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May 10, 17

Make the Guillotine Blue: Anticipating Democrat Co-option

“The sooner the national authority can be restored; the nearer the Union will be “the Union as it was.” If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that.”

– Abraham Lincoln, 1862

As chaos and political division in America worsens under the Trump presidency, the people are gradually turning away from partisan orthodoxy and considering whether the state apparatus must be severely restructured, or completely destroyed. Trump’s supporters, as of late, are in disarray: their fascist underpinnings are colliding with an America which overwhelmingly does not identify with Nazi paraphernalia. Their haphazard search for a white supremacist ethno-state is hampered by their natural divisions, ideological rivalry, and their desperate attempts to rebrand themselves until their ugly beliefs become acceptable to the broader public.

Meanwhile, leftism has seen a massive surge: the liberationist movement, built upon a storied past of revolutionary struggle and the examples of hardened veterans, has been fortified anew with those of us who, at long last, have rejected capitalism. Inexperience and lack of coordination will doubtlessly be corrected through the trial-by-fire education of class conflict, though this task will not come cheaply. Nonetheless, we have held the initiative: the fascists have, up until this point, been purely reactive to, and imitative of, antifascists.

Still, there are those who are caught between the old world and the new, including a bloc of antiquated liberals who have yet again returned to their failed masters in the Democratic Party, looking for answers. Despite the monumental, unabated failure of these milquetoast liberal politicians, their loyalist voters have refused to even acknowledge the looming disaster which leftists have come to see clearly. This is not due to stupidity, but timidity; it is human nature to yearn for the past when the present becomes unbearable. We are prone to self-preservation even at the expense of our future survival. We will drink saltwater to stave off dehydration just one hour more.

But the danger imposed by the Democratic Party cannot be ignored. These charlatans have been repeatedly exposed for what they are, a band of cannibalistic opportunists who will wait patiently while the country burns around them, slavering over the possibility of reclaiming power in 2020. Their chief concern is not the people who will languish under 45’s regime until then, but the continuance of capitalism, imperialism, and the American political machine which facilitates their dominance over the laboring class. As trust in the government erodes [1], a rebranding of their own is in the works.

The Democrats see leftists not as companions, but as scapegoats and witless lackeys, as the situation dictates. Sensing the same weakness in the GOP and its adherents that we have recognized, the liberal bloc will quickly seek to adopt and prefabricate the liberationists’ energy for their own depraved, regressive agenda.

No capitalist party can command our rebellion, nor can it pull us back from the brink of cataclysm. We radicals are alone, and it has always been this way.

EMANCIPATION: HOW WHITE SOCIETY MAINTAINED ITS DOMINANCE

Hillary Clinton has recently donned the mantle of “the resistance” both in her public image and through a new PAC [2] dedicated to “funding activism.” What this actually describes is an effort by the failed presidential hopeful to use her remaining donor pool to divvy out donations to those NGOs she considers faithful and useful. This follows a pattern of behavior best described as “courtly politics,” wherein a clique of loyalists is anointed in an otherwise nominally equitable landscape [3]. She has named herself a friend of the struggling working class, while insulating herself behind partisan alliances and wealthy friends.

More pertinently to this essay, Clinton’s behavior replicates a pattern of cooption in American politics which stretches back two centuries.

In 1862, just before the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, Abraham Lincoln sent a letter replying to Horace Greely, editor of the New-York Tribune [4]. Greely had issued a challenge to Lincoln in an editorial entitled “The Prayer of Twenty Millions,” in which he rebuked the president for failing to adequately punish the Confederacy, or defend his proclamation of liberty for the slaves. Referring to the failure of Lincoln to enforce his own Confiscation Acts meant to strip the South of its slaves, Greely angrily declares:

“[W]e complain that you, Mr. President, elected as a Republican, knowing well what an abomination Slavery is, and how emphatically it is the core and essence of this atrocious rebellion, seem never to interfere with these atrocities, and never give a direction to your military subordinates…”

In his response, Lincoln clearly states that his only objective is to maintain the authority of the union, unbroken. There is no difference in his mind, Lincoln says, between an America which engages in slavery, and one which forbids it, so long as the nation maintains a strong central authority through an unchallenged federal government. This man, who had tolerated the abolitionists and radicals in his midst with feigned pragmatism and opposition to the expansion of slavery, was now openly admitting that if slavery were the key to preserving the union, he would have no moral qualms with its continuation. Simultaneously, he was demonstrating the truth that his token cordiality with abolitionists was due only to their usefulness as Lincoln’s constituents [5].

