Category Archives: Voting
Chance recently landed me on the crimethinc.com anarchist website, where I found two important books (click on “Books”), available for free online in PDF format. The first, No Wall They Can Build: A Guide to Borders and Migration Across North America, scrutinizes the borders that control movement on the continent. “Drawing on nearly a decade of solidarity work in the desert between Mexico and Arizona, the authors uncover the real goals and costs of US border policy, who benefits from it, and what it will take to change it.” The second, From Democracy to Freedom: The Difference Between Government and Self-Determination, makes the case for anarchy (voluntarism and mutual aid) against any form of direct democracy, which will only reproduce the oppressive state. I highly recommend both, lengthy and dense, but key books for your attention.
Here’s a quote I just found in From Democracy to Freedom that I especially liked: “It’s no coincidence that today’s revolutionary movements lack visions of other worlds, or that a great part of capitalist production supplants imagination among its consumers, offering imaginaries that become more elaborate every day – more visually stimulating and more interactive, so that people no longer have to imagine anything for themselves because a thousand worlds and fantasies already come prepackaged. All the old fantasies that used to set us dreaming have now been fixed in Hollywood productions, with convincing actors, fully depicted terrains, and emotive soundtracks. Nothing is left for us to recreate, only to consume. In the current marketplace of ideas, it seems that the only imaginaries that describe our future are apocalypses or the science fiction colonization of outer space. The latter is the final frontier for capitalist expansion now that this planet is getting used up, and the former is the only alternative capitalism is willing to concede outside its dominion. The revolutionaries of a hundred years ago continuously dreamed and schemed of a world without the State and without capitalism. Some of them made the mistake of turning their dreams into blueprints, dogmatic guidelines that in practice functioned as yardsticks by which to measure deviance. But today we face a much greater problem: the absence of revolutionary imaginaries and the near total atrophy of the imagination in ourselves and in the rest of society. The imagination is the most revolutionary organ in our collective social body, because it’s the only one capable of creating new worlds, of traveling outside capitalism and state authority, of enabling us to surpass the limits of insurrection that have lately become so evident.
I know very few people who can imagine what anarchy might look like, and uncertainty isn’t the problem. Uncertainty is one of the fundamentals of chaotic organization, and only the authoritarian neurosis of states obliges us to impose certainty on an ever-shifting reality. The problem, rather, is that our lack of imagination has disconnected us from the world. A vital part of ourselves is no longer there, as it used to be, on the cusp of the horizon, on the threshold between dark and light, discerning, modulating, and greeting each new element coming into our lives. Our prospects, however, aren’t irremediably bleak. Imagination can always be renewed and reinvigorated, though we must emphasize the radical importance of this work if people are once more to create, share, and discuss new possible worlds or profound transformations of this one.”
Speaking to the crowd of Poor People’s Campaign demonstrators in front of the Supreme Court building 6-13-18, Reverend William Barber II, co-leader of the campaign, said, “I heard a friend of mine. He’s dead, but I heard him in a book. He was gay. He’s a powerful brother. And he said something like this in the 1930s, in the middle of traumatic times, that still has relevancy today to us:
O, let America be America again—
The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—the land where every person is free.
The land that is mine—the poor man’s, the Indian’s, the Negro’s, ME—
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.
Call me any ugly name you choose—
But the steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
That America will be!
It’s a good thing I listen to selected episodes of “Democracy Now” via podcast, or I would have missed last Wednesday’s incredibly moving story about the Poor People’s campaign, barely mentioned in the New York Times. I hope you’ll go to http://www.democracy now.org and listen too. The story of the arrests (for demonstrating in front of the Supreme Court, which had just upheld suppression of voter rights in Ohio), what participants had to say, and the songs they sang (“Everybody got a right to live”) had me on the verge of tears. Go to www.poorpeoplescampaign.org and volunteer to join the campaign and/or donate. I did both.
This campaign inspires me for two powerful reasons: its goals not only need to be realized, but when they are the promises of my era, the ’60s, will be fulfilled (this campaign is a continuation of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1968 Poor People’s Campaign). Another key podcast, a speech by Black Panther founder and leader Bobby Seale broadcast on June 7th, is available on Alternative Radio (www.alternativeradio.org). Seale’s ideas are right in line with the Poor People’s Campaign. Power to the people!
