A Real Party of the People

A Real Party of the People Editor’s Page Editor Michael Kazin Editors Emeriti Mitchell Cohen • Irving Howe (1920-1993) • Michael Walzer Book Review Editors Mark Levinson • t imothy Shenk Senior Editors Kaavya Asoka • Colin Michael Kazin Kinniburgh • Natasha Lewis Editors at Large Since the debacle of 2016, Democrats of all ideological t im Barker • Sarah Leonard persuasions have been vigorously debating how to return David Marcus • Madeleine Schwartz • Nick Serpe to power, in the states and the nation—while resisting the horrific rule of t rump and his GOP enablers. But their argu- Circulation Manager ments tend to dwell on who should run for office and what Alex Lubben they should say, rarely on the structure of the party itself, Art Direction which is run almost exclusively by full-time professionals. r umors Why not transform the Democrats into a truly demo- Cover Illustration cratic party? Invite any American who supports its poli- Josh MacPhee cies and candidates to become a member. For a small Intern annual fee, say $20, they would be able to take part in local Skanda Kadirgamar meetings, organized by locality or congressional district. Members could participate in a variety of ways: educate Editorial Board Atossa Araxia Abrahamian themselves and then debate policies, interview aspiring Joanne Barkan • Paul Berman candidates, organize grass-roots fundraising and house- Sheri Berman • David Bromwich to-house canvassing, and stage community events (after Luther P. Carpenter • Leo Casey Mark Engler • Cynthia Fuchs Epstein all, “party” is a verb as well as a noun). Democratic officials Gary Gerstle • t odd Gitlin would have to take their ideas seriously—or risk alienating Sarah Jaffe • Patrick Iber William Kornblum • Susie Linfield their activist base. Kate Losse • Kevin Mattson In Europe, left parties have long depended on their Deborah Meier • Harold Meyerson members to generate excitement about ideas and pro- Nicolaus Mills • Jo-Ann Mort Julia Ott • Maxine Phillips grams—and to turn out the vote. A swelling membership Jedediah Purdy • r uth r osen indicates a healthy party that has the potential to win elec- James B. r ule • Arlene Skolnick tions. Since Jeremy Corbyn became Labour’s leader, over Jim Sleeper • Ann Snitow Christine Stansell • Jeffrey 300,000 Brits have joined the party, more than doubling Wasserstrom • Sean Wilentz its numbers. As I write in early December, Labour is leading Contributing Editors in the polls. Bernard Avishai • David Bensman In the nearly two centuries since its creation, what used Michelle Chen • Marcia Chatelain to be known as “the Democracy” has never solicited mem- Jean L. Cohen • t ressie McMillan Cottom • Jeff Faux • Agnès Heller bers. However, eras when large numbers of Americans Jeffrey C. Isaac • Martin Kilson were eager to identify as Democrats were also times when Mike Konczal • Jeremy Larner the party dominated national politics—in the decades Laura Marsh • Brian Morton George Packer • Martin Peretz before the Civil War and, again, from the 1930s through Anson r abinbach • Alan r yan the 1960s. r ebecca t uhus-Dubrow Cornel West • Dennis Wrong Local institutions, with national connections, have r ichard Yeselson always mattered profoundly in American civic life. With the steady decline of unions and the ephemeral nature Publisher t he Foundation for the Study of mass protests like Occupy, leftists need to create new of Independent Social Ideas in ones, where ordinary people can discuss their political dif- cooperation with the University of ferences respectfully and seriously instead of attacking Pennsylvania Press one another on social media. Why not begin with the large, Typefaces if troubled, institution that already exists, one that has the Neutral (Atelier Carvalho Bernau) Kozmos (David r udnick) potential to wield state power? D IS SEN t W IN t E r 20 18 http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Dissent University of Pennsylvania Press

A Real Party of the People

Dissent, Volume 65 (1) – Apr 17, 2018

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Publisher
University of Pennsylvania Press
ISSN
1946-0910

Abstract

Editor’s Page Editor Michael Kazin Editors Emeriti Mitchell Cohen • Irving Howe (1920-1993) • Michael Walzer Book Review Editors Mark Levinson • t imothy Shenk Senior Editors Kaavya Asoka • Colin Michael Kazin Kinniburgh • Natasha Lewis Editors at Large Since the debacle of 2016, Democrats of all ideological t im Barker • Sarah Leonard persuasions have been vigorously debating how to return David Marcus • Madeleine Schwartz • Nick Serpe to power, in the states and the nation—while resisting the horrific rule of t rump and his GOP enablers. But their argu- Circulation Manager ments tend to dwell on who should run for office and what Alex Lubben they should say, rarely on the structure of the party itself, Art Direction which is run almost exclusively by full-time professionals. r umors Why not transform the Democrats into a truly demo- Cover Illustration cratic party? Invite any American who supports its poli- Josh MacPhee cies and candidates to become a member. For a small Intern annual fee, say $20, they would be able to take part in local Skanda Kadirgamar meetings, organized by locality or congressional district. Members could participate in a variety of ways: educate Editorial Board Atossa Araxia Abrahamian themselves and then debate policies, interview aspiring Joanne Barkan • Paul Berman candidates, organize grass-roots fundraising and house- Sheri Berman • David Bromwich to-house canvassing, and stage community events (after Luther P. Carpenter • Leo Casey Mark Engler • Cynthia Fuchs Epstein all, “party” is a verb as well as a noun). Democratic officials Gary Gerstle • t odd Gitlin would have to take their ideas seriously—or risk alienating Sarah Jaffe • Patrick Iber William Kornblum • Susie Linfield their activist base. Kate Losse • Kevin Mattson In Europe, left parties have long depended on their Deborah Meier • Harold Meyerson members to generate excitement about ideas and pro- Nicolaus Mills • Jo-Ann Mort Julia Ott • Maxine Phillips grams—and to turn out the vote. A swelling membership Jedediah Purdy • r uth r osen indicates a healthy party that has the potential to win elec- James B. r ule • Arlene Skolnick tions. Since Jeremy Corbyn became Labour’s leader, over Jim Sleeper • Ann Snitow Christine Stansell • Jeffrey 300,000 Brits have joined the party, more than doubling Wasserstrom • Sean Wilentz its numbers. As I write in early December, Labour is leading Contributing Editors in the polls. Bernard Avishai • David Bensman In the nearly two centuries since its creation, what used Michelle Chen • Marcia Chatelain to be known as “the Democracy” has never solicited mem- Jean L. Cohen • t ressie McMillan Cottom • Jeff Faux • Agnès Heller bers. However, eras when large numbers of Americans Jeffrey C. Isaac • Martin Kilson were eager to identify as Democrats were also times when Mike Konczal • Jeremy Larner the party dominated national politics—in the decades Laura Marsh • Brian Morton George Packer • Martin Peretz before the Civil War and, again, from the 1930s through Anson r abinbach • Alan r yan the 1960s. r ebecca t uhus-Dubrow Cornel West • Dennis Wrong Local institutions, with national connections, have r ichard Yeselson always mattered profoundly in American civic life. With the steady decline of unions and the ephemeral nature Publisher t he Foundation for the Study of mass protests like Occupy, leftists need to create new of Independent Social Ideas in ones, where ordinary people can discuss their political dif- cooperation with the University of ferences respectfully and seriously instead of attacking Pennsylvania Press one another on social media. Why not begin with the large, Typefaces if troubled, institution that already exists, one that has the Neutral (Atelier Carvalho Bernau) Kozmos (David r udnick) potential to wield state power? D IS SEN t W IN t E r 20 18

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DissentUniversity of Pennsylvania Press

Published: Apr 17, 2018

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