It’s in the Blood of the American Liberal to Lose

By Julio Covarrubias (April 8, 2020)

The most heavily black and Democratic part of Wisconsin has the greatest obstacles to the ballot. It is much easier to vote in Waukesha county, for example; it is 92 percent white and has 50 polling locations for a population of 404,198. Madison, which is 78 percent white, has 66 open polling locations for a population of 258,054. For a population of 48,376, Wauwatosa has 10 polling locations; it’s 86 percent white. Meanwhile, Milwaukee, which is almost 39 percent Black, went from 180 polling locations to just 5 for a population of 592,025.

Outside of Milwaukee, fewer interruptions have been reported, and wait times have been as low as 5 minutes to a half an hour in some suburbs and rural areas. In Milwaukee, it is an average 2.5 hour wait.

What we are seeing is a demonstration of what the journalist Mark Ames noted long ago: the right in this country understand power politics and the left do not. The right are so ruthless they are even willing to take collateral damage to their base in order to gain and retain power, while the “left” (really, the liberal center)–“imagining politics to be a country club instead of a battlefield”–are willing to bend the rules only to keep the center-left from power. They can’t even help themselves, much less aid the people.

Useless. It’s in the blood and marrow of the American liberal to lose; the whole of their recent history is a history of concession and compromise with the right. Rotted out and hollow, they are a limb that has to be amputated for us to survive.

United States of Sinverguenzas

By Julio Covarrubias (April 2, 2020)

United States of Sinvergüenzas

“Intellectuals still argue whether Amerika is a fascist country. This concern is typical of the Amerikan left’s flight from reality. … This is actually a manifestation of the authoritarian process seeping into its own psyche.” —George Jackson


Watching DNC running dogs pile-on on Bernie’s National Press Secretary Brie Joy’s Twitter the other day—just for asking a politician as powerful as Kamala Harris to support Medicare for all; at a moment in which it is clear that millions of people stand to suffer without health insurance during this pandemic, and, as David Sirota pointed out, just 24 hours before the millions of newly unemployed will lose their health insurance—it dawned on me that liberal centrists who appropriate “social justice” language to attack and silence the left are, in fact, using the same gaslighting strategy that fascists use. After all, the M.O. of fascists has been to use the language of liberal ideals, like “freedom of speech,” to normalize their violent ideologies and to use the mechanisms of liberal systems to obtain political power.


This age-old strategy was given a name, finally, in an old Koch-funded libertarian magazine, REASON. As Mark Ames reports, the strategy is outlined in a series of articles on how to “market” libertarianism and convert both right-wingers and leftists to the libertarian cause. They named this strategy “political cross-dressing.”


Here is how they explained it: “‘Cross-dressing,’ of course, refers to the adoption of the dress and behavior of members of the opposite sex. For the libertarian, political cross-dressing means using right-wing words, evidence, and arguments to support civil liberties, and left-wing terms and reasons to support the free market.”


Ignoring the transphobia of the name for a moment, it is obvious that the Democratic establishment has deployed this strategy to win voters. Beginning perhaps with Bill Clinton, and perfected by Barack Obama—thepolitical crossdresserpar excellence—this strategy has since risen to its most cynical and decadent forms during and after Hillary Clinton’s bid for the presidency. For liberal centrists, “political cross-dressing” means using the language of “intersectional feminism” to market their brand of neoliberal governance, which differs from the right-wing not by the lack of class warfare, racism, patriarchy, imperialism, or even genocidal border policies, but only by the face we put on the system and who it is that gets to lie to us.


The pile-on on Brie is only a recent item in a long list of centrist liberals either acting in bad faith (consider this unbelievable response by David Frum to Joe Biden’s “incident” with an auto-worker) or hijacking the language of social justice for their own aims (consider this lame attempt at construing an inane gesture by Speaker Pelosi as an act of resistance). The truth is that the Democrats have no integrity. They are completely shameless. They are the party that, today, holds a better future hostage, while promising to parcel it out in crumbs to those who remain loyal. This is the relationship between the medieval Lord and the deluded serf, and it speaks to a deep seated form of moral and social decay.


