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Strong Progressives Vs. Weak Conservatives


Strong Progressives Vs. Weak Conservatives

Peter Bloom

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shocked the US political status quo by winning of the Democratic primary in New York City over her establishment rival and predicted Party leader in waiting Joe Crowley. Since then she has become a flashpoint for both hope and controversy. For progressives, she is a sign that the corrupt oligarchy that is US two-party politics is thankfully at the beginning of its end. For “moderates” and the Right she represents the threat of a rising socialist wave that challenges their power and the influence of their corporate donors.


This is an extremely thoughtful “glass half full” op-ed. In the end, AO-C (like all of us) must be judged by her actions (which good words are a part of).


Weak on crime (facilitating poverty) = Regressives

Strong on crime (fighting poverty) = Progressives

Let’s remember 24601 (Jean Valjean) was imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread. Let’s not let the rich get away with their misguided narrative after watching them repeatedly steal from the poor to enrich themselves. “Do your hear the people roar?” Well, we better if progress is to be made.


I think the problem is generational.

The loaded phrases “strong on crime” and “family values” from the right-wing in the 1980s - and the way the left fell into the trap the right set for them by appearing to oppose “family values” and fighting crime (actually only the racist, sexist, callous code-language behind them, but the damage was already done) - it all belongs to an earlier generation from before Ms. Occasio-Cortez was even born!

Ms. Occasio-Cortez must be very confused and scratching her head at all these old leftists opposing her for using these phrases. Doesn’t everybody want less crime (achieved through fighting poverty and the education and rehabilitation of offenders)? Doesn’t everybody support strong stable families through good wages, and retirement security, universal healthcare, good public education, safe and unpolluted communities?

Hopefully, someone over 50 has pulled her aside and given Ms. Cortez a lesson on the history of the old obsolete usages of these phrases. Ronnie Raygun, and Jerry Falwell (who Ms Cortez probably never heard of) have been dead and moldering in their graves for a long time now.


Only for people who don’t know what “revolution” means.


"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men (and women) are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. "

"Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it." – John Adams

We have clearly crossed-over into the realm of the abuses the founder spoke and enshrined into word. The protections and benefits once guaranteed (in word, not always deed) to the people - the 99% - have been stood on their head, and those benefits twisted to benefit a relative few, dedicated to, not the people or Common Good, but self-interested greed, corruption, financial usury, economic servitude, for-profit war, corporate fascism and manipulated electoral processes, dominated by two parties, two sides of the same coin that uses the people and treasury to enrich themselves and their crony co-conspirators and the mechanisms of such!


We are a long way from the author’s potential political sea of change. For instance, the recent Brookings Institute study shows that establishment Democrats are still winning more primaries than progressive Democrats, despite the best efforts of Sanders and other progressive backers. Again, as I have said so often, cheer on progressive victories such as Ocasio-Cortez when you can, but don’t let that blind you to the reality that the core of the Democratic party is still strongly centrist. The impact of a handful of progressives in pulling the party to the left remains very much to be seen.


The Right certainly is extremely weak on crime - corporate crime, crimes against humanity, crimes against peace, environmental crime.

Hopefully, this is part of the subtext behind Ocasio-Cortez’s statement.


Yes, but the presence of strong minority of DSA Democrats will pull even the center-right incumbents leftward - and this can happen quickly - over just a few terms. This is why I cringe when the mainstream Democrats are attacked here as totally unreformable, forever, in this forum, The reality is that the positions of politicians can change - and rapidly.

Recall that this happened in the Republican Party when a minority of the extreme-right Tea Party Republicans started taking seats. The much larger number of former moderate Republicans in Congress then moved hard-right with stunning speed, with relatively few incumbents getting replaced. My own former Rep. Tim Murphy was a classic example of this.


It is much easier to pull things rightward seeing how the right has a bottomless money pit to fund widespread propaganda and faux “grass root” and faux “populist” movements such as the tea party.

Pulling things leftward will take tens of millions of voters who are not partisan and whose actions are based on evidence rather than sound bites and chants.


Though Falwell and Raygunz are dancing the Dance of Rotted Fascist Corpses, Ole Pat Roberson has not yet found his way to the Other Side, so he’s dirty dancing in our biosphere. Some old fascists never seem to die; they just continue to rot and spread the incurable virus.


Not all grassroots fascist and right-wing organizations are “faux.” That’s a big part of the problem. When your family and neighbors willingly accept that crap, what do you do?


We agree in principle, but these words (IMO) were never intended for the 99%. These are the words of a bourgeois “democracy” and were always intended for the bourgeois. Women were not legal citizens until hundreds of years later. People held in slavery and the nearly-exterminated native populations were not considered human at all. Patriarchy, white supremacy and property possession/ownership remain the primary requisites of full U.S. citizenship to this day, if not in terms of law, in terms of reality.