William C. Anderson and Zoé Samudzi have an incisive article “The Anarchism of Blackness” in the current issue of “Roar” magazine (roarmag.org), headlined: “The Democratic Party has led Black America down a dead end. The sooner we begin to understand that, the more realistically we’ll be able to organize against fascism.” The authors believe that “in the coming months and years, left and left-leaning constituencies in the United States will need to make clear distinctions between actual and potentially counterproductive symbolic progress.” They also think the Black liberation struggle has and will provide “a blueprint for transformative social change,” thanks to “its positioning as an inherently radical social formation.”
Under the heading “The Failings of American Liberalism,” the authors write, “The United States’ self-ascribed democratic traits have long been filtered through oppressive forms deemed necessary by the state and a capitalist system benefiting only a few. For many years now, American liberalism has been a bitter disappointment to many who somehow maintained faith in the two-party system. The Democratic Party has seemingly been the only choice for those who consider themselves progressives working for a better society, but the notion that social inequities will be solved through the electoral process was always naïve at best. The entrails of this system are lined with the far-right fascism currently rising and long bubbling under the façade of liberal democracy at the expense of non-whites in a white supremacist society. A system predicated on the over-emphasis of ‘order’ and ‘security’ is primed for authoritarianism.
Over time, the genocide, enslavement, and other forms of violence present at this nation’s birth have been displaced and restructured by more insidious and invisible modalities of community destruction facilitated by liberalism like the reservation, the prison system, and austerity policies. Over the past few decades, the United States has seen a shift in liberal politics leaving the Democratic Party in a completely compromised position. Instead of moving left, the Democratic Party pandered to the right, facilitating a conservative shift. Liberal support for the Iraq War, post-9/11 domestic policy, and the foreign policy extensions of the War on Terror have led to the current administration led by a plutocratic tyrant hell-bent on the destruction of vulnerable populations. Despite the optics of change and the promises of a new day and the moral victories of ‘going high,’ an old sun is rising on a white horizon.
Societal fascism describes the process and political logic of state formation wherein entire populations are either excluded or ejected from the social contract. They’re excluded pre-contractually because they’ve never been part of the social contract and never will be; or they’re ejected from a contract they were previously a part of. Black Americans are the former: residents in a settler colony predicated on the genocide of indigenous people and the enslavement of Africans; residents in the United States, as opposed to citizens of. Despite a constitution laden with European Enlightenment values and a document of independence declaring egalitarianism and inalienable rights as the law of the land, Black existence was that of private property. The Black American condition is perpetual relegation to the afterlife of slavery as long as the United States continues to exist as an ongoing settler project. Black exclusion from the social contract is existence within a heavily surveilled and heavily regulated state of subjection.
Whiteness has long sought to grapple with the existential threat posed by Black freedom. Black repatriation to Africa was the solution for slaveholders concerned that the presence of free Blacks would inspire enslaved Blacks to revolt and worried that Black families would burden state welfare systems and that interracial labor competition would ultimately compromise wages for white workers. The ‘Back to Africa’ project was subsequently taken up by Black thinkers like Marcus Garvey in the late-19th and early-20th centuries following the failures of Reconstruction in the South, the first attempt to meaningfully extend citizenship to newly emancipated Blacks and protect them from white supremacist violence, and also the social and political disillusionment of Blacks who had migrated to northern states.
Since then progress has been secured by Black people’s mobilization rather than by any political party. We’re the ones who have achieved much of the progress that’s changed the nation for the better for everyone. Our organization can be as effective now as it has been in the past, serving every locality and community based on their needs and determinations. This can be achieved through disassociating ourselves from party politics that fail to serve us.
While bound to the laws of the land, Black America can be understood as an extra-state entity because of Black exclusion from the liberal social contract. Due to this extra-state location, Blackness is in many ways anarchistic. African-Americans, as an ethno-social identity comprised of descendants from enslaved Africans, have innovated new cultures and social organizations and have engaged in anarchistic resistances since our very arrival in the Americas. From slave ship and plantation rebellions, to the creation of maroon societies in the American South, to Harriet Tubman’s removal of enslaved peoples from the custody of their owners, to post-Emancipation labor and prison camps, to combatting the historic (and present) collusion between state law enforcement and the Ku Klux Klan, assertions of Black personhood, humanity and liberation have necessarily called into question both the foundations and legitimacy of the American state.
