Marcia and I have noticed that as political organizers focused on transparency, diversity and collapsing hierarchy, we often end up with allies in the far Left. Though we have been fully engaged in the electoral process and have worked for Democratic candidates (working for candidates is relatively uncommon in the far Left), we often find ourselves in disagreement with the Left that works with Democrats. Still, these positions and arguments are an illusion obfuscating a magic underneath.

Within the American Left are several evolutionary waves representing differing stages of societal transformation. There are the Leftists seeking rights and resources for the disempowered in the U.S. These folks–unions, minority-rights groups, faith-based groups–often work with the Democratic Party. They are hierarchically organized themselves, usually with a top-down structure. They’ve been called the soft Left, mid Left or just progressives.

There is another group seeking rights and resources for the disempowered in places far away, in addition to the disempowered here. These activists tend to be less hierarchically-organized, more transparent, though not necessarily more diverse in their makeup. These folks are usually called the radicals, hard Left or the rabble-rousers.

There is a third group, which doesn’t exactly have a name. This group is also focused on both domestic and foreign issues, but this third group does not recognize national boundaries. It just ignores them. This group recognizes no hierarchy, deeply respects transparency and often doesn’t even know the color of the person that they are in conversation with. This group is the young people using social networking and the web.

The American Left believes it is the behavior of the first and/or second wave of activists that forces the behavior of society and government to change. There are frequent arguments about whether first-wave or second-wave strategies and tactics are most effective. But the third group of activists are part of a larger process that is propelling change at speeds that the first two groups are only vaguely aware of. This third Left wave is where the change is easiest to see.

Focusing on process–transparency, diversity and hierarchy–rather than on the content manifestations of process, I am stunned at the speed with which the Left is achieving its goals. The Left hasn’t noticed that the process occurring below the surface of visible change is moving the whole continent of our culture into the world we’ve been seeking our whole lives.

Watch the rabbit or the hat and we see what the magician intends for us to see. Watch the process and enter the magician’s world. Process tells us where society is headed. The hats and rabbits tell us where we’ve already been. The soft Left and hard Left are focused on hats and rabbits. Watch the process, where the mystery unfolds.


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