Alan Minsky Essay

The 2020 Battle Lines Are Drawn—It’s Time for Action

More than ever before, progressives can’t afford to be on the sidelines and let science-denying narcissistic fools run the show.
[risingthermals / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]

By Alan Minsky

Sometimes, maybe, when a bout of writer’s block arrives it’s ’cause there’s nothing left to say.

This morning I woke, stared into the proverbial blank page and quickly came to the conclusion that it was a waste of time to torture myself with words not forthcoming.

Here’s why: We know the score. The time for words is over. It’s time to get in the game and play to win. No more faffing around. We have to be as results-focused as Mitch McConnell or Bill Belichick.

2020 has been cruel and stark, but if we haven’t learned its lessons we’re fools, and that ain’t us. We understand, more than ever before, that we can’t afford to be on the sidelines and let science-denying narcissistic fools run the show. However, to date, our side has failed to fight with a singular-focus that matches the resolve of our foes.

That changes now.

We know that the U.S. has been and remains a structurally racist society. We understand that our foes are fine with that. We will settle for nothing less than an anti-racist society. That is what we are fighting for.

We know that we are burning ourselves off the planet through the continued use of fossil fuels. We understand that our foes are getting rich from this, and sacrificing us in the process. We must seize the means of energy production from them. That is what we are fighting for.

We know that the wealthy few have almost all of the treasure and political power in the land.  Our foes are fine with that. We understand that fundamental changes in the economic order, away from neo-liberalism, are necessary to build a prosperous and inclusive middle class society. That is what we are fighting for.

We know that our foes are stacking the courts so they can continue their regime of divide and conquer; continue their monopolies over essential resources and political power; disempower women; and maintain their murderous, racist carceral state.  We understand the necessity of introducing a balanced justice system into this society. That is what we are fighting for.

We know that our foes are fine with depriving us of basic human rights like healthcare, food security, and housing. We understand that all three are a right of birth. That is what we are fighting for.

We know and understand that a victory by Joe Biden over Donald Trump will not deliver what we are ultimately fighting for: a prosperous, anti-racist, middle class America with zero carbon emissions.

We know and understand that a victory by Joe Biden over Donald Trump will deliver what we need: a victory in an imminent and essential battle; a victory that will preserve democracy and expel from office a power-crazy President whose irrationality is a mortal danger to us all.

We know and understand that we cannot make the same mistake that the left and the center-left made in Germany in the 1930s.

We know and understand we must mobilize every person of conscience, every poor, working and middle class American to register to vote; and then vote to defeat Donald Trump and reaffirm our constitutional democracy.

We know and understand the time for talk is over. We stand with our allies, poised to vanquish the enemy. It’s time for action. Let’s win this thing.

Alan Minsky
Alan Minsky

Alan Minsky is the Executive Director of Progressive Democrats of America (PDA). He was the Program Director at KPFK Los Angeles from 2009-2018; and has coordinated Pacifica Radio’s national coverage of elections. Before that, Minsky was one of the founders of LA Indymedia. He is the creator and producer of the political podcasts for The Nation and Jacobin Magazine, as well as a contributor to Common Dreams.


  1. “We know and understand that a victory by Joe Biden over Donald Trump will deliver what we need: a victory in an imminent and essential battle;…”

    This is satire, right? A victory by “Joe Biden” is a perpetuation of the status quo. His puppeteers will be delighted. We will continue to be screwed.

  2. 1. Narcissistic fools infest the federal government like maggots in spoiled meat. Getting rid of the top fool will make but a small dent in the maggot population.

    2. ” a victory that will preserve democracy.” Puuleeze, spare me the democracy hyperbole. It’s long past time to recognize that we are firmly ensconced in Sheldon Wolin’s “inverted totalitarianism,” aka corporate feudalism.

    1. You’re on the right track, toward total positivity, away from the mixed bag where the pretty apples shine and hide the rotten apples. Resonating with all of the positives in total positivity is the feeling we want to have for it, our awareness of this feeling within, and our appreciation for and comfort with this collection as crucial parts of the crucial whole. Are we achieving this comfort? Better to gain comfort from something totally positive than something rotten at the bottom. Make sense?

