Nobody’s feet are going to be held to the fire

This is an excellent article which takes a hard deep look at basic economic assumptions, war, and the Democratic Party.

Jeff Roby is a Florida activist who also publishes in the The Green Party of Florida

2021 is the year the shit is going to hit the fan.

As bad as 2020 has been, there is still a heavy backlog of bills (financial and political) that are coming due.  Hunger and homelessness rise inexorably, as does long-term unemployment.  Loss of medical insurance will leave millions at the mercy of overcrowded Emergency Rooms, as the Covid-stressed medical system continues to break.  Corporate profit-seeking has stalled the emergency vaccination plan.  Unpaid rent and mortgages will put legions more on the street.  They’ll keep cranking up war hysteria.  Oh, did I forget the coming across-the-board breakdown of state and local governments, and their accompanying safety net?

Okay, you already know the litany.  If I left out anything, the New York Times will update you.

On the political front, the feckless U.S. left has cashed in its credibility for the likes of Joe Biden.  They can write scathing missives as Mitch McConnell and his Senatorial cohorts, block Biden from doing all the things that he didn’t really want to do in the first place.  Strolling down Memory Lane, recall how Biden was first rammed down the Left’s too-eager gullets.  The Left made merry over how progressive he and Kamala were.  Bernie dutifully swore that “Joe Biden could become the most progressive president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt.”

Biden would have none of that.  If Medicare for All or the Green New Deal came across his desk, he declared that he would veto them out of hand.  His whole shtick was how he was going to “reach across the aisle.”  And if it turned out that aisle was filled with crocodiles, well …  Feet to the fire.  Feet to the fire.

Okay.  It’s full of crocodiles.

“Once he’s elected, we can STILL ‘hold his feet to the fire’”?  Yeah, that’s it.  Moments later, “Bam!!!”

That ringing in your ears was Biden slamming the door.

Margaret Kimberly writes in the December 16 Black Agenda Report of Biden’s allegedly private meeting with eight selected Black leaders:

“Joe Biden is nothing if not consistent. He has always been an unreconstructed racist and a crass mediocrity.  Barack Obama had to admit that he chose Joe Biden as his running mate despite knowing that he is ‘not always self-aware.’  Biden certainly wasn’t aware or didn’t care about either his demeanor or the substance of his discussions with people referred to as civil rights leaders recently.”

These warriors of the NGO establishment asked for lots of Black and other minority appointments.  Biden cheerfully swore that his Cabinet and lower-level appointments would “reflect the faces of the American people.”  But where the slamming door starting splitting ear-drums was on the police.  Biden’s warning:  never utter the words “Defund the police.”  It loses votes.  “How do we go about changing police misconduct?”  Training.  Review boards.  He promised an Attorney General who has a record on civil rights.  Eric Holder flashback?

Biden went on to issue his marching orders:

“You’re going to have a partner — two partners— in the White House.  You’re going to have a responsibility to push as hard as you can for the nominees [to the Cabinet] we’ve put forward that I think you’re going to like. … You’re going to do your jobs and I know I’m going to do mine.”

Sharpton’s pledge:  “I will never embarrass you.”

Biden’s final admonition:  “Never, never, never, never, never, never, never [I counted seven ‘nevers’] hurt the wealthy!”  He promised (or warned) the leaders that they’d be hearing from him.

Then on February 4, Biden addressed the State Department, officially announcing his expected cranking up of neoliberal war-mongering that had been one of Barack Obama’s hallmarks:

“I made it clear to President Putin, in a manner very different from my predecessor, that the days of the United States rolling over in the face of Russia’s aggressive actions — interfering with our elections, cyberattacks, poisoning its [sic!][ citizens — are over.  We’ll confront China’s economic abuses, counter its aggressive, coercive action, to push back on China’s attack on human rights, intellectual property and global governance.”

Mexican interlude.

In the early 80’s, I temped as a word processor for various New York banks.  Most interesting was a stint in the Mexico Department at Manufacturers Hanover Trust.

Mexico was in the midst of a major debt crisis, with the government threatening to default on some $80 billion in loans.  I typed up the internal memos, in which these corporate predators made shockingly frank calculations.  At what point could they keep the squeeze on before the resulting austerity and “unrest” would destabilize the Mexican government and lead to default?  Wreck the Mexican government?  Lose their money?  They had to strike the right balance with mathematical precision.

