Democratic Party

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Democrats Are Moving to the Right Again and Towards Another Defeat

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 25/06/2020 - 12:47am in

New York City (BAR) — Besides not being Trump, the Democrats offer nothing but think they can win with a candidate who has no constituency, charisma, or any platform positions that would attract more voters.

This presidential election season bears a striking resemblance to that of 2016. We were assured by pundits, pollsters, Democratic politicians, and million-dollar consultants that Donald Trump couldn’t possibly win. Except he did win and the aforementioned experts should have been discredited and forgotten.

Four years later the same people who should have been ignored forever are again claiming that Trump is on the ropes. The endless and useless anti-Trump talking points have done their damage. People who ought to know better glean dubious evidence and think that wishing for Trump’s exit will get him out of the White House. At the same time, Joe Biden’s campaign is fully within the sphere of right-wing neo-liberalism which lost in 2016.

The confused and misguided “resistance” focused on crowd size at Trump’s Tulsa, Oklahoma rally, and happily concluded from this paltry evidence that he will lose. The nonsense is peddled by Democratic Party propagandists to keep voters in line and to prevent them from expressing righteous indignation after their failures in 2016.

While millions of people whistle past the electoral graveyard, Joe Biden attacks Trump from the right. After Trump indicated a willingness to engage in talks with Venezuelan president Nicholas Maduro, Biden tweeted his displeasure. “Trump talks tough on Venezuela but admires thugs and dictators like Nicolas Maduro. As President, I will stand with the Venezuelan people and for democracy.” It is Barack Obama who began the assault on the Venezuelan people. It is fitting that his former vice president is happy to continue Trump’s sanctions, which are war by other means resulting in over 40,000 deaths.

The “Trump loves thugs” trope is just a continuation of the Russiagate hoax obsession, which was a substitute for meaningful opposition. Now Democrats behave as though Biden’s choice of a running mate has some significance and read tea leaves based on Trump rally attendance.

The impotence of progressive Democrats is on full display. Biden is happy that COVID-19 prevents him from having large scale rallies. He is without a constituency, charisma, or any platform positions that would attract more voters. It is open to question if he could attract a crowd of any size at this moment.

Meanwhile, black voters are being misled once again and the running mate discussion is the tool of the moment. Amy Klobuchar’s consideration became a non-starter when her role in enabling cops like the ones who killed George Floyd became widely known. The former prosecutor never took any actions against police brutality in Minneapolis, Minnesota and her status as a possible running mate was dead in the water. She was no longer in contention but claimed that she bowed out voluntarily. “I think this is a moment to put a woman of color on that ticket.”

It is this kind of chicanery that could lead to another Trump victory. There is no reason to assume that his personal incompetence during the COVID-19 crisis will impact Trump’s appeal to the 60 million people who voted for him the first time. His supporters are like him, questioning the pandemic’s severity and even bringing along their guns to make the case for reopening the economy and risking their own lives.

Sneering at his supporters is no substitute for getting out the vote. Hillary Clinton and the Democrats lost the electoral college in 2016 because they didn’t heed the most basic campaign advice. Once again they hope to win by threading the needle and getting enough votes in swing states to drag Biden over the finish line. It must also be said that they are willing to live with Trump. The opposition to his administration is mostly phony with performances such as ripping up speeches, taking a knee, and wearing kente cloth. Democrats go along with defense spending, regime change, and offering meager assistance for millions of people devastated by COVID-19.

Trump’s supporters have no reason to dislike him. He has done what they wanted him to do. The sight of children in cages and protesters under tear gas attack doesn’t diminish his appeal to them at all. Meanwhile, the Democrats are not protecting black voters’ rights. The purges from the rolls, closed polling places and other methods of disenfranchisement are continuing without comment from the Democrats who ignore their most loyal and important cohort.

The sleight of hand shows the weakness of the left in general and of black people in particular. We are out of the loop in every sense possible. Millions of people took to the streets in response to police violence but their presence is sustained by the depth of suffering across the country. But the Democrats’ donor class demands that they do nothing except engage in pretense. Biden promised as much himself.

We can disagree in the margins but the truth of the matter is it’s all within our wheelhouse and nobody has to be punished. No one’s standard of living will change, nothing would fundamentally change.”

For good measure, he added, “I need you very badly.” On election day we will end up with Trump 2.0, even if Biden manages to win.

Feature photo | Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden speaks with business owners, June 17, 2020, in Yeadon, Pa. Matt Slocum | AP

Margaret Kimberley is a Black Agenda Report editor and senior columnist.  She blogs at Freedom Rider and lives in New York City.  She can be reached by e-mail at Margaret.Kimberley@BlackAgendaReport.com.

The post Democrats Are Moving to the Right Again and Towards Another Defeat appeared first on MintPress News.

Podcast: How the Democratic Party Unleashed Decades of Racial Injustice and Police Brutality on Communities of Color

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 20/06/2020 - 6:08am in

Welcome to MintCast, the official MintPress News podcast hosted by Mnar Muhawesh. MintCast is an interview podcast featuring dissenting voices, independent researchers and journalists the establishment would rather silence.