When we talk about corruption, we have to understand that it’s much more than taking bribes or rigging elections. It’s a kind of moral sickness that sets in on the social fabric. It’s this sickness that lets the shameless get away with what should be shameful. There is no other way to describe the way liberals think and act, and the way they’ve taught their base to think and act. In this, and in their commitment to serving at the pleasure of capital, DNC centrists and ultra-right fascists are companions in guilt.


The Spanish language has a wonderful word for this kind of personality—sinvergüenza (=literally, “without” + “shame”). A sinvergüenza is a person lacking in any sense of decency or propriety, someone whose moral constitution simply provides no internal sanction against dishonorable action. Observing that there were even gay and Jewish Nazis, Dorothy Thompson, too, observed, long-ago, that “going Nazi” had more to do with being a certain type of person—a person with certain moral defects, a person with a certain type of bad character—than with race, ethnicity, or social background.


In this respect George Jackson was right to say that fascism “has established itself in a most disguised and efficient manner in this country.” The political structure of the US simply is a form of structural fascism: “An electoral choice of ten different fascists,” he said, “is like choosing which way one wishes to die.” What defines fascism at its base, Jackson claimed, was the joint commitment to facilitating the expansion of racial capitalism while repressing the democratizing demands of labor. “Any action that threatens the right of a few individuals to own and control public property must be prohibited and curtailed whatever the cost.It’s in that sense, also, that neoliberalism is a form of fascism: it is the subordination of every aspect of governance, of social life, of inner will, to a totalitarian and nihilistic ideology; it is the worship of the market and of unaccountable corporate power.


Liberal centrists use the same strategies as fascists, then, because they are themselves, in fact, fascists.


The Left Needs to Think About the Political-Economic Future in Six Months

By Joe Lowndes (March 21, 2020)

Tucker Carlson is being cheered by some liberals for calling out NC Sen. Richard Burr for insider trading.

Burr should be investigated for this, to be sure. But this is consistent with Carlson’s right-wing nationalism more generally – just as it was Pat Buchanan’s before him. However, it will matter in a new way in coming months I think – and in ways that the left should be paying close attention.

The economy is unquestionably going to continue to collapse at the top and the bottom in coming months. When the presidential campaign season begins in earnest this summer, when things may really spin out of control and suffering really increases, it is easy to imagine real pressure from below on the Biden campaign to call for greater economic reorganization that would include heavy taxation on the top brackets and more redistribution in the form of major healthcare reform, debt cancellation, relief, etc. (the return of Sandersism).

Trump will have to outflank this. As the livelihood and lives of members of his electoral base fall apart, they will need to hear him demonize some elites in their defense along with the nationalism he always draws on – more border control, more crackdown on immigrants, more hostile language about China, etc..

This will be where Carlson will be crucial. His distinct framing of politics – a combination of xenophobia, racism, authoritarianism, and full-throated defense of working-class Americans; broadcasted to his massive nightly audience – is exactly what Trump will need to beat Biden.

We should all really be thinking about what the political-economic landscape looks like in two, four and six months and how we should respond. The right surely is.

joe lowndes

Let’s Keep Working For the New World We Hold in Our Hearts

By Paul Messersmith-Glavin (March 11, 2020)

I understand the appeal of the Bernie Sanders campaign for President and hold nothing against his champions.

It would have been a positive development if he got the Democratic nomination, and for a couple of weeks there it looked like a possibility. I’ve also seen leftists and well meaning people for years try and advance a Left agenda in the Democratic Party and fail. Again and again. The US national electoral system protects vested interests which are not ours, the majority of working people. Our interests lie in creating a fundamentally different society. Our Interests are not represented within the confines of the dominant system.

So I want to welcome Sanders supporters back to reality, and hopefully, to a recognition that the type of fundamental social change humanity and other species desperately need today won’t come through the very system that helped deliver the mess we are currently in. Trump vs. Biden tells you much of what you need to know about the US system.

Our task is now harder, our time shorter, and the consequences of our failure more dire. Let’s keep working for the new world we hold in our hearts. Future generations depend on us.


Why Did Southern Black Folks Vote for Biden?