Similar calculations are going on in the U.S. as we speak.  The “real” economy tanks, soaring stock market notwithstanding.  Note:  as with Mexico, such calculations consider not only actual opposition, but also opposition that might be generated if they overplay their hand.  Resorting to force is bad for business, but it can be factored in as additional overhead when push comes to shove.

Capitol interlude.

The events of January 6 were completely predictable.

So on January 6, a lot of chickens came home to roost, for U.S. liberalism, for the mainstream media, for all the pillars of bourgeois democracy, and for the Left.

The collapse of the Left is near-complete, having sold its soul for Biden.  Compounding it was the fact that no leftist in their right mind would really be wanting to make any “ultimate sacrifice” for Joe Biden on January 6.  That day, Donald Trump held the field.  Even as the country now whistles past the graveyard, telling itself that the U.S. is still the “exceptional” nation, people everywhere see things falling apart, their lives deteriorating.  That disconnect is driving them mad across the board.

The forces arrayed against us are indeed daunting.  So much of the current buzz about the Left working with Boogaloos and Proud Boys is driven by fear, a desperate need for some attachment to power.  Furthermore, there is this myth so glibly circulated that Trump’s base is somehow the “little people.”  Smug leftists point out that a large part of Trump’s support is from those with High School  education or less.  But based on income, the poor by-and-large voted for Biden.  Analyzed by class, the Trump base is thoroughly middle-class.  This mis-analysis is a product of the left’s rampant classism, an issue the left doesn’t like to touch with a 10-foot pole.

In any event, we need to factor in the state of our current resistance, in order to get serious about what resistance can still be built.  We cannot forget that the empire is itself shockingly fragile.  If we limit our vision to the U.S. proper, things look bad for us.  Fortunately, the U.S. also exists in the world arena.

First, what is the actual state of the Empire?

“Give me a place to stand …” — Archimedes.

Understanding the Biden agenda entails our learning some Economics.  A December 16 2020 conversation between Michael Hudson and Pepe Escobar (“A Hard Look at Rent and Rent Seeking”) gives us a good start.

Michael Hudson is a former Wall Street analyst, and a classical economist.  He is a Professor at the School of Marxist Studies, Peking University, in China, and a distinguished research Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri–Kansas City.  He particularly emphasizes the relatively unstudied Volumes II and III of Marx’s Capital, on debt and  rent.  He has consulted with the Icelandic, Chinese, Russian, Canadian, Mexican, and Latvian governments.

Pepe Escobar is a distinguished international journalist who has worked in London Paris, Milan, Los Angeles, Singapore, Myanmar and Bangkok.  Escobar questions Hudson on the difference between U.S. [neo-feudal] Finance Capitalism and the Industrial Capitalism of China, Russia and Iran.


“We’re dealing with two different economic systems, and it’s very hard for one system to understand the other system because of the tunnel vision that you get when you get a degree in economics. …

“Essentially, [the U.S.] became what’s called a rent-seeking economy, not a productive economy.  So, when people in Washington talk about American capitalism versus Chinese socialism this is confusing the issue.  What kind of capitalism are we talking about?  America used to have industrial capitalism in the 19th century.  That’s how it got richer originally, but now it’s moved away from industrial capitalism towards finance capitalism.  [But it was] the mixed economy that had made America rich.

“All of this has been transformed over the last hundred years.  And we’ve moved away from the ethic of what was industrial capitalism.  Before, the idea of capitalism in the 19th century — from Adam Smith to Ricardo, to John Stuart Mill to Marx — was very clear.  Marx stated it quite clearly — Capitalism was revolutionary:  It was to get rid of the landlord class.  It was to get rid of the rentier class.  It was to get rid of the banking class essentially, and just bear all the costs that were unnecessary for production  …  How did England and America and Germany gain their markets?  They gained their markets basically by the government picking up a lot of the costs of the economy.  The government in America provided low-cost education, not student debt.  It provided transportation at subsidized prices.  It provided basic infrastructure at low cost.  And so, government infrastructure was considered a fourth factor of production.”

