When the Fox Becomes a Wolf: Understanding the Election of DNC Chairman Tom Perez

by Danny Haiphong

Neither the wolves nor the foxes of the corporate parties can offer any real relief from the crisis their capitalist masters have created. Donald Trump offers only racist rhetoric against immigrants, while the Democrats are “equally, if not more responsible, for the crisis conditions that afflict the majority of workers and oppressed peoples around the world.“ The imperialist system is all teeth, and “no longer has the capacity to self-correct.”

When the Fox Becomes a Wolf: Understanding the Election of DNC Chairman Tom Perez

by Danny Haiphong

“No longer can the Democratic Party hide behind the apparent ferocity of Republican wolves.”

The election of Tom Perez as the next DNC chair has placed a dark cloud over the Democratic Party. As Party functionaries celebrated Perez’s victory as a sign of progress and unity, the Sanders wing of the Democratic Party lamented over Keith Ellison's loss. Loyal Sanders supporters rightfully view Perez as an affirmation of the Democratic Party's commitment to its corporate donors. President Donald Trump rejoiced over Perez's nomination on Twitter. The tweet suggested that Perez may have ensured the Democratic Party's defeat in future elections. Unlike other statements by Trump, this particular one is no alternative fact.

It should be common knowledge that there is no reforming the Democratic Party. The DNC-led suppression of Bernie Sanders during the Democratic Party primary made this painfully clear. Representative Keith Ellison's failed bid for chairman of the DNC is another blow to Sanders loyalists who are fighting for institutional representation within the leadership of the Democratic Party. New chairman Tom Perez actively collaborated with John Podesta to smear the Sanders Presidential campaign. He staunchly supported Hillary Clinton throughout her losing bid for President.

“Loyal Sanders supporters rightfully view Perez as an affirmation of the Democratic Party's commitment to its corporate donors.”

The words of Malcolm X are increasingly relevant in a period that is increasingly being shaped by the internal rot of the Democratic Party. In a 1963 interview at Columbia University, Malcolm X described the Democratic Party (John F. Kennedy) as a pack of foxes and the Republican Party (Barry Goldwater) as a pack of wolves. When the wolf shows its teeth, the target can easily conclude malicious intent. But when the fox shows its teeth, it appears to smile. Despite their stark aesthetic differences, the wolf and the fox are both canines and swallow their prey all the same.

The Democratic Party remains the fox of the two corporate parties. However, the foxes have grown fat from the deep pockets of monopoly capital. They have become indiscernible from the wolves. Democratic Party foxes have attempted to hide their wolf-like characteristics from the grassroots by howling a modified tune. The Trump era has shaken the very core of US imperialism, including the effectiveness of the Democratic Party's baseless rhetoric. No longer can the Democratic Party hide behind the apparent ferocity of Republican wolves. The bite of the Democratic Party manifested through the Clinton-Obama machine created the political conditions for Trump's victory.

“Democratic Party foxes have attempted to hide their wolf-like characteristics from the grassroots by howling a modified tune.”

So no tears should be shed for the Democratic Party, including Keith Ellison. Black Agenda Report (BAR) has followed Ellison's tenure in the Congressional Black Caucus and has found little to celebrate. In 2009, Ellison abstained from voting for or against US support for the Israeli invasion of Gaza. Four years later, Ellison placed his unquestionable support for Obama's "red line" in Syria and supported the Administration's proposal for a no-fly zone to oust Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. Ellison voted against increased support for Israel's "Iron Dome" in 2014 during the Israeli invasion of Gaza but remained supportive of the Zionist colonial state's "right to defend itself."

Representative Ellison was also a loyal servant of finance capital until the Sanders phenomenon, failing for nearly a decade to call for the prosecution of the banks responsible for the predatory lending schemes that facilitated the 2008 economic crisis. Yet while Ellison's political record is far from progressive, few can match Tom Perez's service to the ruling class. Ellison betrayed Democratic Party leadership when he aligned with Bernie Sanders during the 2016 elections. The banks and corporations that own the Democratic Party apparatus have steadfastly opposed Sanders' policy proposals such as free, public higher education and an increase of the federal minimum wage to $15 dollars an hour.

“Ellison placed his unquestionable support for Obama's "red line" in Syria and supported the Administration's proposal for a no-fly zone to oust Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.”

Enter Tom Perez, whose political record resembles that of a sly wolf rather than a fox. Perez supported the Trans Pacific Partnership without a single waver, even when Hillary Clinton was forced to object to the corporate trade deal during her campaign. He has consistently condemned the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. This makes him palatable to Clinton donors such as billionaire Israeli American Haim Saban, who characterized Keith Ellison as an anti-Semite for his alignment with Sanders on the question of Israel. And the banks can depend on Perez. Perez gave full cover for banks that illegally foreclosed the homes of active duty service members from 2009 to 2013. As Secretary of Labor, Perez granted waivers to a number of financial institutions responsible for global market manipulation.

Perez's record should come as no surprise. The DNC is a mere appendage of the corporate Democratic Party. The Democratic Party is equally, if not more responsible, for the crisis conditions that afflict the majority of workers and oppressed peoples around the world. Perez is a servant of Washington’s war-hawks, which are fully committed to sparking a world war with Russia to enrich Wall Street. His rule embodies each and every racist, corporate policy peddled by Democratic Party since the Clinton Administration.

The Banks can depend on Perez.

So at what point does a fox become a wolf? Malcolm X reminds us that regardless of the designation, both Democratic Party foxes and Republican Party possess the same masters. These masters are the capitalist elite that own the means of production of US imperialism. Donald Trump's Presidency is a product of US imperialism's crisis, which began arguably in the late 1970s. Over this period, US imperialism has experienced an unprecedented economic decline. The imperialist system no longer has any capacity to self-correct and has waged a multifaceted attack on jobs, public services, and any semblance of international stability in order to reconcile the crisis. Donald Trump, who is seen as the biggest and baddest wolf by many inside and outside of Washington, was given the opportunity to switch careers precisely because of the chaos that the crisis of US imperialism has produced.

In just over a month in office, Donald Trump has cosigned the imperialist state's assault on oppressed people despite the unprecedented political campaign against him waged by the two-party system and the corporate media. Immense pressure has been placed on Trump to maintain US war efforts in Syria and Russia. Trump has intensified the racist rhetoric that surrounds immigration policy and has fully supported the more than two-decade escalation of the war on undocumented people in the US. But don't be fooled. The smiles have faded and the foxes have become wolves. The choice before us is whether to walk side by side with the Democratic Party wolf pack in an effort to resist Trump and the GOP or join the struggle to build a world where the interests of the victimized are in command. The former leads to world war and even greater suffering, the latter toward revolutionary possibilities.

Danny Haiphong is an Asian activist and political analyst in the Boston area. He can be reached at [email protected]