Ms. Ocasio-Cortez: You need to know that the insurance companies have an army of clerks that administer their program of selling premiums but denying care. Likewise, the providers-- doctors, hospitals, pharmacists and physio-therapists also have their army. With a single-payer or Medicare for all, there is only one army of clerks and the 25 per cent of the health care dollar that is now wasted is saved.

Regarding the Palestinians, two millions are imprisoned and starving in Gaza. Israel has stolen most of the West Bank. Every day a knock on the door at 4:00 A.M. awakens one or more families to get their things together and get out because in few hours the bulldozers will be there to confiscate their home for Jewish settlers coming from Europe. You might get away with saying that you support a two-state solution, all of the West Bank for Palestinians, but informed people know that so much of the West Bank has already been taken that that is not a viable option. In the long run, the only solution is Muslims, Jews and Christians–yes, there are Palestinian Christians–living in a single Palestinian democratic state, a United States of Palestine. That will not happen, however, until the United States cuts water off for Israel. Don’t hold your breath.


On the right “crime” and “law and order” are code words for blacks and still are. So is poverty. To the right when they hear fighting poverty is a way to reduce crime what they interpret this as is blacks should be helped and the interest of whites ignored. Family values to the right means Christian morality. Bill Clinton stole the family values issues from the right by equating it to helping soccer moms deal with the struggles of the middle class. Anyone not promoting the interests of white people and Christianity is going to be attacked by the right as favoring blacks and being immoral atheists. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez seems quite idealist (although not that idealist to claim she grew up in the Bronx when she actually grew up in Westchester County) and will probably learn through experience she is on a road that is not easy to navigate.


How can Ocasio-Cortez be remotely considered a “strong” progressive? She won a primary in an Hispanic district and has the political literacy of my cat. Hispanics in NY-14 should be mortified. Propaganda slogans aren’t governance.


DSA should really be called SDA for they are not democratic socialists but social democrats- they gave up being socialists when I was a kid. They do not want to replace capitalism with socialism, they just want to insure we have a much kinder, gentler capitalism.

The right wing nuts have for generations been calling anyone who holds to FDR or LBJ social democrat positions a socialist. Of course for them the term is a term of horror. But now progressives are adopting the right’s misunderstanding and also saying those who hold these views are socialist, albeit they want to say that’s a good thing.

The real result of both right wings, centrists, and social democrats all using the term ‘socialist’ wrong like this is to basically cut out any debate about capitalism vs. socialism out of the general discussion.

Eewwww. Don’t like this bullet point. But then social democrats haven’t been anti-imperialism ever, not the proto-social democrat Wilson, or the greatest social democratic president ever, FDR, and clearly not LBJ, despite his commitment to social democratic policies domestically.

Uh oh. Another warning sign. She’s playing to Identity Politics here and I don’t see how playing to this is going to keep her from supporting the unDemocratic Party’s number one NeoLiberal Identity Politics hopeful, Kamala Harris.

This also plays to the recent unDemocratic talking point that the party should be about opportunity and not about equality.

Oh, my gawd. Another thing that upsets me. You don’t give credence to rightwing nonsense like that. It’s like calling unfair trade deals by their preferred phony term or calling a tax policy that keeps the rich from developing into a hereditary aristocracy by their preferred phony term.

Using their terms and their language cedes the argument to them. The result is they win the argument even if you think you are making good points. You give power to their ideas.

Here she helps them win the idea in the popular mind that they want in order to shrink government.

She and Sanders were just stumping for one of the unDemocratic Party’s recent slate of candidates from the military or intelligence community: James Thompson. This fellow is running on his army career including making his slogan “Fight for American” and calling his volunteers “Thompson’s Army.” I wouldn’t call him even a social democrat in that one of his planks he’s running on is gun rights. He’s got some social democrat planks, but he totally ignores the USA Imperial Project.

Oh well.

I hope Ocasio-Cortez is all the social democrats hope she is. I just have been fooled before and I’m skeptical.


The real lesson from that is that it only happened when those grass roots right wingers refused to vote for the incumbent establishment Republicans.

But social democrat members of the unDemocratic Party go into metabolic shock if this strategy is brought up as a necessary way to move the party to the left.


Actually not. Tim Murphy never faced a primary challenge nor faced a Democratic challenger in the general election who had any chance of winning - but he moved to the hard-christian-tea-party right nonetheless.

He resigned under a sex scandal (he told his mistress she had to get an abortion so his wife would not find out) and his old district is now represented by the rather right wing Democrat Connor Lamb. A left Democrat would have never had a chance in his old exurban McMansion district.


She lived in the Bronx until several years of age, then after his father moved up into a well-paying career (architect-engineer) they moved to the suburbs. But, if you knew anything about young millennial people like Ms. Cortez, you would know that they hate suburban wastelands like Westchester County, and she moved back to the Bronx as soon as she left home.

All the millenial-aged members of my extended family have left suburbia and moved back to the inner city too.

So, what is your point?