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Democratic Party Politics 101 with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Corporate Media

Democratic Party politics 101 with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the corporate media

Originally published: Black Agenda Report by Danny Haiphong (July 25, 2015)   | 

Some who read my writing may ask, “why don’t you criticize the Republicans as much as you do the Democrats?” My response to such a question is that it should be obvious by now which of the two corporate parties currently holds the Black polity and working class “constituencies” generally in a state of political captivity. That would be the Democrats. Political captivity within the Democratic Party has created a vast graveyard where social movements and revolutionary politics can be buried. With mid-term elections approaching and talks of who will run for the Democrats in 2020 becoming more intense, the Democratic Party has been scrambling to teach those who dare to deviate from their corporate rulers how to fall in line. Some are surprised by the Democratic Party’s progressive containment strategy, but not Black Agenda Report.

Such behavior from the more effective evil of the duopoly should be expected. District-14’s Democratic nominee Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s performance on PBS’s Firing Line with conservative Meghan Hoover is a case in point. The show has the backing of hedge fund billionaires such as Marlene Ricketts, Cliff Asness, and Daniel Loeb. Hoover represents the type of Republican that Democrats have embraced since Trump has been in office. Hoover and her hedge fund supporters have at one time or another opposed Trump in favor of Wall Street-imposed bipartisanship. Ocasio-Cortez was thus walking into the lion’s den of the corporate duopoly replete with intense pressure to cave on the principles of “democratic socialism” on which she ran.

Ocasio-Cortez’s answers in the interview demonstrate what it looks like to be Democrat, especially in a period where it is becoming increasingly difficult to hide that the party is a dead-end for progressive and radical politics. The interview was tailored to confirm Ocasio-Cortez’s shaky allegiance to corporate Democrats. When questioned about her stance on Israel, Ocasio-Cortez immediately acknowledged Israel’s “right to exist” and the necessity of a “two-state solution” but claimed ignorance on the geopolitical significance of the issue. On Obama’s legacy, Ocasio-Cortez suggested that “progress” was made under Obama. She maintained a critical stance on Obama’s foreign and economic policies, but no details of her critiques were discussed.

Ocasio-Cortez passed the test, but it was a test that those who have banked on a “democratic socialist” takeover of the Democratic Party did not write. The willingness to sit down with “both sides” of the Israel-Palestine “conflict” is a sidestep that tells the Democrats that she will not challenge the Zionist mandate to colonize the Palestinian people and their land. Her characterization of Obama’s legacy as “progress” reassures corporate Democrats that she will not oppose the pursuit of deportations, drone strikes, military invasions, and bank bailouts so long as they are carried out by Democrats of the right hue. Ocasio-Cortez claims that Obama “tried” to do more under his Presidency but was stymied by pesky Republicans. However, as BAR rightfully explained back in 2011, gridlock prevented the Obama-led marriage with the GOP from turning into a 4 trillion-dollar loss for Social Security and Medicare. What Obama “tried” to do was shove a Satan’s sandwich of austerity down the throats of Black people and we should be happy that his efforts failed.

Just two days after Ocasio-Cortez was grilled by PBS’ darling Republican talk show host, the New York Times issued a piece that surveyed potential Democratic Party hopefuls for the 2020 nod against Trump. The Times placed a lens on the campaign efforts of Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Corey Booker, and Elizabeth Warren thus far. Warren has already been reaching out to Democratic officeholders in primary states. Harris and Booker sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee and have resumes that prove their ability to both oppose Trump but appease corporate power. As for Biden, the Times appeared forced to acknowledge his waning popularity among voters yet was quick to defend Biden’s innumerable connections to the party’s establishment. The desperate state of the Democratic Party has its corporate masters desperately seeking a candidate capable of defeating Donald Trump and the preference is clear: any corporate candidate that denounces “democratic socialism.”

The Times characterized “democratic socialism” as a “combative ideology” and expressed concern that Bernie Sanders may not possess the broad appeal necessary to defeat Donald Trump. It has been a habit of corporate Democrats to distort the facts of the Sanders campaign ever since the Democratic primary. Poll after poll has shown that Sanders would have overwhelmingly defeated Donald Trump in the general election.The DNC took this data and decided to steal the primary from Sanders and hand it to Hillary Clinton despite the same polls indicating that Clinton would lose by a narrow margin to Trump. If the DNC’s obsession with Russia hasn’t fully demonstrated its disdain for “democratic socialism,” then its continued suppression of the truth about the Sanders campaign should.