By Teka Lark (February 5, 2020)

If you think I believe Black voters voted for Biden because they believe white people are racist and he was the most palatable racist, you have lost your damn mind. That is not how Biden got the Black vote. That is not how this works. That is some very creative fiction, which will get you a lot of talking head gigs, but that’s bullshit.

There is a very complex and complicated network of systems and institutions that make this magic happen. Since the 3/5th Compromise the Black vote has been played with and manipulated, am I saying that Black people are more ignorant when it comes to voting than anyone else? No, anyone can be manipulated with the right messaging, the right propaganda, and the right people paid for a long enough amount of time.

White people have voted against health care, college, and all kinds of things that would greatly benefit them, so ignorance is the United Stated voting tradition not relegated to a particular race.

The Southern Black community votes as the DNC tells them to every single election because of a very complicated and old system that involves the Democratic Committees and the Historic Black Baptist Church (which 53% are a member in the south that number goes past 80%). The Baptist Church EXISTS FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF CONTROLLING THE BLACK MOVEMENT and that includes the vote. The DNC pours money (not a lot) and time into the Black community in the primary in states that, for the most part, DO NOT COUNT IN THE GENERAL. They do this all the time. They do this for the sole purpose of economically propping up establishment candidates. With fewer polling places, selective enforcement of illegal voter ID laws, and limited transportation options in the Black belt is even easy to control which Black people vote. The Black vote is generally pretty cheap.

Since Black people are hyper-segregated, it’s rather easy to misinform and more importantly, to block information. When I tried to remedy this situation in Los Angeles by starting a newspaper, my office was shot up, my house was broken into, and my life was directly threatened.

This system is not only deep; it’s dangerously deep and bites hard. It’s not as simple as white people are racists, so we’re going to vote like this, that’s not how this works, but that’s some amazing spin to stop anyone from questioning the DNC.



Building Democratic Socialism in the US Requires the Long View

By Marc Cooper (March 4, 2020)

Sanders comes out of Super Tuesday an underdog (much to my dismay). While he needed to finish with a 200-300 delegate advantage to stay clearly and firmly in front, it is now projected that Sanders — under the best realistic finish in California– will finish about 25-30 delegates BEHIND Biden. Probably more as this is the best case scenario. This takes into account the three states of California, Maine and Texas where all the votes are not counted but can be reliably projected… at least roughly.

That said, and with no spin, the race is far from over though it is now Advantage Biden. Warren and Bloomberg are still wild cards that have no path to victory but who skew projections to some degree.

Nor is it in anyway clear if Biden can get a plurality let alone a majority of delegates to avoid a contested convention even if he continues a winning streak.

Bernie faces a stiff challenge now from Biden. But Biden also has to deal with Biden. I believe him a very weak and vulnerable candidate and only Heaven knows what SNAFU he can bring down on himself in the days and weeks to come. There is another debate coming soon and the key state of Michigan votes next week where Sanders might stage a comeback — or not. If you are a Berner, as I am, you must now redouble your efforts… no pouting, no complaining allowed. No resignation, no demoralization. Fueling a socialist to the presidency of the US is a Herculean task under any conditions, especially with Trump in office.

My humble suggestion to my fellow democratic socialists and other anti-Biden progressives: you MUST take the long view. It would be just short of a miracle to turn the political culture in this country around in just 4 yrs given there has been no significant socialist presence in the U.S. in a hundred years. So you continue your work for Sanders but you also understand that you are building something important for the future that might be years or decades away. Our immediate work is not finished with the primary. Next comes ousting Donald Trump. This does not make you a Biden Bot. It makes you a responsible citizen.


For more of Marc Cooper’s commentary, see his new newsletter.

Bernie is the Only Logical Choice

By Arun Gupta (February 12, 2020)

Last year I said, “If not Bernie then Warren.” Her campaign is finished, even if she tries to limp on to South Carolina. I am sad to see her go, but a fourth-place finish means it’s over for her. Biden is finished as well but will stick around until Super Tuesday.

Now watch as the “Never Bernie” elites come out in force and in desperation. They will try to herd voters behind Buttigieg, Klobuchar, and then Bloomberg. In effect, they are telling Democratic voters to beat Trump you need to nominate uninspiring, mendacious, vindictive candidates.

I’m not saying Bernie can beat Trump, but I argue he has a better chance than these tools and representatives of the ruling class. Bernie inspires people. He inspires young people, Latinos, the working class. He is the only one left who can draw working-class white men away from Trump and into the Democratic fold.

If you think that Bernie being a socialist will hurt him, do you really imagine Trump won’t use that against whoever might be the nominee, including Bloomberg? In his case, it will be a steady stream of explicit/veiled anti-semitism of Bloomberg being a globalist and part of an internationalist conspiracy to rob Americans of their guns and freedom. Or how about Buttigieg who is completely unvetted and untested and has a new scandal coming out about his past statements and actions every day. Or Klobuchar, who is about as inspiring as her salad comb.

When Trump says Bernie is coming for you, all he needs to say is that’s right, “I am coming to give you all healthcare and take away all your medical debt.”

In 2016, I said the Left needed to unite behind Clinton because Trump was such a danger. Now liberals need to unite behind Bernie. He’s the only logical choice going forward.

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Moderates Don’t Care If This Country Goes to Hell

By Teka Lark (January 31, 2020)

Being in the United States owing to slavery, and having relatives who are still alive who survived Jim Crow, gives you a unique perspective on justice in the United States.

If you look throughout history in this country, oppression is an ebb and flow. For example, during the Reconstruction Era, the era right after the ending of slavery (1863–1877), there were 1500 Black political officeholders. More than a half-million Black men became voters in the South during the 1870s, and the federal law somewhat protected Black people’s rights. But after Reconstruction, not only did we not hold office, we couldn’t even vote, and by “we” I mean Black men.

When I look at Trump’s impeachment trial my friends that are reasonable and logical say: “Well the moderates will be so disgusted by this that even if he doesn’t get impeached, they will come around?” Come around? Come around to what? This country bankrupts its own white children because they don’t want one tax dollar to go to a college program that might benefit a “Black.”

This country doesn’t have universal childcare because it would rather have white women kill themselves if they don’t have to share with Mexican-Americans. The moderates are racists and nationalists whose retirements are tied to the stock market. They don’t care if this country goes to hell. They’ve sent it there many times before.

The people who are most pro-Trump right now who are trying to suppress the witnesses in the Senate are the moderate Republicans. If they do the right thing, they will be primaried out.


What Are the Lessons of the 2019 Conservative Win in the UK?

By Teka Lark and Christopher J.V. Loughlin (December 13, 2019)


Teka Lark

So, picking white nationalism over health care and common sense is global. In the English speaking world, I don’t want to hear your class reductionist arguments. The roots of the plant of oppression are fibrous, class does not trump white nationalism in the West, it works in conjunction. It is a lie that if you just speak to the economic needs of white people, the majority will come around. This idea was proven to be a lie again in the UK. The thought that POC might get a crumb is enough to inspire white people to cut off their noses in protest.



Christopher J.V. Loughlin

That was a brutal encounter, a brutal battle. There will be a dissection of what went wrong and what went right for Labour. But it seems clear a number of factors impacted the Labour vote at this stage: the Brexit policy hamstrung Labour; the print media waged a clear smear and disinformation campaign versus the left; it is unclear where the Tories electoral propaganda money for the election came from (watch out for more on that post-election).

Fundamentally, we lost this battle.

But losing a battle is not losing a war… the next months and years will see titanic struggles take place, on Brexit, the environment, the NHS, education, welfare, war, the national question.  And we will keep fighting in the unions, in society, for a better future, a brighter tomorrow. The fight continues. It isn’t victory that will test us the most, it is defeat. There are too many hopes burning right now for any of us to take too much time to mourn.

In fairness to Labour, as Bruce Lee said, “In great attempts, it is glorious even to fail.” It is not much, but there is too much suffering, poverty and degradation in this world for us to be too demoralised. There is too much to do and too little time.

Why Should Leftists Support Impeachment?

