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BLOCK AND BUILD: Left Strategy in the MAGA Era

A Convergence Syllabus

Hands raised and clasping, with the lettering "Block & Build" across the bottom and up the right side of the square.

This is a syllabus for an in-depth study of the Block & Build strategy. Convergence Magazine, along with many other social justice groups, believes this strategy best addresses the challenges of the current moment.

The main dynamic shaping this moment is the drive by a powerful right-wing bloc to impose authoritarian rule and a white Christian Nationalist agenda on the country. This bloc, gathered under the banner of “Make America Great Again” (MAGA), has already captured the Republican Party and the Supreme Court, and holds trifectas (governorships and legislative majorities) in 22 states. The drama being played out today centers on whether MAGA will succeed in gaining full federal power in 2024 or soon after; and, if they are beaten back, what will be the character of the anti-MAGA governing coalition.

The strategy elaborated in this syllabus is aims to block MAGA’s bid for power and while doing so build enough independent progressive clout to start the country down the road to a robust multiracial, gender-inclusive democracy and an economy that works for all on an environmentally sustainable planet.

To help participants grapple with the dramatic impact the Gaza crisis has had on US politics, Convergence added a special session to this study.

Syllabus Overview

Discussion groups and classes based on this syllabus would ideally hold seven 90-minute sessions. Each session is focused on a major component of the Block and Build strategy, with three to four key points identified ahead of time. Each session will include some discussion of how this approach differs from some other views on the Left. There are readings for each section. A set of sample discussion questions for each session accompanies this syllabus.

The points in different sessions overlap, but each session has a distinct focus. Here are the session headings and a recommendation for obtaining a general overview of Block and Build before beginning the study.

Pre-Study Preparation: For an overview of the Block and Build strategy that will help participants navigate the study, take a look at one or both of:

You can also download a printable PDF version of this syllabus here.

We also held a webinar to introduce the concepts in the syllabus and discuss its application. You can watch the archived video here. The slide deck can be downloaded as a PDF.



Session 3: Defend and Advance Democracy, Engage Elections, Fight for Governing Power

The fight for political democracy is integrally connected to—and an indispensable component of—fighting for a better life for all those who are exploited, oppressed, marginalized, and discriminated against. Because of the close interconnection between white Christian Nationalism and capitalism, democratic struggles are essential to opening up progressive resolutions to the crisis of neoliberal capitalism.
Group of canvassers for the DC Tipped Minimum Wage Campaign


Session 4: Progressive Agenda Imperative I: Working-Class Orientation, Special Place for Racial and Gender Justice

Because of the historic connection between White Christian Nationalism and capitalism, the emerging progressive current can be durable and effective only if it fights for the rights and interests of all who face injustice and discrimination in the US and around the world—and stands firm against attempts to fragment people using identity-based wedges.