I don’t claim to know much about the Social Democrats USA but I was told in the past they were a semi-retired organisation of old lefties with no real political clout.

However reading this recently published statement of values and ideas for the American left, I was refreshed by the positive tone and the willingness to criticise the ‘fake left’ that has come in for plenty of attention on this weblog.

The statement comes out of a recent meeting that brought some well-known names on the US left together: The event’s speakers included: Donna Brazile, Campaign Manager, Clinton-Gore 2000; Richard Bensinger consultant on organizing to international unions; Andrei Markovits, Visiting Professor, Harvard; Jeffrey Herf Professor, University of Maryland; Michael Allen, contributor to Renewal, a journal aligned with the Blair wing of the British Labour; Penn Kemble, Notesonline; Paul Berman, author, Terror and Liberalism; Saad Ibrahim Director, Ibn Khaldun Center, Cairo; and Joshua Muravchik, author, Heaven on Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism.

Organizers of the event put forward a discussion paper that appears in full here. It stresses the importance of two themes that some on the left today consider incompatible: support for a strong labor movement, and vigorous US engagement on behalf of democracy abroad.

Richard Wilson, one of the organizers of the meeting, commented that “Any reactions to this statement should be interesting. As we note, a lot of effort is being put by both the right and the left today into wedging these two ideas apart.”

I’d be interested in what our American readers make of all this.