From Insurgent Notes
January 1, 2016
We’re writing to ask you to join us at a public meeting to discuss the broad topic of “Building a Radical Left in the Age of Trump.” The meeting will be held in New York City in late January or early February. We’ll confirm a date as soon as our inquiries regarding a possible site are answered.
We are calling this meeting because, along with many others, we realize that we are entering a time of great uncertainties and great dangers—dangers that result from what the government does here and abroad and dangers that result from the emergence of a variety of new right-wing populist and nationalist forces that can only be understood as pre-fascist or fascist. At the same time, we insist that the great majority of Trump supporters cannot and should not be tarred with such a brush. Indeed, as we wrote in our most recent editorial, “There are people in the Hillary camp who are our enemies, and there are people in the Trump camp who are our potential allies.” Many people attracted to the Trump campaign, alternatively, could be attracted to a consistent vision of an alternative to capitalist society, which up till now has not existed. They will not, however, be attracted to a defense of the existing state of affairs—no matter how dressed up in notions of understanding, tolerance and opportunity.
We are convinced that the only way out of the terrible mess that this country and the world are in is the development of a mass radical movement--a movement that will challenge the fundamental bases and characteristics of capitalist society with a program for the radical reconstruction of this society under the direct democratic control of the immense majority of the people. Such a movement cannot restrict itself to participation in electoral campaigns of any kind. We need to be clear—we do not believe that such a movement can be built upon the legacies and traditions of liberalism, progressivism, social democracy or Stalinism-Trotskyism-Maoism.
Over the course of the last six years, Insurgent Notes has published fourteen issues of its online journal. For the most part, we attracted modest levels of attention and support. Recently, we believe in response to articles and editorials focused on the election and its outcome, we have seen a dramatic upswing in the number of visits to our web page, the number of comments posted and the number of new subscribers.
We feel compelled to seize upon that momentum to find out how we might contribute to the development of the movement that we so desperately need. We recognize that such a movement will be the result of the coming together of individuals with different experiences and political convictions. Towards that end, we also believe that we need to come up with new forms of political organization that can allow for the definition of fundamental agreements, provide space for ongoing productive conversations and enable us to act in concert as events unfold.
Let’s briefly describe what our preliminary ideas are for the meeting:
· The meeting would take up the better part of a day—perhaps from 11 AM to 5 PM.
· We hope to include panel discussions on at least the following major topics:
o The world’s crises and the election
o Class and race: is there anything new to say?
o An anti-capitalist vision
o Creating a new language of hope and revolt
o Naming and fighting male supremacy
o Imagining new forms of political organization.
· We also hope to include opportunities for people to get to know each other and to actively engage in conversations about the most pressing of the issues.
· We’re going to work hard before and during the meeting to insure that presentations and comments go far beyond the mere re-statement of prior convictions or the re-arguing of old debates.
· We’d like to entertain suggestions for next steps after the meeting.
· We’re hoping to sponsor an informal social event at the end of the day.
This letter is being sent to individuals who we believe might want to participate in the meeting. Please feel free to circulate it to people who you think might be interested. Beyond that, we’d like to ask for your advice about the topics we should be discussing and other individuals that we might want to invite to participate. Please respond to email@example.com as soon as possible.
In the meantime, we’re going to be contacting other individuals and organizations to see if they might be interested in participating. In the near future, we’ll be posting a meeting announcement on our web page and using other media to spread the word. We’ll keep you informed.
If you’d like to talk about any of this, you can email us and we’d be happy to set up a time to meet in person.
In hopeful solidarity,