This week Covid-19, Left solidarity, and the duopoly were on your minds. We share your letters for “COVID-19 Exposes Economic Misery as U.S. Capitalism’s ‘New Normal’,” “Whatever Happened to Left Solidarity,” and “The Billionaires’ Duopoly Wins on Tuesday.”
In “COVID-19 Exposes Economic Misery as U.S. Capitalism’s ‘New Normal’” Danny Haiphong discusses the ways in which the pandemic has shown the failure of the system to meet the needs of the masses.
Paul Billings writes:
“Terrific piece. As you point out, we are seeing the continuing decline/putrefaction of late-stage American Capitalism. This is a direct consequence of decades of neoliberal economic policies- multiple tax cuts for the wealthy, financial deregulation, attacks on the poor & labor, job outsourcing, spending astronomical amounts of taxpayer money bailing out Wall St and subsidizing the Pentagon and war. US economic decline has been accelerated by the Coronavirus pandemic and now confronts the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, with circa 50 million people out of work, millions of families facing eviction from their homes, loss of medical insurance and food insecurity. The CBO estimates a 2020 federal deficit of $3.1 trillion, obviously unsustainable. The response of the ruling elite to this disaster has been to loot the treasury to bailout Wall St, austerity and rampant state/police violence directed towards minorities, working people and anyone else deemed a ‘threat’ to the system, coupled with an increasingly reckless, bellicose and astronomically expensive foreign policy against China, Russia, Iran and any other country deemed an obstacle to US global power.”
“Whatever Happened to Left Solidarity” by Howie Hawkins critiques progressives who are supporting the Democratic Party’s attacks on the Green Party this election cycle.
Tobin Sterritt writes:
“There was much I could find to agree with in Howie Hawkins’ article but the last few paragraphs on the environment reveal a weakness that I think can point to one of the obstacles I feel the actual left in America would have to confront. I don’t know if Hawkins takes his points on China directly from Richard Smith’s book (which I have not read), but since they form the basis of his critique some correction needs to be made; China’s economy is a hybrid called market socialism, in which the industries cannot exist at the expense of meeting the needs of people. Neither state nor markets are given primacy over one another. Hawkins’ comments obscure that important point. I think he makes an even graver mistake in where he pins the blame. In Bolivia, for example, Evo Morales learned a hard lesson in the degree to which sustaining the socialist vision depended upon the revenues that oil generated for its economy. That alienated a portion of his base, who supported him with the confidence that he would greatly reduce the footprint of the fossil fuel industry. That does not make Morales a villain though I have come across some baffling attempts by elements of the left to do just that.
“The point? There is no primrose path to socialism, or a (real) green new deal. We’re in for a difficult transition as is every other society that has attempted it. In the spirit of edifying our work toward a socialist vision in the United States it’s fair to critique the flaws and short-comings of another country’s socialism and policies if there’s a clear understanding of what they are and what they’re meant to achieve. Hawkins’ lopsided comparison with our Democratic party and his dismissive caricature of China does nothing to illuminate much-needed serious discussion on the environmental policy, theirs or ours.”
In “The Billionaires’ Duopoly Wins on Tuesday” Glen Ford argues that a Democratic Party win in this presidential race will embolden the neoliberal forces in the political system.
Riva Enteen writes:
“Although Glen Ford's article is a must-read (as usual), I think he minimized the Bernie factor. He asserted that the failure ‘to keep the White House ‘blue’ in 2016, [was] due primarily to the corporate Democrats’ refusal to prevent or punish the Republicans’ massive -- and totally successful -- suppression of Black votes.’ He cites Greg Palast, who has meticulously documented voter suppression over the years, which includes the Democrats as well. The Democrats are known to suppress/cheat in primaries, the Republicans more in general elections.
He claimed the ‘Democrats were once again enabled to crush Bernie Sanders…’ They didn’t just crush Bernie, they cheated him, undeniably. From purging 200,000 voters in Brooklyn in 2016 to reducing voting machines in university towns this year, the Democrats succeeded in eliminating their only candidate who could defeat the maniac in the White House.
“Glen reminds us that it’s the ‘Democratic machines that have made it impossible for Greens to remain on the ballot.’ He also cites his chilling article, ‘Fascism with a Democratic Party Face,’ written soon after Trump's 2016 victory, when the Washington Post listed 200 web sites designated as ‘Russian propaganda outlets and sympathizers’ – including Black Agenda Report, the only Black outlet to make the cut.
“He correctly asserts that BLM has failed to target Black Democratic politicians, and that if Trump is defeated, it’s ‘proof that Joe the Incarcerator and his Black prosecutor sidekick have been vindicated in their life-long predation against Black and poor people.’ Of course he ends with the only solution to our existential dilemma: ‘Power to the People! Dismantle the Duopoly!’”
Challenging the Democratic Party’s grip on the most progressive parts of the population will be a challenge after this election, but it will be a necessity for a serious Left.
Jahan Choudhry is Comments Editor for Black Agenda Report. He is an organizer with the Saturday Free School based in Philadelphia, PA.
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