In his piece below, John Nichols pays eloquent tribute to Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) Executive Director Tim Carpenter, whose untimely death this week leaves us bereft of a tireless champion of social and economic justice. We in DSA mourn the loss of a brother whose politics of radical inclusion made us part of his extended family and of his “team.” As Nichols points out, Tim and his colleagues saw the strategic value of DSA Founding Chair Michael Harrington’s Democratic Agenda project and passionately pursued it. Tim committed his life to advancing the vision of a transformed Democratic Party by integrating progressive electoral campaigns with social movement politics. His unflagging efforts strengthened the Congressional Progressive Caucus in Washington and built a national PDA organization that will carry on his vital work.
Just as many members of DSA have joined PDA and taken part in its campaigns, Tim Carpenter joined DSA out of solidarity. We worked together on compatible goals and out of a common heritage. We have welcomed and supported PDA’s project of petitioning Bernie Sanders to run for president. We in DSA are committed to help PDA — as the concrete organizational embodiment of Tim’s vision — survive and prosper, in pursuit of our common dreams of political and social transformation. Tim Carpenter, Presente!
Tim Carpenter’s Politics of Radical Inclusion: In the Streets and in the Polling Booths
By John Nichols
Tim Carpenter never lost faith in the very real prospect of a very radical change for the better. And he never lost his organizer’s certainty that the tipping point that would make the change was just a few more phone calls, a few more rallies, a few more campaigns away.
So he kept on organizing.
To the last.
Carpenter, the lifelong social and economic justice campaigner who nurtured Progressive Democrats of America from its founding a decade ago into a national movement, died Monday at age 55 after a long battle with cancer.
Not many hours before I learned that he had passed, Tim was on the phone with me, running through the latest numbers from a national petition drive he and PDA had organized to urge Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders to seek the presidency. They were over 10,500. A few hours after the call, he e-mailed me, with more numbers. They were over 11,000. That was typical Tim. His enthusiasm for politics was immeasurable, and infectious.
But Tim’s was never a typical politico. He knew the drill: he had been at the side of presidential candidates, developed winning electoral strategies and helped to organize movements around every essential issue of the Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush (again) and Obama eras. But Tim was always about something more; he was never satisfied with an election victory, or a legislative success; he wanted to transform politics because he wanted to transform America into a land that realized what he believed was an irrevocable promise of liberty and justice for all.
Continued at The Nation.