Firstly, if the first thing you think of when we use the word “radicalized” is the Boston Marathon bomber and other nutjobs – we have to take that word back to its rational, political roots.
We talk about pushing Obama from the left and we, or at least I, bemoan that there’s barely any actual left anymore in this country (making the drivel spewed on Fox News about the “far left”, “socialists” and “communists” as much galling as it is hilarious). Sunkara analyzes the current state of liberalism and asks whether we’ll make any progress at all without a more ideologically robust alternative party pushing from the left whether that be “Labor”, “Socialist” or “Working Families”.
This is not a simple matter because it might mean separating from the Democratic Party – saving the party by leaving it? Does it means adoption of a more parliamentary system in form and function? Does it mean we have to change our way of communicating to a more confrontational style? Lots to think about.
To radicals, the sad state of liberalism comes as no surprise. It represents merely the re-emergence of flaws embedded deeply in its roots, making so much of the social policy that The Nation supports difficult to revive. American liberalism is practically ineffective and analytically inadequate—and a jolt from its left is a prerequisite for its resurgence.
That feels so right. But how?
Which is to say that the left needs a plan—a plan that must incorporate more moderate allies. American radicalism has had a complex and at times contradictory association with liberalism. At the peak of the socialist movement, leftists fed off liberal victories. Radicals, in turn, have added coherence and punch to every key liberal struggle and advance of the past century. Such a mutually beneficial alliance could be in the works again. The first step is to smash the existing liberal coalition and rebuild it on a radically different basis.
This piece is a must read. And a must comment. Please let me know what you think in the comments section.