Saturday, June 18, 2011

Unity

The left has a long history of infighting. Some of this negativity is on display at Netroots Nation, as illustrated by my previous post. That makes me feel somewhat ambivalent about being here, as I don't feel much in common with the Obama bashers on the left.

But today Van Jones brought everyone to their feet with a rousing speech about the need to unify the left around a common vision. Although the left managed briefly to unify during the 2008 campaign under a common banner, or what Jones, trying to stay current with tech-speak, called a meta-brand, namely the Obama campaign, that coalition has splintered to some extent. Meanwhile, the right has managed to unify a number of interest groups under the banner of the Tea Party. Ironically, the right preaches an individualist philosophy, but uses a collectivist strategy to promote it. The left, on the other hand, which preaches a more collectivist philosophy, breaks down into individualistic strategies to promote it. The other noteworthy thing about the Tea Party, Jones noted, is that it does not exist, in the sense that it has no headquarters, and does not require any particular leader to survive. Instead it is simply a banner under which many organizations unite.

When we are talking about broad themes such as reducing inequality or providing opportunities for all, there is no disunity. Jones's proposed solution is to create a new banner for the left, which he calls the American Dream Movement. Whether this organization goes anywhere I can't predict. Whether it is a good idea to unify around an idea instead of around the re-election of President Obama I'll reserve judgment on. But as for the idea of reducing infighting, and trying to rally around a positive message, I support that 100%.




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1 comment:

  1. I understand your ambivilence at Netroots. I feel the same ambivilence toward the fractured right.

    << Although the left managed briefly to unify during the 2008 campaign under a common banner, or a meta-brand, called the Obama campaign, that coalition has splintered to some extent. >>

    The left was never united in philosophy. Hope and Change is not a philiosophy. It was a campaign slogan. A little over a half of voters decided to elect Obama for a wide and varied number of reasons. Some very good reasons -- and some were misinformed who thought he would pay their rent and put gas in their car.

    << Meanwhile, the right has managed to unify a number of interest groups under the banner of the Tea Party. Ironically, the right preaches an individualist philosophy, but uses a collectivist strategy to promote it>>

    This is disingenuous. Heck, Romney is by far the right's front runner for 2012 and is disliked by the Tea Party. What is Jones talking about? If Jones is what it takes for the left to get it’s stuff together they are in trouble. He is fringe. Why doesn't the left have proposals or plans? "The American Dream Movement"? Is this what the left will run on? Another slogan and posters? When will the left honestly address the issues?

    The problem the left and Obama face is that they put all of the people's good will and Congress' political capital on the line for a failed health care bill. That time should have been spent on 9% unemployment, 20% real unemployment and a 14 trillion dollar deficit, structural problems with home ownership, big banks, military spending, energy and agri business.

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