In a compact and effective video that appeared in leftish publications last week, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez delivers an uplifting “Message from the Future” projecting a decade of sweeping social democratic legislation following a Democratic capture of the White House and both chambers of Congress in 2020.
A succession of progressive-dominated Congresses passes Medicare for All; a federal jobs bill “guaranteeing dignified living wages” for all workers; a Universal Child Care Initiative “that started paying real money to teachers, domestic workers and home health aides”; and the Green New Deal, which AOC’s voice from the future explained, “didn’t just change the infrastructure” of the nation, but also showed that America could be “not only modern and wealthy but dignified and humane, too.”
Something left out
It’s a well-done, inspiring piece that actually touched my heartstrings. While she was at it, AOC could have also painted a picture of a world that wasn’t being bombed and regime-changed day and night by her homeland’s military, but maybe that’s a subject for her and Naomi Klein’s next animated vignette.
Meanwhile, in the real world, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last week told “60 Minutes” that “only five” members of Congress share Ocasio-Cortez’s “socialist” vision. As soon as the votes were counted in last November’s congressional elections, Pelosi dispatched her minions to assure the health insurance industry they need not worry about Medicare for All passing the House under her watch.
The bill that AOC-of-the-future calls “the most popular social program in American history” is to Pelosi an “unhelpful distraction.” And the speaker is downright contemptuous of the Green New Deal.
“It will be one of several or maybe many suggestions that we receive,” she told Politico in February. “The green dream, or whatever they call it, nobody knows what it is, but they’re for it, right?”
How will they win?
Ocasio-Cortez’s “Message from the Future” is flawed from the start, because it fails to tell us how the “progressives” defeat the corporate wing of her own party personified by Nancy Pelosi, who is about right in her estimation that there are only one or two handfuls of Ocasio-Cortez-type leftists in Congress.
The party’s corporate leadership is determined to make AOC and her left-Democrat colleagues an endangered species on Capitol Hill. That’s why the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee imposed a new rule blacklisting political consultants that back challengers to Democratic incumbents.
“Let’s be clear,” said Rep. Ro Khanna, a leftish Democrat from California. “If this policy remains in place, it will mean that we will not allow new Ayanna Pressleys or AOCs to emerge. It’s simply wrong.”
No, it’s simply the job of corporate Democrats to defend corporate interests, especially when Medicare for All is supported by 85 percent of Democrats (and even 52 percent of Republicans), and an amazing 92 percent of Democrats (and 64 percent of Republicans) support a Green New Deal.
The Democratic Party is the first line of defense of Corporate America, the place where progressive legislation can be smothered in its crib and supermajorities are corralled and neutered. Nancy Pelosi is the Democratic leader precisely because corporate moneybags trust her to neutralize the party’s base at every stage of the “money-soaked” (as Paul Street likes to say) process.
The Democratic Party is half of the governing duopoly of the United States, and indispensable to the ongoing rule of the rich. Indeed, after three years of Russiagate, with Trump delegitimized in the eyes of majorities of Americans and his Republican base shrunk to an overtly racist rump (although the GOP White Man’s Party remains the largest organized ideological bloc in the country), the Democratic Party has become the ruling class’s most important political instrument.
If the core corporate imperial policies of austerity and endless war are to be preserved, the Democratic base must be kept in check – supermajorities be damned!
The rich will fight
Maybe Ocasio-Cortez and Naomi Klein don’t want to scare the children, but they have painted a scenario in which the rich roll-over and accept the wishes of the majority without shedding oceans of blood.
The U.S. empire is now engaged in a desperate bid to restrain and contain the rising forces of global majorities determined to throw off the shackles of half a millennium of racist, Euro-American dictatorship. Since its rise to superpower after World War II, the U.S. has caused the deaths of tens of millions and held the planet hostage to nuclear annihilation.
The U.S. and European ruling classes have tried to exterminate every government and movement in the formerly colonized world that attempted to address the needs and aspirations of popular majorities. The same people that organized this carnage also bankroll and buttress Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer and their Republican counterparts.
Ocasio-Cortez’s favored candidate for president is unacceptable to the ruling class, and therefore to the leaders of the Democratic Party. Never in U.S. history has a candidate of a duopoly party run on a promise to wipe out a major sector of the ruling class. But that is what Bernie Sanders is pledging to do with Medicare for All, which would smash the trillion-dollar health insurance industry.
Resistance already underway
AOC’s animation envisions one of her young Bronx protégés journeying to Louisiana to help restore wetlands, working alongside “former oil workers” transitioned out of that (apparently doomed) industry, but earning the same salary and benefits in their new, eco-friendly jobs.
Big Oil’s resistance to the verdict of Green New Deal supporters is already being expressed, through the leadership of Ocasio-Cortez’s own party. The looming battle-to-the-death in that turf does not appear in AOC’s video fairy tale. Does she think it can be avoided?
Bernie Sanders, in whose 2016 campaign AOC became an activist, is an austerity-buster, and therefore beyond the pale for the imperial ruling class. Austerity is the universal global policy of late-stage capitalism. It is designed to cap any expectations the lower classes might have of a better standard of life in the future and to squelch notions that society should be organized for the betterment of the masses of people.
Under austerity, there is never any money to even think about that. Medicare for All would not only bust austerity wide open (even while lowering overall health costs), but would be a death sentence for a trillion-dollar section of finance capital – the holy sanctum of the ruling class. Therefore, as the Wall Street Journal should know, the Lords of Capital have decreed: Stop Bernie – the corporate Democrats’ assignment from on-high.
Bernie a target
Although Sanders remains an imperialist pig who is incapable of solidarity with other socialists in the world unless they are Scandinavian, I don’t think U.S. rulers and their military and national security state henchmen trust Bernie to protect the empire. They didn’t trust Trump, and he’s an oligarch like them.
The corporate Democrats will thwart Sanders’ presidential bid by any means necessary. The national security state folks may kill him. It is inconceivable that finance capital – which is to the Democratic Party what Big Oil is to the Republicans – will tolerate a financial industry-slayer in the White House, or accept Sanders opening up the Pandora’s Box of social spending on education and all the other “rights” he talks about.
This is anathema to the ruling class in the 21st Century, and they will not allow such agitation to triumph in either of their houses: Democratic or Republican. The Lords of Capital have paid the cost to be the boss of these institutions, and will not be defied. This season may be the final showdown between supermajorities of Democrats and the corporate party apparatus whose job is to betray them.
I don’t know what tricks and travesties the corporate Democrats will employ against Sanders and his supermajority issues, but it will be the ugliest political fight since the crackers bum-rushed Reconstruction in Dixie. At the end of the carnage, we’ll see if Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the millions that think like her still want to be Democrats.
Glen Ford is executive editor of BlackAgendaReport.com. Email him at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.
This article originally appeared in the Florida Courier.