Progressives Are Pushing Economic Democracy. Democrats Need to Listen.

On Tuesday night, the Democrats scored electoral victories by taking advantage of the energy behind the growing progressive movement. At the state level, Democrats elected seven new state governors and flipped six state legislatures. At the federal level, Democrats retook the House and elected the most progressive group of politicians in a generation — seven candidates endorsed by Justice Democrats, an electoral advocacy group focused on finding progressive alternatives to corporate Democrats, were elected to the House, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley. Moving forward, the progressive movement has the opportunity to organize both inside and outside of the Democratic Party at the city, state and federal levels to continue building a vision for a transformed society.

Democrats have the opportunity to advance this vision by bringing attention and resources to powerful local organizing throughout the country and by advancing legislation that can move the party and the political mainstream to the left. The newly-elected progressive House Democrats have a chance to greatly impact national political narratives by creating a left caucus or a Democratic Socialist caucus.

The progressive agenda must include displacing the corporate economy and creating a democratic political economy in which everyone controls together the systems that provide the things we need to live meaningful and joyous lives — our workplaces, schools at all levels, our systems for health care, housing, energy, food, and so on. As progressives build this vision, we should look to the movements in the US and around the world that are already building economic democracy through solidarity economy institutions. These movements include Cooperation Jackson and the New Economy Coalition in the US, the Zapatistas in Mexico, the Landless Rural Workers’ Movement in Brazil, the Kurds in Rojava in Northern Syria and the municipalist movement in Spain.

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