The End of and the Beginning of a Newly Open Left In America

by: David Sirota

Fri Feb 04, 2011 at 13:30

I can still remember starting out in progressive politics. It was back in the early part of the last decade, and there was very little tolerance back then for anything even remotely resembling a progressive counterforce to the corporatist conservatism embedding itself within the Democratic Party. That's not to say that there wasn't a counterforce - it is only to say that there wasn't much tolerance for one, and there wasn't a lot of public space for any kind of progressive discourse. There wasn't, in other words, much of a genuinely open left.

This (not surprisingly) deeply troubled me - and my disgust got me into more than a little trouble in career. As just one example, I recall being raked over the coals by some of my co-workers at the Center for American Progress when I simply pointed out how much credit card industry cash the Democrats who voted for the bankruptcy bill had taken.

That was then, though - and this is now. And thanks, in part, to this site, it's fair to say that there is a much more open left than there even was a few years ago.

So while I am sad to see the end of, I also think all of us in the OpenLeft community - from the front-page posters to the diarists to the commenters - can declare Mission Accomplished. No, we haven't realized the progressive agenda we all continue to fight for and believe in - sadly, not even close. However, I do think that we have played a significant role in opening up the left to the kind of vigorous principled debates that have been lacking for far too long. I don't think that's self-aggrandizement - I think that's just a statement of fact, one that we should all feel proud of. It's not often that you get to contribute to an endeavor that genuinely changes the scope and parameters of our national political discourse.

On a personal note, I just want to offer a huge thank-you to everyone at OpenLeft. Scratching and clawing together a career in independent media is no easy task - and having a venue to write professionally without fear of editorial backlash is extremely rare. OpenLeft provided that for me, and I couldn't have survived on this career path without both the creators of this site, and the tremendously constructive community here.

In the coming week, I'm going to be re-launching my personal website at, and soon after that I will probably be blogging at In These Times magazine (nothing is set in stone on that score, but that's the basic plan right now). Also, I'll be launching my latest book, Back to Our Future, which I hope you will pre-order here. And, of course, I will still be doing my weekly syndicated newspaper column and daily morning radio show.

For me, all those projects I am working on - from a radio show with a fast-growing audience, to book writing, to a syndicated column - are a dream come true. Really, I feel so lucky to have cobbled together a career in this line of work - and now, I've got almost more work than I can handle (no doubt, a good problem to have in this tough economy). But none of it would have been possible without this community here at OpenLeft. I am eternally grateful for the chance, and in closing will just reiterate what I said to start: As much as I wish that could continue, I'm confident that we have helped truly open the left. That, more than anything, is what this project has always been about - and for good reason. Only with an open and vigorous left will we have a chance at achieving the change our country and world so desperately needed.

David Sirota :: The End of and the Beginning of a Newly Open Left In America

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Good Luck, David (4.00 / 3)
I'll miss your pieces here.  Best wishes.

Thanks, David. (4.00 / 6)
You've given us a number of ways to find you ... still, not exactly the same in terms of finding so many of my favorite voices in one place.

Appreciate the energy you've offered to Open Left and the rousing discussions you hosted...thinking back specifically to the '08 primary. Doesn't that all seem like a lifetime's worth of disappointment ago?


Wishing you well and continued success.  Be seening you in my email inbox.

thanks fotr your posts (4.00 / 4)
I really appreciated tell it like it is style

Big Hurt - (0.00 / 0)
have you told us where you're gonna be, or sent Sadie your email address?

[ Parent ]
not yet (0.00 / 0)
I promise I'll do it this weekend

[ Parent ]
I managed to sent the e-mail (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]
typos everywhere (0.00 / 0)

thanks for your posts

I really appreciated your 'tell it like it is' style

I don't make typos in 10 posts and then I make two in one...

[ Parent ]
Good luck at your endeavors. (4.00 / 3)

That you're succeeding at it speaks for itself.

David, (4.00 / 1)
thanks for your work here- and the work you continue to do.  Best of luck to you- you are providing a needed opinion to the nation and are a good spokesman.

I really do think that the groundwork that was started 8 years ago and continues today will eventually result in great rewards for our nation- it is just going to take a long time to make up for the complete lack of progressive thinking that occurred during the 80's and 90's.

All the best David! (4.00 / 2)
Ok, we had our arguments, and still occasionally have. But I will always respect you for bravely adding your views, from a populist angle, to the mix that made OL so great. In hindsight, I now see that the controversies this sometimes aroused pushed our discussions her ahead. Progressivism ISN'T about groupthink, after all. Kudos!

Even though I've known about you since (4.00 / 2)
the beginning of the Air America days on Al Franken's show, had you not been here at Open Left I don't think I ever would have learned about the radio show that you do now, which I really enjoy (I hear it over the web and in playback podcasts).

Thanks for all you've done and all you do.  

OL survivor's blog (4.00 / 1)

"Incrementalism isn't a different path to the same place, it could be a different path to a different place"

Bye for now (4.00 / 2)

Hi Dave, I'm very sad to find out that Open Left
is shutting down, but very glad to hear that we'll
still be able to read your writings.

The writers here at OL are great, but you and Paul
are by far my favorites. Looking forward to reading
your latest book and your website once it is up and

Bye for now,


HELLO! (4.00 / 1)
it is not acceptable that this 'club' dissolves - and IF it is only about 'money' - the problem is easy to resolve. I am willing to spent 30$ a month for 'the progressive company' of the people I met here.
So we only need another 150? people who are willing to spent the same amount. There are over a hundred posters here who want to stick together - and I realize some might not have the money - so let's find a way -(as anonymous once wrote) - to get the dough.

Let's organize it like a real company. The 30$ are 'shares' - an investment in a site which soon will show all the other lefty sites what's what. To start - we need a headliner - I vote for Paul. He draws a salery. We then need as strong as a particpation as the reaction to the closing of Open Left. That shouldn't be a problem because with having a 'share' - everybody will be much more involved (in creating a interesting site - finding more shareholders etc etc)

Blogging as usual will not be enough - So we also have to get more into problem solving and act more like a 'think tank' -(even if we hate the word) - Huff is pretty clever and -(for example)- by helping 'people' - to think through the dilemma with their 'underwater houses' they helped themselves for example creating lots of 'traffic'.
That doesn't mean we should be into 'traffic' - I always loved the idea of a small 'elitist thinking blog' - where (after a while) - people (hopefully) will beg to become a member -(and if they can afford it - pay much more than a 30$) -    

So it's very easy - and entirely up to y'all!
We just need about 150 'club members -(cancel the membership of your dogclub instead) - and then we will be able (again) to discuss all kind of things and I can bitch about it -(I need that!)
For example - I am very curious lately - if you can get rid of a dictator without doing so much damage to (ourselves) - 'the people' - and so I take the 'freedom' to post this suggestion on all these ByeBye posts -
Make it fly???      

Great Idea (0.00 / 0)

That's a great idea.

I would sign up too.

[ Parent ]
Thanks, David (4.00 / 1)
I found OL by following a link from Buzzflash to one of your articles and will be forever thankfull for that.

You and Paul are my favorite front pagers here but almost everyone involved were/are superb...commenters included.

Will be reading you at the new venues, and in the newspapers...good luck.

Am sure we will all continue to fight to advance people's issues against those of capital. Hope to see many of our fellow OL'ers around the intertubes.

Government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob..... FDR

The source of David's motivation... (0.00 / 0)
Most of the time, the rider spurs on the horse, but in David's case, the horse gets him going.

Best wishes David and keep pushing the progressive agenda for/with us! Looking forward to seeing you on MSNBC with your own show someday in the future.

welcome (4.00 / 1)
Open left can not be ended. It is the best site i have ever used. Please continue it :)


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welcome (0.00 / 0)
Open left can not be ended. It is the best site i have ever used. Please continue it :)


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