In his time, Lincoln would repudiate and reject multiple abolitionist figures such as John Brown, whom he addressed thusly in a statement from 1860:

“John Brown’s effort was peculiar. It was not a slave insurrection. It was an attempt by white men to get up a revolt among slaves, in which the slaves refused to participate. In fact, it was so absurd that the slaves, with all their ignorance, saw plainly enough it could not succeed.” [6]

The Radical Republicans who had pushed Lincoln towards abolitionism saw their public support wane after 1865, when Lincoln was assassinated and Andrew Johnson took his place. They opposed Johnson’s efforts to reestablish national order by pardoning the Southern rebels, and they flatly refused to accept any ex-Confederate senator. They harassed the new president on his allowance of “black codes” to effectively keep slavery alive. When Johnson attempted to veto the Civil Rights Act of 1866, his veto was overridden by the Radicals. Nonetheless, their prominence and cohesion was eroded over time. In the resulting vacuum, the Liberal Republicans split from their Radical counterparts and won the support of the Southern pro-business Democratic Party, laying the groundwork for the eventual election of Rutherford B. Hayes in 1877.

The Radical Republicans’ placement of federal troops in Southern states was undone by Hayes, opening the door for the Slaveocracy to effectively reinstate slavery through a new, refined version of exploitative barbarity they called “sharecropping.” By the moderate, reformist approaches of Lincoln and Johnson, the pursuit of compromise and diplomacy defanged the hardliner radicals whose opposition had been essential to the Union in earlier years. In truth, the political establishment of the North had never concerned itself with the fate of black folk, least of all Lincoln himself. Rather, the Civil War represented the culmination of white, capitalist rivalry between an industrially-oriented northern bloc, and an agrarian labor economy to the south. Neither could survive if the other became too powerful, and so a conflict was inevitable — but so, too, was a compromise. The North opposed the Fugitive Slave Act because it could strip labor from the South, then added these “freed” slaves to the Union military. Dehumanizing “black codes” were tolerated by Johnson, so long as the South could thereby be placated and its raw textiles made available once again.

Scheming politicians like Lincoln adopted, then exploited, and finally abandoned the radical movements which presented convenient means of consolidating power; one side of a two-faced coin.

OBAMA, CLINTON, AND SANDERS: THE FALLEN IDOLS

Barrack Obama’s election in 2008 was buoyed by public opposition to the Iraq War [7], a catastrophic decline from its high point of approval during Bush’s early years. We forget, at times, that a member of today’s youngest generation has never lived a day without nationally televised warfare and political corruption. To see a presidential candidate who had opposed the invasion of Iraq was, on its own, a cause for enthusiasm.

But with nine years separating us and that moment of elation, hindsight has shaken many newcomer leftists out of their torpor. During his presidency, Obama initiated seven aggressive bombing campaigns in foreign nations [8], and as a result, spent more time at war than any other US president. In 2016, the military dropped around 72 bombs every day, and special forces were deployed in 138 nations across the globe, an increase of 130% compared the Bush years [9]. Senior State Department advisor Rosa Brooks described the accountability of the drone-strike program as non-existent and its daily operations as completely clandestine. Nobody knows how many people have been killed in this manner, their identities, or why they were targeted.

