Open Left Is Open
Matt Stoller, Chris Bowers and Mike Lux have a new blog called Open Left that looks to be an interesting new experiment in progressive activism as well as an interesting new term to define the modern progressive movement.
First, we are an experiment, trying to bring progressive activists and professionals from "inside" and "outside" the political establishment into regular, thoughtful, and active connection with one another. There will be a wide variety of progressive people and organizations posting here, many of whom will introduce themselves as we roll out many of our soon-to-be regular features this week. We have innovative new posting protocol, epitomized by the "Right To Respond", where, in the interests of openness and a desire to foster more conversation among progressives, any progressive individual or organization we blog about in a front-page post will have the opportunity to respond with a front page post of their own. With both Matt Stoller and myself, you can expect much of what we provided at MyDD (electoral and infrastructure analysis, mainly), only expanded into other areas. Mike Lux will be able to provide a wealth of professional political experience and an inside viewpoint rarely seen in our previous work. Also, there will be more topics we write about both for an extended period of time and in great detail, rather than relying on singular posts and off-the-cuff analysis. We will write more about legislative policy, as well as strategy on how to pass progressive policy. Further, there will also a lot of talk about progressive culture and lifestyle, since there will never be a sustainable progressive governing majority in America unless that governing majority is accurately representing a more progressive America.
At OpenLeft.com, we are going to explore these new dynamics. We don't believe the internet changes everything, or that older institutions are irrelevant. Far from it. We think that any institution can succeed in building the new America we see unfolding in sketches on the internet. We see the internet and the Open Left as a sort of operating system for a new political system, where groups can plug in and form coalitions more easily and effective on the left, and we see a strong set of dynamics pulling us into this new coalition-focused direction. We hope to host many of these groups, serving as a forum for strategic discussion of goals and tactics.
Even more important than the immediate results in the elections and the impeachment fight, the Open Left movement had been born. Wes and Joan taught us all the power of grassroots organizing over the internet, and politics has been changing ever since as result, giving a voice and power to people outside of establishment politics.
Finally, it taught an old insider like me: don't ever worry when the establishment Dems get too freaked out. Never hesitate to challenge the conventional wisdom and the passive, cautious politics of too many Democrats. It was a good lesson, one that has been proven right many times since. When warned by Dem insiders in the summer of 2002 that it was still too early to attack Bush because his approval ratings were too high (no one had yet run an ad going after him on any issue since 9-11), I said to hell with it and did an ad attacking him on corporate scandals and helped drop his approval ratings 15 points in a month. When told by a top party staffer in 2005 to stop getting people's hopes up about our ability to win back Congress, I said to hell with it and kept fanning the flames of hope. And when we as a progressive movement were told by establishment Dems to back off on an aggressive message on the war because it might hurt our candidates, we said to hell with it knowing that it was just such a message that would carry the day- and we were proven right.
I've already read a few things over there that should spark some serious debate in ye olde blogosphere, so head on over and join the fray if you're of a mind to spar. This should be fun.