The burning issue today is the rise of China as an economic powerhouse, now in the process of surpassing the U.S.  Hudson explains that both systems have central planning, and in fact America has a much more centrally planned economy than China.  It’s just that “America has concentrated the planning and the resource allocation in Wall Street.”  Hudson describes the U.S. as having a “service economy”:

“Well, there’s no service in charging a late fee, but they add in all of the late fees.  When people can’t pay their debts and they owe more and more, all of that is considered an addition to GDP [Gross Domestic Product].  When housing becomes more expensive and prices American labor out of the market, that’s called an increase in GDP. …  Financial services, buyouts, foreclosures, and the Federal Reserve are what’s keeping the stock market afloat.”

By contrast, Hudson gives the example of the infrastructure projects that China is building around the world through its Belt and Road Initiative.  The Titans of Finance scoff at Chinese infrastructure spending.  For instance, building railroads is a very bad investment (see AmTrak).  Hasn’t been profitable for decades.  The Chinese keep building them.  They don’t care if the railroads turn a profit.  The railroads deliver Chinese goods to markets around the world, where the Chinese sell them.  That’s the point:

“China creates money to fund actual means of production, basic infrastructure.  It provides low-cost education.  It invests in high speed railroads and airports, in the building of cities.  So, the government bears most of the costs and, that means that employers don’t have to pay workers enough to pay a student loan debt.  They don’t have to pay workers enough to pay enormous rent such as you have in the United States.  They don’t have to pay workers to save for a pension fund, to pay the pension later on.  And most of all the Chinese economy doesn’t really have to pay a banking class because banking is the most important public utility of all.

“Banking is what China has kept in the hands of government.  Chinese banks don’t lend for the same reasons that American banks lend.  80% of American bank loans are mortgage loans to real estate, and the effect of loosening loan standards and increasing the market for real estate is to push up the cost of living, push up the cost of housing.  …  So you have China operating as a real economy, increasing its production, becoming the workshop of the world as England used to be called. … China has never let markets steer the economy, the government steers the markets.  That’s what socialism is – as opposed to finance capitalism.”

Hudson gives a depressing case study.  After the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, the IMF and World Bank had convinced the Russians to convert to a Western-style Finance economy.  Of course.  U.S. capital said to the Russians, to stabilize your currency, “You’ll have to borrow US Dollars.”  Russia ended up “paying 100% interest for years to the leading American financial institutions for money that it didn’t need and could have created itself.  Russia thought that America was going to tell it how America got rich, but America didn’t want to tell Russia how America got rich.”  The bankers went on to gut the Russian economy.

As Putin later said, “Neo-liberalism cost Russia more of its population than World War II.  And you know that to destroy a country, you don’t need an army anymore.  All you have to do is teach it American economics.”  Putin has been working to repair the damage ever since.  Such are the stakes behind the Navalny affair.

Another case study, of the 2008 – 2009 financial crash.  Hudson:

“You had the leading American bank being the most crooked and internally corrupt bank in the country, Citibank, making junk mortgages  …  Its entire net worth was wiped out as a result of its fraudulent junk mortgages.  Well, Sheila Bair, the head of the FDIC, wanted to close it down and take it over.  Essentially that would have made it into a public bank and that would be a wonderful thing.  …  [She] was overruled by president Obama and Tim Geithner saying, ‘wait a minute, those are our campaign contributors.’  So, they were loyal to the campaign contributors. … The Federal Reserve ended up creating about $7 trillion of quantitative easing [printing dollars] to bail out the banks.  The homeowners weren’t bailed out.  10 million American families lost their homes.”

Flash forward to today.  Last year, Trump gave the banks $8 trillion to buy stocks and bonds.  Now it’s Biden’s turn.  The question is, who is going to take the hit in 2021.  I might guess that it won’t be the banks.  At least Leftists can be comforted by the fact that we’ll get better sympathy.

Knowledge alone is not power.

It is now common knowledge that there is a total disconnect between the health of the stock market,  the health of the “real” economy, and the health of the American people.  This fact is [almost] universally decried.  The Left endlessly points out the obvious, that if only we could take the trillions that Wall Street and the Pentagon squander every year, we could have free healthcare for the world.  We could defeat Covid.  We could defeat Climate Catastrophe.  We could build a world of peace and plenty.  If only if only if only.

If only the American people could seize power in their own right.  But even that would only be a good start.

As we also know, this system is constructed of mountains of debt, what Marx called “fictitious capital,” totally interlocked.  One sector going under can set off a chain reaction throughout the system.  (See the 2008 housing crisis.)  During our current pandemic, structures are breaking down across the board, a virtual “perfect storm.”  It is understood that the system is already broken.  Can the American people reorganize that?

More bad news is that the progressive forces in this country are miniscule.  Our political system is both broken and in the hands of tyrants.  The right is better organized, better funded, and better armed.  Just typing this can get downright depressing.

But the good news is that we are not alone.

The United States in the World Arena.

While we keep in mind that “We’re dealing with two different economic systems,” we can see that Biden’s address cited above holds that the U.S. is threatened in three broad areas:  Economic, Ideological, and Military.  Or Dollars, Human Rights, and Guns.  These will be examined in part 2 of this article.

— Jeff Roby


Super Latest Newsflash: A reliable [unnamed] source has discovered that the recent Russia hacking attack on the U.S. infrastructure was perpetrated in 1932 by a cabal of self-avowed Marxists (Groucho, Zeppo, Chico and Harpo), posing as Russian Aviators. Are none of us safe?

Two different economic systems in the World Arena.

According to the official “Summary of the U.S. 2018 National Defense Strategy”:

“the Department of Defense will be prepared to defend the homeland, remain the preeminent military power in the world, ensure the balances of power remain in our favor, and advance an international order that is most conducive to our security and prosperity.”

To the Empire, the mass starvation of children via sanctions is merely another tool of war under the banner of human rights and a “rules-based international order.”

With China the official primary adversary, Trump has taken warfare by sanctions to new heights.  He wildly strewed “secondary sanctions” everywhere, targeting entire countries and corporations for perceived “bad behavior.”

China does not stand alone.  The U.S. now wages open economic warfare against Iran, China and Russia, the Forces of Development (FOD).  Venezuela and Cuba are among their ranks as well.  This U.S. Trade War has been wreaking havoc on the rest of the world economy, including the U.S.  Trump had tried to “decouple” China from trade with the West so China simply responded by reinforcing its supply chains and decoupling itself from the U.S.

Russia and Iran have done the same.  Vladimir Putin has remarked that the U.S. has sanctioned everything in Russia that can be sanctioned, and “We all have made a very serious and great step to increase our economic and technical sovereignty.  In this sense, all these limitations and sanctions were useful for our economy.”

Weapon #1.  Dollars.

The West’s most potent weapon has been its control of the world’s reserve currency, the Almighty Dollar.  But the U.S. sanctions have exacted a heavy toll from the European and U.S. economies.  The Europeans seek trade relations with both Russia and China.  Germany, the powerhouse of the European Union (EU) in particular, has defied U.S. sanctions by allowing Chinese telecom giant Huawei and its -advanced 5G network to operate in Germany.  31% of German car sales and 40% of German car revenue come from China.  The Russia to Germany Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is nearing completion, and Germany’s Angela Merkel continues to defy U.S. pressure.

The Europeans are now in the slow, painful process of breaking away from Dollar dominance.  More and more, their trade with Russia and China is conducted in Rubles and Yuan.  Ways are found to ship U.S.-sanctioned oil for Iran and Venezuela to sell on the world market.  Cracks are appearing within the EU.  As U.S. and EU vaccination plans sputter, China is offering its vaccines to the developing world, and Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine has passed its trials.  The U.S. is increasingly despised.

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is the centerpiece of China’s international development strategy.  The BRI has engaged 138 countries including 46 African countries plus countries in Europe and Latin America.  China’s method is to make “friends.”  In other words, they seek mutually beneficial industrial and infrastructure projects, while respecting each country’s internal affairs.  (See Hudson on “Railroads” in part 1.)  Other associations China belongs to:

The U.S. tries to bludgeon the world into isolating China, as China moves into the future.  But the country is just too damn big (GDP of $14.14 trillion, second only to the U.S.).  With a population of 1.4 billion, its potential as a consumer market is irresistible.

It is projected that the Chinese economy will surpass the U.S. absolutely by 2025, as the U.S. economy lurches from crisis to crisis.  Already the case pre-Covid, the pandemic has drastically accelerated the process.  China crushes Covid.  The U.S. approaches 5,000 Covid deaths per day.  In 2020, Chinese GDP grew by 2.3%, while the U.S. 2020 GDP was a negative 4.6%.  The European Union’s GDP has shrunk by 7.4%, with governments going back into lockdowns.

The Long March.

Weapon #2.  “Human Rights.”

