Error: Cannot divide the Left

Jeremy Fugate • 27 October 2017
0 comments
3 likes

Since the presidential primary in 2016, it is no secret that there has been deep division on the left. Many Bernie Sanders supporters are still pained by what they see as a theft of the primary vote. On the flip side, Hillary Clinton supporters are still angry with Bernie supporters for various actions that some took; voting independent, abstaining from voting in the general, etc. This is just one of many, many examples of issues that divide those of us that are on the left of the political spectrum. 

No matter what kind of left leaning person you are, let's stop for a minute and talk about what really is dividing us. In the first paragraph, is what I identify as "grudge politics" or "reactionary politics". This idea is most often seen between the left and right (just look at all of the repeals that are being done right now simply because they were our previous president's).  This practice, is also what divides the right, and the left started taking advantage of during Obama's presidency. The tea party, the house freedom caucas, etc. We are starting to see the same types of division on the left.

Something that keeps running through my mind, when seeing a group of leftists argue among each other is simply this: if we have the same goals, why are we having such a hard time staying united? Well, it occurs to me, that there are several factors to this, and I think that, thinking things through logically, will bring some understanding. The next couple paragraphs are quotes from a forum where I posed the question: "What do you think is causing division on the left?" and my ideas about them.

 

" I think on the left there is definitely issues with how radical to be or not in terms of violence versus non violence." This to me, is one of the more forefront issues facing a lot of more central aligning liberals and leftists. With the rise of the alt-right, and all the footage of Nazi's getting punched, the alt-right targeting and assaulting people of color, violence has been a hot topic of debate. Here is my take: not everyone is going to be willing, or even think it is okay to punch a Nazi. That's fine. Can you understand why others want to punch a Nazi? You don't have to punch Nazi's, you can fight them in other ways. I see punching Nazis as an immediate silencing. It's effective right then and there (usually) but we still need to use our other diverse tactics to completely shut them down. We still need those call campaigns to venues hosting their talks, boycotts of companies supporting them, all of it. This particular struggle will take cooperation on all of the left to truly stamp out. Even if you will not, I for one, will punch the Nazi in my town, and that's okay.

 

"There's a disgusting level of idealogical purity going around, which brings about that whole 'outdoing' business and not being willing to accept accountability or too quickly placing blame." For this, I think Great Lakes Antifa summed this up well in their article. Here is a short snippet on purity: "Searching for the perfect revolutionary is a fruitless task in our current environment, and finding one even in the long history of class struggle is impossible. It has taken centuries of social conditioning to get us to the point that we are at right now. To have knowledge of this, and at the same time expecting everyone automatically to have this same knowledge, is in and of itself a thought process of elitism. There is not one revolutionary who is not themselves a product of the very conditions and social conditioning that made their revolution necessary in the first place. There are no idols. To dismiss someone’s work, old or new, because of actions in their past or the path of their growth, fractures our movement and makes the job of the state that much easier." We all need to work together toward our common goals.

Finally, this response to my question was spot on in my opinion, " I believe we focus too much attention on what divides-"establishment" as all wrong, purest "progressive" as all correct instead of coalescing around bedrock ideals that unite us. We need a platform. We need to clearly state what we are FOR, even if we can only come up with 4 or 5 things. 
Where do we agree in immigration? In the platform.
Where do we agree on healthcare? In the platform. 
Where do we agree in voting rights? In the platform. Where do we agree on the environment? In the platform. Where do we agree in education? In the platform. You can see where I am going on this. We need to say to the right-we agree on substance, don't you believe we don't. And we absolutely have to find a way to work together to achieve ends otherwise we will be as dysfunctional as the tea party/freedom caucus/libertarians/Ayn Rand-ers. We can hash out how we execute the platform once we are established."