Domestically, Obama’s administration oversaw an enormous rise in deportations [10], and the expansion of a gargantuan national security network which now invades the electronic communications and behaviors of every citizen, 24-hours a day, without cause, and communicates with state law enforcement on an unprecedented scale. The Nixonian extent to which the president persecuted journalists and whistleblowers included the jailing of Chelsea Manning, and a refusal to pardon Edward Snowden for revealing the inexcusable methodology of the NSA. His record has proven him to be an authoritarian, imperialist, war hawk, and a perpetrator of war crimes against thousands of innocent citizens abroad.

Clinton, for her part, campaigned with the promise of a “no-fly zone” over Syria, a strategy which would have resulted in the deaths of what she nonchalantly called “a lot of Syrians” during a meeting with Goldman Sachs employees [11]. In that same speech, she explained that her position on North Korea was that the peninsula should remain fractured to prevent either the DPRK or ROK from becoming more trouble than the United States could handle [12]. Her complaint regarding Trump’s missile strikes against Syrian air fields was only that it was too small in scope [13].

And then, there was Bernie Sanders, the touted Vermont socialist who agreed with Donald Trump’s pursuit of North Korean subdual, saying that if the president intended to economically manipulate China into cooperating, he was “on the right track.” [14] He made an appearance on Al Jazeera to condemn the United Nations for its supposedly unfair singling-out of Israel for its human rights offenses, and wagged his finger at the BDS movement [15].

These are the leaders the Democratic Party has generated: unashamed imperialists who, despite their various irregularities and idiosyncrasies, are unified in their agreement that the United States has the right to dominate global politics through military alliances and technological superiority. Not one of them questions the role of America as the caretaker of the globe, justified in taking any measures necessary to ensure “peace,” by which they mean a lack of viable threats.

And beneath them are their supplicants, the unprincipled wretches of the Democratic Party, who have proven themselves to be a teeming mass of opportunists willing to sacrifice any ideological tenet if it results in a net gain of potential voters.

BLUE BASTARDS: THE SCAVENGERS OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY

The absolute corruption and gall of the Democratic Party was on display when the house voted in the affirmative on the AHCA. Democrats in the room, sensing that the GOP would lose public support for the betrayal of millions of ailing Americans. And yet behind the infantile singing and laughter, the Democrats revealed themselves as expectant vultures. Their focus was not on the chronically ill who will go untreated, or the victims of sexual assault who will be punished, but on the possibility of political gains 18 months in the future. During that time, it is estimated that around 24,000 might die as a direct result of losing their coverage.

And yet, for all their bravado and preemptive bragging, where were the Democrats on health care before this moment?

Hillary Clinton decided early in her campaign to relinquish her support for a Canadian-styled system of heath care, when she expressed doubt that Sanders’ vision for a comprehensive, socialized model would ever come to pass. Unsurprisingly, this came after Clinton received speaking fees from the health care industry rivaling those she received from bankers [16]. Then, recognizing the support for Sanders which quickly surged among younger, more left-leaning voters, Clinton pivoted a second time towards the moderate “public option” system, wherein a government-run agency would compete with private insurance companies [17]. This was, no doubt, influenced by roughly $16.3 million in campaign contributions from Pritzker Group, a private investment firm with a branch dedicated to medical equipment [18].

Clinton, like Lincoln before her, saw public approval of a radical position, and gingerly co-opted it in a fashion which would nonetheless favor centrist politics and a pro-capitalist stance overall. The reason – as with Lincoln – was that the dominant force in America is capitalism, and so, from a funding standpoint, any political group which rejects that economic model is doomed to obscurity.

Enter Nancy Pelosi and her mad-eyed response to a young audience member at a CNN town hall, who brought up the waning popularity of capitalism among the younger generation: “we’re capitalist, that’s just the way it is.” [19] This reply, given in January of 2017, was now unchained from the necessity to politely include Sanders’ bland, socialist ideas. It therefore came as no surprise to leftists when Pelosi categorically dismissed the notion of including single-payer health care in the 2018 Democratic platform [20]. Without capitalist domination, the Democratic Party couldn’t leverage its weak-willed concessions on social issues as “progress,” nor could it compete in federal politics against the GOP. Ergo, every supposed principle of their party is secondary to maintaining a capitalistic, nationalistic government presence.

