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Angry Left Ready to Abandon Neoliberal Democrats and Take Over the Fort.

Clinton Democrats Pretending Pitchforks and Torches are Decorative Props.

The End of Progressive Neoliberalism

The election of Donald Trump represents one of a series of dramatic political uprisings that together signal a collapse of neoliberal hegemony. These uprisings include the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom, the rejection of the Renzi reforms in Italy, the Bernie Sanders campaign for the Democratic Party nomination in the United States, and rising support for the National Front in France, among others. Although they differ in ideology and goals, these electoral mutinies share a common target: all are rejections of corporate globalization, neoliberalism, and the political establishments that have promoted them. In every case, voters are saying “No!” to the lethal combination of austerity, free trade, predatory debt, and precarious, ill-paid work that characterize financialized capitalism today. Their votes are a response to the structural crisis of this form of capitalism, which first came into full view with the near meltdown of the global financial order in 2008.

Until recently, however, the chief response to the crisis was social protest—dramatic and lively, to be sure, but largely ephemeral. Political systems, by contrast, seemed relatively immune, still controlled by party functionaries and establishment elites, at least in powerful capitalist states like the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany. Now, however, electoral shockwaves reverberate throughout the world, including in the citadels of global finance. Those who voted for Trump, like those who voted for Brexit and against the Italian reforms, have risen up against their political masters. Thumbing their noses at party establishments, they have repudiated the system that has eroded their living conditions for the last thirty years. The surprise is not that they have done so, but that it took them so long.

Nevertheless, Trump’s victory is not solely a revolt against global finance. What his voters rejected was not neoliberalism tout court, but progressive neoliberalism. This may sound to some like an oxymoron, but it is a real, if perverse, political alignment that holds the key to understanding the U.S. election results and perhaps some developments elsewhere too. In its U.S. form, progressive neoliberalism is an alliance of mainstream currents of new social movements (feminism, anti-racism, multiculturalism, and LGBTQ rights), on the one side, and high-end “symbolic” and service-based business sectors (Wall Street, Silicon Valley, and Hollywood), on the other. In this alliance, progressive forces are effectively joined with the forces of cognitive capitalism, especially financialization. However unwittingly, the former lend their charisma to the latter. Ideals like diversity and empowerment, which could in principle serve different ends, now gloss policies that have devastated manufacturing and what were once middle-class lives.

Progressive neoliberalism developed in the United States over the last three decades and was ratified with Bill Clinton’s election in 1992. Clinton was the principal engineer and standard-bearer of the “New Democrats,” the U.S. equivalent of Tony Blair’s “New Labor.” In place of the New Deal coalition of unionized manufacturing workers, African Americans, and the urban middle classes, he forged a new alliance of entrepreneurs, suburbanites, new social movements, and youth, all proclaiming their modern, progressive bona fides by embracing diversity, multiculturalism, and women’s rights. Even as it endorsed such progressive notions, the Clinton administration courted Wall Street. Turning the economy over to Goldman Sachs, it deregulated the banking system and negotiated the free-trade agreements that accelerated deindustrialization. What fell by the wayside was the Rust Belt—once the stronghold of New Deal social democracy, and now the region that delivered the electoral college to Donald Trump. That region, along with newer industrial centers in the South, took a major hit as runaway financialization unfolded over the course of the last two decades. Continued by his successors, including Barack Obama, Clinton’s policies degraded the living conditions of all working people, but especially those employed in industrial production. In short, Clintonism bears a heavy share of responsibility for the weakening of unions, the decline of real wages, the increasing precarity of work, and the rise of the two–earner family in place of the defunct family wage.

As that last point suggests, the assault on social security was glossed by a veneer of emancipatory charisma, borrowed from the new social movements. Throughout the years when manufacturing cratered, the country buzzed with talk of “diversity,” “empowerment,” and “non-discrimination.” Identifying “progress” with meritocracy instead of equality, these terms equated “emancipation” with the rise of a small elite of “talented” women, minorities, and gays in the winner-takes-all corporate hierarchy instead of with the latter’s abolition. These liberal-individualist understandings of “progress” gradually replaced the more expansive, anti-hierarchical, egalitarian, class-sensitive, anti-capitalist understandings of emancipation that had flourished in the 1960s and 1970s. As the New Left waned, its structural critique of capitalist society faded, and the country’s characteristic liberal-individualist mindset reasserted itself, imperceptibly shrinking the aspirations of “progressives” and self-proclaimed leftists. What sealed the deal, however, was the coincidence of this evolution with the rise of neoliberalism. A party bent on liberalizing the capitalist economy found its perfect mate in a meritocratic corporate feminism focused on “leaning in” and “cracking the glass ceiling.”

