I've been thinking about this idea of an American Solidarity, a coalition of the Left, a lot as the meme spreads (its now being talked about at American Samizdat, Liberal Street Fighter, Booman Tribune and other places). For those of you who missed all the talk, a great round-up and summary - with all the links - has been done by James at American Samizdat. I think there's a lot of people out there who are willing to make this "high impact" on their lives, myself among them. The idea is that American Solidarity isn't a party (well, not yet anyways) - its a method of putting all the lefty groups in touch with each other, of encouraging communication, focus and fundraising, its a big huge pressure group with a wide tent.
I am of the opinion that keeping any such movement as solely part of the Democratic Party is self-defeating and that doing so would effectively neuter any such coalition's reach. There's been some counterclaims that abandoning the Dems may be a bit premature but since when pressed those making those claims admit that they think the right time to say the Dems don't work for the Left, no matter what they do, is never...I am inclined to dismiss them as spoilers. American Solidarity should not be a party but a communications, focus and fundraising umbrella for all kinds of lefties. Hells, even lefties who want to stick with the Dems can join (maybe they CAN convince the Demlicans to change) - just dont ask that American Solidarity restrict itself to supporting the Dems because it should be casting its net of support wider than a single party. Folks who don't like it don't have to join but the tent should be big enough for every Leftie.
American Solidarity would, I hope, take an intimate interest in local politics, making initial forays into local action by volunteer individual bloggers with a local connection as contact points. We will find local issues to fundraise for and back with our blogs and our lines of communication to other groups - issues like individual State votes for a liveable wage, local workers who are trying to organise collective bargaining or gain the right to unionize, local leftwing candidates for office in cities across the country and many more.
We would also look to do "big picture" stuff. Things like a truly Leftwing agenda (not a Dem agenda) of policies, a few big-name candidates to back (Bernie Sanders for sure...lets see if we can convince Conyers to go Indie or even get Pennacchio to run Indie in PA should he lose the Democratic primary). There's also outreach to unions from the Coalition For Change all the way down to the recent non-union association of hotel and restaurant workers in Hawaii. Lets back those guys. Lets back the ACLU and other progressive lawyers and get them to back us (because we are almost sure to need lawyers down the line!). Lets back the nurses union and health professionals who want a universal health provider for their State...theres a good dozen campaigns already out there. Lets back the New Standard online newspaper, some progressive magazines and a couple of progressive radio shows - they have the potential to be our connection to the media.
There's so much a coalition of the Left could do, and so much of it could begin with or be helped by leftwing bloggers. Lots of stuff...but it starts with enough warm bloggers.
So what we need now is a list of bloggers who would be interested in beginning the internet hub of American Solidarity, who could then open lines of communication to other groups. If no-one signs up then its a dud from the very start and we can all stop whining about the Dems.
If you are interested, let me know at newshogATgmailDOTcom and include your blog url
Dr. James Benjamin of The Left End of the Dial has given us his own reasoned yet passion-filled and personal call for American Solidarity. Its a must-read.
Sign-ups so far:
The Left End of the Dial
Comments From Left Field
A Violently Executed Blog