This post is a response to Jeff’s Isaac’s post.
1) Not An Alternative is a collective of artists, activists, designers, and theorists. If you’re curious about who is involved, our names are listed on the NAA website.
2) You are right: “Occupy the Party,” is aimed to your left, to people and groups whose energy and collectivity built the social movements whose principles Bernie Sanders has so successfully extended into the domain of the Democratic party. We are committed to attending to the forms of collectivity that appear in and through social movements. Over the past year, these forms have converged with party politics in ways we could never have imagined three years ago.
Sanders speaks to your left, too, and this is what his supporters value most about him. He represents an ideal: the end of business as usual. The Sanders campaign shows that there is no need to reach across the aisle, into the pockets of the 1%. The US itself has divided, and will divide even deeper without bold intervention. As Corey Robin has pointed out, whether or not it happens this round, age demographics indicate that young people will not tolerate more of the same. The left is the future. The establishment is already dead.
3) Your response dismisses the far left as a negligible outlier, as a set of positions with “no mass working class support.” This is precisely the assumption that the Sanders campaign has upended. When you dismiss the demands of the far left as unsafe or impossible, you foreclose in advance any effort to transform the system. The far left sets the horizon. It orients us. Without it, we will forever disperse, fragment, or spin in circles.
4) You describe the Democratic party as the de-facto container for the “democratic left.” Your description gives the impression that the Democratic party should be protected and preserved, especially during election periods. This is a conservative view. It insulates the party from anyone whose interests it does not already serve. It is also based on fear, the right-wing’s Trump card.
We prefer to see the party as a terrain of struggle. Under capitalist conditions, a socialist majority can only be socialist if it is fought for (rather than displaced by the interests of a party committed to protecting the position of Wall Street). Representatives from Black Lives Matter struggled for representation within Sanders’s platform. They fought to force the Sanders campaign to address systemic racial inequality, mass incarceration, and so on. The convergence of Occupy and BLM on the site of the Sanders campaign has already changed the conversation. It has also forced the Clinton campaign to respond. In doing so, it has disclosed the weakness of Clinton’s platform on issues that affect huge populations, while putting the socialist alternative back on the table. Without struggle, there will be no socialism. This struggle is happening –as we see in this surprising campaign. People are refusing the Democratic blackmail that uses the spectre of conservativism to beat down left deviation. We are turning to Sanders because his politics is our politics.