Does America Need a Left? An Introduction

If America had a viable Left, we wouldn’t be witnessing the systematic dismantling of the advances of the New Deal, which sought to protect the poor, the working class, and the middle class from the worst consequences of the capitalist marketplace.

Michael Woloschinow Illustration

The U.S. Left alienates many with its dry language of rights and policies. Powerful change may follow once the Left starts speaking to the heart. Credit: Michael Woloschinow (marlenaagency.com)

Ever since the decline of the social movements that surged up in the 1960s and early 1970s, America’s ruling elites have been engaged in an overt class war against the middle and working class of American society. Those elites have used the threat of moving their investments overseas to disempower the labor movement, scare voters into accepting reduced taxes on corporations and the rich, and curtail environmental protections. They have done so in the name of preserving jobs, even as manufacturing jobs have declined and workers have increasingly been forced into lower-income service sector jobs or into unemployment. Meanwhile, the two-party political system has increasingly been dominated by the wealthy, so that the Democratic Party of the second decade of the twenty-first century often embraces the economic agenda of Wall Street and the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans (a recent example being the budget deal of December 2013 that cuts off unemployment benefits for over a million people and reduces food subsidies and other supports for the poor, including many who are working but underpaid).
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Rabbi Michael Lerner is editor of Tikkun, chair of the interfaith and secular-humanist-welcoming Network of Spiritual Progressives, and rabbi of Beyt Tikkun Synagogue-Without-Walls in San Francisco and Berkeley, California. He is the author of eleven books, including two national bestsellers—The Left Hand of God and Jewish Renewal: A Path to Healing and Transformation. His most recent book, Embracing Israel/Palestine, is available on Kindle from Amazon.com and in hard copy from tikkun.org/eip. He welcomes your responses and invites you to join with him by joining the Network of Spiritual Progressives (membership comes with a subscription to Tikkun magazine). You can contact him at rabbilerner.tikkun@gmail.com.
 

Source Citation

Lerner, Michael. 2014. Does America Need a Left? An Introduction. Tikkun 29(2):26

tags: Politics & Society, Spiritual Politics, US Politics   
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One Response to Does America Need a Left? An Introduction

  1. Edwin Stamm April 26, 2014 at 10:59 pm

    You might find this interesting – it’s a Brookings study on religious progressivism: http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/fixgov/posts/2014/04/21-faith-equality-religious-progressives-davis

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