Liberalism can’t defeat fascism; it can only engage it through symbolic political rigmarole. The triteness of electoral politics that’s been superimposed onto Black life in the United States positions Black people as a mule for much of this nation’s social progression. Our hyper-visible struggle is a fight for all people’s freedom, and we die only to realize that everything gained can be reversed with the quick flick of a pen. While liberalism takes up the burden of protecting ‘free speech’ and the rights of those who would annihilate non-whites, Black people and other people of color assume all the risks and harms. The symbolic battles the Democratic Party and its liberal constituents engage in pose direct existential threats to Black people because they protect esteemed ideals of a constitution that has never guaranteed Black people safety or security. The current fascist moment is neither ideologically new nor temporally surprising; it’s an inevitability.
The mechanisms working against us deal death and destruction in countless numbers across the non-Western world while turning domestic Black and Brown neighborhoods into proxies for how to treat sub-citizen ‘others.’ The militarization of police, border regimes, stop-and-frisk, and ICE are clear examples of how the state regards the communities it targets and brutalizes. At the very least, a conversation on self-defense that doesn’t mistreat our survival as a form of violence is sorely needed. It would be even better if the conversation normalized anti-fascist organizing that prepared people for the possibility of a fight, instead of simply hoping that day never comes and respectably tut-tutting about those currently fighting in the streets.
Everyone has a stake in the fight against fascism. It can’t be defeated with bargaining, petitioning, pleading, ‘civilized’ dialogue, or any other mode of response we were taught was best. Fascists have no respect for ‘othered’ humanities. Regardless of age, gender, race, sexuality, religion, physical ability, or nationality, there’s a place for each of us in this struggle. We’re always fighting against the odds because there’s no respite in a perpetually abusive state. It can only function through this abuse, so we can only prevail through organizing grounded in radical love and solidarity. This solidarity must prioritize accountability, and it must be authentic. Strategic organizing of this sort, organizing where we understand the inextricable linkedness of our respective struggles, is our means of bolstering the makings of a cohesive left in the United States. We no longer have time to waste on dogma, sectarianism, prejudice, and incoherence.
The sooner Black America in particular begins to understand our position as an inherently anarchistic element of the United States, the more realistically we’ll be able to organize. A better society has to be written through our inalienable self-determinations, and that will only happen when we realize that we are holding the pen.
William C. Anderson is a freelance writer, published by The Guardian, Pitchfork, Truthout, and at the Praxis Center for Kalamazoo College, where he’s a contributing editor covering race, class and immigration.
Zoé Samudzi is a Black feminist writer and PhD student in Medical Sociology at the University of California, San Francisco. Her current research is focused on critical race theory and biomedicalization.
One of the things I’m trying to learn, spiritually and politically, is that thinking in either-or binaries hobbles us unnecessarily and can prevent us from reaching our goals. Case in point: I don’t think working within the current system will get us where we want to go, but I support whatever progressive political actions others believe in and take. Being as informed as possible can help us choose good strategies, and to be informed I go to sources I trust. Jeffrey St. Clair, editor-in-chief of Counterpunch (counterpunch.org) is one of them. Below are my notes on his latest book, Bernie and the Sandernistas: Field Notes from A Failed Revolution (2016). He’s also written on environmental issues, links between the CIA and the drug trade, and Obama and “the politics of illusion,” and has a book coming out next month on climate change. Bernie and the Sandernistas covers the 2016 presidential campaign up to and including the Democratic Convention.
St. Clair believes the Clintons, “the chief architects of the neoliberal takeover of the Democratic Party, stand for everything Sanders claim[ed] to be against. They push austerity programs at home and abroad, while giving Wall Street traders the keys to the treasury. They slashed banking regulations and weakened environmental and food safety laws. They’ve rammed through job-killing trade pacts, from NAFTA to GATT and the WTO. They’ve supported interventionist wars in Kosovo, Colombia, Iraq, and Libya. They gutted welfare, expanded the drug war, and institutionalized the federal death penalty. Clintonian pragmatism only runs in one direction: to the right.”
