Understanding what it means when we talk about "the left" in America
"Unlike 20 or 30 years ago, there is no moderate faction of the Democratic Party complaining about deficit spending or the growth of welfare. RIP the Atari Democrat. RIP neoliberalism."
Would that this were true. Just two years ago, the House Democratic "Blue Dog" conference was calling for a Balanced Budget constitutional amendment. Granted, the COVID crisis has shaken things up politically. But with Biden, Schumer and Pelosi wielding the levers of power within the Democratic party, it's too soon to say that neoliberalism is dead.
The biggest chunk of left-leaning Americans are those who both (a) support policies some label “socialist” or “progressive” but these folks just know would help them and a bunch of ordinary folks like them, eg the first rise in the federal minimum wage since 2009 or meaningful action on soaring costs of food/housing/childcare/health care, but (b) don’t vote because they know the Republicans won’t do a damn thing on these fronts but neither will the centrist Democrats who’ve thoroughly captured the Democratic Party and shat all over progressives and Democratic Socialists in their midst.
Why vote when neither party will do what you want?
If you tally up the figures from polling, this left-leaning non-voting group of the disaffected count for ~30% of the adult population. That’s larger than any of the 3 slices of folks who do reliably vote and call themselves liberal, conservative or independent.
The fact that centrist Dems won’t even try to deliver for this massive group speaks miles to what their agenda really is: tinkering around the edges in a performative manner but most interested in keeping things pretty much the way they are.
Think Nancy Pelosi taking a knee on the floor of the House while wearing a kente cloth while doing zero to meaningfully address police violence and murder in Black communities.
Think Joe Biden crowing about having the first female, non-white Vice President but using the Congressional parliamentarian to quietly weasel out of raising the federal minimum wage when most minimum wage workers are women, non-white or both.
Think Joe Biden walking a UAW picket line for a few minutes after crushing a strike by railroad workers who mostly wanted to just have weekends off.
Centrist Dems are happy with the status quo in terms of political norms, who gets what out of the economy, who gets bombed abroad, and who in society can just go kick rocks. (Spoiler: nearly all of humanity is in the last group.)
Good overview. But we need an IDEAL TYPE of a coherent leftist-socialist program. First point : include a demand to expropriate monopolistic sectors of the economy. Pace Ross’s depiction, this is NOT a prevalent view in the DSA, which accordingly lags behind such demands raised against Amazon or finance capital circa 2008. Second point: the Left MUST insist at every opportunity that immigration and climate change are and will increasingly become two sides of the same uncontrolled international capitalism. Leftist analysis suffers from a “national gaze” analogous to the female gaze in cinema. I would recommend the short collection of recent essays by Alain Badiou, A New Dawn for Politics—the only recent political writing that understands the utterly obvious implications of globalization.
>There are no competing blocs of the Republican Party any longer. All of it, as I warned repeatedly, now belongs to Donald Trump. Trump is the former president, but those who wish to survive in the party must pledge total fealty to him.
Seems like this statement was incorrect, given the underperformance of his endorsements in recent midterms
Bernie Sanders (at least) tied for first place in the Iowa 2020 primary (with Pete Buttigeig), and won in New Hampshire, where Joe Biden came in fifth. It was only after all the other moderates dropped out that Biden was able to win primaries.
Socialists (of whatever variety) joining the capitalist- and imperialist-captured Democratic Party in hopes of turning it is like atheists joining the Catholic Church in hopes of secularizing it. It's not going to happen. As we've seen with their support for imposing a sick leave-free settlement on rail workers, and ratifying a $858 billion defense appropriations bill, it's the progressives who are going to be turned. I foresee a four party system: a left party, a centrist party (of moderate Democrats and moderate Republicans), a far-right Trump party and Libertarians. The Green Party could have been that left party, but they seem to have staked out a strategy that is not focused on actually winning elections (eventually), but on playing the role of yet another far-left cult. If you want to take over a party and turn it into a mass party for democratic socialism, the Green Party is the party to target, not the Democrats.
"Anti-Trump Republicans don’t go very far, but anti-establishment socialists—or socialist-lite—politicians can do plenty. Just ask Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Cori Bush, or Jamaal Bowman. "
Oh my good I spit my coffee out I laughed so hard!
Can do plenty.
(Tweets do not count.)