Joyce L. Arnold: Liberal, lesbian, Independent, equality activist, writer.

Not that it was needed, but the Great Debt Ceiling Faux Crisis of 2011 provided yet another example of the failures and dangers of the Two Party Front for the Oligarchy. Vastleft, writing last week at Corrente, provides one conclusion: “In the blessed spirit of the unfettered marketplace … isn’t it time that the Republican and Democratic parties merged?”

In last week’s post I presented a bit of context and background regarding the need for challenging and breaking the institutionalized power of Democratic and Republican control in elections and in governance, though I primarily focus on the Left side of things. Comments, and a fair number of email exchanges, reinforced what I’m thinking: more people are joining, or at least listening to, those who are creating and building ways to work toward challenging and changing our failed two party system. I’ll repeat what I said before: I have no illusions about how difficult a task this is. But I also think it’s essential.

There are, of course, those who argue that the changes need to be made from within the Democratic Party. I respect that view, and power to everyone working at that. What I find troubling are the familiar arguments which generally seem to come down to: any and all efforts toward challenging and breaking the two party stranglehold on our nation are foolish and will only help the even more evil Republicans.

Here’s the thing, and it’s the reality recognized by, I’d guess, most who work outside, and inside, the duopoly: Serious efforts to break the two party stronghold Is. Very. Hard. Slow. Long-term. Work. It’s much bigger than Obama, as it was much bigger than W. It’s about much more than 2012. Or 2014 or 2016. The current political moment in the U.S. “” created by both parties “” is one of those times when more people look around for options. Or at least talk about wanting them. But anyone seriously involved in any of the multiple efforts “” some of which have been around for years, some newly created “” will know that to make fundamental changes to the entrenched two party system will take lots of time and lots of work. And there’s that big, glaring need for money.

There are no quick fixes. There can be short and effective bursts of activity “” Tea Party. Ross Perot. Ralph Nader. Ted Kennedy. To change the perspective a bit, but still in the “how to change things” mode: The Suffragette Movement. The Civil Rights Movement. The Anti-War Movement. The Black Power Movement. The Chicano Movement. The Labor Movement. Agree or disagree with the goals of any of these, they made things happen. Some changes were of the more or less permanent nature, some not. But they didn’t do it by listening to people who told them it was impossible. In reality, of course, such efforts include set-backs, disappointments, and yes, failures. The work may not be nearly as much fun, and it certainly isn’t as sporadic and short-term, as cheering a Personality in Chief. Or for that matter, not nearly as easy as criticizing the “more evil” opposition.

Last week I listed several organizations and campaigns, some of the “third party” type, some more focused on reforming the Democratic Party. In comments, a few other suggestions were offered, and I have no doubt there are all kinds of other efforts going on, including at local and state levels, about which I know nothing.

After reading your thoughts, both here and elsewhere, I decided that instead of turning to look more specifically at some of the various projects and organizations in this post, it would be helpful to expand the reading list, so to speak. Plus, and very importantly, I wanted to invite / encourage you to join the effort. Rather than this series of posts only being about what I’m thinking and seeing, I’d love it if we continue what started with last week’s post “” turn this into a way to share ideas, questions, discoveries, etc. There is no such thing as “The Answer,” of course, although from my perspective, “work together” seems an essential element.

In addition to sharing your thoughts and ideas in the Comments, Taylor has so graciously provided “In the News,” a blog for TM readers and commenters. If you haven’t, check it out in the right hand column. Among other possibilities, it’s an excellent place to expand on the organizations, campaigns, projects and whatever, in which you are involved, or are exploring.

I’d really like to know what you’re thinking and doing.

So for now, I’ll add some new links, as well as repeat last week’s list. Once again I stress these are only a selection, and I am primarily focusing on the Left.

My related posts:

Grading the Electoral College
Two Parties = Too Few Choices

Articles and Opinions

3rd Parties: What They’re For and What They Do, Rick Gaber
Directory of U.S. Political Parties
Primary Realities, spincitysd
“What is the history of “˜third parties’ in the United States?,” This Nation
“Why Third Parties?,” Robert Longley

Political Parties

Green Party, U.S.A.
Libertarian Party
New Progressive Alliance. (Thanks to a comment from noalternative last week). More at Firedoglake.
Working Families Party

Previously listed

Americans Elect
Coffee Party
Fair Vote
No Labels
October 2011
Tequila Party
The Centrist Alliance

( Photo viaWatchingFrogsBoil )