Ah. What a breathe of fresh air European politics is. Last night Segolene Royal, the former French presidential candidate of the Socialist Party spoke at Harvard University on reforming the Left. While I won't go into detail of what she said, it surely made me wish that the US is where France is in terms of progressivism. I don't need to point out that France already has the best health care and pension system in the world, one of the highest citizenship participation in politics and dare I say one of the best metro systems in the world.
So the question remains: how do we move US toward a more just and practical system like France's?
Royal touched upon a few points on reforming the left by:
1) Rejecting the conservative notion that social progress slows down economic progress.
2) Emphasizing that the left is for growth AND equality.
3) Investing in workers and giving more representation to employees.
4) Guaranteeing that everyone has a fair chance to success.
Those are some of the ideas that she had learned from her electoral defeat. It became clear to her that the core values of the socialist party do not resonate well when combined with noises and spins from the conservative opposition. Hence, the left needs to refined its voice so that the right can't spin it to use against us and deter others from joining us. So, what else can the left do to redefine itself that can actually attract a wide-scale following?
In the US context, the voice of the left is obviously not being heard as we have seen with what happened to Dennis Kucinich. Sure, the media's role is not to represent the voice of anybody that goes against the status quo, so what are we left to do? Is the blog sufficient in building a strong left in this country? Well it would surely be impossible unless the divided left unites around certain core principles and redefine itself.
We need to craft our message to be FOR something and not against. I propose that the left find three core values that everyone progressive can agree on. What can the progressive democrats, socialists, anarchists, communists, feminists, queers, liberationists, etc. all agree on?
I don't need to tell you that there are a lot more leftists in this country than it would seem from the corporate media. We just need to unite because our voices are louder together.
So I challenge you with this question: What can the left all unite around?