Swan Song for the Democrats

The Democrats did us all a favor by giving Bush his Iraq war-money. After all, the Dems have supported the war from the very beginning. They deserve to be exposed as the phonies they really are.

The truth is, no one is surprised by Friday’s vote. We have one party in America — “the War Party” — the Dems are just a junior partner in that system.

It boggles the mind that so many so-called “liberals” continue to be hoodwinked by the Democrats. After all, what do they have to offer: a slight boost in the hourly wage? Better management of foreign massacres?!?

What else?

They’re are even giving ground on a woman’s “right to choose”, which used to be their signature issue. Now they’re even caving in on that.

So, what do the Democrats really stand for?

This is not the party of F.D.R., my friend. This is the party of Bill Clinton, the Master of Triangulation. Clinton was nothing more than the flip-side of George Bush. The bombing of Belgrade was as big a crime as Shock and Awe — although it was cleverly disguised by Clinton’s “Aw shucks” charm and the ever-compliant media.

Clinton sold out the American worker when he passed NAFTA. He dismantled the social safety net with Welfare Reform. He destroyed the last vestiges of the free media by signing the Telecommunications Act. And he revealed his utter lack of principle by refusing to sign the Land Mines Treaty — a document that would have saved the lives of thousands of children every year.

In other words, he was the best Republican president we ever had. Which is fine, unless you voted for a Democrat!

Clinton never did anything that wasn’t politically calculated. Hell, he probably had his slide-rule out during his visits with Monica to figure out the exact amount of gratification he could have without feeling guilty. Sure, he was bright and good natured but, his critics are right; he was utterly devoid of principle. And yet, this is the Democratic Party’s “big hero”; a man who has become the shining example for the future leaders in the party.

What a joke!

The Democratic Party is not the party that people think it is. This is the party of Rahm Emanuel and the DLC. The leadership is unwaveringly pro-war, pro Israel, and pro free trade. There’s no room for anything else. The Democrats have no intention withdrawing from Iraq. It’s all just bluster and gibberish to dupe the Party faithful. It means nothing.

In fact, the Dems plan for Iraq is even MORE IMMORAL than the Republicans. They want to redeploy outside of the country while reducing the number of troops on the ground. In other words, they want to create a “sustainable” model for stealing the world’s second largest petroleum reserves.

It’s a more calculating and immoral strategy than Bush’s bloody “surge”!

It would be better for the country if the Democratic Party just called it quits right now. The party is a bigger obstacle to progressive reform than the Republicans.

As long as the Dems continue to trick people into believing that they represent substantive change — or even a serious defense of their basic economic interests — the charade will persist and things will get worse.

Real progressive reform should address the central issues facing, not only Americans, but the entire world: nuclear proliferation, global warming, peak oil, population growth, food supply and disease.

Reform isn’t even part of the Democrat’s agenda.They are mainly focused on enriching their corporate donors, facilitating free trade, and chasing shadowy Islamic groups through Central Asia and the Middle East.

Genuine reform would restore progressive taxation by reinstating the brackets that were used during the early 1950s; that is, everyone making over $200,000 per year ($1 million by today’s standards) pays 93% of their earnings! Without a concerted effort to narrow the massive wealth gap through redistribution”the country will continue to slide towards tyranny. Those who have benefited most from the security, infrastructure and prosperity provided by state should naturally pay more. That is the fundamental tenet of progressive taxation, and it is essential if we want to strengthen the middle class and “raise all boats” (as the Republicans like to say).

Besides, who’s going to lose sleep over taxing the rich?

A progressive platform should also include a plan to nationalize the oil industry. The record profits from oil production should be going into infrastructure, education and alternate fuels — not fattening the foreign banks accounts of obscenely rich oil moguls. In an age of resource scarcity, we cannot allow the market to decide who will get access to the energy that everyone needs to maintain minimal standards of living.

We’ve already seen how Big Oil is willing to use our children as cannon fodder in their wars of aggression. We’ve also seen how much effort they put into confusing the public on crucial issues such as global warming. (They’ve pumped millions of dollars into bogus science and misleading public relations campaigns to keep the people from understanding the truth about “man-made” climate change) The oil industry operates without a conscience putting its bottom line above the very survival of the species. The best thing to do is “return the favor” by seizing the industry — Hugo Chavez style — and putting it to work for the people it is supposed to serve. If the oil executives still want to continue the fight for Iraqi oil; we should provide them with sidearms and Kevlar vests and turn them lose in Baghdad. Let them fend for themselves — everyone else comes home.

The country doesn’t need two War Parties. The current system is broken and needs to be replaced. What we need is a Labor Party that addresses the issues that are important to working class people. Labor Party affiliation should be the equivalent of union membership; providing a clear statement of support for pensions, universal health care, maternity leave, yearly wage increases tied to productivity, profit sharing, collective bargaining rights and 50% representation on all corporate boards. The goal of a Labor Party should be to achieve a power-sharing agreement with management that will combine the objectives of both parties in a common vision for the future. It’s worked in Europe and it can work here. It’s the only way we’ll succeed in rebuilding the middle class and avoid unnecessary conflicts.