In this episode, we are joined by Margaret Kimberly and Monique Cullars Doty. 

Kimberly is a New York-based writer and activist for peace and justice. You can find her work at the Black Agenda Report where she is a senior columnist. Her book, “Prejudential: Black America and the Presidents,” was published in February. 

Cullars Doty is a local organizer for the Black Lives Matter Twin Cities Metro and greater Minnesota region and the Twin Cities Coalition for Jamar Clark. 

While some are calling it a “revolution” and others an “American intifada,” one thing is clear, that millions of people have taken to the streets to demand justice for George Floyd and an end to police brutality. This after a viral video showed Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck, slowly suffocating the life out him while he begged for his mother. Floyd struggled for air for over eight minutes. His dying words “I can’t breathe” were heard around the globe, igniting a mass uprising and calls to defund the police, place law enforcement under community control, and even to dismantle law enforcement institutions altogether. 

 
The state, under the Trump administration, has met their calls with brutality, beating and shooting protesters and journalists with rubber bullets, tear gas, and so-called less than lethal weapons. The National Guard has been deployed in over 30 states as the government struggles to keep a lid on the public’s anger. 

Philando Castile, Eric Garner, Walter Scott, Breonna Taylor. The list of victims of racist police violence goes on and on. Police, on average, kill over 1,000 Americans every year, vastly more than the rest of the developed world combined, yet officers are largely protected from any consequences. 

Margaret Kimberly and Monique Cullars Doty join MintCast to unpack the decades of racial injustice and police brutality unleashed on communities of color by the Democratic Party, how Democrats attempt to save face by co-opting justice movements, and the party’s roots in White supremacy. 

Addressed in this discussion is also billionaire money going into the non-profit industrial complex under the guise of social justice philanthropy and how this is affecting Black Lives Matter on the national front. The guests also go over community policing solutions and local solutions to support disenfranchised communities. 

This program is 100 percent listener supported! You can join the hundreds of financial sponsors who make this show possible by becoming a member on our Patreon page

Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes, Spotify and SoundCloud. Please leave us a review and share this segment.

Mnar Muhawesh is founder, CEO and editor in chief of MintPress News, and is also a regular speaker on responsible journalism, sexism, neoconservativism within the media and journalism start-ups.

The post Podcast: How the Democratic Party Unleashed Decades of Racial Injustice and Police Brutality on Communities of Color appeared first on MintPress News.

Political Suicide: The Fight for the Soul of the Democratic Party

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 19/06/2020 - 3:55am in

Publication Date: June 23, 2020

Ted Rall’s latest is a no-holds-barred look at the civil war raging within the Democratic Party in the graphic style of his national bestseller, Bernie.

There’s a split in the Democratic Party. Progressives are surging with ideas and candidates like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. 72 percent of Democratic voters are progressives. But centrists like Tom Perez and the Clintons still run the DNC party apparatus–and they don’t want to compromise. Intraparty warfare exploded into the open in 2016. It’s even bigger now.

The struggle goes back decades, to the New Left and the election of Richard Nixon over George McGovern. It continued with the Democratic establishment’s quashing of insurgent progressives like Jesse Jackson, Ralph Nader and Howard Dean. The vast scale of the DNC’s secret conspiracy to stop Bernie Sanders in 2016 nomination came out courtesy of WikiLeaks.

Will Democrats again become the party of the working person? Or will the corporatists win and continue their domination of electoral politics? Ted Rall gets to the bottom of the story neither the Democrats nor the Republicans want you to know: how the civil war in the Democratic Party poses an existential threat to the two-party system.

Current Events/Biography, 2020
Seven Stories Press Paperback, 5″x7″, 192 pp., $16.95

Click here to Order Online.

Amid George Floyd Protests, Democrats Are Choosing a “Tough on Crime” Ticket

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 16/06/2020 - 2:39am in

Amid an anti-police movement that has swept the country, the Democratic Party is choosing to run on a “tough on crime” ticket for November. A new Reuters exclusive reports that California senator and former prosecutor Kamala Harris is the clear favorite for the job of vice-president in a Biden White House. Bookmakers agree, putting Harris’ chances at around 50 percent. No other candidate, according to betting analyst Oddsmaker, has a better than one in ten chance.

The nationwide protests, sparked by the police killing of George Floyd on May 25, have been increasingly led by Black Lives Matter, and the calls to defund or dismantle the entire policing system are growing louder. In response, more than 30 states mobilized the National Guard to quash the unrest. A recent poll found that 74 percent of the country, including 87 percent of Democrats, support the protests, with two-thirds backing Black Lives Matter.

Despite this, Biden is moving towards choosing a running mate that is most famous in activist circles for her conservative, “lock them up” stance when it comes to crime.

 

A conservative “tough on crime” agenda

As District Attorney of San Francisco, Harris strongly opposed marijuana legalization. Under her jurisdiction, arrests and convictions for the drug increased, as did the percentage of black people arrested for its possession. Yet during her unsuccessful run for the Democratic nomination last year, she laughed and joked about illegally using marijuana herself. During the Democratic debates, she was also accused by Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of blocking evidence that would have freed an innocent man from a death sentence. Harris was also a vocal supporter of the controversial three strikes law that sent repeat offenders to prison for life. When running for Attorney General, her position was to the right of her Republican opponent.

