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Sat Mar 19, 2016, 10:12 PM

Our Political System Is in the Midst of a Massive Realignment. Here’s How the Left Should Respond.

http://inthesetimes.com/article/18973/bernie-sanders-third-party-working-families-party-realignment-democrats

What the Left needs is an inside/outside electoral strategy vis-à-vis the Democrats.

Inside the Democratic Party, engaged in primary campaigns to push progressive candidates and causes, because current election laws as well as fear of playing the spoiler mean that this is where we must focus out electoral energy for the time being if we are hold together the broadest possible coalition.

But outside in terms of being clearly delineated as something more specific: more critical of capitalism, more independent of corporations and more accountable to its base of supporters than being just another Democrat. And outside in terms of having a real plan to break with the Democrats and become a fully independent third party when the opportunity comes.

Inside/outside electoral strategies have long been incubated in New York state, where the law allows—and political realities demand—that candidates run on multiple ballot lines. Since 1998, the Working Families Party has been the preeminent inside/outside experiment on the Left. The WFP has an impressive track record of endorsing insurgent progressives early and backing them in the Democratic primary, as well as occasionally running a candidate in the general election against the Democratic nominee—a strategy that has put scores of new progressives in office across the state, culminating in the election of NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio.

The Working Families Party has expanded to five more states plus the District of Columbia, although the inability to run a candidate on more than one ballot line makes the party’s efforts in those places somewhat less visible. In Illinois, unions like SEIU and the Chicago Teachers Union have formed an independent political organization called United Working Families, which supported Jesus “Chuy” Garcia’s insurgent challenge to Rahm Emanuel in Chicago’s technically non-partisan mayoral election. In Vermont, Bernie Sanders’ long run of successful independent runs for office has led to the creation of the Progressive Party, which represents over a dozen local, state and federal offices—a viable third party if ever there was one.

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Reply Our Political System Is in the Midst of a Massive Realignment. Here’s How the Left Should Respond. (Original post)
eridani Mar 2016 OP
Rebkeh Mar 2016 #1
eridani Mar 2016 #2
Rebkeh Mar 2016 #3
libdem4life Mar 2016 #4
eridani Mar 2016 #5
libdem4life Mar 2016 #6
socialist_n_TN Mar 2016 #7
eridani Mar 2016 #8
socialist_n_TN Mar 2016 #9
eridani Mar 2016 #10

Response to eridani (Original post)

Sat Mar 19, 2016, 10:17 PM

1. I looked them over,

The Working Families Party but I couldn't find anything in the way of a platform. Are they working on that?

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Response to Rebkeh (Reply #1)

Sat Mar 19, 2016, 10:28 PM

2. This is what I found

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Response to eridani (Reply #2)

Sat Mar 19, 2016, 10:30 PM

3. Great, thanks

Bookmarked to read later

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Response to eridani (Original post)

Sat Mar 19, 2016, 11:07 PM

4. A Progressive Party. What would that look like? It sounds wonderful, but how pragmatic?

 

But it has to start somewhere.

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Response to libdem4life (Reply #4)

Sat Mar 19, 2016, 11:12 PM

5. There is plenty to do for those preferring the "inside" strategy n/t

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Response to eridani (Reply #5)

Sat Mar 19, 2016, 11:24 PM

6. I've bookmarked the website...looks very interesting. Thanks.

 

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Response to eridani (Original post)

Mon Mar 21, 2016, 06:28 PM

7. A left party sounds great and I think that it's coming, BUT............

as a Bolshevik-Leninist, I don't believe it has much of a shot at a being a long term project unless it's led by the working class. That would be the tide that lifts all boats in alternative politics because a party that focuses on workers' concerns brings the attention to the economic life of the average American. And no, this wouldn't ignore the concerns of especially oppressed minorities either, but we are all oppressed economically.

But the main reason that it should be a workers party is that it would conceivably draw in enough people with the power to actually make a difference in both the inside and outside of the electoral system. Workers withholding labor power and thereby interfering with the profit chain of the owners is the only thing that they will really pay attention to. Add to this outside power, the power of the ballot box, and the owners would finally have a formidable opposition in the United States.

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Response to socialist_n_TN (Reply #7)

Tue Mar 22, 2016, 02:55 AM

8. ARe you familiar with Socialist Alternative?

That's the party that elected Kshama Sawant to the Seattle City Council. In last year's re-election campaign, she had 600 volunteers. The reason that many on the left stay Democrats is that Dems are willing to talk to voters who are not policy wonks, and most third party formations are not. SA is a highly relevant exception. Not sure how long it will take them to get a base beyond urban core aress though.

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Response to eridani (Reply #8)

Tue Mar 22, 2016, 12:33 PM

9. Yep I'm very familiar with SALT........

I even wrote and article on her first run for council offering critical support and then a follow-up a year later on the $15 per hour minimum wage hike. Right centrist organization.

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Response to socialist_n_TN (Reply #9)

Wed Mar 23, 2016, 03:32 AM

10. Right centrist because they do voter contact?

I find that most socialist factions are more interested in discussing theory with each other than in contacting average non-policy wonk voters. Although it is really unpleasant for committed people to be told stuff like "I'm not voting in the primary because I don't want to read up on so many candidates." One 3/3 voter that I canvassed for as transportation initiative said that she threw her ballot away because she wasn't going to waste a stamp to vote on just one ballot item. People who have informed opinions about the difference between Stalin and Trotsky don't like it much either.

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