In an interview with the New Left, Jodi Dean (political theorist, professor at William Hobart and Smith Colleges, and author of the recently published book The Communist Horizon) was asked about what needs to happen to give left politics the opportunity to attack rather than defend:
We need a Party—or something like it. Maybe another way to say this is that we need to think in terms of a political organization that can help with duration, integration, vision, and accountability. The rage of the people against capitalism, and the state that serves and protects it, is expanding and intensifying weekly, even daily. The thing is, this kind of chaotic situation, opens up opportunities not just for us but also for fascists, as is abundantly clear in Greece. Violence and chaos can easily work against us if people get frightened and turn to the state for protection—not realizing that they are jumping directly from the frying pan into the fire! A Party can help develop and supply a vision of communist alternatives, as well as participate in moving protests in communist directions—for example, by helping train new leaders, organizing neighbourhoods and cells, providing infrastructure and materials; one of the cool developments with Occupy Wall Street has been Occupy Sandy; the networks of skilled and available people brought together in the movement supplied an organization able to work closely in areas hard hit by the hurricane. So, a party is important for moving toward a phase not just of destruction but also creation. And, I think the form the party will have to take will need to be different from what we've had in the past, learning from the last decades of failure as well as success; it won't succeed if it is overly dogmatic and centralized; it will need to be responsive and adaptable, but also with a clear commitment to equality and the abolition of private property.
If the central problem urban activists face is the political apparatus in charge of the city, then there are two potential responses–assuming "quitting" isn't one of them. One response is to take over the political apparatus. The other response is to create an alternative. There are all sorts of problems with the third party notion at a national level. But there aren't as many challenges with the SECOND party notion (most cities either have non-partisan elections or are run by the Democratic Party) at a local level. If an entity like Occupy can shift towards neighborhood based organizing using the Second Party and a broad issue like climate change as the general organizing principle, there's a chance to knock out two birds with one stone.