Peter Camejo‘s Avocado Declaration is relevant yet again. A primary function of the Democratic Party is to channel genuine dissent into the party where it is rendered harmless – as it simultaneously pretends not to be co-joined with the Republicans as a party of capital.
This game plan has worked admirably for the Democratic Party for many decades. It’s one of the things that destroyed the Populist Party in the 1890’s, which split over whether accommodation could be made with the Democrats because, y’know, the Democrats would welcome their populist ideas, right? That was before the Democratic Party double-crossed them, knifing them in the back.
But after last night, it seems that strategy isn’t working any more. You just can’t promise radiant rainbows of hope and changiness then shovel billions as fast as you can to the banksters. Or present a bucket of slop like the health care bill as genuine reform.
Gore Vidal has long said the US has no Left party, only 2 right-wing parties. That’s essentially correct, but, at age 61, I’m old enough to remember when Democrats actually did stuff for ordinary working people. You know the lineup: social security, welfare, Medicare, Medicaid, and food stamps. Less visible but just as valuable was their enaction of wage and hour laws in the 1930s and their consistent protection of organized labor—not allowing the NLRB to be castrated as it is now, for instance.
My understanding is that all that began to die when several years of Republicanism started to greatly weaken unions, which had always been a major source of campaign dollars and personpower for the Dems. Democrats then had nobody to turn to but the slightly kinder subset of the universe of rich people and corporations that had always supported the Republicans, and still do.
“You got to dance with the one that brung you”, as Molly Ivans said, so now Democrats routinely do whatever Big Money wants, just like the Republicans. It was heartbreaking to see how far that process had advanced during the confection of the healthcare bill.
The Democrats STILL occasionally do a little something for the working class. For example, do you think unemployment compensation would have been extended again and again in the face of this New Depression if the Republicans had been in power?
I’m coming to the sad conclusion that we have nothing left to hope for but crumbs like that. Arguably the USA is too far advanced down the road to frank oligarchy to be turned back now by any political action.