The result was a “progressive neoliberalism” that mixed together truncated ideals of emancipation and lethal forms of financialization. It was that mix that was rejected in toto by Trump’s voters. Prominent among those left behind in this brave new cosmopolitan world were industrial workers, to be sure, but also managers, small businessmen, and all who relied on industry in the Rust Belt and the South, as well as rural populations devastated by unemployment and drugs. For these populations, the injury of deindustrialization was compounded by the insult of progressive moralism, which routinely cast them as culturally backward. Rejecting globalization, Trump voters also repudiated the liberal cosmopolitanism identified with it. For some (though by no means all), it was a short step to blaming their worsening conditions on political correctness, people of color, immigrants, and Muslims. In their eyes, feminists and Wall Street were birds of a feather, perfectly united in the person of Hillary Clinton.

What made possible that conflation was the absence of any genuine left. Despite periodic outbursts such as Occupy Wall Street, which proved short-lived, there had been no sustained left presence in the United States for several decades. Nor was there in place any comprehensive left narrative that could link the legitimate grievances of Trump supporters with a fulsome critique of financialization, on the one hand, and with an anti-racist, anti-sexist, and anti-hierarchical vision of emancipation, on the other. Equally devastating, potential links between labor and new social movements were left to languish. Split off from one another, those indispensable poles of a viable left were miles apart, waiting to be counterposed as antithetical.

At least until the remarkable primary campaign of Bernie Sanders, who struggled to unite them after some prodding from Black Lives Matter. Exploding the reigning neoliberal commonsense, Sanders’s revolt was the parallel on the Democratic side to that of Trump. Even as Trump was upending the Republican establishment, Bernie came within a hair’s breadth of defeating Obama’s anointed successor, whose apparatchiks controlled every lever of power in the Democratic Party. Between them, Sanders and Trump galvanized a huge majority of American voters. But only Trump’s reactionary populism survived. While he easily routed his Republican rivals, including those favored by the big donors and party bosses, the Sanders insurrection was effectively checked by a far less democratic Democratic Party. By the time of the general election, the left alternative had been suppressed. What remained was the Hobson’s choice between reactionary populism and progressive neoliberalism. When the so-called left closed ranks with Hillary Clinton, the die was cast.

Nevertheless, and from this point on, this is a choice the left should refuse. Rather than accepting the terms presented to us by the political classes, which oppose emancipation to social protection, we should be working to redefine them by drawing on the vast and growing fund of social revulsion against the present order. Rather than siding with financialization-cum-emancipation against social protection, we should be building a new alliance of emancipation and social protection against financialization. In this project, which builds on that of Sanders, emancipation does not mean diversifying corporate hierarchy, but rather abolishing it. And prosperity does not mean rising share value or corporate profit, but the material prerequisites of a good life for all. This combination remains the only principled and winning response in the current conjuncture.

I, for one, shed no tears for the defeat of progressive neoliberalism. Certainly, there is much to fear from a racist, anti-immigrant, anti-ecological Trump administration. But we should mourn neither the implosion of neoliberal hegemony nor the shattering of Clintonism’s iron grip on the Democratic Party. Trump’s victory marked a defeat for the alliance of emancipation and financialization. But his presidency offers no resolution of the present crisis, no promise of a new regime, no secure hegemony. What we face, rather, is an interregnum, an open and unstable situation in which hearts and minds are up for grabs. In this situation, there is not only danger but also opportunity: the chance to build a new new left.