St. Clair says the so-called Sanders revolution “was over before it started, the moment Sanders decided to run in the Democratic Party primaries, instead of as an independent, where he might have proved a real menace to the neoliberal establishment. Sanders even pledged to support HRC in the general election. But he was never interested in a real revolution. He’s more Hubert Humphrey than Che Guevara: a timid reformer, an old-time liberal ranting in the antechambers of a party that’s long since made its Faustian bargain with the agents of austerity. Left and right, the sour mood of the country burns for a true political and economic revolution, and it may well happen. But look for it on the streets, not in the hollow rituals of these elections.
Both Clinton and Sanders are seasoned interventionists. Sanders supported Bill Clinton’s war on Serbia, voted for the 2001 Authorization Unilateral Military Force Against Terrorists (AUMF), which pretty much allowed Bush to wage war wherever he wanted, backed Obama’s Libyan debacle, and supports an expanded US role in the Syrian civil war. More problematic for the senator in Birkenstocks is the little-known fact that he voted twice in support of regime change in Iraq – first in favor of the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, which said: “It should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and to promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime.” Later that same year, Sanders backed a another similar resolution. These measures gave congressional backing for the CIA’s covert plan to overthrow Saddam, as well as the tightening of an economic sanctions regime that may have killed as many as 500,000 Iraqi children. They also gave the green light to” extensive bombing campaigns. “On the rare occasions when Sanders has been confronted about these votes, he’s casually dismissed them as being ‘almost unanimous.’ In fact, many anti-war members of Congress voted against the Iraq regime change measures. Even though Sanders markets himself as an ‘independent socialist,’ he’s rarely dissented against the Democratic Party orthodoxy, especially when it comes to military intervention.
A reformer, not a radical, Bernie’s goal is to refashion the Democratic Party from the inside. He’s been in elected office since 1981, tweaking at the gears instead of monkey-wrenching the machine. If Sanders now seems like a radical, it’s only a measure of how far to the right the Democrats have migrated since the rise of the neoliberals. Sanders may be as good as a Democrat gets (aside from Barbara Lee), but how good is that? And what will it get you?
Clinton’s top economic advisor, Alan Blinder, has publicly assured his Wall Street pals that Clinton will not under any circumstances break up the big banks and neither will she seek to reanimate Glass-Steagall, the Depression-era regulatory measure whose exsanguination by her husband enabled the financial looting by firms like Goldman and Lehman Brothers that spurred the global economic collapse of 2008. The lavish fee from Goldman for Hillary’s speeches was both a gratuity for past loyalty and a down payment on future services. Goldman’s ties to the Clintons date back to 1985, when Goldman executives began pumping money into the newly formed Democratic Leadership Council, a kind of proto-SuperPac for the advancement of neoliberalism. Behind its ‘third-way’ smokescreen, the DLC was shaking down corporations and Wall Street financiers to fund the campaigns of business-friendly ‘New’ Democrats such as Al Gore and Bill Clinton. The DLC served as the political launching pad for the Clintons, boosting them out of the obscurity of the Arkansas dog-patch into the rarified orbit of the Georgetown cocktail circuit and the Wall Street money movers.”
Under the heading “The Once and Future Sandernistas,” St. Clair says Sanders’ campaign “ended the way it began, with Sanders drawing huge energetic crowds and winning few votes from blacks and Hispanics. Sanders could never connect with the most vulnerable voters in the country. That fact alone doomed his campaign. The dream campaign came to an abrupt end with Sanders’s crushing defeat in California, where demographics and the party establishment were aligned against him. He lost by more than 400,000 votes, a humiliating margin that can’t be written off to voter suppression or hacked machines.
Running as an economic revolutionary, Sanders spent most of his time in the cozy milieu of college campuses instead of in desolate urban landscapes or working-class suburbs. It’s hard to earn the trust of poor people when you don’t spend much time in their company. And, he never satisfactorily explained his vote for the Clinton Crime Bill, which launched a 20-year long war on America’s blacks and Hispanics. Of course, his anemic appeal to black Democratic voters could have liberated Sanderds to attack Obama’s and Hillary’s dismal records. His curious timidity against confronting Obama’s policies, from drone warfare to the president’s bailout of the insurance industry (AKA ObamaCare), hobbled Sanders from the starting gate. Obama and Hillary Clinton are both neoliberals, who’ve betrayed organized labor and pushed job-killing trade pacts. Both are beholden to the energy cartels, backing widespread oil drilling, fracking and nuclear power. Both are military interventionists, pursuing wars on at least 12 different fronts, from Afghanistan to Yemen. But Sanders proved singularly incapable of targeting the imperialist ideology of the Obama/Clinton era. In fact, the senator is visibly uncomfortable when forced to talk about foreign policy. Even after the assassination of Goldman Prize winner Berta Cáceres by thugs associated with the Honduran regime, Sanders refused to press Clinton on her backing of the Honduran coup that put Cácere’s killers into power.”
