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Beyond Bernie: Electoral Strategy for an Independent Left

Organizing Upgrade pulled together leaders and activists from many of the most important movements of the left electoral upsurge to discuss both short- and long-term electoral strategy. The recent resurgence of electoral engagement amongst the social movement and party left in the US is inspiring and full of potential, but still lacks a shared strategy across the groups leading the charge. Moving past the mainstream media focus on the presidential horserace, we talk to organizers on the front lines about the current state of this movement sector, and critical interventions that independent left organizers can make to move this work forward.

The strategy session included*:
Maurice Mitchell, Working Families Party
David Duhalde, Our Revolution
Kayla Reed, M4BL
Andrea Mercado, New Florida Majority
Luke Elliott-Negri, DSA
Ash-Lee Henderson, Highlander Center, M4BL, and Southern Movement Assembly
Jon Liss, New Virginia Majority
Beth Huang, Boston DSA

The discussion was moderated by Rishi Awatramani and Linda Burnham.
*organizations listed for identification purposes only



1. The successes of social movements in the US South and the growth of the right

Ash-Lee Henderson discusses the growth of rightwing movements, and the many ongoing efforts to build up left strength and people power across the South.

2. How should left organizers approach the 2020 election?

Maurice Mitchell and Jon Liss talk about how left organizers should approach the 2020 election, and the forces we need to assemble to have our desired impact.

3. What is our long-term electoral strategy? What is our end game?

Jon Liss, Luke Elliott-Negri, David Duhalde, Maurice Mitchell, and Andrea Mercado tackle the most important and difficult strategy questions: what is our end game in electoral organizing and what is our long-term strategy?

4. How should the electoral left coordinate or align themselves? Is a new party needed?

Kayla Reed, Maurice Mitchell, and Andrea Mercado talk about how the vast number of left electoral vehicles should (or should not) coordinate their work, seek greater relationship and convergence, and focus on alignment locally.

5. The class character of DSA’s young membership, and the relationship between national and local DSA.

Beth Huang talks about DSA young membership base, its class character, and the importance of the relationship between national and local structures in DSA.