Moderate Dems Find Voice in New Magazine

Student publications already cover the left, the right, the far-right and the ubiquitous non-partisan in politics, but Common Conscience, Harvard's latest magazine, has found a niche not covered--the left-of-center.

Starting today, the 19-member organization lead by Sarah L. Lee '99 will circulate the new quarterly "for centrists, liberals and progressives."

The publication spawned from discussions among members of the Harvard-Radcliffe College Democrats about the inability of Harvard's other political publications--particularly Perspective, Harvard's liberal monthly--to express the views of progressive Democrats, according to Eugenie A. Lang '00, one of the magazine's four assistant editors.

"We were talking in the Democrats board about Perspective, and I think people felt that while Perspective was more academic, the mission of our club...should be more directly political," Lang said. "We are going to try to focus on specific policy."

Others said that while Perspective deals more with issues important to the far-left, Common Conscience will focus on issues that are more toward the center.

"The problem is that Perspective looks at fringe issues, [ones] that matter only to a small group and don't really matter to people," said Andrei H. Cherny '97, a staff member of the magazine and a Crimson editor.

"There is a need for a thoughtful, committed progressive voice on campus," said Professor of Government and Sociology Theda Skocpol, who is one of the publication's two faculty advisors. "I agreed to advise the group because I was impressed with the plans and values of the students who spoke with me about it."

Professor of Public Policy Jane J. Mansbridge is the other faculty advisor for Common Conscience.

The cover topic for the magazine's 18-page spring issue is the future of the Democratic Party. "The Forum" section of the publication presents three different views on the future of the party.

Other articles include a look at how states have responded to the recent changes in welfare law, an interview with Wyoming's Democratic Gov. Mike Sullivan and a discussion of President Clinton's national service program.

Though the magazine started in collaboration with the College Democrats, Common Conscience is now an independent publication funded mainly through advertisements and a grant from the Undergraduate Council, according to Alysson Ford '00, one of the magazine's assistant editors