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I'm a lefty who's been pining for a Labor third party for twenty years now. Enough of a lefty, in fact, that I've never felt comfortable identifying as a Democrat.

I'm a Democrat now, though.

Third parties are the great pipe dream of American politics. Even if everything were to break right, it would take decades for an American Labor party to become an electoral force: and we can't wait. We're in a life-or-death struggle, right now, with the fascist tendency that's taken over the Republican party, and we have to use the best instrument we've got, and that's the Democratic party.

What has to happen, and what can happen with sustained effort—given the state of emergency within the country and the general, obvious failure of the Dem old-boy network—is a progressive takeover of the Democratic apparatus. The left has to do within the framework of the existing mass party of the left (and yes, I know the Democratic party isn't "really" of the left) what the theocratic right did within the mass party of the right: supply it with intellectual leadership, organizational muscle and dollars. Become indispensible to the electoral success of the party, and you become the party. Dean may not be a progressive himself, but he represents the progressive wedge, and frankly it kind of pisses me off to think of progressives entertaining third-party fantasies when we've got a shot at cracking open the mass party. Yeah, maybe it's a longshot still, but it's a damn sight less long than any third-party effort imaginable.

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The Christianists were recruited by the GOP though. The newly active progressive and moderately progressive people trying to energize the Dems are forcing their way in, which makes a difference because we first have to overcome all the hurdles the party will set up for us. How many regular people have the energy to sustain that fight?

Sorry to piss you off with third party talk :) But I think that anyone who has spent half an hour at their local Dem party monthly meeting wants to run screaming for the third party sign-up booth. I know I did.

Your words sound exactly like what Chuck Pennacchio (sp?)is saying about his strategy to win. I think he can do it and I'm behind him but it's going to mean a lot of work from wildly committed volunteers on the ground. That's the thrill and the point of politics though.

My problem is that I want to run screaming from almost any party or committee meeting of any sort. Not much of a joiner, I guess: my only utility in politics comes from jawin' about it.

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