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Building the Left: America After the Sanders Campaign?
May 25, 2018 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Short URL: https://seattledsa.org/?p=7061
Michael Hardt, Heather Gautney, Kshama Sawant
Why are U.S. elections like a marriage of Milton Friedman and Margaret Thatcher? Because you’re FREE TO CHOOSE but THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE. For a moment, in 2016, it seemed possible that there could be a four-candidate race, as there was in 1860 when Lincoln won the Presidency with a minority vote but, in the end, the system survived its stresses and the two-party regime of austerity, racial violence, and perpetual military intervention continues, even though more and more voters feel that neither party represents them. What can we expect in the next electoral cycle? Will the center hold? Or will the duopoly party system finally break apart, creating new possibilities for a left movement? How can the Left draw on the mobilizational opportunities of a Presidential election cycle without withdrawing its energies from possibly more urgent tasks and blunting its own identity as an alternative to the system itself?
Sociologist Heather Gautney was a legislative fellow in the Washington office of Bernie Sanders and a researcher/organizer for his presidential campaign. She is the author of a new book from Verso, Crashing the Party: From the Bernie Sanders Campaign to a Progressive Movement. Outlining what enabled Sanders to reach out to an unprecedented number of people with a socialist message (and what stalled his progress and radical punch), she assesses the challenges for the Left given the limitations of the Democratic Party. Michael Hardt is the co-author with Antonio Negri of Assembly, which addresses the question: Why have resurgent social movements, which address the needs and desires of so many, not been able to achieve lasting change and create a new, more democratic and just society? Councilmember Kshama Sawant works inside and outside the system to give a political voice to the struggles of low-wage workers, youth, people of color and all those who are shut out.