Princeton Professor Bernard Chazelle wrote a provocative essay in Counterpunch on April 2, 2008 making the case that the Left has lost its way and no longer agrees on its core vision. http://www.counterpunch.org/chazelle04022008.html Chazelle argues that the Left needs a new creed. I agree, and the following is the creed that I propose for the consideration of all who consider themselves Left. Perhaps such a deliberation can help Liberals and Progressives clarify what they really want. In my view, a creed such as the following is needed for our civilized survival, no matter what our current political stance.
CREED OF THE LEFT
Our creed is founded on love, wisdom and compassion, on genuine caring for each other, each one of us both giving and receiving caring, and we shall compel our public servants to be caring to each of us in the fulfillment of their duties. We recognize the seemingly irreconcilable conflict between liberty and equality, between liberty and social justice. We shall harmonize the conflict by wisdom and love, by genuine caring for each human member involved, and not by power, domination, or competition.
We proclaim that the eradication of violence is at the core of our vision and of our creed. We know that all wealth and privilege rests on a foundation of violence. We recognize that there is an immense existing imbalance of wealth, privilege, and power. We of the left have a judgment to make: Shall we arm ourselves to deal with the inevitable force and violence that present rulers will use? Or, shall we adopt the strategy of active nonviolence of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi? We of the left choose the strategy of active nonviolence. We know that existing power is totally dependent upon our cooperation by accepting employment within the status quo and by purchasing and consuming. In active nonviolence, we thus have immense potential power.
Our power depends upon our ability to communicate among ourselves and to trust each other. Our power rests also on our ability to withstand not only violence from our present rulers, but also to view with disdain their attempts to divide us and to manipulate us through their media. We therefore will judge our sources of information by whether or not they unconditionally support our creed, whether or not they urge the need for violence either at home or abroad, and whether or not their messages resonate with our own inner yearnings for truth, justice and peace as set forth in this creed.
We unconditionally guarantee every member of our human community the minimum resources for a life of dignity and a genuine sense of belonging to our human community; This shall include nutritious food; clean water; needed clothing; adequate housing; medical care; education through college and care in old age. We shall make sustainable use of our planet home and its resources. We shall protect normal humans from those who are anti-social or mentally ill.
We will require some members who have had much more to accept less, based on the moral principle that it is wrong for some to have more than they need when others are needy. We urge those who have more than they need to consider the benefits to them by sharing and by subjecting themselves to taxation: Preservation of our planet home; Social stability; Avoidance of Wars; Personal security; Avoidance of the constant scary existence and risk due to market volatility and capitalist business cycles.
We will limit population growth when required for the survival of all at the standards set forth in this creed.
We members of the human community shall control our ecological, economic, political, and social well being as to all matters that are subject to human control. We shall forfeit none of our human responsibility to the market, and none to the “Laws of Nature”
We guarantee to each member an equal right to flourish according to the capacity and ability of each, providing that member does no harm to other members.
We unconditionally guarantee to each member of our human community a fractional share of total political power to be exercised by majority will, subject only to the guarantee to the minority of dignity and a genuine sense of belonging. We are aware of the problems of huge political and economic institutions, and we shall limit their size to a scale truly manageable by humans.
Dated: April 12, 2008
Douglas R. Page firstname.lastname@example.org