St. Clair thinks the Democrats were “gratified to have Sanders drawing attention to a dull and lifeless party that would otherwise have been totally eclipsed by the Trump media blitzkrieg. He served the valuable function of energizing and registering on the Democratic Party rolls tens of thousands of new voters, who otherwise would have been content to stay at home. The biggest threat Sanders posed to the Democratic machine was his ability to raise lots of independent money ($212 million or more) outside of the party’s control – mostly from small online donors. But most of that money went to consultants,” who, St. Clair states, later stabbed Sanders in the back. “Real political revolutions (as opposed to rhetorical ones) begin after the futility of the ballot box has been proven, and they’re driven by issues, not personalities. Sometimes you have to bust your idols for kindling to get things ignited. Your move, Sandernistas.”
Covering the Democratic Convention, St. Clair wrote, “Bernie Sanders is getting shouted down by his own delegates this morning for pushing Hillary & Kaine down their throats.” He then notes that “after a supposedly disastrous, widely ridiculed convention, Trump was up 5%. He might well be up 10 after the Democrats finish theirs. They continue to ignore working class issues and the rising public animus toward interventionist wars. Pre-convention, independents split 34% Clinton to 31% Trump, with sizable numbers behind Johnson (22%) and Stein (10%). Now, 46% say they back Trump, 28% Clinton, 15% Johnson and 4% Stein. Both of the third party candidates are drawing more votes from Clinton than from Trump.
Nancy Pelosi was booed as she addressed her own California delegation. Who wants to be the next Democratic power broker to step up to the microphone? Chuck Schumer, stop hiding behind the curtains, you’ve never been shy before! Benediction booed. Barney Frank booed. Marcia Fudge booed. Next? This convention could be fun, after all! After waiting three days to apologize to Sanders for rigging the democratic process against his campaign, Democratic leaders now urge the Sandernistas to be ‘respectful’ of the ‘democratic process’! Sanders just texted his delegates to sit back and take it in silence: ‘I ask you as a personal courtesy to me to not engage in any kind of protest on the floor.’ What a monumental failure of nerve on his part! The DNC, with the help of the hired Sanders flacks, also just pushed through the platform on a voice vote, steamrolling efforts by the Sandernistas and Labor to get a floor vote on the TPP.
Listening to Clinton’s campaign guru Robby Mook mewl about possible Russian meddling in US elections is like listening to Trump whine about income tax rates when he apparently pays nothing. Shall we recall HRC’s direct intervention in the Russian elections? Her financing of the opposition in the Venezuelan elections? Her role in the Honduran coup? That’s essentially the job description of the Secretary of State, isn’t it? What goes around comes around, Hillary. (If it proves, in fact, to be the case that the hackers were Russians.) Warren’s encomiums for Hillary on economic justice and trade fell flat, with the crowd chanting “Goldman Sachs! Goldman Sachs!”
