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Election 2020: Transformation or Stability?

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/02/12/election-2020-transformation-or-stability

Once again, in both the picture and the text there is a false equivalency drawn between Sanders and Warren as progressives. This is after Warren back-tracked on M4A (the leading issue among Dems), publicly backstabbed Sanders on the debate stage (which cost her dearly and started a slide that may knock her out) and sucked up to AK, the Senator from Monsanto, because she is the woman who is now “viable.”

Worse yet, the article implies that when Sanders loses, we all have to stay on the Dem bus: no matter how drunk its driver is, no matter how flat the tires are, no matter how empty its moral gas tank may be.

Liberals are truly the greatest evil.



I have come to really dislike the word “liberal” as used by many to self identify with within the Democratic party.

In the late 60’s when I came of age to make a decision as to which political party to register with, it was explained to me mostly by my peers that the Republicans were the party of Business and Industry, and the Democrats were the party of the people, the open-minded party.

Well, being an open-minded child of the 60’s myself, my choice was made.

Now, 50 years later, the open-minded party of the past, is pretty fucking closed-minded about policies and programs that deliver the lionshare of tax payer dollars to the masses who contribute the most.

I listen to Democrats that continually vote to keep politicians in Congress that vote for trillion dollar defense budgets and say they are “liberal.”

I know everyone here knows people like this, friends, family, coworkers.

Is that “liberal?”


True, and to add insult to injury, liberals are the favored targets of the right when they gripe about the state of the nation. Ironic, when even their right to gripe has always been protected by liberals. Most people don’t even know what the term liberal means as it applies to politics.

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I am becoming very cynical when Elizabeth is described as a progressive. If she can’t regain her position as a top competitor to Bernie, I expect to see her shift like a chameleon to the dominant shade of blue required to be the unifier of the party. Most likely “moderate blue for all of you.” But that’s what I expected of her all along. She will work for the people, until it becomes too costly politically. Liz first. Not Us, Her.


Any politician that takes big money from corporations, PACs, or wealthy individuals desiring favors, and identifying as a “liberal” is a liar and doesn’t deserve to be trusted in government.

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Conniff’s failure to differentiate reasonably between Sanders and Warren becomes the bubblegum on the shoe that one cannot get rid of throughout this piece.

It might be nice to demonstrate how Warren’s candidacy has been particularly attached or damaged by in-house neoliberal outfits like CNN, MSNBC, the NYT, et al, if some trace of that can be found. It might be nice to show where central party spokespersons like Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton have come back from vacation or crawled out of the grave to fling insults at Warren. Certainly their actions against Sanders have been well publicized. Were there any against Warren?

No, after Warren’s own transparent collusion with CNN to raise unsubstantiated accusations against Sanders, this sort of conflation and this sort of false victimization plays badly. Warren’s supposed similarity to Sanders is pretense put forth because Sanders’ ideas are popular; her loyalty to party regulars, corporate hegemony, and ongoing war is the more authentic part of her program.

Whether a Democrat beats Trump or not, the Democratic rank and file does indeed need to recognize its common interests. But that also means recognizing that the party hegemony does not share those interests, and will continue to violate its own rules and sacrifice elections to thwart those interests as long as it can stay in power. Even without placing candidates, the institutional party has the payments of its power bloc to keep it functioning to stop progress.

Saving ourselves and civil society will involve breaking that cabal. It will indeed involve compromise between many points of view, but not with the neoliberal corporatist institutional party. That has to be broken up and disassembled as a unit of power, or most of the party has to leave.


Regarding ‘liberals.’

This is how I see it.

We have had two major revolutionary periods in modern history.

The first one began in the 1640s in England and ended in 1815 in France. The revolution was against the landed elites and monarchs by the new rising business class. This is where our idea of Conservatives and Liberals come from, the Right and the Left.

The Liberals won these but in all three versions of this, the English one, the American one, and the French one, by the end the Liberals were fine with ‘limited’ monarchy as long as their rights were protected and they were allowed to advance their interests. The Conservatives continued as landed aristocrats until they were basically destroyed in WWI, but rose again in 20th Century Fascism.

In the US the aristocratic conservatives were demolished by the Civil War.

It was then that Liberalism split between Conservative Liberals and Progressive Liberals, in both parties. In the end the “Liberal” was dropped for the former and the “Progressive” was dropped for the latter as “Progressive” was more and more being used to describe radical and socialist people. Thus the new Liberals were still from the Business Capitalist class but held to mild progressive ideas like more direct democracy and more rights, but most importantly, moving away from the original Liberal economics of laissez faire to Keynesian economics.

