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      On "The Rise of the New New Left"

      Peter Beinart's essay, "The Rise of the New New Left" will be extremely influential as political people contemplate the 2016 post-Obama electoral universe. The article is a long must-read, but in summary, Beinart argues that the new political generation, which came of age amidst Wall Street's Great Recession, is going to support populist government remedies to the economic crisis that is leaving them behind. Their preferred presidential candidate is going to be Sen. Elizabeth Warren, if she runs, not Hillary Clinton, unless she turns left. 

      Coupled with their liberalism on social issues and anti-war sentiments on foreign policy, the new generation offers the greatest hope for progressive politics in decades, Beinart says. 

      The pivot, he says, is the electoral rise of Bill De Blasio in the New York mayor's race. The prophetic event, he thinks, was the rise of Occupy Wall Street, despite its organizational demise. 

      I think Beinart is entirely right. The Obama presidency could be a bridge to a deeper progressivism than we have seen since the early Sixties or late 1930s. 

      Of course, there are obstacles which Beinart may take too lightly. Wall Street, the Supreme Court and the Big Military will react vigorously to any challenge. The Right may gain significant ground in 2014, which will have to be reclaimed in an all-out electoral war in 2016. Sen. Warren may lose her way on national security policy. The left-of-center may fail to unify. 

      But the time is past due for the discussion and organizing to begin. Such opportunities do not come naturally and are lost by failures among progressives.

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      Reader Comments (8)

      Tom, you slipped up!

      Quick, while there's still time: delete your journal entry on Peter Beinart from the New America Foundation!

      Of course, any true progressive knows about the New America Foundation (NAF). They are funded primarily by the military-industrial complex; health insurance giants; telecom corporations; mainstream media corporations; high tech firms like Microsoft and Google; and other major corporations. In other words, they are funded by the most lucrative profit centers in the US today. NAF fellows like Peter Beinart and Steve Clemons do their bidding, or they wouldn't get paid.

      Oh, I forgot to mention that another primary funder of the New America Foundation is the US Department of State. Yep, that State Department, the one in our government. The one that plans the wars that these corporations make huge profits from.

      So, if you don't want people to catch on to what you are really promoting here, you better act fast to erase it. If you fail to act, it will completely undercut your claim to be opposed to military interventionism.

      What's that? You don't care? You are proud to promote "left gatekeeper" journalism that hides its true motives and destroys all hope of organizing a true progressive coalition in this country?

      Uh oh, I may have misunderstood you when you claimed to be a progressive. I suppose you meant to say "regressive" and I heard it wrong. Sorry!

      Never mind. Carry on with "inspiring participatory plutocracy" or whatever it is that you do so well.


      September 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSatya

      "The Obama presidency could be a bridge to a deeper progressivism than we have seen since the early Sixties or late 1930s."

      I guess I shouldn't be surprised that, after all the previous illusions about Obama have been dispelled, a new one should replace them.

      This one has the benefit of taking a lot time to be disproved, unlike the earlier ones, such as, "after the 2012 election, we will finally get THE REAL OBAMA."

      Boy, have we ever.

      September 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRichard Estes

      I looked up NAF and found one reason to never support them:
      New America Foundation

      "The New America Foundation receives funding from the Peter G. Peterson Foundation"

      "Peter G. Peterson, born June 5, 1926, is a controversial Wall Street billionaire who uses his wealth to underwrite a diversity of organizations and PR campaigns to generate public support for slashing Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, citing concerns over "unsustainable" federal budget deficits."

      October 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCorey Mondello

      Obama as the John the Baptist prophesying the imminent appearance of a new Messiah? That sets a new high water mark of wishful thinking! Things will have to get much worse in the US for anything very new to emerge there. Ocean liners & Empires have just too much momentum for quick-&-easy turn-arounds. But lotsa luck, anyway.

      October 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Ivory

      As usual, the purported purists come out to gripe and show their cynical mettle when serious and hopeful matters are being discussed, serious and hopeful matters such as the possibility of making more progress than in a long time; but whatever the positive results could be, the results inevitably couldn't ever satisfy their empty perfectionism. Sometimes I think that, of everyone in the entire world, they are the people who are the most truly satisfied with the status quo, because even trying to make gains is considered to be beneath them. They have the perfect conditions to do nothing but gripe. It's a cynic's utopia! Or it could be a sad hard-edged envy. I think such commenters should enlighten their readers by describing (truthfully) some of the positive things they're doing to better the world. I actually hope and think there could be some. It probably wouldn't satisfy their own standards, but we'd have to give them credit for trying.

      October 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLarry Aaron

      Stalinism lives on. Demand for ideological purity at the expense of complex thought, discussion, effectiveness, public awareness beyond the cliche Upper Westside of Manhattan and Silver Lake is a forward position since when "we" take over--historically inevitable after all--"we'll" have fewer people to shoot. "We" can dispensed with them before history catches up with us. Sounds like the peanut gallery of the New New Left would rather purge impurities of thought than think. Living and writing under corporate capitalism demands writers make a living. Peter Beinart is usually wrong, as he admits. I still want to know what he thinks. What's really wrong is writers. They cause trouble. Let's stop them before they can publish. But Marx lived off the poverty of Engel's workers. Engels blessed the British Labor Party and the Methodist who started it. But the Revolution only wins if "we" can just get the most pure money source to pay for the most progressive ink for the most correct correct message before history makes us too dead to care. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

      October 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPatrick Collins

      Before the NNL--if it exists--backs Warren, it needs to study her position on Obama's declared military attack on Syria.

      October 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike Munk

      There are many factors indicating a potential for a "new new left," beside the coming of age of a generation that didn't experience the buying into the new world order of corporate rule based on money championed by Reagan and Clinton. Increasing inequalities and the actual failures of the system to improve people's lives is a major one. Also, increasing awareness of actual threats to the life system itself, from climate calamities to species extinctions, people notice and do care. And the millions of people who have become engaged in one or another of the single issues making up the many fronts of the freedom struggle, approach a "critical mass of consciousness." And increasingly skilled and compelling educational materials tell the stories of injustices and better ways possible, making knowledge more widely accessible and communicable.

      The need is for a cooperation among progressives, radicals, activists, independents, et al, to formulate "an alternative" to the right and status quo liberals, and to undertake an organizing strategy at the face-to-face local precinct level to both educate and embolden people.

      I think the "freedom school" provides a model for grass roots education and organizing, and, as we approach the 50th anniversary of this successful effort in Mississippi, we should endeavor to reactivate the model and extend it to every precinct in America. Everyone can become an organizer and teacher, better than to be a disheartened cynic carping from the sidelines. I'm trying in my precinct, you can too. For further on this approach: alan haber at

      October 2, 2013 | Unregistered Commenteralan haber
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