Political Organizing

Professor Wolff, I wanted to ask your opinion on an article that Jacobin just put out. The most relevant part is at the bottom, although it is all very interesting. Essentially, it outlines a model for an organization that could push for progressive politics, hold politicians accountable, and field candidates, all while not playing the role of spoiler. As someone involved in the Democracy at Work action group network (D@W William and Mary) I was wondering if this was something that could be applied to our project. I was very excited to see we had developed something of a platform as our group had been lobbying the local government for change. The legal hurdles for third parties and the threat of people throwing their vote away has always stunted any attempt to work outside of the two party system. Perhaps Ackerman's proposed model could be a way for the left to organize in a way that get's around those issues going forward for groups like D@W or even the Green Party.

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Thanks for recommending the Jacobin piece by Ackerman. In my view, we need to both (1) build independent left political formations within the current political rules of the game, and (2) challenge and change those rules. For example, opposing the electoral college, demanding proportional representation, and open primaries are demands about the rules. Ackerman's is among alternative strategies within the rules. I think Ackerman's piece is exactly the kind of creative thinking that a new, emerging left needs. I also suspect that we - including d@w action groups - will experiment with a variety of political strategies to build our formations around (1) and (2) above...and then we will learn which ones have the greatest potential.


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  • responded with submitted 2016-11-15 20:51:33 -0500
  • published this page in Ask Prof. Wolff 2016-11-15 12:32:05 -0500

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