The second Revolutionary period began in 1840 and ended in 1917. It was a revolution against Liberalism, against the now dominant business class, often working with a limited monarch, and it was much more radical. It failed in 1840 and in 1848 and appeared to win in 1917 until it became clear that Stalinism was turning socialism into something as authoritarian as the fascist who were trying to restore the old Conservatism.

But that win of Stalinism didn’t really represent the diversity and ideals of the 2nd Revolution which also had anarchists, democratic socialists, Unions, and people like Eugene V. Debs.

Liberals in the 20th Century were never about the overthrow of the Capitalist system. Even FDR was for preserving that system and said that he was protecting it with the New Deal from revolution. Liberals have always been about adjusting Capitalism so the workers are pacified and content. Conservatives were more about just ignoring the workers until in the 1960s they realized that workers in the US were socially conservative and religious and could be mobilized to support the elites by preaching to that.

As that change happened the liberals came to despise the workers as ‘red necks,’ ‘bigots,’ ‘uneducated louts,’ and ‘religious kooks.’ They began focusing on ‘Identity Politics’ to reach workers of Color and catering to well off upper middle class folk who were culturally liberal. They rejected Keynesian economics for a a return to classic Liberalism that is a NeoLiberalism, although it’s no more laissez faire than late 19th Century Liberalism was, it’s instead about big business and government in each others’ pockets.

Among the radical heirs of the 2nd Revolution the term ‘Liberal’ never was a positive one but a curse. Thus Dr. King saying Liberals were the worst enemies of racial justice as they mouthed support. Thus the Phil Och song of “Love Me I’m a Liberal.”

I would say we still have four political orbs. We have the original aristocratic conservatives who now are NeoFascists. We have the two factions of the 1st Revolution liberals who now are mainstream Conservatives and the moderate, center left Liberals, who sometimes are called NeoLiberals. Then we have something quite different called the Far Left or Social Democrats or Greens or Progressives but who in reality are Revolutionaries… just in our context Democratic ones, but wanting to overthrow the Liberal Capitalists and their system established in the 1st Revolution as much as if they wanted to do it violently.

In our Two Party system the NeoFascists and the mainstream Conservatives get lumped together in a coalition in the Republican Party, but the mainstream Conservatives dominate. On the hand the Revolutionaries and the Liberals get lumped together as “The Left” with most thinking they are just different intensities of the same thing, when they aren’t at all. Revolutionaries disagree on how to gain political power with some trying to capture the Democratic Party by working with Liberals. Some instead seek to bring a 3rd Party to power.

I’d like to use the term ‘Radical’ for those still fighting for the 2nd Revolution, unfortunately that term got misused in the last generation or so to describe the Religious Right and NeoFascists as the Radical Right. I still haven’t found the right term, even though I used Revolutionaries in this post. That isn’t good because it sounds like it’s about armed and violent warfare.

Leftist isn’t good because the Right has lumped this group in with Liberals as the Left, as if we were just more intense versions of Liberals. Socialist isn’t good because a hundred years of Propaganda makes people think we’re authoritarian Stalinist Communists. Progressive isn’t good because since Bruce Babbitt in 1976 Liberals have used the term to describe themselves and their incremental approach to reform Capitalism bit by bit just enough to stop a revolution.

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I cried when they shot Medgar Evers
Tears ran down my spine
I cried when they shot Mr. Kennedy
As though I’d lost a father of mine
But Malcolm X got what was coming
He got what he asked for this time
So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal

I go to civil rights rallies
And I put down the old D.A.R.
I love Harry and Sidney and Sammy
I hope every colored boy becomes a star
But don’t talk about revolution
That’s going a little bit too far
So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal

I cheered when Humphrey was chosen
My faith in the system restored
I’m glad the commies were thrown out
Of the A.F.L. C.I.O. board
I love Puerto Ricans and Negros
As long as they don’t move next door
So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal

The people of old Mississippi
Should all hang their heads in shame
I can’t understand how their minds work
What’s the matter don’t they watch Les Crain?
But if you ask me to bus my children
I hope the cops take down your name
So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal

I read New republic and Nation
I’ve learned to take every view
You know, I’ve memorized Lerner and Golden
I feel like I’m almost a Jew
But when it comes to times like Korea
There’s no one more red, white and blue
So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal

I vote for the democratic party
They want the U.N. to be strong
I go to all the Pete Seeger concerts
He sure gets me singing those songs
I’ll send all the money you ask for
But don’t ask me to come on along
So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal

Once I was young and impulsive
I wore every conceivable pin
Even went to the socialist meetings
Learned all the old union hymns
But I’ve grown older and wiser
And that’s why I’m turning you in
So love me, love me, love me, I’m a liberal.

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Marxist sectarianism from a song from the past and another from the anarchist perspective of David Rovics