Whether that happens will depend in part on some serious soul-searching among the progressives who rallied to the Clinton campaign. They will need to drop the comforting but false myth that they lost to a “basket of deplorables” (racists, misogynists, Islamophobes, and homophobes) aided by Vladimir Putin and the FBI. They will need to acknowledge their own share of blame for sacrificing the cause of social protection, material well-being, and working-class dignity to faux understandings of emancipation in terms of meritocracy, diversity, and empowerment. They will need to think deeply about how we might transform the political economy of financialized capitalism, reviving Sanders’s catchphrase “democratic socialism” and figuring out what it might mean in the twenty-first century. They will need, above all, to reach out to the mass of Trump voters who are neither racists nor committed right-wingers, but themselves casualties of a “rigged system” who can and must be recruited to the anti-neoliberal project of a rejuvenated left.

This does not mean muting pressing concerns about racism or sexism. But it does mean showing how those longstanding historical oppressions find new expressions and grounds today, in financialized capitalism. Rebutting the false, zero-sum thinking that dominated the election campaign, we should link the harms suffered by women and people of color to those experienced by the many who voted for Trump. In that way, a revitalized left could lay the foundation for a powerful new coalition committed to fighting for all.

The End of Progressive Neoliberalism

Progressives launch ‘Justice Democrats’ to counter party’s ‘corporate’ legislators

Cenk Uygur, founder of the Young Turks video network that has become virally popular among progressive voters, is launching a project called Justice Democrats to defeat members of the Democratic Party who have cast votes seen as unacceptable.

“The aim in 2018 is to put a significant number of Justice Democrats in the Congress. The aim for 2020 is to more significantly take over the Democratic Party,” Uygur said. “If they're going to continue to be corporate Democrats, that's doomed for failure for the rest of time.”

Justice Democrats cohered after the 2016 election, when Uygur began talking to veterans of the presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) about ways to challenge Democrats from the left. The Justice Democrats project counts Saikat Chakrabarti and Zack Exley, two tech veterans of the Sanders campaign, among its founders; their first goal was to provide the infrastructure and resources for progressives who wanted to challenge “corporate Democrats.”

In the near term, that meant finding people who could run against the 13 Democratic senators who opposed a Sanders-backed measure to make it easier to import prescription drugs from Canada.

“Some members of the party that are already in the Progressive Caucus, we're unlikely to primary. We want to focus on getting strong progressives into Congress,” Uygur said. “What's the point of primarying Representative Raúl Grijalva [D-Ariz.] if you want to do that? There will be a small number of people who ran once before, and we can look at them again. But do we want to challenge Senator Cory Booker [D-N.J.]? That's a no-brainer.”

The Justice Democrats platform mirrors much of what Sanders ran on, some of which had been adopted into the 2016 Democratic platform. Where Sanders called for renegotiating trade deals, the platform doubles down. Democrats have called for infrastructure spending; the platform calls for the party to “invest billions in rebuilding our crumbling roads, bridges, schools, levees, airports etc.” It goes even further than Sanders, however, in asking candidates to ban foreign aid to human rights violators.

All of that builds on what had been a time of expansion for the Young Turks. After the election, the site crowdfunded nearly $ 1 million to expand its team and roster of contributors. The Justice Democrats would follow the same model.

“I was hoping someone else would do this, but when no one else was,” Uygur said, “somebody had to do it.”

Progressives launch ‘Justice Democrats’ to counter party’s ‘corporate’ legislators

Angry Democrats aim to take a page from the Tea Party’s playbook

Freshly energized protesters are taking to the streets, members of Congress are being confronted in their districts by constituents angry over health care, and wealthy donors are turning fear into action.

Eight years after Republicans united after a stinging electoral defeat to oppose President Barack Obama, Democrats are channeling an even deeper anxiety over President Donald Trump — and a far shallower defeat — into a newfound burst of organizing.

Party leaders, eyeing the huge protests last weekend and growing worries over the promised repeal of the Affordable Care Act, are hoping to recreate the mass movement that sprang up in 2009 and swept Republicans to power in the House and in governor’s races across the country — a Tea Party equivalent from the left.

And they are turning to the same playbook that guided their conservative counterparts in the aftermath of Obama’s election: creating or expanding a number of groups outside the formal architecture of the party, focusing on often-overlooked state legislative and redistricting campaigns, and bringing together frightened fundraisers to underwrite it all.

