headspace — January 26, 2017 at 11:51 am

The Left Need Not Unify: Tolerating Each Other Is Enough

I’ve seen a number of articles and posts lately encouraging us on the Left Side of Life to end our squabbling and unify in the Resistance against Trump.

Indeed, the Left has historically a bad habit of fighting among itself. Worse, it tends to do so publicly.  (Full Disclosure: I’ve participated in these show-your-dirty-laundry snarkfests.)

Our Achilles heel is an impulse towards ideological purity, with various factions openly denouncing one another for their perceived lack of true commitment to The Cause or their misunderstanding of the proper tactics to promote it.

But the ideal of Unity is itself problematic. Around what will we unify? Around whom? As I joked in a recent FB post, “sure, the squabbling would all go away if everyone agreed with me.”

Fortunately I found a solution, for myself at least, a few years ago at Occupy Wall Street. I haven’t always adhered to it, but it works, and I’ll share it with you now.

During Occupy I had serious disagreements with many of my fellow Occupiers over politics, process and tactics. There were people I didn’t like and people who didn’t like me. But during our time at Zuccotti Park and afterwards, I would always tell myself:  “It takes all kinds…if you want a mass movement, you’ve to to deal with the mass of people.”

So I never let my misgivings show. I always supported OWS, even in its sillier moments and when I had my gravest doubts.

It’s this “it takes all kinds” attitude that we should assume as we resist. Some may say the answer is running for office. Others may say it is taking to the streets. Some may say we should focus on racism. Others, that we should be talking economics. Some may say identity politics is a dead end. Other may see it as the path ahead.

It’s all good.

See, power is about numbers. Get enough people moving in the same general direction and you will prevail.

So forget about unity. Let’s simply tolerate and accept the diversity of views and strategies and tactics of our fellow Lefties.

Whether we know it or now, we’re all fighting for the same thing.

Forward march.

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