynamics between markets, government, and people, which we held as necessary to achieving greater equity and democracy. Today, we’re excited to share our new report, “Exploratory Principles: Making Progress Together for the People and the Planet,” informed by the discussions held by the Clean Slate Working Group on Equity, Justice, and Democracy.

The Clean Slate Working Group on Equity, Justice, and Democracy conducted three virtual meetings to discuss strategies for rebuilding worker power, challenging taken-for-granted economic and political constructs, and developing principles for a just economy that integrate racial equity, democracy, and climate justice. This report includes some of the ideas and recommendations generated by the Working Group, but does not represent a consensus opinion.

We highlight three key exploratory principles in our report:

EXPLORATORY PRINCIPLE 1: True democracy requires inclusive political power and greater civic engagement.

EXPLORATORY PRINCIPLE 2: We should all be guaranteed a bundle of economic rights that follow us regardless of where we work or live. We cannot rely solely on markets to ensure economic opportunity, inclusion, and security.

EXPLORATORY PRINCIPLE 3: We need a market-shaping approach to government that employs strategies that integrate racial, economic, and climate justice wherever possible.

We believe that policy solutions can play a key role in advancing climate, economic, and democratic goals, but they must be designed to center the needs of the most marginalized communities and empower all people to live with dignity and agency. By viewing our goals as common ones, the Working Group calls for collaboration across the movements for racial, economic, and climate justice to make meaningful progress towards a more sustainable and equitable future for all.

Clean Slate Working Group Steering Committee

Sharon Block
Executive Director, Center for Labor and a Just Economy
Professor of Practice, Harvard Law School

Benjamin Sachs
Kestnbaum Professor of Labor and Industry, Harvard Law School

Shayna Strom
President and CEO, Washington Center for Equitable Growth

Valerie Wilson
Director, Program on Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy, Economic Policy Institute

Darrick Hamilton
Henry Cohen Professor of Economics and Urban Policy, The New School

For a full list of Working Group members, see page 20 of our report.

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