    2. Amen. If Bidden wins the struggle will continue, it may be more civil, but it will be a continuing struggle.

    3. Agreed, I’m sick and tired of listening to “journalists” whine about democracy while they’ve been asleep at the wheel for decades and only pretend to care now that there’s a wannabe fascist in the WH.

      Biden = Trump

      Us progressives have a fight on our hands REGARDLESS of who wins next month.

  3. I agree that it is time for action — but Joe Biden says nothing will fundamentally change. He will take us back to the neoliberalism that coughed up Trump. And that will precipitate more Trumps.

  4. Good article. Needs no explaining. We embody the future we are fighting for. Democracy is a product of popular struggle against greed and exploitation. We understand that racism and sexism are the favored weapons of the anti-democracy forces.

  5. Alan, you had me with you all the way until this:
    ‘We know and understand that a victory by Joe Biden over Donald Trump will deliver what we need’….

    Yes, Donald Trump is an evil buffoon, a narcissistic demagogue of the worst kind. He doesn’t care about his minions — only about himself and his own money and power. But the Democratic Party has long been the perfect vehicle necessary to bring Trump to power: they too are largely composed of narcissists who care only about themselves and their own power, and these both derive from the largesse of a relative few wealthy patrons. We shall never become the beautiful society you describe as long as the DP itself continues to block our path — and people stubbornly refuse to see that.

  6. Nice call to inaction.

    Biden/Trump who cares.
    Both will deliver America to Fascism.
    Pretending otherwise is the mistake.

    It’s the Oligarchy — Stupid.

  7. Alan buys into the idea that putting ‘something’ before Democrats will change what the Democratic party is and who it represents. This is a false idea that has to be driven into everyone on the left including all the mouthpieces at KPFK who endlessly ‘sheepdog’ for this center right-wing corporate organization which is the Democratic party.

    1. The Democratic party will never ever ever be reformed. NEVER. Get that idea out of your head now.
    2. You cannot be a member of the Democratic party, only the corporate donors can. They only want you to
    vote for their puppets, like Joe Biden, who execute the will of the wealthy, privileged, elites.
    3. Reform of this corrupt political system in the United States will never come from the two-party
    duopoly, which is owned wholly and outright by the financial elites, military-industrial complex, oil
    companies and media corporations.

    Our only hope now will be ‘non-violent’ civil disobedience and a general strike. We have shut the system down if we are going to save ourselves and the big question now is: do we have the will to ‘save ourselves’? Right now that is ‘unclear’…

  8. Please save your voter shaming for a different audience, this isn’t HuffPo.

  9. Save democracy? You must be of the professional/managerial class and not have noticed that we’ve had an oligarchy for a very long time. Now that your precious woke capitalism is failing, you want the rest of us (the 80-90%) to care? It’s too late for that.

  10. another fascist democrat espousing the ruling class ideology–SCIENCE
    “amerikans believe anything described as scientific”. G Gorer
    only in the anglosphere is dialectical thinking impossible–“anglophones particularize and decontextualize”. R Sennet
    the Marxist phenomenologist Merleau-Ponty wrote, “the scientific attitude is naive and dishonest”
    “man must awaken to wonder and so perhaps do peoples: science puts them back to sleep again”. Wittgenstein
    “in amerika science has been adopted for the ruling elites”. Horkheimer/Adorno
    “amerikans fetish science: in amerika it is the most aggressive and dogmatic of religions, that like all religions should be separated from the state”. Paul Feyerabend
    “since the masses are eager to believe in something nothing is so easy as to arrange facts for their benefit”. Charles Talleyrand

  11. So, let’s assume that all goes as desired (with extreme regret, I desire it too) and the dems
    take the trifecta (H,S, and P). What can we legitimately expect? There’s only one reasonable

    True lefties will be put back into the port-a-potty and decorated from above – as before.

    This has already been announced. Is anything more certain?

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: