Original Politics Scott Tucker

A Week of Really Bad News — Now, Let’s Get to Work

After a week of bad news, the author suggests a class-conscious struggle for peace must also become a political revolution against the corporate state. 

By Scott Tucker / Original to Scheerpost

So much bad news in one week. When political illusions die hard, however, the ground is also being cleared for class-conscious resistance. 

Now let’s get to work:

Joe Manchin held the Congressional Democrats hostage, and of course blamed the mildest social democrats in Congress for being the hostage takers. Manchin demands that the progressives in Congress must support the infrastructure bill, but remains uncommitted to a reconciliation bill which has already been drastically reduced in both funding and sane public policies. Yet, Manchin dares to give press conferences on the great virtue of compromise.

When discussing the two chief obstructionists among elected Democrats in Congress — namely, Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema — we can mention the plain distinctions briefly. Manchin is a reliable player for old energy and industries, and is also the founder of the coal brokerage Enersystems. As Tara Suter wrote in an article published on September 21 in Open Secrets (whose mission is “Following the Money in Politics”), “A recent investigation by The Intercept revealed that Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.V.)’s daughter worked with Pfizer Inc. in 2016 to monopolize and raise the price of the EpiPen while the company gave generous campaign donations to Manchin.” 

As for Sinema, she is younger and flashier, and in 2000 she worked on Ralph Nader’s presidential bid. Incrementally at first, and then by leaps and bounds, she became a political shapeshifter. Now, Sinema is promoting tax cuts for oligarchs and corporations. Maybe Manchin and Sinema will find job opportunities in the Republican Party, though I doubt Sinema’s real ambition is to become a career politician — not when she has morphed so rapidly into a corporate performance artist.

India Walton, who campaigned for mayor of Buffalo, NY, was defeated by right wing Democrats within her own party. She had won a primary against Mayor Byron Brown, but big donors including Republicans lined up to red bait Walton and fill big media with the rhetorical equivalent of saturation bombing. 

Pay special attention to this bipartisan big money campaign against a socialist who had gained real traction with voters. Whenever Green candidates received relatively small donations from Republicans, that had been cited by liberals in high dudgeon as proof that Greens are useful idiots for reaction. 

Nancy Pelosi, Rachel Maddow and Chuck Todd have no serious objection, however, when there is a bipartisan coalition against a socialist candidate. As Pelosi once announced about the American political system, “We’re capitalist and that’s just the way it is.”

The planet is on fire, but Joe “FDR” Biden fell asleep at the climate conference in Glasgow. Who could blame him?

Keeping these national and global issues in mind, one of the more promising signs of class-conscious resistance has been the growth of a sector of left leaning commentators on YouTube channels. Below I have selected some of the more interesting recent episodes. The titles are not mine, but were posted on YouTube with these episodes. I do not have a romantic view of the YouTube left (generously defined), but the fact remains that a growing number of rebel voters and especially of class-conscious youth are following these channels. 

These political commentators are rarely investigative journalists, though Matt Taibbi is a notable exception, and cohosts the YouTube channel Useful Idiots with Katie Halper. Few of the YouTube lefties have any wide knowledge of history, and even fewer have made a decisive political break from the Democratic Party. 

Among those few, Briahna Joy Gray is the host of Bad Faith. She stands out for both charisma and analytical power, while Jimmy Dore comes from the world of stand-up comedy and is far ruder in his humor and in his opinions on The Jimmy Dore Show. Even so, Dore has an impressive record of raising crucial questions in a timely way. Dore likes to remind his audience that he’s “just a jag off comedian” getting stoned in his garage. Some of Dore’s YouTube competitors have even accused him of being an “anti-vaxxer.” Nonsense. Dore is vaccinated but dares to raise questions about health policy and state mandates. Dore does deserve criticism for his previous illusions about Tulsi Gabbard, who once campaigned against “regime change wars.” Now, however, Gabbard displays streaks of right-wing populism that she had taken more care to camouflage before.

The campaign to force the vote in Congress on single payer Medicare for all divided the YouTube left into polemical camps. The idea was not strictly original with Dore, as he was glad to acknowledge. Indeed, it had even been raised within the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). But Dore really put the idea into wider public discourse. Gray correctly noted that some YouTube commentators were allergic to Dore and unable to consider this campaign on its own merits. Essentially, Dore had asked: OK, presumably we have some social democratic leverage in Congress at last, and how will this be used? 

The answer was dismal. Sanders, AOC, the Squad, and allied members ran for cover. This week, they pretended to stare down Manchin and Sinema. They blinked first and then threw word salad at the public. Their excuses will be recycled among vote by rote apparatchiks of the Democratic Party, including the talking heads at MSNBC.

David Sirota (see last link below) has written a new book arguing that the Democratic Party must deliver actual hope and change to the voting public, or else the far right will occupy the void in electoral politics once again. Sirota has disabled his own argument, however, by hoping against reason and evidence that the Democratic Party can deliver the practical policies of social democracy in health care, housing, and education. Or in the crucial energy policies needed to avert a climate catastrophe. 

