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August 15, 2012


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Phil Perspective

We don't have one that everyone agrees on, for good reason. The party is controlled by a lot of the same rich people as the GOP(the banksters). And some of us want to raise taxes on the rich a lot higher than Clinton-era rates. I could go on but I think you get my point. We don't fall in line like the GOP.

The Mathmos

Jodi is right though. The GOP fell in line (at least discourse-wise) behind what remains a minority, the Tea Party. A minority prone to agitation, infiltration and purity tests, all those things good Democrats warn leftists against indulging in. The Tea Party is ideologically incoherent, and their mainstream spokespersons ensure their own cooptation for elite-serving goals, but they remain a textbook example of a voting bloc.

One issue is mass media. For obvious reasons, corporate news allowed the Tea Party to develop its presence and identity, while it ignored or distorted Occupy events. They allowed claims that Republican losses were incurred due to the Tea Party to solidify, etc.


A few years back, a group of leftists around Stanley Aronowitz published the Manifesto for a Left Turn. ( See here: http://ojs.gc.cuny.edu/index.php/situations/article/view/518/811 ) And in that same period, Michael Albert and others initiated the International Organization for a Participatory Society. (Here: http://www.iopsociety.org/ )
Both hoped to initiate a new left project/party/alignment/etc. But it doesn't seem like these have had much traction. Why not?


I would think that if you have step one and it has serious weight, it's questionable whether step two is necessary or even desirable. For instance, I recall reading somewhere that once the Black Panther Party came on the scene membership in Nation of Islam dropped. If a serious alternative is built that has resonance with people, it should aim to win over as much of the Democrat base as possible while destabilizing the loyalties among the more middle-of-the-road types. The hardcore reactionaries, they can keep.

I don't know what step 3 refers to but it can be misinterpreted as a slash and burn strategy against allies as well as enemies. Perhaps this could be elaborated.

Step 4 is crucial. Beyond creating a "common climate for the commons" it's necessary that people learn how to govern their lives and resources. "Equally crucial is seeing them not as ends in themselves but as components of a larger strategy." Absolutely. Without the guidance of a liberatory vision, these projects can become local fiefdoms mainly concerned with defending their own particular terrain.

Step 5 - I'm in total agreement.


Glad to be beaten to bringing up IOPS here.

IOPS still is, and still sees itself as, very very young. They haven't even had their inaugural founding conference yet, in which they will try to choose a decent name, refine their aims and politics, etc. The website only recently went online. So I think suggesting it hasn't had traction yet is a bit unfair, while I accept it could have hoped to grow a bit faster than it has since setting out its stall earlier this summer.

It really seems like the best chance we've got to move towards a new, strong, internationalist, autonomously democratic Left. It basically is, in potentiality, exactly what's needed.

And some great established intellects of the Left have already stood behind it, which means more than Lefty celebrity-fawning - it increases the chances of meaningful strategic and theoretical debate rather than it being a big Albertian parecon love-in, the impression of which I think is the biggest weakness of IOPS so far.

Still haven't made it to a meeting yet mind you... for shame!

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