Nevertheless, many in the business world appear very excited about the potential pick. “She understands the moment,” claimed Marc Lasry, Chairman of the Avenue Capital Group and a member of Biden’s national finance committee, “They want someone who will galvanize people. She seems to be that person.”

It seems unlikely, however, that either Biden or Harris will galvanize protestors demanding racial justice. Biden’s 1994 Crime Bill imposed the three strikes rule, leading to a great increase in the number of people in prison. Between 1994 and 1998, the total number of people in U.S. prisons rose by 19 percent and continued climbing for a decade longer. Biden himself began his political career by opposing racial desegregation and bussing, something that Harris grilled him on in the Democratic debates. “There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools and she was bused to school every day. That little girl was me,” she said directly to him.

 

“Shoot them in the leg”

The former Delaware senator has categorically rejected calls to defund the police. In fact, he is currently proposing giving them more money. Scenes of police brutality across the nation shocked the world to the extent that other countries have halted the sale of tear gas and rubber bullets to the U.S. Yet the extent of Biden’s criticism of law enforcement is that they should shoot protestors’ legs, rather than their torsos. He has also called for a nationwide ban on chokeholds. However, without penalties for using these holds, the legislation means little. The NYPD has long banned chokeholds. Yet Officer Daniel Pantaleo killed Eric Garner in 2014 using one, the victim’s last words, “I can’t breathe” becoming a rallying cry for activists. Pantaleo was not indicted and was only fired more than five years later. Given their backgrounds, Biden and his vice-president are unlikely to enforce laws to prosecute the police.

Indeed, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, another frontrunner for the VP job, actively shielded killer police from justice. In 2006, while she was state prosecutor, Chauvin shot and killed a man while on duty and was not charged. He would later go on to kill again. MintPress News was the first outlet to break the story. Since it emerged, Klobuchar has fallen from the favorite to a 25-to-1 outsider, according to bookmakers.

The increasingly likely choice of Harris represents a decision to pursue a conservative “tough on crime” agenda for November and is unlikely to engage non-voters or the insurgent progressive wing of the party, whose candidate, Bernie Sanders, almost won the nomination himself. It also risks being interpreted as tone deaf by many black constituents. While Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the protests have allowed Biden to open up a wide lead over him in the polls, there remains a lack of public enthusiasm for the former vice-president. Only 24 percent of Democrats say they are enthusiastic about their party’s choice for president, which could lead to a very weak ground game come November. However, with almost five months until the election and considering all that has happened in the first five months of this year, only a fool would feel certain of what is to come.

Feature photo | Democratic presidential candidates former Vice President Joe Biden, left, and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif. shake hands, Sept. 12, 2019, after a Democratic presidential primary debate in Houston. David J. Phillip | AP

Alan MacLeod is a Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent. He has also contributed to Fairness and Accuracy in ReportingThe GuardianSalonThe GrayzoneJacobin MagazineCommon Dreams the American Herald Tribune and The Canary.

The post Amid George Floyd Protests, Democrats Are Choosing a “Tough on Crime” Ticket appeared first on MintPress News.

Is This Regime Change?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 11/06/2020 - 6:00am in

The White House, June 2020. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons. Thanks to Donald Trump, white Americans are starting to see the...

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Rebellion, Confusion and Kente Cloth: The Establishment Can’t Handle Black Lives Matter

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 11/06/2020 - 12:33am in

New York City (BAR) — Everything has changed since the world witnessed George Floyd’s murder at the hands of police. Suddenly, workers are publicly criticizing their bosses. Politicians are backpedaling and newspapers face revolts when they are caught spreading propaganda. In Europe and the United States monuments to genocidaires are defaced and pulled down.

But no one should think that the black misleaders have given up allegiance to their overlords among the Democratic Party donor class. The scoundrels are giving lip service to change but are committed to business as usual and they co-opt the language and imagery of the movement to do it.

In addition, the movement itself is sometimes a source of confusion. While well-meaning, proposals such as defunding the police are highly problematic. They do nothing to address the foundational nature of state violence and allow budgetary sleight of hand to create new methods of law enforcement. The demands for community control and abolition must remain at the top of the list.

While people of goodwill sincerely debate, the black political class does everything in its power to make sure that nothing much is accomplished at all. The Congressional Black Caucus pulled out their kente cloth prop and added taking a knee with Nancy Pelosi and Charles Schumer in one of the worst photo opportunities of all time.


Pelosi and other members of Congress, kneel at the Capitol’s Emancipation Hall, June 8, 2020, on Capitol Hill. Manuel Balce Ceneta | AP

They are proposing reforms that will never be approved by the Republican-controlled Senate or Donald Trump. They are also keeping their police-empowering Protect and Serve Act in place. Protect and Serve makes assaulting a police officer a federal offense, and nearly every victim of police violence is again victimized by this spurious charge.

