To the Editor:
The American Left is now facing the decision of what to do next, after movements such as Occupy in 2011, the Bernie Sanders campaign, and opposition to the Trump administration. The left’s strengths—diversity and decentralization—are also its weaknesses.
Diversity assures that large numbers of people of every ideological persuasion, race, and sexual preference coalesce in a common cause. Decentralization—in part a reaction against excessive power concentration in totalitarian regimes and in the American dual-party system, but also rooted in Jeffersonian Federalism—assures against a dictatorial ruling elite.
Diversity and decentralization also mean excessively lengthy decision-making processes, confused or nonexistent lines of authority, absent party discipline, and lack of accountability.
Whether President Trump is impeached and replaced by Vice President Pence or not, the ensuing governing body will continue to busy the opposition by constantly provoking it to react to its policies and decrees.
The left’s challenge is to respond appropriately and effectively to retrograde policies and decrees while at the same time strategizing and organizing towards the future; and to take initiative rather than solely react to fait accompli.
Has the time come to form a third party that brings together existing libertarians, greens, and independents along with Bernie Sanders supporters and the Trump protest voters, to challenge Democrats and Republicans in November 2020?
Whether there’ll be a unified left that contests the entrenched political establishment or not, there is plenty of organizing to do at local level and in races for governorships, state assemblies, mayors and city councils, school boards, neighborhood councils, corporate boards, nonprofit governances and others.
Whatever path the majority of the left movement chooses there’s certainly going to be plenty of food for thought and action in the years ahead.