There Is No ‘Alt Left’ – There Are Just We The People Seeking Justice For All

By Caitlin Breedlove 

President Trump has fabricated a term and an idea that is a lie: ‘Alt Left.’

His argument? There are two sides. The Alt Right and the Alt Left and both are to blame for what happened in Charlottesville. Tell that to the family of the woman who died fighting hatred and bloodlust in her very own town. Tell that to all of the everyday people who were simply trying to make those who came bringing hate in their hearts feel unwelcome and who ended up terrified and traumatized. The Alt Right is a fancy term currently trying to put a hipster face on neo-Nazis; the lineage that brought us the mass genocide of Jews, Roma, political dissidents, LGBTQ and people with disabilities.

The Alt Right appears to be made up of mostly white men under 40, with silent or active support from the white women around them. Their rhetoric is based not only on open hatred, but a cowardly inability to face even the prospect of a 2050 in the US where they are not the racial majority, and the ideas that they might have structural and cultural supremacy and advantages.

There is no Alt Left. Which is to say there is no violent faction rooting for (and inciting) murders and death for the marginalized and scapegoated. There is no other side. So, what is there? There is an entire spectrum of leftists, progressives, and everyday justice-loving folks who are doing several things at once:

  • Resisting that embodiment of domination’s death cult inhabiting (part-time!) the White House.
  • Defying the emboldened white supremacists who are laying siege to whole towns and inciting violence and murder.
  • Daring to continue to vision a future for our counties, cities, families, communities and country that could be a relief from terror and assault, and where we could flourish.
  • Working to knit together people, groups, and ideas that are very different to create united goals and united movement. 

So, there is all that going on. Then, there are the people who live in this country (even those directly affected by oppression) who feel they are sitting on the side lines of the current wars for life and culture. I call them ‘the unorganized millions’ because they are the vast, vast majority.

We have a responsibility to organize them. We also have a responsibility, as people of faith and moral courage, to not allow a term like ‘Alt Left’ to be normalized. We – especially those of us who are white – need to resist the strategy behind the creation of this term: to make white folks feel comfortable with ‘being in the middle’. There is no middle. It is uncomfortable. Tragically, for thousands of marginalized people and those who stand beside them, it is often dangerous. But, it is more than the correct call, this moral line drawn in the sand. It is the line that we don’t want to look back on five years from now and say we were on the wrong side of.

Caitlin Breedlove is Senior Vice President for Movement Leadership at Auburn. 

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