A major problem for the left, before, during and after, “the Wisconsin Uprising” is sectarianism, I am convinced. It undermines a basic strength. As I concluded in the past “heat and light” post: “After the fall of Communism, the strength of the left is its diversity, its turn away from dogmatism. Understanding what different actions, movements and institutions contribute is crucial.” It was with this view in mind that I read the discussions here and on my Facebook page on Chad Goldberg’s recent post. Here is a dialogue blending the two discussions.
I appreciated Vince Carducci’s Deliberately Considered comment, even though I wondered how he decided what is radical:
“This discussion is really getting to some good ideas, helping to move beyond the knee-jerk facile reactions to the recall. I think there’s value in both positions, though Henwood is more radical (which I have sympathy with) and perhaps as a result more reductive (which I don’t like so much). Chad Goldberg brings important firsthand experience into the discussion. I do think there’s another aspect to Fox Piven and Cloward’s book that he overlooks. It’s true that the legislative process was crucial to the success of poor people’s movement in the end, but the central thesis of the book is that the substantial gains are usually made *before* legislation not really in tandem. The legislative process, Fox Piven and Cloward assert, is the way in which the grassroots movements were mainstreamed and thus brought under control. So in this regard, I side with Henwood to a certain extent. However, even as a strategy of containment by the so-called powers that be, the fact that the legislative process embedded progressive ideals into the mainstream is important. Examples include: the creation of the Food and Drug Administration, fair labor laws, the Civil Rights Voting Act, and in fact the provisions of labor into what Daniel Bell termed “the Treaty of Detroit.” I’d like to suggest a framework within which both perspectives might be brought, specifically Jean Cohen and Andrew Arato’s work in Civil Society and Democratic Theory. I modify . . .