The debate between Jason Schulman of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and Barry Finger of New Politics about how to build a party to the left of the Democratic ‘Party’ in the 21st century has largely ignored actually existing third-party efforts and focused instead on whether it is possible to use the Democratic Party for progressive ends in light of the astounding success of the 2016 presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders. Schulman along with DSA argue that yes, it is possible — in certain situations under certain conditions — while Finger says no, it is not possible in any situation or under any conditions. For Schulman and DSA, working within the Democratic Party could help lead to the formation of a left-of-Democratic Party wheras Finger contends that all roads within the Democratic Party framework lead inevitably to dead ends.
The best way to settle this debate is to look at the three organizing models provided by America’s actually existing third-party efforts. Continue reading →
The following text is the introduction to Bouricius’ 1993 pamphlet,Building Progressive Politics: The Vermont Story, which chronicles how the only successful left third party in the U.S. today was built over the course of three decades. The pamphlet’s appendices have been consolidated here.
Bernie Sanders won’t announce until April 30 whether he’ll run for president or not but he’s already been roundly condemned by people who are closest to him ideologically. In so doing, they reveal their own political failings. These condemnations fall into one of three categories: