Democrats’ Embrace Of Neoliberalism Dlievered The Nation Into Trump’s Paws
A good chunk of Trump’s support could be peeled away if there were a genuine redistributive agenda on the table. An agenda to take on the billionaire class with more than rhetoric, and use the money for a green new deal.
By Naomi Klein
The Guardian (11/9/16)
They will blame James Comey and the FBI. They will blame voter suppression and racism. They will blame Bernie or bust and misogyny. They will blame third parties and independent candidates. They will blame the corporate media for giving him the platform, social media for being a bullhorn, and WikiLeaks for airing the laundry.
But this leaves out the force most responsible for creating the nightmare in which we now find ourselves wide awake: neoliberalism. That worldview – fully embodied by Hillary Clinton and her machine – is no match for Trump-style extremism. The decision to run one against the other is what sealed our fate. If we learn nothing else, can we please learn from that mistake?
Here is what we need to understand: a hell of a lot of people are in pain. Under neoliberal policies of deregulation, privatisation, austerity and corporate trade, their living standards have declined precipitously. They have lost jobs. They have lost pensions. They have lost much of the safety net that used to make these losses less frightening. They see a future for their kids even worse than their precarious present.
Neo-fascist responses to rampant insecurity and inequality are not going to go away. But what we know from the 1930s is that what it takes to do battle with fascism is a real left.
At the same time, they have witnessed the rise of the Davos class, a hyper-connected network of banking and tech billionaires, elected leaders who are awfully cosy with those interests, and Hollywood celebrities who make the whole thing seem unbearably glamorous. Success is a party to which they were not invited, and they know in their hearts that this rising wealth and power is somehow directly connected to their growing debts and powerlessness.
For the people who saw security and status as their birthright – and that means white men most of all – these losses are unbearable.
Donald Trump speaks directly to that pain. The Brexit campaign spoke to that pain. So do all of the rising far-right parties in Europe. They answer it with nostalgic nationalism and anger at remote economic bureaucracies – whether Washington, the North American free trade agreement the World Trade Organisation or the EU. And of course, they answer it by bashing immigrants and people of colour, vilifying Muslims, and degrading women. Elite neoliberalism has nothing to offer that pain, because neoliberalism unleashed the Davos class. People such as Hillary and Bill Clinton are the toast of the Davos party. In truth, they threw the party.
Trump’s message was: “All is hell.” Clinton answered: “All is well.” But it’s not well – far from it.
Neo-fascist responses to rampant insecurity and inequality are not going to go away. …
Special Note On Above Cartoon: Given his record, the cartoon above is dedicated to 3rd Congressional District Democratic Rep. Ron Kind, one of the original quisling Third Way democrats. You’ve earned the recognition, congressman!
(Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2018. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommonercall.org )
Neoliberalism History We Forgot: How Democrats Happily Killed Off Their Their Populist Soul
The Democratic Party helped to create today’s shockingly disillusioned and sullen public, a large chunk of whom is now marching for Donald Trump.
By Matt Stoller
The Atlantic (10/24/16)
It was January 1975, and the Watergate Babies had arrived in Washington looking for blood. The Watergate Babies—as the recently elected Democratic congressmen were known—were young, idealistic liberals who had been swept into office on a promise to clean up government, end the war in Vietnam, and rid the nation’s capital of the kind of corruption and dirty politics the Nixon White House had wrought. Richard Nixon himself had resigned just a few months earlier in August. But the Watergate Babies didn’t just campaign against Nixon; they took on the Democratic establishment, too. Newly elected Representative George Miller of California, then just 29 years old, announced, “We came here to take the Bastille.”
One of their first targets was an old man from Texarkana: a former cotton tenant farmer named Wright Patman who had served in Congress since 1929. He was also the chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Banking and Currency and had been for more than a decade. Antiwar liberal reformers realized that the key to power in Congress was through the committee system; being the chairman of a powerful committee meant having control over the flow of legislation. The problem was: Chairmen were selected based on their length of service. So liberal reformers already in office, buttressed by the Watergate Babies’ votes, demanded that the committee chairmen be picked by a full Democratic-caucus vote instead.
“The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism.”
— Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1938.
Ironically, as chairman of the Banking Committee, Patman had been the first Democrat to investigate the Watergate scandal. But he was vulnerable to the new crowd he had helped usher in. He was old; they were young. He had supported segregation in the past and the war in Vietnam; they were vehemently against both. Patman had never gone to college and had been a crusading economic populist during the Great Depression; the Watergate Babies were weaned on campus politics, television, and affluence.
What’s more, the new members were antiwar, not necessarily anti-bank. “Our generation did not know the Depression,” then-Representative Paul Tsongas said. “The populism of the 1930s doesn’t really apply to the 1970s,” argued Pete Stark, a California member who launched his political career by affixing a giant peace sign onto the roof of the bank he owned.
In reality, while the Watergate Babies provided the numbers needed to eject him, it was actually Patman’s Banking Committee colleagues who orchestrated his ouster. …
An On-The-Ground Labor Leader Who Stood Up To Trump Tells Dems How To Earn Back Support Of Workers
My message to the Democratic Party is that we need leaders with the guts to stand up to Wall Street and defend working people.
By Chuck Jones
A few weeks back , I spoke to the Democratic National Committee Forum in Detroit about how the party lost a lot of Midwest blue collar voters – and with them, the presidency. My union – United Steelworkers Local 1999 ― represents the Indianapolis Carrier plant that loomed large in the presidential showdown. Our role grew even more prominent after Trump attacked me on Twitter for having called him out for lying about the Carrier jobs.
But it wasn’t just Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Carrier that got the Democratic Party in a ditch. A lot went on over a long time to get us here. I dealt them some tough medicine in Detroit. I don’t know if it took.
Instead of throwing up their hands, Democrats need to roll up their sleeves. Confront the corporations, donors be damned. Working people will take notice.
A map of Indiana can show you what went wrong for the Democratic Party and what’s going wrong for the country. Not just the Carrier plant, that’s shipping 550 jobs to Mexico, but another one of our local’s plants, Rexnord Bearings, has 300 jobs headed to the same city, Monterrey. In Huntington, near Fort Wayne, 700 jobs from the same corporation as Carrier – UTC – are headed there as well. Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District, which includes South Bend, has two Elkhart plants, Harman International and auto-parts maker CTS Corp., shipping more than 350 jobs overseas. The 2nd District used to be a lock for Democrats, and was at least competitive the past 30 years. Now it’s elected a Tea Party Republican to her third term.
The DNC wanted to know why traditional Democratic areas in the industrial Midwest have gotten away from them. It’s because too many manufacturing plants have been getting away from us – and too many Democratic leaders have been AWOL. When it comes to how they and their families are going to survive, too many workers can’t tell one party from the other. …
(Commoner Call photo and cartoons by Mark L. Taylor, 2018. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link toe www.thecommonercall.org )