By Rebecca Hill (October 14, 2019)

Over the last week, a few pundits have put out left wing arguments against impeachment on the basis that impeachment treats Trump as the only problem, seeking to return to the pre-Trump neoliberal normalcy that preceded (and contributed to) his election. I doubt that a successful impeachment would result in this outcome.

First of all, existing social movements have already shown that the old “normal” models are broken. Second, the current move to impeach is happening in the midst of a broader legitimation crisis in the government, and a conflict within the ruling class. This conflict does not just exist between Democrats and Republicans, but within both the Democratic and Republican parties. Liberals will no doubt make the argument that impeachment should be a return to normalcy, and they will surely advocate a united front with never Trump Republicans. The choice that the left faces is not simply to accept these terms or reject impeachment as a creature of “normal” politics. Much about the current moment already represents a break with that, and a desperate struggle to maintain the center as the Democratic base moves left. As long as we are talking about politics short of revolution, there are plenty of legislative actions that a left movement could advocate as part of a popular movement to impeach the president, including a number of legislative campaigns to follow after the 2020 elections – even if Trump is not removed in the Senate. Watergate and the Nixon resignation had long-term impacts that benefited both liberal and left politics. They strengthened FOIA and the War Powers Act, were part of a more general activist push against the war in Vietnam, and the federal government’s legitimation crisis paved the way for the investigation of federal policing agencies, including the Church Committee hearings on the FBI in 1975 and 1976. Obviously Nixon’s resignation didn’t create a revolution against capitalism, and neither would Trump’s impeachment, but popular movements contributed to the way Nixon’s impeachment happened. Possibilities opened in the 1970s, and it wasn’t the impeachment of the president that caused the political defeats that the left suffered in the decade that followed.

Popular movements have already been part of the House’s decision to finally open a formal inquiry. The centrists had to be pushed into impeachment by the Democratic base, which has been leaning left and whose aspirations are not captured by Clinton, but by “the squad” who very openly challenged Pelosi. As someone who follows many #Resistance Twitter accounts and a few large popular podcasts, I was surprised to see the confrontational responses to Nancy Pelosi coming from people sometimes sneeringly dubbed “wine moms” and “shitlibs” by some on the left. My own hope is that the left would build on this popular momentum against the Trump presidency and help it grow, rather than writing it off as a creature of normative party politics. That a movement for impeachment would go toward the left is not a foregone conclusion. The leadership wants to keep the impeachment inquiry narrowly focused on the Ukraine phone-call, and that’s because the lesson they learned from the Mueller Report was that slow, long, detailed legal investigations behind closed doors followed by the release of a complex 450-page legal document didn’t build popular momentum. What a shock! It’s also, as others have pointed out, because Trump’s actions in Ukraine offended bipartisan consensus on foreign policy that has been and continues to be ruptured by challenges from the left and the right since the Iraq War. However, that bipartisan consensus around broader foreign policy within the current party leadership is not going to change because of not impeaching Trump.

The Republican strategy has been – and apparently still is – to let Trump serve as a figurehead to rally the base while they “govern around” him on the issues that actually matter to them (tax cuts, judges, maintenance of US international power, contracts with corporations in their home districts).

Look for example at Lindsey Graham’s recent effort at threading the needle by denouncing Trump’s green light to Turkey while maintaining his position that an attempt at Congressional oversight of the president is some kind of unconstitutional outrage. There is nothing good about letting the GOP continue to govern by “damage control” while Trump keeps pushing the line on the level of xenophobia, mendacity and authoritarianism that is acceptable to the Republican leadership and base, whether by treating domestic political opposition as enemies in a war of elimination, building walls, raiding immigrant homes, or maintaining concentration camps on the border. The risk is not going back to the old normal, but accepting a new normal of even less government transparency, an even more disempowered congress, greater levels of voter suppression in GOP-led states, greater violence against even liberal opponents who are seen as godless socialist revolutionaries regardless of their actual views, and a continued attack on institutions perceived as strongholds of the “left,” including universities.

What are the positive things a Trump impeachment *could* lead to?

