In the wake of the ugly and tragic events that occurred in Charlottesville this weekend, it strikes me that the main role of the left at this moment, apart from honoring the dead and injured, is to be a force to bring together, with a special urgency and in the spirit of non-violent resistance, a broad, diverse, and multi-racial coalition of peoples and organizations in support of democracy, equality, peace, human decency, and our planet. In other words, to assist in assembling “the near and the far,” to use the words of the socialist critic Irving Howe, in the public square, as it resists its own small circle thinking.
Socialism might be the only alternative to barbarism, as Rosa Luxemburg wrote nearly a century ago, but it is a mistake — a colossal one in fact — to think that it is the immediate action task on the people’s or left’s political agenda. What is is a robust defense of democracy and social progress at the core of which is the immediate removal of Trump from office and a sustained struggle against the Republican right and the alt right. And in this regard, it’s none too early to prepare for next year’s elections, which give us an opportunity to hand a good shellacking to this nasty, backward faction. In doing so, we can breathe not only a little sigh of relief, but also more realistically think about an agenda of democratic reforms, including radical ones, not to mention position the country to make a more fundamental shift in political power and direction in 2020.