Cue Hillary Clinton ignoring popular leftist support during her 2016 campaign, choosing instead to work towards a consolidation of power through centrist politics. She campaigned in red states, spending $2 million in Arizona, $1 million apiece in Indiana and Missouri, and even small amounts in absurd expeditions in Utah and Texas. All the while, she assumed a coronation from blue states, having secured (in her mind) the totality of the liberal vote as well as splinter groups from the hard left. She dealt with Sanders’ diehards by wielding her favoritism in the DNC, as revealed in the damning email leaks which publicly unmasked her partisan double-dealing. [21]

But the impulsive scrambling for maximal popularity does not end with the campaign itself. Now that the potential for an upset in 2018 has whetted their thirst, the Democrats have shed any hint of loyalty to the same voters who held fast during their myopic and hopeless Clinton campaign.

With apparent intentions to ransack red states of disillusioned Trump voters, the Democrats have begun to bargain away what few principles they had left. Witness Nancy Pelosi expressing her willingness to abandon such “litmus tests” as pro-choice advocacy and defense of same-sex marriage rights, formatting the 2018 elections exactly as the Liberal Republicans did when they absorbed both moderates in their own party, and the Southern Democrats: a chance to swallow partisans on both sides and unify their public support into a centrist bulwark [22]. The Democrats are even willing to continue their ludicrous drive to recruit conservatives by emulating weaker versions of GOP stances. Former Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota implores the Democrats to be a “national party,” appealing to every possible demographic [23]. In Georgia, the Democrats spent millions on the campaign of Jon Ossoff, a 30-year-old with no electoral experience, who proudly declared in a televised ad that he would “work with anybody.” [24]

Of course, there is a more insidious side to this chicanery and ineptitude. Even if the Democrats can eventually secure a broader coalition among voters, they will need to repeat Lincoln’s actions yet again, and persecute radicals to seal their commitment to centrism.

THIRTY PIECES OF SILVER: ANTIFASCISM AND THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY

Thus far, the Democrats have been largely silent on antifascism, offering only mild tsks and occasional scolding of our “counterproductive” methodology. But Bernie Sanders was quick to leap to the defense of Ann Coulter at Berkeley, when the fascist hordes assembled on the campus to parade their emboldened bigotry and flagrant white supremacist ideology. His words reveal the same spineless, lazy interpretation of the far-right that has been regurgitated time and again by those who do not recognize the alt-right for what it is:

“… people have a right to give their two cents-worth, give a speech, without fear of violence and intimidation… To me, it’s a sign of intellectual weakness. If you can’t ask Ann Coulter in a polite way questions which expose the weakness of her arguments, if all you can do is boo, or shut her down, or prevent her from coming, what does that tell the world?”

Sanders, supposedly a defender of the working class, considers our unmitigated repulsion at the sight of Nazis to be one of “intellectual weakness.” He chides us for our unwillingness to allow fascists to invade our neighborhoods, terrorize the non-white, brutalize the non-cishet, and normalize the presence of white nationalists on a college campus. Curiously, Sanders’ statement betrays the same ignorance and bewilderment that Trump expressed when he questioned whether the Civil War could have been politely settled over coffee and pastries.

Elsewhere, moderate magazines like Politico publish pieces which offer equally unlearned and vapid criticisms of those who, like John Brown before them, might someday declare an open war against those who would see the black population wiped out. In a piece entitled “Ann Coulter the Liberal,” hackneyed journo Rich Lowry opines, in an clear nod to the events of the Kent State Massacre, “If the anti-fa are willing to attack free speech through illegal force, the authorities should be willing to defend it by lawful force. Heck, if necessary, call out the National Guard.” [26]

This is what we will face in the near future. As the Democrats gamble away their morality trying to snatch up every disaffected center-rightist they can find, they will in turn feed us to the wolves of the far-right. And if we are to survive and triumph, liberationists must prepare for the day when these fraudulent allies turn their blades on us.