It can reduce the perception of invincibility of, and possibly even remove from office the individual who continues to encourage his followers to be ever more cultish, giving hope to democracy activists and a dose of reality to the deluded Trumpian cult. It can also include the continued push from the left for small “d” reforms related to reducing the power of the imperial presidency and the GOP’s ability to succeed as a minority party, especially as it is likely that the Senate will outrage everyone again by refusing to convict and remove. Any left support for impeachment can advocate including more counts of impeachment, and if the House doesn’t pick these additional counts up, let them become part of a running count of people’s impeachment articles for crimes that social movements declare they will not tolerate in their leaders, and which can be followed by legislation in years later.

After impeachment, what next?

Momentum against authoritarianism in the GOP can lead to movements to reconsider many long over-due restrictions on executive power that take into account the longer-term trends that enabled the Trump presidency. Activists have already been making a case for the reorganization of the Supreme Court, a reform that the left could support. A broadened set of articles of impeachment including Trump’s crimes against refugees and the pardon of Joe Arpaio can be taken up by and can help people learn more from the broader movement to abolish prisons and police. My belief is that part of the reason that many have supported the impeachment of Trump since before he was even inaugurated is a general sense of the injustice at the second GOP president to be elected with a minority of the popular vote, only because of the electoral college, and supported by a Senate that represents such a small portion of the electorate. Left support for impeachment could also support an increasingly robust movement to radically reform or eliminate the electoral college, as well as contribute to existing movements for voting rights and against gerrymandering. These are the concerns of broader popular outrage with the entire political system that are currently directed toward the single goal of impeachment, but which need not stop there. Concerns about hyper-partisan media and monopoly control of social media in the rise of the current “asymmetric” media environment could also contribute to major reforms regarding corporate media concentration that would consider such changes as a reconsideration of the fairness doctrine, among other ideas.

Finally, the risks of not impeaching are great.

Everything will become a precedent for the next leader, and the will to popular outrage will fade more and more into cynicism and despair. Iran-Contra and the failure to hold the Bush regime accountable for torture and war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan paved the road to Trump. What will Trump’s unpunished law-breaking lead to, even if there are fair elections in 2020 – which is already in doubt. A small victory on impeachment in the House, even if it fails in the Senate, has momentum. That momentum will not be a distraction, but full of possibility for a mass popular movement against ongoing impunity for the wealthy and powerful.

What Political Weapons Does the Left Bring to the Fight?

By Marc Cooper (July 23, 2019)

No question that the monkey-see-monkey-do footage from Trump’s North Carolina rally is chilling. The sweaty chanters are clearly prime recruits for an explicitly fascist movement. No defense of Tump or his supporters, but the heated and over the top rally goers are a very small percentage of actual Trump voters.

i am not (yet) worried that we are about to succumb to Nazism or anything like it. Almost 70 percent of Americans found Trump’s tweets about The Squad to be racist. That’s the good news. Yes, he is whipping up his base, but that it is to be expected. and that alone is not enough to win anything except maybe a set of steak knives.


I’ll tell you what I DO worry about. It accomplishes next to nothing to characterize the rally mobs as this or that… deplorable, racists, fascists etc etc. it makes no difference what you call them and nobody really cares.

What is worrisome is that Democrats have almost no candidates who can evoke as much (positive) energy as Trump invokes the negative and the dangerous. The Dem candidates, compared to Trump, are mostly like dead fish. I make an exception for Bernie Sanders who is, in fact, the only opposition candidate that generates any real passion and who, at the same time, has a 100 percent clear program for change. Unfortunately, it seems that a major if not a majority chunk of Democrats have decided in their infinite wisdom that Bernie is some kind of devil and will not support him. Um.. like always…they are afraid (unlike the Trumpista core). If Democrats didn’t have such a miserable record in picking losers, i might be more convinced by what seems the — cautious– conventional wisdom. But they do not and therefore I do not.

Ok, fine. Pick somebody “safe.” Once your bed is made, you can then take a nice rest in it… if you are real unlucky you might even get another 4 year long nap.

The more loathsome you find the Trump rallies, the more you better start thinking about what political weapons you want to bring to this ugly fight. If you think you can get people to stand and cheer and race to the polls to soundly knock out Trump, you better show up with something more impressive than a rotting mackerel and a bunch of jibber jabber about pronouns and your frickin’ identity.