Markos posted a very interesting article yesterday. Unlike me, he gets invited to all kinds of conferences and gets to meet all sorts of important people 🙂
Last week, Markos spent “three days at a conference of various leaders of the budding VLWC.” What interested me, were his reflections on the historical differences in coordination between the left and the right, and what he perceives as a similar split emerging between young and old activists within the leftist community today.
The reason the VRWC truly is a conspiracy is that they coordinate behind the scenes BEFORE they write their op-ed pieces, BEFORE they do their mailings, and BEFORE they write on their blogs. Hell, they coordinate before they even launch their blogs.
By way of comparison, when I decided to launch this site I didn’t ask Markos for permission, I didn’t call him so we could coordinate our message, and we don’t do that today. He found out about BooTrib only a few days before the rest of you.
That is not how the right operates, as the investigation of GOPUSA/Talon News made clear. Insofar as there is coordination between leftist bloggers, it is mostly open-source and available for all to see. We don’t get a phone call from the left-wing equivalent of Grover Norquist or Tony Blankley telling us to rev up our audiences against the judiciary, or against gay marriage, or whatever the left-wing equivalent would be.
So, while we don’t mirror the right, in some ways the new technology is beginning to bring the two sides into strategic alignment. The old leftist activism was fragmented, with environmentalists gravitating toward the Sierra Club, blacks to the NAACP, women’s rights activists to NARAL, etc. And each of these groups tried to carve out their own little fiefdoms until coordinating and appeasing them all became a task akin to herding cats.
Politicians needed to jump from one group to the next in a ritual Paul Tsongas compared to being a “Pander Bear”. The new leftist activism is very different. Groups like Moveon.org, Dean for America, and the dKos community, are diverse and encompass all these subgroups (although we still need to bring in more minority/inner city people, who lag behind in computer access).
These communities can be mobilized on many topics simultaneously. There is no need to demand orthodoxy, or reach consensus on every issue before a significant subset of a community moves into action.
This allows us to transcend the old politics of single-issue advocacy, and to avoid turf-battles. All that is needed is for the community to remain vibrant and active. And that is the future of the Vast Left Wing Conspiracy. It’s all out in the open. Each community can have it’s special emphasis, but there is no need to coordinate in secret and behind the scenes.
It seems to me that we have lucked upon a way to fight back against the right, without succumbing to the very tactics we despise.