Recreating the conditions for a second lightning strike will be difficult. The kind of soaring unemployment that followed the worst recession since the Depression is not likely anytime soon, and with many House districts gerrymandered by Republicans and few Republican-held Senate seats open in 2018, the political terrain is more forbidding for Democrats now. Only two Republican Senate seats — in Nevada and Arizona — are plausibly available to Democrats at the moment, while Democrats must defend 10 seats in states won by Trump. The most hard-fought campaigns may be the 38 governor’s races that will take place over the next two years.

But in the fury at Trump and, specifically, the brewing anger over the Republican attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Democrats see passions on their side and the same potential for overreach that animated conservative voters in 2009 and 2010.

“You can see this health care thing just unraveling right in front of them,” said James Carville, the longtime Democratic strategist, invoking the political maxim that “the mover on health care loses.”

“To do something is to lose.”

The left begins with a head start: Trump is already far more unpopular than Obama was at the outset of his presidency.

The looming question is whether Democrats can sustain the passion of their contributors and activists once the shock of Trump’s inauguration wears off. The success of the post-Obama Democratic Party will be determined by whether the progressives who are roused right now will open their checkbooks and show up at their local Democratic committees in the lead-up to the 2018 midterm elections.

Democrats must “rebuild from the grass roots up and go back to being competitive in state and local elections,” said Eric Schneiderman, New York’s attorney general and a Democrat. “Even if Hillary Clinton had won, the Republicans still would be controlling 69 of 99 state legislative chambers and 33 governor’s mansions.”

The depth of the party’s problems was a recurring theme as donors, still in disbelief over Trump’s election, gathered over inauguration weekend at a palm-tree-shaded golf resort here to plot their comeback and tune out the transfer of power 1,000 miles to the north.

David Brock, the combative Democratic organizer, brought together about 150 contributors and operatives for a three-day conference that underscored the opportunity that liberals have and the challenges they face in trying to create their answer to the Tea Party.

That the hard-charging Brock — polarizing even among Democrats and identified chiefly with Clinton — could summon a broad array of progressives was an indication of the energy coursing through the left.

Strolling by the pool and talking about how to rebuild, in between presentations with titles like “What the Hell Just Happened?,” the donors expressed a determination to fight back.

“There’s a real urgent energy,” said Susie Tompkins Buell, one of Clinton’s top fundraisers. “This is bigger than women’s rights, this is bigger than human rights, this is bigger than the environment. This is the future of the entire world.” Brock said he would ask for $ 40 million this year for his constellation of research and advocacy groups, increasing the individual budget of each.

A host of other progressive groups are broadening their ambitions, as well, including the Center for American Progress, a research group, and Priorities USA, which served as the primary “super PAC” for Democratic presidential candidates in the last two elections. Some liberals who are part of the Democracy Alliance, a progressive umbrella group, are irritated that Brock staged the event, fearing that he is creating a competitor to their conferences.

Such jostling for organizational supremacy was also a feature of the conservative landscape when the right formed its resistance to Obama.

But Democrats are already contending with challenges that Republicans never fully confronted after 2008. There was something close to unanimity on the right in its opposition to Obama’s agenda. The Affordable Care Act did not win one vote from a Republican member of Congress. But Democrats are at odds over whether they should oppose Trump across the board or selectively work with him where they have common interests.

Putting his marker down in that debate, Brock told donors that the “coming divide” in the party would be “between those who resist and oppose and those who accommodate and appease.”

A debate about the president’s first 100 days broke out at a session here, with Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago pressing for accommodation at times and Ron Klain, a veteran Democratic operative, urging total opposition.

“My attitude is, there will be things that, in the interest of the country, we’re going to work on and things we’re not because it’s not in the best interest,” Emanuel said.

The debate pointed to a more fundamental difference between the political right and left, which could make Democratic unity more difficult: While conservatives are glad to reap the political benefits from halting or undermining an expansion of government, liberals are invested in a well-functioning state.

“You’re going to have a harder time getting Democrats to say, ‘We don’t want government to work,’” said Schneiderman, who was a panelist at the event.