Sanders is a Democrat, but he is not enough of an imperialist pig to qualify for the position of Commander-in-Chief under end stage capitalism. The social democratic politics espoused by Sanders in 2016 have their roots in the reactionary “Golden Age” of U.S. imperialism, when increased military production from World War II and intense struggles waged by labor unions led to an unprecedented growth in wages. In 2018, “democratic socialist” demands such as raising wages, expanding healthcare, and forgiving student loan debt are demands that imperialism simply cannot meet, no matter how much Sanders or other social democrats try to appease the war machine. The system is dragging along the path to another economic crisis larger and more volatile than the 2007-2008 collapse. Democrats have firmly implanted themselves on the side of Wall Street and its militarist corporate partners in a quest to preserve the empire at all costs.

The corporate media offers an endless amount of lessons on what it means to be a Democrat during its 24-hour news cycle. Shareholders of MSNBC, CNN, and the Washington Post have done all that they can to pollute the information airspace with the hopes that the chaotic era of Trump will lead to an “American revival.” This revivalist movement has three distinct objectives. The first is to create the conditions for a military confrontation with Russia and China, which fuels the profits of the military industrial complex and targets Wall Street’s peskiest global competitors. The second is to suppress the economic crisis of capitalism currently ravaging millions of people by directing the attention of the poor and exploited toward Trump, Russia, or some combination of the two. And the third is to maintain the political hegemony of finance capital through the creation of a false equivalency between Trump and the left.

Coverage of Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 16th was riddled with characterizations of the billionaire as a “traitor” to America. A mere meeting with the Russian head of state caused the corporate media to run wild with conspiracies of the “next” Russian plot to undermine so-called democracy in the United States. The U.S. ruling class has made it painstakingly clear that the most important political question of the period is the demonization of Russia. Trump has failed to pledge sufficient loyalty to the anti-Russian war mongers in the U.S. intelligence and military apparatus.The Democrats have led the way in the hysteria over Russia with the explicit intent of scorching the earth for their own political gain, which is why they have made nice with long-time war hawks like John McCain. Meanwhile, most Americans do not have Russia on their political radar.

Neither Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez nor the corporate media can resolve the contradictions of capitalism, which have only sharpened over the course of U.S. imperialism’s decline beginning roughly in the late 1970s. Imperial decline led to Donald J. Trump’s election, albeit mistakenly. Trump is a byproduct of the system’s toxic waste currently drowning oppressed and exploited people—waste that the system of imperialism has no ability to “clean up,” not even momentarily. The ruling class can only attempt to bury the waste, whether by burying millions of people in mass graves produced by U.S. wars, encaging nearly a million Black people behind prison walls, or by relegating much of the planet’s inhabitants with nothing but a low-wage job. U.S. imperialism has long reached the point where the waste of the system has become too much for the ruling class to handle. This has increased the fervor of imperialists like Amazon and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos to bury the truth behind the rot.

The REAL ruling class, which makes Trump look small in comparison, has resorted to inducing an anti-Russia madness in the U.S. population to divert attention from its shortcomings and maybe, just maybe, achieve a greater war with Russia in the process. Such a war threatens humanity, but neither the Democrats nor the Republicans care about the future of humanity as long the future of their profits are secured.The madness that surrounded the Trump-Putin Summit amounts to nothing less than actually-existing fascism. It is an attempt by monopoly capital to assert full hegemony and enforce total loyalty to the spy agencies of the most ruthless system known to humanity. For Black Americans and much of the world, these agencies have caused damage the likes of which Hitler and the 20thcentury fascist movement could only dream of prior to its defeat at the hands of the Soviet Union.

Russia has been called “aggressive” and in violation of “sovereignty” around the world by the mouthpieces of Bezos and Wall Street. Trump has been called a “traitor” for allowing it. When Russia can be confused for the United States’ long and unbeatable record of global criminality, then a serious problem is afoot. When the corporate media are trying to teach Ocasio-Cortez how to be a Democrat or give us insight into their ongoing plans for the next election, we must keep in mind the current state of U.S. imperialism. We must keep in mind that U.S. imperialism is the real enemy, not Russia. We must keep in mind that the Democratic Party is the most effective evil of U.S. imperialism, not Russia. Anti-Russian war-mongering, capitulation to Israel, and complete loyalty to Wall Street are the primary components of the class, “How to be a Democrat, 101.” We must skip this class and begin holding our own about how to wage class war before the Democrats, Ocasio-Cortez or otherwise, lead us to our extinction.

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