Party History

On Tuesday, March 21, 2006 at 7:30pm, in an oak-paneled room with three unlit wax candles, it began. Roughly a half-dozen people decided to go forward with an idea that had been circulating for some months: a party of the Yale Political Union that would further the Left in that forum, on campus, and – we hoped – ultimately, through our alumni, on a national level. Cerin Lindgrensavage, Dara Lind, Paul Selker, and Rachel Homer were asked to be the party’s first group of officers. Silas Kulkarni, whose enthusiasm and conviction had brought us all together, accepted the title of Founding Chair.

Three days later, we held a meeting to explain to all who were curious or interested what we were all about. Our sign-up lists swelled, and we planned our first debate for March 30 on the topic, Resolved: Women should be eligible for the draft. Numerous informal dinners followed, as well as a Whiskey Rebellion and marathon sessions of Constitution-writing. Nearly a month later, on April 28, the Party of the Left met in caucus. The Constitution was read and vigorously debated—indeed, substantial changes resulted from additions proposed on the floor. All individuals present then signed the Constitution, ratifying it. We proceeded directly into the electionof officers. In its second semester, the Fall 2006, the Party held nine debates under the leadership of Chair Paul Selker. After narrowly deciding that torture can be justified, the caucus rejected contentions that government handouts can’t work and that free love is wrong. While we wanted out of Iraq, we couldn’t agree to go Into Sudan. And while support for Ned Lamont’s antiwar Senate bid was carried, we declined to endorse the proposition that the Left needs Lamont. This stood us in good stead when Lamont was beaten and we were suddenly without him.

On December 6, 2006, the Party of the Left was admitted to the Yale Political Union with thirty-seven members, as the second largest party in a Union of seven parties. Today, the PoL continues to strive towards the goals laid out in its founding mission, “both to develop our members as people and leaders, and to develop a new vision of the American Left.”