Angry Democrats aim to take a page from the Tea Party’s playbook

The Young Turks, Bernie Sanders Team Members To Launch Political Movement

During the 2016 presidential primaries, progressive news organization The Young Turks championed Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders by interviewing him multiple times and launching several initiatives on his behalf. Sanders ended up ceding the Democratic nomination to Hillary Clinton, but his campaign successfully challenged establishment politics and awakened many voters to the political reality around them.

That sort of education is in line with The Young Turks’ own viewers, and the network is taking action to make sure the policies of the Sanders campaign continue to receive attention. It has announced Justice Democrats, an organization co-led by former Sanders team members that will aid progressive political candidates in order to challenge the Democratic establishment.

The four co-founders of Justice Democrats are Cenk Uygur, co-founder of The Young Turks; Saikat Chakrabarti the Director of Organizing Technology for the Sanders campaign; Zack Exley (a Senior Adviser for the Sanders campaign; and Kyle Kulinski, a talk radio host. Their goals are simple: With The Young Turks serving as the organization’s mouthpiece, Justice Democrats hopes to challenge sitting politicians in primary races, so that those incumbents must recognize the desires of the progressive base if they wish to be re-elected it. In other words, Justice Democrats is trying to do for left-wing politics what the Tea Party did for the right, but with a clearer structure guiding its strategy.

Justice Democrats shared its full platform in a press release. Here, in the organization’s own words, are the issues on its plate:

*Pass a constitutional amendment to put an end to Washington corruption and bring about election reform. Super PACs should be banned, private donations to politicians and campaigns should be banned, and a clean public financing system should be implemented to end the takeover of our government by corporations and billionaires. Americans deserve free and fair elections – free from the corruption of big money donors. The Supreme Court has effectively legalized bribery. It’s time for an Article 5 convention to take our Democracy back from the brink of Oligarchy. Prior to passing this amendment, all Justice Democrats should reject billionaire and corporate donations when running for office to show the American people we don’t just talk the talk, we walk the walk. Ranked choice voting should also be implemented to make smaller parties a viable option. All provisions of the voting rights act should be reinstated, and gerrymandering for partisan gain should be eliminated.

*Re-regulate Wall Street and hold white-collar criminals accountable. Despite engaging in systemic fraud and causing a subprime mortgage meltdown and the great recession, you can count the people from Wall Street who are in prison for their crimes on one hand. It’s time to prosecute the criminals, bring back Glass-Steagall, and re- regulate Wall Street to prevent another crash. Prison is not just for the poor and the middle class anymore. We will have cops on Wall Street, not just Main Street.

*End billionaire and corporate tax dodging, fix the system to benefit middle-class and poor people. Corporations dodge $ 450 billion a year in taxes by using offshore tax havens. We should end this injustice, as well as chain the capital gains tax to the income tax, increase the estate tax, and implement the buffet rule so that no millionaire CEO pays less in taxes than his or her secretary. It’s time for a tax system that benefits the middle-class and the poor, and makes the top 1% and multinational corporations pay their fair share.

*Defend Free speech and expression. We support the right to express unpopular opinions without fear of censorship. We support free speech on college campuses. The marketplace of ideas should be embraced. A vibrant debate is healthy for democracy, and we should cherish our first amendment. We also support net neutrality for a free and open internet.

*Oppose bigotry. We must speak out against racism, sexism, xenophobia, and all forms of bigotry. Non-discrimination protections that currently apply to race, religion, and gender should be expanded to include the LGBTQ community and the atheist community. Making all Americans equal is not asking for special privileges, it’s asking for the rule of law – justice and equality for all as outlined in the United States Constitution.

*Make the minimum wage a living wage and tie it to inflation. This is about justice and basic human decency. If you work hard and you work full time you shouldn’t live in poverty.

*Ensure universal healthcare as a right. The United States should catch up to every other modern nation and implement a single-payer, medicare-for-all system. There’s no reason we can’t be #1 in the world instead of #37. It’s time to end the destruction of American healthcare by rapacious, price gouging, for-profit, private health insurance middlemen.

*Universal education as a right. Educating the citizenry of a nation pays dividends in the long run, with the economy getting back much more than is initially put in. Crushing student debt for higher education would no longer burden young men and women trying to improve their lives through hard work. We should strive to have the best education system in the world.

*End unnecessary wars and nation building. The United States maintains 800 military bases worldwide at a cost of $ 100 billion a year, this is money that can be spent at home creating jobs, rebuilding infrastructure, and investing in the future of the people. The disastrous war in Iraq cost trillions, the war in Afghanistan is 15 years in with no end in sight, and we’re currently bombing 7 different countries. We spend more on our military than the next 8 countries combined. Despite countless lives lost and destroyed, terrorism has only gotten worse. It’s time to end the wars and the perverse monetary-incentive structure that makes politicians flippant about sending young men and women to die. Unilateral U.S. military force should only be used as a last resort to defend the nation. The current budget could be cut drastically if we used our department of defense for what it was intended – defending us, instead of waging interventionist wars.

*End the failed war on drugs. The goal is legalization, taxation, and regulation. Prohibition only makes drug cartels more powerful, increases crime, and makes drugs more dangerous due to lack of enforced safety standards. What you put in your body is your own business, and your right. A free society should allow individuals to make their own choices about their bodies. While most users are recreational and moderate, rehabilitation and treatment should be provided for people struggling with addiction. Additionally, those serving time for non-violent drug offenses should be pardoned.

*Create the new new deal. Our infrastructure gets a grade of D from the Society of Civil Engineers. The government should invest billions in rebuilding our crumbling roads, bridges, schools, levees, airports etc. There’s no reason why we can’t have the world’s #1 infrastructure.

*Create the renewable energy revolution. Scientists are sounding the alarm on climate change. In order to avoid the worst case scenario and a dystopian future we need a massive green revolution. It’s time to drastically and immediately move away from fossil fuels and develop the technologies of the future. This will be a giant boon to both the private and public sector, as well as a necessary response to a global crisis. We can and we must be #1 in sustainable energy production in the world.

*Block the TPP and all outsourcing deals that will further damage the middle-class. As a result of NAFTA, CAFTA, PNTR with China and the WTO, Americans have lost millions of decent paying jobs. It’s time to end the race to the bottom and renegotiate these rigged deals that only benefit elites. We should not sacrifice our sovereignty, the only people who are allowed to make laws for the United States should be the American people, not multinational corporations.

*End Constitutional overreaches. Ban the NSA from bulk data- collection and warrantless spying. Shut down Guantanamo Bay and all extrajudicial prisons. Prosecute torturers and those who violated the Geneva Conventions, Nuremberg Tribunal, International law and US law. Return habeas corpus and due process. We shouldn’t be leading from behind on human rights, we must be the home of liberty. We should practice the values we preach.

*Ban arming human rights violators. We recently gave Saudi Arabia billions in weapons and watched the civilian death toll in their vicious bombing campaign in Yemen tick up. We continue sending Egypt arms as they violently crack down on peaceful protesters. Israel received $ 38 billion in aid and promptly announced new settlements. The first step to peace is not enabling nations who regularly violate international law. We must be bold enough to stand up to human rights violators who aren’t just our enemies, but our allies. We don’t weaken our allies by holding them accountable, we strengthen them.

*Enact common-sense gun regulation. 92% of Americans want expanded background checks, 54% want a ban on assault weapons, and 54% want a ban on high capacity magazines. This should be implemented along with a federal gun buyback program to cut down on the 300+ million firearms in circulation. Over 30,000 Americans die every year from gun violence, including over 10,000 homicides. The time to act is now to address this public health crisis.

*Ensure paid vacation time, sick time, maternity leave, childcare. The United States is one of just three countries in the world that doesn’t offer paid maternity leave, the others being Oman and Papua New Guinea. We are the only industrialized nation that doesn’t offer paid vacation time. This should be changed immediately.

*Abolish the death penalty. Humans are fallible, we’ll never get the right answer 100% of the time. 4% of the people on death row are not guilty of a crime and have been wrongly convicted. A system that puts innocent people to death is indefensible and should be reformed. We want justice for the American people but killing innocent people on death row is the exact opposite. These ideas represent what the Democratic Party was supposed to represent

The Young Turks, Bernie Sanders Team Members To Launch Political Movement

Source: ONTD_Political

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