The chicanery must be pointed out, yet it must be acknowledged that changes are far-reaching and events are occurring which no one would have predicted just a few months ago. Kente cloth charlatans are not only the ones being exposed. When New York City mayor Bill de Blasio’s daughter was arrested at a protest the police union revealed her name to the press in an effort to embarrass him. In return, de Blasio defended cops who drove vehicles into a crowd, beat protesters and bystanders alike, and even arrested legal observers from the National Lawyers Guild.

In response, New York City employees signed an open letter to the mayor condemning his supine support of a police department that hates him. They broke every rule of politics and conventional wisdom given to employees anywhere. The dictum of never criticizing a boss has gone out the window along with everything else.

Corporate media propaganda has also taken a hit. James Bennet was the editor of the New York Times opinion page but is now without a job after a similar employee revolt. Staff was rightly angry when the Times printed an editorial from Arkansas senator Tom Cotton, who advised sending the military to quell nationwide protests. When Times employees spoke up it was revealed that the newspaper pitched the idea to Cotton, and not the other way around. Bennet also had to admit that he didn’t even read the fascistic screed.

The “paper of record” has long been a purveyor of war propaganda and the utterances of conservatives like Cotton. But the standard operating procedure isn’t good enough now and someone a few weeks ago can now be the scapegoat who gets pushed under a bus.

In Europe, thousands of people have turned out to protest for Floyd and against the United States. In Athens, the U.S. embassy was the target of demonstrators. Europe has its own history of racism and condemnation of this country has inspired people to be brave about their own nations’ criminality.

Parisians marched but not just for George Floyd. Adam Traore was killed by French police in 2016 and the anger about his death never disappeared. That is why a crowd of thousands gathered to say both of their names.

Long dead criminals are also being taken to task. Belgium’s King Leopold presided over one of the world’s worst genocides in the Congo where up to 10 million people were killed in quest to maximize rubber production. In recent days monuments to Leopold have been defaced with graffiti and red paint representing the blood he spilled. In Britain, the statue of Edward Colston was pulled down and dumped into a river in the city of Bristol. Colston made a fortune selling 100,000 Africans to colonies in the Caribbean. His name is still present in his hometown in recognition of the philanthropy that came from selling people and working them to death.


A statue of King Leopold II is smeared with red paint and graffiti in Brussels, June 10, 2020. Virginia Mayo | AP

No one is safe. New York Times editors, mayors of major cities, and even long-dead criminals are being called to account. People have lost their fear because they are desperate and angry. It is harder to convince them that all is well when their suffering was deliberately created and their pleas for redress were ignored.

The reaction to these acts of rebellion has been all too predictable. Politicians are running scared and dare to do what they would never have considered before.  The Minneapolis city council voted to disband its police department. But the mayor has already expressed opposition and the state of Minnesota would also have to approve. Not only can the council not deliver on their vote, but they have done nothing to bring justice to those already killed by police in that city. The movement would do well not to be taken in by unworkable schemes meant to silence them.

While the well-meaning struggle with direction, the powerful see the handwriting on the wall and respond with their own kente cloth moments. The CEO of Chase, Jamie Dimon, photographed himself taking a knee, but outside of a bank vault, just in case anyone didn’t know whose side he was on. Corporations are claiming they will do better in their treatment of black employees and the NFL is making mealy-mouthed apologies to Colin Kaepernick. Nike says it will donate $40 million to as yet unnamed organizations serving black communities.

All of the opportunism is the result of a mass determination to see change that benefits the people. The moment was rife as kleptocracy enriched the already rich and a pandemic decimated already shaky economies. Now white people have themselves faced the wrath of police goon squads and are now accepting proposals they would have opposed or ignored not too long ago.

There is the possibility of advancement but also of reaction. The system knows how to defend itself and how to appeal to the public. This moment requires great vigilance. The people in movement can bring about great changes. But the kente cloth wearing rascals will not disappear anytime soon.

Feature photo | House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N.Y., center, and House Majority Whip James Clyburn of S.C., right, and top Congressional Democrats, raise their hands during a news conference to unveil policing reform and equal justice legislation on Capitol Hill, June 8, 2020, in Washington. Manuel Balce Ceneta | AP

Margaret Kimberley writes the Freedom Rider column which appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well at patreon.com/margaretkimberley and she regularly posts on Twitter @freedomrideblog. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com

The post Rebellion, Confusion and Kente Cloth: The Establishment Can’t Handle Black Lives Matter appeared first on MintPress News.

Podcast: Aaron Mate Debunks RussiaGate and Discusses How Liberals Came to Love Bush-Era Neocons

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 21/05/2020 - 1:08pm in

Welcome to MintCast, the official MintPress News podcast hosted by Mnar Muhawesh. MintCast is an interview podcast featuring dissenting voices, independent researchers and journalists the establishment would rather silence.

In this episode, we are joined by Aaron Mate —  investigative journalist, contributor to The Nation and host of “Pushback” on The Grayzone. Mate has spent the last four years covering the mainstream media and U.S. intelligence claim that Russia hacked the U.S. elections in 2016.

Most recently, Mate revealed a bombshell that Crowdstrike, the firm behind the accusation that Russia hacked and stole DNC emails, admitted to Congress that it had no direct evidence that Russia actually stole the emails or infiltrated DNC servers. 

