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Web Letter

"The American left's fear of creating its own political party, built on radical principles, remains an obstacle that we must find a way to overcome. "

The American left has a history of eating itself, of trying to fight too many fronts at once, of tolerating deadly infighting, of reducing itself to ineffectiveness by attempting to change the world all at once, by then setting its forces for one reform against those of another. The left deplores top-down organization, without finding a working substitute, and exhausts itself in debate where only the flawed process of decision-making survives.

Conservatives flounder until solid leadership is achieved and anointed. Then they get in ranks and do as they're told.

(None of these generalizations hold all the time, but they are necessary to discuss this.)

Dave Zirin's "we must find a way," quoted at the top, is a faint declaration. "Radical principles" too often include such losers as consensus, which is a euphemism for paralysis. As thinking people, we can be taught to use town hall-style democracy, but until we've achieved the rigorous training that makes it work and the opportunity to instate it, we have to select leaders and democratic ways to police and replace them. This is how the world works.

Mitch Clogg

Mendocino, CA

Apr 2 2009 - 2:07pm