The Sandernistas are crying as Bernie takes the stage. What a strange magnetism he has, especially his appeal to younger women, who were the backbone of his campaign. Is it a longing for the lost grandfather? The appeal is almost mystical. Patrick Flaherty suggested that it was ‘a longing for a sincere, strong, open-hearted male, which is all too rare in popular culture.’ But look where he led them: right into the arms of the Wicked Stepmother. The boos began the moment Bernie began his refrain: ‘Hillary understands…’ Bernie’s vouching for Hillary, the Secretary of Fracking, on climate change also rang pretty hollow, especially when she doubled-down with Tim ‘Offshore Drilling’ Kaine. What’s worse? Someone who dismisses the science and supports the oil, gas and coal industry or someone, like Clinton and Kaine, who understands the science and still gives the fossil fuel lobby all they want? Bernie kept repeating the withered platitude that ‘We’re stronger when we stand together.’ But together with whom? For what? Perhaps all the tears were for the ragged spectacle of Sanders humiliating himself for 50 straight minutes on behalf of a ticket which has only contempt for him and his followers. The cognitive dissonance of this convention is at its max. How else can you explain how demurely Sanders just delivered his movement to the machine that represents everything he was allegedly waging war against: bailing out the banks, destruction of Glass-Steagall, fracking on a global scale, abandonment of organized labor, trade pacts from NAFTA to WTO to TPP, the death penalty, continuation of the drug war, the gutting of welfare, interventionist wars from Iraq to Syria, fealty to Wall Street money, vindictive and racist criminal justice policies, inaction on climate change, and blind loyalty to Israel? Most of the Sandernistas walked out after Bernie transferred (without consent) their votes to Hillary and had a sit-in outside of the convention center, where nobody saw them or cared. What kind of civil disobedience is that? Why not protest inside the hall, where the cameras and the action are? A last blown opportunity to shake the establishment.
I misted up during the testimonials of the Mothers of the Murdered, especially when Travyon Martin’s mother said that she was “an unwilling participant in this movement. I would not have signed up for this. I’m here today for my son, Trayvon Martin, who’s in heaven.” Too bad this heavy ceremony was diluted and demeaned by giving an hour to the Incarcerator-in-Chief, Bill Clinton, whose Crime Bill put 100,000 new cops on the streets. Since the passage of that infamous law in 1994, police have killed at least 20,460 civilians.
An odd short film tried to sell everything that Bill Clinton did for poor people, but neglected to mention his destruction of welfare…Jane Fonda. Once she went to Hanoi to stop a war. Now she’s appearing in a music video for a war criminal. Jesse Jackson, too, is a hollow shell of his former self: a hired gun for the elites. In a strange cinematic interlude, the big screen behind the stage just aired a surreal film warning that Trump couldn’t be trusted with the ‘nuclear button,’ which was partially narrated by the nuclear bomber himself, Harry Truman! Leon Panetta, the CIA’s master of drones, is now being shouted down with ‘No war, No drone!’ chants, most of them coming from the Oregon and Washington state delegations. Play on, Sandernistas! Leon Panetta sniveling about Russian hacking is the best laugh of the night. Didn’t his own hackers, working with their cohorts in Mossad, unleash the malicious Stuxnet worm on Iran? The floor managers are in crisis mode. They’ve given all of the delegates on the floor ‘Stronger America’ placards, which they’re waving with patriotic vigor as they shout ‘USA! USA!’ to drown out the anti-war protesters. Did they import these people from the Trump rally in Scranton? They cut the lights on the protesters’ section, who are using the flashlight apps on their cellphones. Right on cue, Rachel Maddow denounced what another MS-DNC hack called the ‘lunatic left’ for heckling Panetta.
Optimism is the word from the O-Man, which means things must be worse than we think. Obama: ‘There are pockets of this country that never recovered from factory closings.’ Pockets? They’re big enough to shoplift the Great Lakes. Now he’s quoting Reagan. Truman and Reagan have been quoted more frequently than any other figures at this convention. In fact, Obama’s speech is played in the key of Reagan. He’s said that he sees himself as a ‘transitional figure’ like Reagan. Obama could sell Trump Steaks to a vegan. He swears that Hillary’s the ‘most qualified person ever to run for president.’ Perhaps. But she’s qualified in all the wrong areas. Obama possesses so many scintillating skills, perhaps more skills than any other political figure of the modern era. Yet he put those gifts to such meager, timid and often brutal uses. What a waste. His is the tragedy of a squandered presidency.
This was a night dominated by the hollow men of the Democratic Party: Panetta, Kaine, Biden, and Obama. The theme was liberal virility, strength, and managerial efficiency. Missing was any empathy for the homeless and the hungry, the poor and the downtrodden. It was a frontal embrace of the neoliberal order, a demonstration that the Democrats have the competency and toughness to manage the imperial order in a time of severe internal and external stress. Bernie sat passively in the imperial box seats with Jane squirming at his side, watching it all unfold.”