Thanks in part to the global pandemic that has been dominating headlines, the revelation was not picked up by corporate media, the same corporate media, that for the past four years, worked diligently to convince the American public that Russia interfered in the 2016 elections to help Donald Trump. 

The mass hysteria caused by Russiagate since 2016 caused so much paranoia that the American public became convinced that Russia was corrupting and manipulating the American political system. However, very little evidence was presented to the back that claim. In fact, the most famous claim published by the New York Times and the Associated Press in 2017 was that “all intelligence agencies agree Russia hacked our elections.” These same news organizations would later retract that claim yet they still continued to peddle that narrative. 

For another two years, U.S. political and media voices continued to promote the narrative that President Donald Trump conspired with the Kremlin and that Special Counsel Robert Mueller would prove it through his probe which was released last year.  

Mate wrote in The Nation that,

In the process, they overlooked countervailing evidence and diverted anti-Trump energies into fervent speculation and prolonged anticipation. So long as Mueller was on the case, it was possible to believe that “The Walls Are Closing In” on the traitor/puppet/asset in the White House. The long-awaited completion of Mueller’s probe, and the release of his redacted report, reveals this narrative—and the expectations it fueled—to be unfounded.” 

Most recently, however, previously sealed FBI documents “indicate close contacts between Israel and the Trump campaign and that the Mueller investigation found evidence of Israeli involvement, but largely redacted it.” This was largely ignored by the same outlets peddling Russiagate. 

Mate argues, “the real Russiagate scandal is the damage it has done to our democratic system and media.”

Aaron Mate joins us to explore all of this and how four years of Russiagate propaganda has been the gift that keeps on giving for both the Trump administration and the Democratic Party, gift that pushed progressives to the right by promoting Cold War propaganda and taught them to love Bush-era neocons and a murky intelligence community mired in corruption. 

This program is 100 percent listener supported! You can join the hundreds of financial sponsors who make this show possible by becoming a member on our Patreon page

Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes, Spotify and SoundCloud. Please leave us a review and share this segment. 

Mnar Muhawesh is founder, CEO and editor in chief of MintPress News, and is also a regular speaker on responsible journalism, sexism, neoconservativism within the media and journalism start-ups. 

The post Podcast: Aaron Mate Debunks RussiaGate and Discusses How Liberals Came to Love Bush-Era Neocons appeared first on MintPress News.

The Great Gray Hope: Bernie Sanders Tests the Limits of US Political Systems

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 18/04/2020 - 12:36am in

The Great Gray Hope has bowed out of the presidential primary race, leaving tottering Joe Biden as the last Democrat standing. What Bernie Sanders accomplished electorally was remarkable, revealing both how far a progressive can venture and the limits proscribing further advancement to the left within the Democratic Party.

 

Sanders pushes the limits of the system

That Sanders was once the frontrunner and might have swept the Democratic primaries is an indicator of the neoliberal order’s decay. The coronavirus pandemic was both the final blow to the Sanders campaign and the world-historic event that proved unquestionably that his platform of universal health care and fairness to the working class was the medicine needed for an ailing nation.

Shelter-in-place is Biden’s strong suit, while Sanders’ contagious ability to enthuse the youth was sequestered. And, no, Biden’s healthcare public option is not even a baby step towards universal health care. It is a leap in the opposite direction, propping up the private insurance industry by having the taxpayers pick up high-risk cases.

The lie that money was not available to fund single-payer healthcare is now exposed by tsunamis of cash mainlined tax-free to resuscitate parasitic speculative financial markets. With unemployment rampant and Jeff Bezos’ net worth swelling by the billions daily, Sanders had the temerity to say: “If Trump can put a trillion and a half into the banking system, we can protect the wages of everyday workers.”

When in the Democratic debates the ninth richest man in the world claimed he made his billions by hard work, only Sanders was in the position to quip, as he did, that Bloomberg’s workers must have helped. When Bloomberg offered to bankroll the eventual Democratic Party nominee, only the Sanders campaign gave a hard “no.”

Bloomberg was correct, however, when he said of his primary rivals: “I’m doing exactly the same thing they’re doing, except that I am using my own money. They’re using somebody else’s money, and those other people expect something from them.” That Sanders raised three million dollars within hours of announcing his candidacy and garnered over a million small donors shows what constituency Sanders was beholden.

Sanders was not willing to simply mumble hypocritical homilies about the “middle class.” He explicitly defended the “working class” from the ravages of neoliberalism, raising issues that wouldn’t be taken up by the two-party duopoly.

Monday morning quarterbacks have been unkindly critical of Sanders for not going for the jugular against Biden. But despite criticisms, Sanders did what some leftists have been asking politicians to do. He stayed on message, stuck to the issues, and did not get lost in the weeds of ad hominem snipes.

What Sanders didn’t do is politically critique the Obama/Biden record, hamstrung by his determination not to harm the Democratic Party. The courtesy was not returned, to say the least. Unlike Trump in 2016, who savaged the Republican establishment and won, Sanders pulled his punches and lost.

