The Decentralized, Amorphous Chaos that is True and Effective Activism

We at The Resurgent Left wanted to address a common question posed to us. And it’s a valid concern.
People often ask: How are you different from the other new organizations I’ve seen on Facebook? Do you know about those groups? And aren’t you stepping on the toes of other existing organizations? Aren’t you reinventing the wheel?
We’ll address these questions in turn.

1. How are you different than the other new organizations I’ve seen on Facebook? Are you aware of these groups?
We’re aware of one another. In fact, we’re already partnering with most of these new organizations. As of now, we’re coordinating with Sister District, Flippable, Swing Left, Code Blue, and Run for Something. And none of us are doing the exact same things. 

The Resurgent Left is the only organization we’re aware of, new or old, that specifically has the following four goals (cumulatively):

  1. Use advanced research and on-the-ground trends to determine which candidates can flip state legislatures anywhere in the United States
  2. Raise money from donors to give directly to targeted campaigns 
  3. Organize volunteers to deploy to help those campaigns
  4. Fight to end gerrymandering


We overlap in some ways with the listed groups, but are also distinguishable from each one of them in terms of objectives. And, to the extent that our goals overlap, we will be partnering with each of them to make ourselves more efficient. As an example, we’re looking to pool resources when we organize and physically send volunteers to campaigns. 

Also, while our goals may overlap, how we put those goals into effect will be different. For example, in 2017 we will be focusing on just one to three districts in Virginia. We will coordinate with other organizations so that our efforts in those districts make sense in the macro-context. And as our efforts expand, we will continue to do so with an eye on other organizations’ efforts. 

2. Aren’t you stepping on the toes of other organizations? Are you going to be reinventing the wheel?

No. First, we are a non-connected PAC. What that means is that we’re able to coordinate with other existing organizations and campaigns as much as we want.

Which means we’ll do exactly that. We’re going to piggyback on other existing efforts, but also pave new trails where need be. We chose to be a non-connected PAC precisely so that we could coordinate with other efforts.

Perhaps more importantly, we’re bringing a huge network of folks who were otherwise not involved in state politics at all. We’ve got thousands of new people who are now willing to volunteer for campaigns and give their money to campaigns they otherwise never would have heard of.

The truth is that thousands of the same people who are part of our organization would have ignored an email from the DNC.

Decentralization of efforts also leads to flattening out the hierarchical structure of our politics, allowing more people to more directly participate. As an example, if you live in Kansas and you are concerned about Medicare, you may have a hard time getting the ear of a given politician. You could call their offices or send letters, but it’s not clear whether you’re being heard.

As a member of The Resurgent Left, you’d have our ear. And we will be speaking directly with campaigns. And we can reflect your concerns directly to candidates.

This exact situation happened before. And the same arguments were levied against the messy proliferation of new organizations at the time.

It was the Tea Party movement.

Many Republicans were wondering why all these people aren’t just joining the RNC or existing operations.
Say what you will about the Tea Party movement, but it was and continues to be effective.

It began when Democrats had a clean sweep of the federal government, and conservatives panicked because they would have to wait at least two years to even have a chance to take one Congressional chamber back. Two years of complete Democrat control.

And they realized the work had to be done at the state level. Thousands of new organizations were borne with a sole focus on state legislatures.

The results? See for yourself:

chambers-today_orig.jpg

Over the last eight years, Republicans took 13 Senate seats, 69 House seats, 913 state legislative seats, 11 governorships and 32 state legislative chambers.

Why was it successful? Because a decentralized mass of organizations reached out to all their networks and focused all their collectively decentralized, amorphous, chaotic efforts on fighting for state legislatures, governorships, and Congressional seats.

The RNC didn’t suddenly just get it together. It wasn’t just Corporate America finally deciding to get involved.
It was a mess of organizations — many of which had some overlap — all fighting for the same ends.

The prevailing fallacy is that politics is like business. The flawed assumption is that once someone has occupied a given space in politics, there isn’t room for others.

That’s simply not the case. Politics is about total numbers. It’s about bringing in as many people as you can. If I know someone who has ten friends, I’m begging them to pull those friends into the fight. I’m not competing with them for space. I’m begging them to join the space.

We will be working with other organizations quite a bit, precisely because we want organizations in our space, side by side with us.

And we certainly hope to minimize any reinvention of wheels.

But to the extent that any inefficiencies arise, those drawbacks pale in comparison to how important it is that we all enter the fray, in any capacity.

With numbers comes inefficiencies. But numbers mean everything when it comes to politics. It’s simple as that.
We’re proud of existing organizations and seek to work with them. But we also know that the existing operations were not sufficient on their own.

The proof is in the pudding. Republicans control 66 out of 100 state houses across the United States. 33 out of 50 governorships.

We will partner with those organizations that seek to reverse this trend. And we’ll do it with a vast network — tens of thousands of people who were otherwise out of the fray.

Looking forward to continuing this conversation. And we look forward to fighting by your side in the struggle for social and economic justice for all.