During October a new wave of labor strikes spread across the country. No one can predict whether these might cohere into general strikes, which are not utopian dreams but have a real history within and beyond our borders.

Political revolution was the proclamation of Sanders during his presidential campaign. Now those words don’t pass his lips, and he has gone back to sheep-dogging any voters inclined to bolt free from the flock of sheep. 

The Democratic and Republican parties keep each other in business, including the truly big business of war and empire. A class-conscious struggle for peace must also become a political revolution against the corporate state. 

Recent episodes from the YouTube left:

#KyleKulinski #SecularTalk

Mayor Pete Sells Biden’s Sh*t Sandwich | The Kyle Kulinski Show

Nov 2, 2021

#TYT #TheYoungTurks #BreakingNews

Progressives Surrender on Spending Bill, Let EVERYONE Down

Nov 2, 2021

#HumanistReport #THR #MikeFigueredo

India Walton Likely DEFEATED by Sore Loser Write-In Campaign, Youngkin BEATS McAuliffe in VA

Nov 2, 2021

#HumanistReport #THR #MikeFigueredo

Why Andrew Yang Backed Biden Over Bernie

Nov 2, 2021

Humiliated & Empty-Handed: House Progressives CAVE After Manchin Calls Their Bluff

Nov 2, 2021

#TheJimmyDoreShow

Cucked Progressives Already Caved On Spending Bills

Oct 31, 2021

Biden’s Charade EXPOSED with David Sirota

Oct 29, 2021

Scott Tucker

Scott Tucker is a writer and socialist. He is the author of The Queer Question: Essays on Desire and Democracy, and writes for several political websites. He was a cofounder of ACT UP Philadelphia, and now lives in Los Angeles with his friend and comrade of 45 years, Larry Gross.

6 comments

  1. The so-called progressives in Congress, especially The Squad, are not actually progressive, despite their talk to the contrary. Regardless of their true motivations — and to be honest, I’m so fed up with them that I don’t care at this point — their real function is to sheepdog progressives into the Democratic Party in order to prevent them from doing something that actually might be effective, like starting another party or taking their complaints to the streets.

    If you don’t believe me, tell me why none of these supposed progressives have ever challenged the Democratic Party establishment. That’s what they were elected to do, starting with Ocasio-Cortez. It’s clear to me that these people care more about staying in Congress for at least 5 years to get their pensions, staying in Congress as long as possible to get their large paychecks and massive benefits, and getting their valuable book deals and speaking fees, more than they do about enacting any progressive programs.

  2. The purpose of the democratic party has always been to squelch
    Hope & Change. Obama was the greatest practitioner of this art.
    There are only two ways to overcome this within
    the existing system – one improbable and the other slightly less so.

    Improbable. Take over the party from within and expel the corporatists.

    Less improbable. Destroy the party and replace it with another one.

    Under the existing mode of operations, neither is likely to work – although
    the second could create a party that would soon need massive amounts of
    cheating to defeat. Of course, the other guys are quite capable of this.

    An asteroid, a nuclear war, or a plague more virulent than the current one
    could turn the trick, but they are not within the current system.

    1. I agree with your analysis of the situation. There’s no a lot of hope after realizing Obama was a complete fraud, his family supposedly deep into the CIA: https://covertactionmagazine.com/2021/10/01/a-company-family-the-untold-history-of-obama-and-the-cia/

      When I watch videos of him now I’m flabbergasted that I now see his “jokes” and easy-going demeanor as him laughing at the rubes who believed him. I was taken in by him twice. Now I’m so jaded, I find myself despising (loathing) everyone in Congress and in the government.

      If I vote in 2022 it looks like it will be for the American Shopping Party, for sure it won’t be for the criminals now that represent my state.

      I’m not at all clear on how to “get to work” when I review what happened to OWS and how the protests against the Iraq invasion were just ignored.

      1. Never listen to what any politician says. Instead, watch what they do. If you had done that, you’d have seen that Obama was just a right wing Democratic senator, not quite as much of a warmonger as Hillary Clinton. Don’t believe campaign promises, don’t listen to, read or watch political ads, etc. A politician’s record and actions in office are all that matter, not what they say (with the lone exception of using their bully pulpit for good or evil).

        I also maintained hope that there was a 1-3% chance that Obama would do something good after he was elected in 2008, but as soon as he hired Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff, I knew it was over (I’m originally from Chicago and I unfortunately know all too well who Emanuel is). Along with my wife, neighbors, and others, I too was dancing in the streets in San Francisco when Obama was elected the first time. Not because I liked Obama, but because I hated Cheney/Bush and because Obama wasn’t 100% white. Unfortunately, the joy didn’t last long at all.

    2. Proportional representation is the only viable solution. Every other democracy beside England has it, and those countries all have multiple parties in power, not just two. The unrepresentative winner-take-all system that we have is only one of several major problems with our electoral system, but changing to proportional representation would go a long way toward fixing things.

  3. “the amerikan progressive/liberal wants to preserve the essence of the past; the amerikan conservative wants more and more progress. the European radical wants to hasten the transformation of the future; the European conservative wants to preserve the essence of the past”. Geoffrey Gorer

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: