A warm welcome to OpenLeft run by Matt Stoller, Chris Bowers and Mike Lux. While MyDD has a new set of writers, I’ve found the writing to remain excellent. At OpenLeft, I am certainly excited about getting a new set of spectacles through which to watch what’s happening online.

I found Stoller’s “What Is OpenLeft.com?” an interesting read. I wasn’t sure about why Stoller chose the photos of MLK Jr and George Meany of the AFL until I read the piece again. It’s a good question — who are the MLK’s and Meanys among progressives today?

Stoller says:

We want to explore various characteristics of Open Left politics. Identity, including race, notions of the ‘creative class’, and religiosity are at the root of our changing political dynamics. New Economy companies such as Google and sustainable energy businesses are a part of these emerging coalitions, and extractive industries are set against us.

I’m looking forward to hearing more about from the front page writers.

On Chris Bowers’ thinkpiece “The End of the Flat Blogosphere?“, I found the JONI Discussion Questions thought-provoking, particularly:

# Part One, The Way It Was: Many bloggers do not even wish to gain entry to the “short head” of the blogosphere. What are the comparative advantages and disadvantages of operating “short head” and “long tail” blogs?

# Part Two, The Way It Is Now: What are some successful-and unsuccessful-strategies for drawing more attention and traffic to “long tail” blogs?

I have a question of my own: Should Jack and Jill Politics endeavor to become a “short head” high traffic blog? To say yes, well, might sound a bit big for our britches. To say no, however, underestimates the interest that blacks and non-blacks have in hearing from new African-American voices online. The Old Left identity organizations have really let down people of color, especially in this millennial decade. In the face of a war killing our family members and robbing our communities of desperately needed resources, stigmatizing and life-threatening racial profiling, the rampage of HIV/AIDS, persistent poverty, environmental blight, the continuing injustice suffered by Katrina victims — the NAACP decides to bury the word “nigger” a few months after it might have been relevant to do so (during the Don Imus dust up). From CNN/AP:

The NAACP held a symbolic funeral in Detroit in 1944 for Jim Crow, the systematic, mostly Southern practice of discrimination against and segregation of blacks from the end of post-Civil War Reconstruction into the mid-20th century.

It illustrates so clearly the problem — Jim Crow was an unconstitutional and cruel apartheid that impacted all of America. No one has called me a nigger to my face since I was a small child. It simply does not impact my daily life. It is intellectual, safe, toothless and non-vital. How did this get chosen and why did it take so long to pull together as an awareness “stunt”?

The OpenLeft blogroll leaves off orgs like the Urban League, CORE, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, King Center, National Council of La Raza and others that seem to stand still when we need them to strike. I don’t see any blogs linked that focus on religion and progressives though I believe Chris that Open Left is a work in progress. It’s off to a good start. One of the weak areas in the progressive movement has also been progressive religious institutions. Some of these are just now beginning to get religion (so to speak) while other newer, right-leaning faith-based orgs such as the National Association of Evangelicals are getting really interested in climate change, the Iraq war and poverty.

I found eteraz’s Open Left Diary an interesting and well-led discussion on Open Left and Minorities. The diary almost picks up where other bloggers left off to explore earlier questions and asks a question of its own:

The ultimate question is: race-conscious or race-blind; religion-conscious or religion-blind (referring only to those communities whose religion is already politicized); focus on under-represented people via minority-rights or economic-rights.

Food for thought — what do you think?

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