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:
Mayor Pete Sells Biden’s Sh*t Sandwich | The Kyle Kulinski Show
Nov 2, 2021
Progressives Surrender on Spending Bill, Let EVERYONE Down
Nov 2, 2021
India Walton Likely DEFEATED by Sore Loser Write-In Campaign, Youngkin BEATS McAuliffe in VA
Nov 2, 2021
Why Andrew Yang Backed Biden Over Bernie
Nov 2, 2021
Humiliated & Empty-Handed: House Progressives CAVE After Manchin Calls Their Bluff
Nov 2, 2021
Cucked Progressives Already Caved On Spending Bills
Oct 31, 2021
Biden’s Charade EXPOSED with David Sirota
Oct 29, 2021