 

The system pushes the limits of Sanders

Paradoxically, running in the Democratic Party was both the grounds for his success and the source of his failure. Had Sanders not run in the Democratic Party, he would have had no bully pulpit to advance his candidacy and – in the absence of a mass movement – would have been summarily relegated to obscurity. Running as a major party candidate gave him access to a ballot line, to the debates, and other perks of the party apparatus.

Sanders, nominally an independent, was both the greatest gift and the greatest challenge to the Democratic Party. The party had problems: liberalism was dead and with it the New Deal agenda, which was the cement holding the faithful together. With impeachment now history and Russiagate exhausted many times over, had Sanders not appeared the neoliberal Dems would have had to invent someone like him to keep their constituency from bolting.

And along came Sanders, saying, “we must take up the unfinished business of the New Deal and carry it to completion.” The rub was that Sanders genuinely believed in that agenda, so he had to be used and then discarded.

Sanders arguably could have beaten Trump but not the DNC. Or to turn that around, had the DNC not sandbagged him, Sanders surely would have beaten his Democratic rivals and gone on to defeat the incumbent president…if what passes for the “liberal” establishment (e.g., the Pelosi and Schumer) didn’t sabotage him.

Sanders showed true grit, suffering the triple afflictions of a heart attack, the Washington Post, and MSNBC. But the DNC would likely have eventually derailed him in any case. If the DNC could so easily, as it did, change the rules to take Tulsi Gabbard out of the debates and put Michael Bloomberg in, they could have found a way to block a progressive, who was anathema to their class loyalties and donor base.

 

Sanders as a socialist

Sanders is receiving rancorous left disparagement for his early departure from the primary race and quick endorsement of Biden, failure to criticize the Obama/Biden record, and voting for the CARES bailout among other transgressions. It should be crystal clear, now, that what you saw is what you got: a sincere New Deal liberal wedded to the Democratic Party, not a leftist superhero. He shouldn’t be blamed for being someone he was not.

Sanders helped mainstream the word “socialism;” a welcome accomplishment. When red-baited, Sanders didn’t back down: “We must recognize that in the 21st century, in the wealthiest country in the history of the world, economic rights are human rights. That is what I mean by democratic socialism.”

To be precise, Sanders is a “social democrat;” one who supports the rule of the owners of capital with workers as junior partners. He is not a “socialist,” who would replace the rule of the capitalists with that of the workers. Sanders has made clear, “I don’t believe government should own the means of production.” What he wants is a nice capitalism that shares its crumbs with those who create the wealth.

Nor is he an anti-imperialist, despite his statement that “it might be a good idea to be honest about American foreign policy and that includes the fact that America has overthrown governments all over the world.” Sanders endorses the bipartisan consensus to overthrow the “vicious dictator” (his own words) in Venezuela, where social democratic reforms there are similar to ones that Sanders is championing for the US. Sanders yearns for a nice imperialism, which somehow avoids messy excesses while not challenging US hegemony.

 

Exit the Great Gray Hope – don’t mourn, organize

Sanders proved on one hand that a sizable potential constituency would support and fund a progressive agenda. On the other hand, the Democrats – who would rather risk four more years of Trump than back someone with a mild New Deal agenda – are the graveyard for such a movement. The Democratic Party is an instrument of class rule and not a democratic institution.

For all his remarkable accomplishments, Sanders’ legacy in 2020 will likely be that of 2016, which was to be the sheepdog that herded progressives into the Democratic Party and got nothing in return.

If your obsession in life is to defeat Trump, by all means hold your nose and vote for what you perceive as the lesser evil. But if your interest is broader – to pull the US political spectrum to the left and buck the neoliberal tide of imperial plunder and austerity for the working class, instead of encouraging the Democrats to be more reactionary than the Republicans – then vote for a left party such as Peace and Freedom or Green.

And, taking a lesson from Bernie, help build the mass movement. Significantly Sanders understood the limits of electoral politics and the corresponding necessity of building a mass movement: “When I talk about a political revolution, it means being an administration unprecedented, certainly in the modern history of this country… It is rallying the American people… I will be organizer in chief.”

Sanders’ parting remark on April 8 was “we have won the ideological battle.” Of course, ideas don’t have agency on their own. The battle is to organize a progressive constituency and not self-defeat by tethering to the Democratic Party.

Feature photo | Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a campaign rally, March 9, 2020, in St. Louis. Jeff Roberson | AP

Roger D. Harris is on the state central committee of the Peace and Freedom Party, the only ballot qualified socialist party in California.

The post The Great Gray Hope: Bernie Sanders Tests the Limits of US Political Systems appeared first on MintPress News.

Bernie Sanders Suspends His Campaign: What Happened and What Now?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 09/04/2020 - 11:57pm in

Kyle Kulinski of Secular Talk commented just as Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign: “Bernie made a number of mistakes that I highlighted and broke down in detail. No excuses. Having said that, you’re out of your fucking mind if you think I’ll forget or look past ‘bloody monday’, aka the day Obama got Pete & Amy to drop & endorse Biden. Saving his campaign.”

In fact, the “Bloody Monday” move — when Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar both endorsed Biden just after his South Carolina win and just before “Super Tuesday” — might be the tip of the iceberg in terms of how the DNC or other establishment forces molded the campaign to producer this outcome.

Consider:

* Kamala Harris and Cory Booker pulled out of the race before South Carolina, paving the way for Biden’s win there. Jim Clyburn of course endorsed Biden just before South Carolina. Tragically, Jesse Jackson only endorsed Sanders after.

* Warren split the progressive ranks throughout and ultimately refused to endorse Sanders.

* Even the choices of the candidates was useful to stopping Sanders. Pete Buttigieg was from Indiana and the net effect of his campaign was to deny Sanders a clear win in not-so-far-away Iowa. Amy Klobuchar was from Minnesota and so the net effect of her campaign was to throw that state to Biden so that Biden won something substantial outside of the south on Super Tuesday, making his rise appear national and therefore plausibly inevitable.

* Ostensibly antiwar candidate Tulsi Gabbard throughout refused to meaningfully criticize the war addicted Biden — even when she had a clear shot to do so during the debates on his Iraq war lies. Meanwhile, Sanders just kept saying Biden voted for the Iraq war while Sanders didn’t. Sanders never meaningfully made the case that Biden played key role in making the Iraq invasion happen and never really tore into his lies.

* Mike Gravel — who might have really tore into Biden — was excluded from the debate stage throughout.

* Julián Castro was marginalized shortly after he attacked Biden.

* Bloomberg coming in had the net effect of Warren going after him — for things she could well have gone after Biden about but didn’t. His demise effectively gave the base a sense of weird relief that Biden is the nominee: “Well, at least we didn’t get stuck with Billionaire Bloomberg”.

You couldn’t have planned it better for Biden if you tried. And lots of forces — from the DNC to the establishment media did try in thousands of ways.

Additionally, the entire “Ukrainegate” obsession — contrary to a slew of deluded progressive commentators at the time — built up Biden as the anti-Trump. Trump was trying to attack him, so he must be the one Trump is afraid of was the obvious logic. That was the net effect of the entire media focus on that including the ultimate impeachment (remember impeachment?).

Indeed, in this incredibly vicious cycle, just as many Republicans likely turned to Trump because they felt they needed a corrupt celebrity to stop Hillary Clinton, many Democrats likely turned to Biden for similar reasons this year.

And at a societal level, the pandemic struck chords of fear in people’s collective psychology. It was like the Y2K story. As January 1, 2000 approached, people were filled with dread and fear, so that what should have been a time for great hope was a time for just hoping to get by. Like now. The pandemic pushed many people to turn to the familiar, to something that they associate with not being a disaster. (This is the opposite of what happened in 1900 — that period was apparently greeted with great embrace.)

Then there’s Sanders’ own role, his incapacity — or more likely, his unwillingness — to mount sharper attacks on Biden, of shedding his imperial presumptions and more deeply taking on the foreign policy establishment. Sanders’ ultimate legacy may be what the late great Bruce Dixon called “Sheepdogging.”

So, now what?

As I outlined last month:

There are two obvious responses:

Burn it Down: The impulsive thing to do would be to want to burn down the Democratic Party. It’s possible that the establishment of the Democratic Party would be OK with this — they seem to fear a President Sanders more than the fear another term of Trump. So, people would stay home or vote for a third party or independent candidate who openly states that they have virtually no chance of winning.

Cave In: Others might insist that no matter how badly the Democratic Party establishment treats its voters, they need to get in line come November and vote for whoever the nominee is. This is euphemistically referred to as “hold your nose and voting.” People have done this for decades and it’s typically resulted in the corporate wing of the Democratic Party becoming more and more powerful.

The first of these will be disastrous because it will help Trump.

The second will be disastrous because it effectively surrenders control of the Democratic Party to the corporate wing, probably for the foreseeable future.

But there is a third choice: The VotePact strategy.

With the VotePact strategy,  in the general election, disenchanted Democratics team up with a disenchanted Republicans. They pair up: spouses and friends and coworkers and neighbors and debating partners and ex-facebook friends. Instead of the two of them voting for candidates they don’t want, they pair up and vote for the third party or independent candidate of their choice.

Given the pandemic, all bets may be off. Things could slide into disaster — or a great new world could be born. One could almost envision the rise of the Stay-At-Home party. People can talk to their loved ones in a way they never have. And they may embrace their neighbors — even if it is at ten feet — as the never have before. Zoom could be filled with hopes and dreams and a path might be found to get there. We might be driven by fear and shallow hate and sectarian thinking — or we might decide to come together as a country and as a world as we never have before.

VotePact takes work. But it’s a path out of the duopoly and toward freedom. Given the tumult before us, it is actually a rather moderate proposal, drawing us to a sane center, away from the disastrous paths of both Biden, which gave birth to Trump — and Trump himself.

Sam Husseini is the founder of VotePact.org.  

The post Bernie Sanders Suspends His Campaign: What Happened and What Now? appeared first on MintPress News.

Why We Need a New Progressive Party and How We Can Create It

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 07/04/2020 - 4:22am in

Progressive Party (United States, 1912) - Wikipedia

There is no room for progressives in the Democratic Party.