At the moment, the fascists are disorganized. As Trump gradually abandons the likes of Breitbart readers and Stormfront goons in favor of neoliberal vassal-ship, the far-right have suffered a crisis of identity, and have fallen to infighting [27]. We have an opportunity to seize the initiative. But we must also find ways to cleanly hack away the grasping tendrils of the centrist politicians who will do anything, even send us to the gallows, to seize control of the nation for themselves.

The Democrats seek to compromise with positions which are wholly repulsive, and should be unfailingly rejected. They seek balance in an inherently unbalanced political landscape, with the nation, and the world, slowly tipping towards the far-right. Beholden to the system of four-year rotations between parties, their only honest objective is ownership of the government, and the security of their jobs. They are incapable of seeing beyond polling numbers, electoral margins, and representative majorities.

There is no hope to be found in this company of dodos locked in a caucus-race, hopelessly running in a circle, excited by the illusion of progress and victory when they have only begun yet another cycle of futility. Were they not paid for the effort, were they in our shoes, they would see the absurdity and arrogance of singing gleefully in front of the people they alternately dupe and betray, as the situation requires.

To continue to support the Democrats at this late hour, to remain faithful to these double-crossing charlatans, is to pray to the very sky which is causing the flood. Come 2018, we would be wise to demonstrate with finality that we have utterly forsaken them. Against these two-faced scavengers, our hearts must be resolute, and our rage unrelenting.

SOURCES

[1] http://www.people-press.org/2015/11/23/1-trust-in-government-1958-2015/

[2] https://newrepublic.com/article/142541/hillary-clinton-back-democrats-worried

[3] http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2015/10/hillary-clinton-inside-circle-huma-abedin

[4] http://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/speeches/greeley.htm

[5] https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/11/lincolns-abolitionist-wedge/

[6] http://harvardpress.typepad.com/hup_publicity/2012/12/abraham-lincoln-on-john-brown-february-27-1860.html

[7] http://www.pewresearch.org/2008/03/19/public-attitudes-toward-the-war-in-iraq-20032008/

[8] http://www.latimes.com/projects/la-na-pol-obama-at-war/

[9] https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/09/america-dropped-26171-bombs-2016-obama-legacy

[10] https://www.thenation.com/article/why-has-president-obama-deported-more-immigrants-any-president-us-history/

[11] https://pad.riseup.net/redirect#https%3A//theintercept.com/2016/10/10/in-secret-goldman-sachs-speech-hillary-clinton-admitted-no-fly-zone-would-kill-a-lot-of-syrians/

[12] http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/nation/2017/04/120_228475.html

[13] http://www.reuters.com/article/us-people-hillary-clinton-idUSKBN179058

[14] http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/bernie-sanders-trump-isnt-leading-us-toward-war-with-north-korea/article/2621558

[15] http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Bernie-Sanders-rejects-anti-Israel-agenda-in-interview-with-Al-Jazeera-489835

[16] https://theintercept.com/2016/01/13/hillary-clinton-single-payer/

[17] http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/jul/10/hillary-clintons-health-plan-to-include-a-public-o/

[18] https://www.pritzkergroup.com/private-capital/investment-criteria/healthcare/

[19] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MR65ZhO6LGA

[20] http://observer.com/2017/05/nancy-pelosi-rejects-single-payer-health-care/

[21] http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-37639370

[22] https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/pelosi-democratic-candidates-should-not-be-forced-to-toe-party-line-on-abortion/2017/05/02/9cbc9bc6-2f68-11e7-9534-00e4656c22aa_story.html

[23] http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/national-party-news/314791-dorgan-democrats-can-fix-their-blues-in-red-states-by

[24] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/19/us/politics/georgia-special-election.html?_r=0

[25] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2017/04/23/bernie-sanders-defends-ann-coulters-right-to-speak/?utm_term=.28343f58b07d

[26] http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/04/26/ann-coulter-the-liberal-215077

[27] https://itsgoingdown.org/between-flint-and-trumpcare-give-the-class-war-two-sides/

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Ami du Radical

Chronicling the radical struggle in the central region of so-called America.

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