That LeftRoots even exists might send much of established media stumbling back on their heels.
LeftRoots co-founder NTanya Lee started the group in 2014 to bridge the gap between daily organizing work and big-picture socialist strategizing. “It wasn’t enough” to just hope, she says. (Photo by Sarah Maney)
Of course, there’s a long history of socialism in communities of color in America, from what historian Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz calls pre-colonial “indigenous socialism” (and its radical heir, the American Indian Movement) to spirited traditions of Chinese American socialism in San Francisco in the early 20th century and the radical Chicano movements of the Southwest in the late 20th century. Black socialists have been a pain in the ass to many of their white counterparts for more than a century, relentlessly insisting that white supremacy is chief among the Goliaths that socialism must slay. In a 1913 essay, noted socialist W.E.B. Du Bois famously described “The Negro Problem” as “the great test of the American Socialist.”
In the American political imagination, talk of the working class still conjures an image of gruff, salt-of-the-earth white men in the Rust Belt. While they’re certainly out there, at 59% of 25–64-year-olds, white people (and white men, especially) make up a declining share of the working class. The Economic Policy Institute projects that, by 2032, a majority of the American working class will be people of color. Women already make up nearly half of working-class adults in the country at 46%.
LeftRoots refers to a cadre as a committed member who “willingly makes sacrifices, learns skills and plays roles that are required in order to fight for the change we wish to see.” Here, “cadre” acts as a small way to highlight, yet again, that isolation can be overcome, because the walls that separate those who are hungry for an egalitarian world are thinner than they imagine.
LeftRoots doesn’t see itself as the final home of this 21st-century socialism. Rather, it is “attempting to lay the groundwork for the launching of a political instrument in the future,” Kümm says.
Read the full article: In These Times August 5, 2019
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