“Make them accountable!” is the bipartisan buzz-phrase for punishing the “malign” activities and “bad behavior” of enemies of the “rules-based international order.”  America’s Weapon #2 is “Human Rights,” aka R2P or “Right to Protect,” brought to you by the country which has built the largest prison system in the world.  All hail Madeline Albright, who when asked whether sanctions against Iraq which killed  half a million Iraqi children were worth it, brusquely affirmed, “The price is worth it.”

Regular as clockwork, we have been treated to the latest atrocities, including:

  • Syria’s repeated poisoning of civilians.
  • Russian interference in 2016 and 2020 elections.
  • Russian bounties for the Taliban to kill Americans.
  • Chinese bounties for the Taliban to kill Americans.
  • Russian hackers into U.S. databases.

Unnamed “sources” or “officials” declare that “investigation proves” or a “report was released” with “allegations” of some new atrocity.  Outfits like West-aligned Human Rights Watch and the U.S. Congress-funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED) chime in.  MSNBC and CNN go whole hog.  The echo chamber bounces it around for a week.  Government leaders in the U.S. and Europe demand that someone must be “held accountable.”

Investigators investigate.  Sources are discredited, and the story falls apart.  But it remains part of some permanent rap sheet.

The pump is primed.  The inauguration of Joe Biden marked the starting gun for a full-scale assault on China and Russia.  The hot charge against China is Chinese genocide against the Uyghurs in in northwest China’s Xinjiang Province.  The choreography is exquisite.

  • January 19, Pompeo declares that China has committed genocide against the predominantly Muslim Uyghurs.”
  • January 20, Biden gets inaugurated.
  • January 27, new Secretary of State Antony Blinken announces that genocide was committed  against the Uyghurs.
  • January 29, Intercept pumps out an 11,000 word exposé, “Millions of Leaked Police Files Detail Suffocating Surveillance of China’s Uyghur Minority,” along with 25 secret surveillance reports.

That there are “Millions of Leaked Police Files” indicates the work of U.S. intelligence services.  Author Yael Grauer’s most auspicious writing credit is Forbes magazine.  Main quoted sources are:

  • Adrian Zenz, from the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation;
  • Maya Wang, of the above-mentioned Human Rights Watch;
  • Abduweli Ayul, a Fellow of the Ford Foundation, which has employed “numerous US intelligence agents and has a long-standing relationship with the CIA;

Scrutiny of the article and its 25 accompanying files reveals that China does heavy-duty surveillance of Xinjiang province where Uyghur separatists have carried out a series of mass killings over the years against China’s Han ethnic majority.  China is on the lookout for “wild imams,” i.e., unauthorized Islamic preachers.  China does New York City-style “Stop and Frisk.”  Say what you will, this is not genocide.

Moon of Alabama dismantles those claims:

“In 1953 there were 3.6 million Uyghur in Xinjiang.  In 2000 there were 8.4 million.  Wikipedia says that in 2018 Xinjiang had a total population of 25 million of which 11.3 million are ethnic Uyghur.”

Per Wikipedia, China states the current Uyghur population in Xinjiang region to be just over 12 million.  Dealing with a population of 1.4 billion people, Chinese law mandates that each couple can have only two children.  This law is uniformly applied to both Uyghurs and the majority-Han population.  Uyghurs are pressured to learn the Chinese language.  The policy would be correctly called “assimilationist.”  This is not genocide.

Russia’s turn.

Dry those tears.  We now have the Aleksei Navalny hysteria, orchestrated by the usual suspects.  Hand-picked for the hatchet job is Victoria Nuland, Biden’s new Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs.  Nuland served as U.S. ambassador to NATO in Brussels, where her job was mobilizing European support for the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan.  She, along with  Biden, ran the political side of the 2013-14 US coup d’etat in Ukraine.

Aleksei Navalny, “Russia’s most prominent opposition leader,” was allegedly poisoned on a Russian plane, and flown to Germany for treatment, where his first words on regaining consciousness were that “Putin did it.”  He has just been sentenced to over two years in prison for violating his probation for convictions for embezzlement of funds.  Thousands of Russians have taken to the streets.

The story stinks to high heaven, thoroughly debunked.  Says Putin, “If they really wanted to poison him, they’d have finished the job.”

But now Navalny is the superstar of MSNBC and CNN.  He has a political history as a Russian nationalist, is anti-immigrant, and fascist.  But his anti-Putin pronouncements, and the coverage of the media, say nothing other than that Navalny is “anti-corruption.”  This makes him the perfect blank slate, for the U.S. and EU forces that he collaborates with.  Navalny’s foundation (FBK) actually wrote Biden with a list of 35 people asking that they be sanctioned for being “oligarchs” in cahoots with Putin.

Biden is now calling world leaders (or rather European leaders) to discuss how Russia is to be “held accountable.”

The FOD are under siege.  Yet the media’s lies are brazen and inexhaustible.  Rather than trying to unravel them all, better that we ask “cui bono”?  Who benefits?

Weapon #3.  Guns.

Biden’s foreign affairs gang are basically heavy-duty neocons from the Obama/Biden administration who have worked together for years.  They are back in the saddle and raring to go.  American Exceptionalism has taken on an almost religious character (like in the Crusades).  Their unleashing the Dogs of War is a real danger.  And I don’t mean “war” in a metaphorical sense.

Certainly the FOD are not to be found unprepared.  Iran and China have signed a 25-year Cooperation Program which includes a military component.  China, Russia, and Iran last month held massive joint military drills in what Beijing dubs a “comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation in a new era.”

Furthermore, the Chinese and Russian economies are inextricably integrated with the world economy.  Wall Street knows their economies could not withstand full-scale war.  If that isn’t enough to deter the full crazies, there is the fact that Russia has a full nuclear arsenal, including hypersonic, “precision-guided” missiles that could strike American cities in minutes.  China is not far behind.

Hypersonics allow Russia and China to match the U.S. in the arms race without the massive expenditures in overseas bases, tanks, ships and planes that bleed the U.S. economy with its 800 bases around the world  If the U.S. did launch a nuclear strike, the hypersonics could destroy the U.S. within minutes.  Remember when they called it the “Balance of Terror”?

Iran, Lebanon’s Hezbollah, and Yemen produce their own missiles.  Iran produces “starter-kits,” for precision-guidance of those missiles, capable of being carried in a suitcase.  The Iranians have lots of suitcases  Hezbollah and the Yemenis have already demonstrated how they could devastate Israeli cities and Saudi-Arabian oil facilities.  Israel knows it can still bellow like Goliath, but is painfully aware that it walks a tight-rope.

Nor is Iran vulnerable to conventional land invasion.  Ramin Mazaheri writes in “Socialism’s Ignored Success:  Iranian Islamic Socialism”:

“I would be quite pleased to see the faces of invading troops the moment they see how forbidding the mountains are in Iran.  Iran is even more mountainous than Afghanistan, the Hindu Kush is deeper, but the Zabros Mountains alone are twice as long, and slightly steeper than the Rocky Mountains.  The Alborz Mountains are steeper still.  So the Basj [neighborhood councils permeating every aspect of Iranian society] are blessed with terrain from which to fight down from … mountains, seas  and desert in every direction.”

Remember how well the invasion of Afghanistan went, with half of Iran’s land mass?  A peak of 140,000 troops (100,000 of them American) couldn’t conquer it, and right now the U.S. doesn’t have another 100,000 troops to spare.

The U.S. has very limited options.

The Green Party in the World Arena.

It’s easy to get depressed, as we look across a field strewn with the bleached bones of what was once an independent left.  Back in the 60s and 70s, before its demise, the Soviet Union was a superpower giving a counterbalance to the U.S. Empire.  In addition to material support, the Soviet Union helped create the space for national liberation movements to free themselves from European colonialism.

Then the Soviet Union fell.  Without that anchor, the national liberation movements in Asia and Africa could not sustain themselves.   Prospects for the Left looked increasingly bleak, its anti-imperialist stance falling by the wayside.  The gravitational pull of the Democratic Party was overwhelming.  The Left went domestic.  It slowly but steadily absorbed into the Democratic Party.  How so?  It had poured into the streets oppose Bush’s 2003 invasion of Iraq, but wouldn’t lift a finger once the warmonger was Barack Obama.

During the Trump regime, getting rid of Trump was an obsession.  When Extinction Rebellion swept Europe to fight Climate Change, the U.S. Left barely cast a shadow.

The 2020 plunge into the Biden campaign marked the bitter end.  Establishment Democrats like to admonish us with Franklin Roosevelt’s “I want to do it, now make me do it” line.  But Biden doesn’t even want to do it, and the Left gave away whatever leverage it had to make him do anything.