No matter how many votes he or she gets, no progressive will be permitted to be the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party.

Progressives who try to work inside of, contribute to and support the Democratic Party have no real chance of moving its candidates or policies to the left.

Remaining inside the Democratic Party achieves nothing; to the contrary, it is insidiously counterproductive. Working for “change from the inside” strengthens centrist politicians who oppose progressivism with every fiber of their being.

If American electoral democracy has a future, and progressives want to be part of that future, there is only one way forward: create and build a new party in which progressivism isn’t merely tolerated or partly accommodated as some fringe or necessary nuisance but is its core mission.

We need a New Progressive Party.

The reason is simple: progressivism and corporate centrism are not parts of an ideological spectrum. Centrism isn’t watered-down progressivism; centrism directly opposes progressivism. Centrists want wars and don’t care about the poor; progressives want no wars and care deeply about the poor. There is no room for compromise between the two.

A New Progressive Party will go nowhere if, like the Green Party, it is poorly funded and disorganized and unable to field a slate of candidates across the board, from city council to state representative to congress. It must begin robustly, it must grow quickly, and it must be the only viable outlet for real progressives. Go big or go home.

This could be done. Now is the perfect time.

Keep reading. I’ll explain how.

Anyone who believes progressives have a place inside the Democratic Party should reflect on the experience of Bernie Sanders. (Those with an interest in recent history can delve into the dispiriting experiences of others who have tried to move the party left from the inside like Ted Kennedy, Jesse Jackson and Howard Dean, only to be ignored, snubbed and cheated.)

In both 2016 and 2020 Democratic-aligned media companies marginalized, misrepresented and deprived Sanders of coverage proportionate to his level of support in the polls. In 2016 the Democratic National Committee literally sold itself to Hillary Clinton’s center-right campaign apparatus, which conspired with the DNC to short Sanders on vote counts and deprive him of access to party data. In 2020 the DNC appears to have derailed Sanders’ frontrunner status by arranging for candidates Pete Buttigieg, Beto O’Rourke, Amy Klobuchar and others to drop out and endorse the Joe Biden one day before the key Super Tuesday primaries.

This is not one of those “better luck next time” scenarios. Sanders is too old to run again. AOC and her fellow progressive Squad are too young to mount a serious challenge to the DNC moderate hierarchy any time soon. Progressivism inside the Democratic Party is unlikely to again surge to Bernie levels for at least a decade.

Progressivism in general remains vibrant. Bernie Sanders has 31% of the 2020 primary popular vote. Elizabeth Warren, who has withdrawn, has 10%. Even if we assume that other former candidates like Pete Buttigieg didn’t get a single progressive vote — which isn’t likely — at least 41% of Democratic primary voters currently support progressivism. That makes about 20% of the electorate overall. Roughly 20% of non-voters, or about 9% of the total electorate, are progressive.

A New Progressive Party should therefore be able to count on roughly one of five voters out of the gate, with short-term potential of 30%. Not bad in a three-party system.

Now consider two factors that point to growth. As even corporate media concedes, progressive ideas like socialized medicine and a guaranteed living wage have suddenly exploded in popularity due to the coronavirus crisis and resulting economic freefall. Given the grim projections for the economy during the foreseeable future, 20-to-30% looks more like a floor than a ceiling.

There is greater potential of building a party from the grassroots than from the top down. Even while the presidency remains elusive, local politics are quirkier and thus offer opportunity for growth. Sanders began as mayor of Burlington; AOC won a surprise challenge to a long-time incumbent Democratic congressman in Queens. A Progressive farm team could and would spring up quickly in left-leaning college towns like Madison and Charlottesville.

But how? The D-R duopoly has rigged the system in its favor. Ballot access is tough. They control the presidential debates and coverage by the news media.

As I wrote above, funding is crucial. The fact that Bernie Sanders raised over $100 million so far in 2020 from small donors proves that progressives can raise cash for a cause they care about. So how do you start this new party?

The first step is to convene a founding meeting in a big venue like McCormick Place Convention Center. (Chicago is easy to get to from everywhere in the U.S.) Launch a Kickstarter to cover the cost of renting the hall; unless there are enough pledges to cover the total, no one has to pay up and the attempt is over. It serves as the first test of whether enough progressives are ready to break away from the Democratic Party.

The agenda of the first convention of the New Progressive Party will be dedicated to debating and agreeing to a platform, electing party officials and setting a strategy for the next election.

The newly-elected officials of the party then fan across the nation and start building local organizations in their own communities to recruit, fund and campaign for candidates to local and state office. Like the Democrats and Republicans, every four years there will be a national primary and convention to present a candidate for the presidency.

Some will argue that the creation of a party just for progressives will split the left. That assumes that the Democratic Party represents the left. The truth is exactly the opposite: the Democratic Party is where the American left goes to die. If the left wants to live, it must fight and struggle for the things that it cares about on its own, in its own home.

(Ted Rall (Twitter: @tedrall), the political cartoonist, columnist and graphic novelist, is the author of the biography “Bernie.” You can support Ted’s hard-hitting political cartoons and columns and see his work first by sponsoring his work on Patreon.)

 

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