Anyone who thinks politics is just about “making money” is nuts. Politics is about power — and that should be the goal of Labor — raw political power. Nothing else will do.

What’s needed is a broad coalition of leftist organizations which represents the basic interests of working people.

Labor needs a voice in government and the Democrats are not that voice.

By capitulating to Bush, the Democratic Party has signed its own death warrant. Good riddance. Now, let’s push the rusty hulk out of the road and go forward.

Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He can be reached at: fergiewhitney@msn.com. Read other articles by Mike.

5 comments on this article so far ...

Comments RSS feed

  1. Philip V. said on May 28th, 2007 at 7:31am #

    Amen, Mike. The Dems have really shown their true colors. The question still remains however…Will voters see this and understand? On that question I remain cynical. And even if they do see and understand, what choice do they have at the voting booth?

    Ah yes, a Labor Party. A coalition of the Left. Good stuff. Who will lead us there? It’s amazing that we have so many workers, far outnumbering the ruling class, and yet no political representation. How is this possible? Perhaps they are still too comfortable. Access to home mortgages, car loans, and consumer credit have provided the masses with an illusion of prosperity, while at the same time shackling them deeper into the system of control. Until there is an economic crisis, and that day is rapidly approaching, most workers will continue sleepwalking, believing that they have achived the American Dream. The funny thing is they are dreaming the Empire’s dream, not their own.

  2. mandt said on May 28th, 2007 at 9:29am #

    The American worker is enslaved by credit schemes that prevent ‘rocking the boat.” Corporations are ruling the show transnationally and the old Republic and it’s democracy are but mythological talking points in the Society of the Spectacle.

  3. bill rowe said on May 29th, 2007 at 5:07pm #

    I mostly agree. However, instead of nationalizing the oil industry, I would prefer the reintroduction of the highly progressive taxation as referenced, application of those progressive schemes to corporations (without the current means of escaping taxation), and (re) keeping high estate taxation.These items redistribute weath to the government and greater population base,which presumably will use the funds in the general interest.This while preserving the incentives for production of the capitalistic/private ownership system.

  4. Jon A. said on May 31st, 2007 at 5:11pm #

    As one of the characters in G.Clooney’s “Syriana” said: “Its a fight to the finish for the last drop of oil!” Actually it’s worse. Petroleum makes for murderous authoritarian or fascist regimes. W.Churchill engaged in the first aerial bombardments of civilian populations to get it out of some former provinces of the Ottoman empire. Hitler’s legions drove straight for Polestei in Romania to get theirs. The Japanese fleet headed for Indonesia at about the same time. Now its the American Empire in its geriatric phase and ,propped up by both capitalist parties, that is feebly attempting the same. We may need more than a labor party to call a halt to this. Back when the US workers were 35% organized into unions, the Dems tried to play this role. Now less than 8% of US workers in unions. Unions are organizations built up as the mirror image to national capitalisms. We are facing an international corporate rampage for the black stuff which includes spying, torture camps, the end of heabus corpus, and a whole lot worse. Labor parties tend to be loyal oppositions to the capitalist parties in place (have a look at the UK since 1997). What we need are some clear perspectives on throwing out the tiny percent that own and manage the system and managing it in some new way that will permit the deployment of such goodies as solar /nuclear /tidal /geothermal power, universal free education and health care and so on. Do I sound like a communist….yeah. Small c. J.A.

  5. Kax said on June 10th, 2007 at 6:53am #

    I agree completely, that the two party “system”‘ is not in the nation’s best interests. I’m not sure that “partisan” politics of any stripe is the answer, so no matter how many parties are formed, the system of “parties” always succumbs somehow to special interests and money.

    The two party system has usurped the true role of the electoral college. Originally, access to the ballot was acheived by a candidate gathering enough citizen/voters’ signatures to qualify. No party affiliation was required.

    In the case of Presidential candidates, in each State, a SLATE of State voters, pledged to a particular candidate, were requried to gather enough signatures of registered voters in their State to appear on the ballot. Each State is assigned a certain number of presidential elecorts, based on population.

    Before the horseless carriage, this meant that various candidates won a certain number of Presidential electors, a plurality, but perhaps not a majority. Presidential electors are required to cast their first ballot for the candidate that they were pledged to support on the ballot.

    However, if no candidate earned a majority on the first ballot, electors were free to change their vote on subsequent ballots. this was how the founding fathers balanced the needs of different regions of the country, urban, suburban, farmland, wilderness.

    Now the two party system does the sifting BEFORE the will of the people has been expressed. Backwards, in fact. Many call for the abolishment of the electoral college. I say better to abolish the two party system and preserve the method provided in our original Constitution.

    Our original system allowed for the most freedom because all the candidates’ groups would be ad hoc, not entrenched, stratified, pockets of power. It’s the most flexible system for the voter and “would be” citizen-candidate of the people.

    In the Good Old Days, elected officals served without pay….., so Congress was only in session for a short time. “No pay” would be the quickest way I know to end the filibuster/bluster. They’d be quoting Larry the Cable Guy, “Getter Duuuuun”.