Denis Rogatyuk writes in the January 7 Jacobin that the “Way to Defeat Authoritarian Power Grabs Is Mass Mobilization in the Streets”:

“The response of the Left, the labor movement, and the millions of anti-fascists across the United States and the world should be the same regardless of what actions Trump and his supporters take to cling onto power:  mass, ongoing mobilizations.”

Inspirational.  Paul Street writes in the January 15 CounterPunch:

“To speak the truth on what the nation faced would have meant calling for millions to turn off their televisions and get off the Internet long enough to take to the streets and public squares to build a transformative mass movement for regime change beneath and beyond the holy quadrennial election cycle.”

Quite bold.  However, both are totally lacking in specificity as to how to make it happen.  They call for mass mobilization, but they aren’t talking to the masses.  They aren’t talking to the grassroots of Black Lives Matter.  They are talking to each other.  Sorry, you don’t simply “call for” building a mass movement.  You build one.  Is that so hard to grasp?

The Green Party is still standing.  It’s been a hard year.  The party ran Howie Hawkins for president and Angela Walker for Vice President and received a respectable 402,000 votes.  But the fight for the nomination was a mess, featuring an “unprincipled opposition bloc” of unserious anti-Howie candidates led by Dario Hunter.  Their unifying message was to smear Howie and the party’s national leadership for corruption (charges which were overwhelmingly rejected by the July nominating convention).  Hunter and the others have mainly sailed off into oblivion.

Additionally, others in the party did not like that Howie was running an explicitly socialist, working class and Black community empowerment campaign.  In 2016, the party had officially added “IV. Economic Justice & Sustainability” to its platform, stating:

“we will build an economy based on large-scale green public works, municipalization, and workplace and community democracy.  Some call this decentralized system ‘ecological socialism.’”

More damaging yet, the party was flying into the teeth of the “Anybody but Trump” hurricane.  This hurricane exerted an enormous pressure on Greens whose friends were running off to campaign for Biden.

Green Party must be among the Forces of Development.

The electoral arena is one of the few venues for getting our message out to the masses.  We are the progressive electoral challenge to the Democratic Party.  And we offer solutions that are on a scale commensurate with the crises the U.S. and the world are facing.  We are facing another even more deadly hurricane in the coming years.

From the above-mentioned “National Defense Strategy”:

“In competition short of armed conflict, revisionist powers and rogue regimes [you  know who] are using corruption, predatory economic practices, propaganda, political subversion, proxies, and the threat or use of military force.”

We have already examined some military and economic aspects of our struggle.  More must be said on the ideological front, the “war of ideas.”  Why do “propaganda and political subversion” receive such prominent mention in a Defense Department document?  The Forces of Death must destroy the FOD — lest they lose their allies around the world to their very own people.

To reiterate Hudson:

“Today’s New Cold War is a conflict of economic systems.  As such, it is being fought against the dynamic of U.S. industrial capitalism as well as that of China and other economies [against] China and Russia, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela. …

“The result is a war to change the character of capitalism as well as that of social democracy. The British Labour Party, European Social Democrats and the U.S. Democratic Party all have jumped on the neoliberal bandwagon. They are all complicit in the austerity that has spread from the Mediterranean to America’s Midwestern rust belt.  The New Cold War. this post-industrial global conflict, is between socialism evolving out of [the Forces of Development], and fascism.”

“Socialism evolving out of the Forces of Development.”  Not full socialism, but moving in that direction.

People look out their windows.  They see China and its allies moving ahead, defeating Covid, developing their economies, calling for peace.  At the same time, the people of the West look out their windows, and see disease, hunger, social disintegration, and their leaders gearing up for war.  Confronted with the most tightly-controlled propaganda machine in the world, it should be no wonder that so many people in the U.S., seeing destruction and despair, turn to the likes of Donald Trump.  Or worse.

The Empire is slipping away, and becomes more dangerous in its death throes.  The U.S. tries to crank up the public for more wars.  The Green Party will be challenged, just as were all progressives in the McCarthy era.  We have to return “anti-imperialism” to the Left’s political vocabulary.  We have to take a stand.  These are truly scary times.  But we are part of the Forces of Development.  Or we can be.

— Jeff Roby

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published this page in Blog 2021-02-21 20:33:51 -0800