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Liberals should unite with Libertarians (sometimes)

In a recent article for Salon, Tom Watson denounced this Saturday’s Rally Against Mass Surveillance in DC, calling the demonstration, and the Stop Watching Us coalition that organized it, “fatally compromised” by the participation of libertarian student groups and the Libertarian Party.

While I agree with some of his criticisms of hard-right libertarianism, Watson’s strange-bedfellows paranoia is misplaced and ignores the recent history in which left-right coalition-building has been instrumental in winning victories against the major parties and their corporate backers.

Watson says, "The path to NSA reform so clearly lies inside the Democrats’ big tent".  I  agree that we should compel Democrats to oppose the NSA's surveillance regime, first by holding to account ostensible progressives like Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Ann Kuster (D-NH), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) who have betrayed the activist base by standing with the surveillance state and military contractors.   And then we should elect progressive, civil libertarian Democrats (and Greens, and independents) to another 120 seats or so, to defeat the surveillance state without having to rely on Republican votes.

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