St. Clair heads his coverage of day four “She Stoops to Conquer,” beginning with an apology “to the Sandernistas for any impolite things I may have written about you in the past 10 months. I especially want to apologize to those of you who rose up after your leader abandoned you and sat passively as your brave chants of ‘No More Drones!’ were drowned out by the fascist war-cry of ‘USA! USA!’ I want to apologize for doubting your resolve. You didn’t cry when Bernie betrayed you – at least, not for long. You marched right back into the Wells Fargo Center intent on spoiling the party. You made this squalid affair fun for a few precious hours. Somewhere Abbie Hoffman is cracking a smile.
Trump took to Twitter early this morning, as his hair was being plastered into place, and denounced last night’s all-star lineup at the Democratic Convention as an orgy of ‘empty rhetoric.’ He wasn’t wrong. The whole affair had the feel of one of those rock concerts featuring bands from the 1970s. The first few phrases were thrilling, then it all started to fade into a nostalgic stream of familiar hooks and licks you’ve heard a thousand times before on classic rock radio. All played very well with magnificent staging and a dazzling light show, yet utterly antiseptic.
Expect flood warnings as the tears begin to flow when the nation celebrates its own enlightenment in finally nominating a woman for president. The rest of the world will view this ‘historic moment’ as something of a participation trophy, however. Eighty-five women from 54 different nations have already been elected or appointed as heads of government, starting in 1960 with Sirimavo Bandaranaike of Sri Lanka. Women have led governments in India, Israel, Central African Republic, UK, Portugal, Dominica, Norway, Pakistan, Lithuania, Bangladesh, France, Poland, Turkey, Canada, Burundi, Rwanda, Bulgaria, Haiti, Guyana, New Zealand, Mongolia, Northern Cyprus, Senegal, South Korea, Sao Tome and Principe, Finland, Peru, Mozambique, Macedonia, Ukraine, Liberia, Bahamas, Germany, Jamaica, Moldova, Iceland, Croatia, Madagascar, Trinidad and Tobago, Australia, Slovakia, Mali, Thailand, Denmark, the Philippines, Guinea-Bissau, Slovenia, Latvia, Transnistria, Namibia, Greece, and Myanmar. Terry O’Neill, head of NOW, was asked about the tardiness of the US in relation to the rest of the world in electing a female head of state. Her response was a strange, almost misogynistic putdown of other women leaders: ‘Many of them weren’t feminists. Hillary was a born feminist. It was a harder road for her. USA! USA!
Yet another cop at the mic, a moment of silence for the fallen police and speeches from the relatives of dead officers. The Democrats have featured more cops as prime time speakers than the GOP, all of them lecturing about how ‘violence isn’t the solution’ to anything. Since January 1st of this year, 668 civilians have been killed by police. Two parties, both proto-fascist. How to choose?
Mission impossible: Chelsea trying to humanize her mother. She says her mother lost the fight for ‘universal health care.’ Not true. Her plan was for another market-oriented scheme called ‘Managed Competition,’ and she failed to get it passed because of incompetence and hubris, setting back the single-payer cause by a generation.
Hillary looks and sounds more and more like Cersei Lannister with each new speech. I’m getting a weird vibe that they might actually bring out Qaddafi’s head on a pike. She says she loves to talk about her ‘plans.’ Has she started yet? I haven’t heard one specific plan. Maybe she’s talking about her invasion plans. Oh, yes, she’s getting around to that now. Pledge fealty to Israel. Check. Defend NATO. Check. Bash Russia. Check. Destroy ISIS. Check. Praise the Generals. Check. Hail our military (and its defense contractors) as a national treasure. Check. Salute the troops. Check. America is great. Check. America is good. Check. America is not a bully. Check. Manifest Destiny. Check. God bless America. Check. Unlike Hillary’s idol Ronald Reagan, she gave no pledge to eliminate nuclear weapons, just a vow to have a more stable hand on the button than Trump. Like Harry Truman. Duck and cover.
How appropriate that it all ends with Hillary and Kaine standing before a golden (or is it Goldman?) shower raining down on America! As a final blessing, Hillary’s preacher has come out to confirm at last what we’ve long suspected: there’s a Methodism to her madness. All Sandernistas should leave the Wells Fargo Center before they lock the exits. (See Red Wedding episode of ‘Game of Thrones’). Hillary’s the authentic Queen of Chaos, and when she stoops, she stoops to conquer.