In the 20th century, two movements were transformative in their impact. One uprooted an unregulated, crisis-ridden capitalism in the 1930s, while the other overturned a deeply racist system, sanctioned by law, custom, and violence in the 1960s.

Neither one of these movements, however, boycotted or stood apart from the electoral and legislative process. They engaged in a very practical way in “bourgeois politics” as well as embraced expansive concepts of struggle. Their aim wasn’t to take over, but to draw together diverse social and political constituencies around a common objective. But that didn’t weaken their cause. In fact, it was an essential part of the explanation for their success. A mature left will learn from these experiences.