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Just How Progressive Are the Democratic Party “Progressives”?

It should be all too clear by now that the “Resistance” to Donald Trump within the US power structure is just a public relations stunt to sow popular consensus for war.

“Wall Street Democrats will ruthlessly suppress even the most modest social democratic projects such as the Sanders-wing of the party no matter how much figures like Ocasio-Cortez kiss the imperialist feet of mass murderers like McCain.”

Warmonger and capitalist pig John McCain died over two weeks ago. McCain supported Nazis in Ukraine and head-chopping terrorists in Syria. He enthusiastically encouraged the US invasion of Iraq and called for the bombing of Iran on numerous occasions. McCain was a rich descendant of slave owners who worked tirelessly in the interests of modern day slave masters otherwise known as the capitalist class.The one regret that any peace or justice seeking person on this earth should have is that he died without paying any price for his many crimes. However, McCain has been deified by the corporate media and official Washington over this period, making it difficult for those who didn’t already know better to understand McCain as anything but an American “hero.”

War is a bipartisan project and so is protecting and serving the interests of the ruling circle. It should be all too clear by now that the “Resistance” to Donald Trump within the US power structure is just a public relations stunt to sow popular consensus for war. The “Resistance” is comprised of the parasitic ruling class entities that huddled under Hillary Clinton’s big tent in the 2016 Presidential election. Notable “resisters” include the US intelligence apparatus, Wall Street, a large portion of the US military, and the leadership of both the Democratic and Republican Parties. The “Resistance” was out in full force to celebrate McCain’s life and used the occasion of his funeral to promote its “anti-Trump,” pro-war message.

“Notable ‘resisters’ include the US intelligence apparatus, Wall Street, a large portion of the US military, and the leadership of both the Democratic and Republican Parties.”

Trump and McCain’s disdain for each other was no secret. McCain was a leading voice in promoting the idea that Trump was too “cozy” with Russia. McCain saw Trump as many in the ruling class currently see him: as a stain on the exceptionalist character of the political and economic system that rules the United States. The ruling class has always sided with McCain and defended him even when he was hurling racist epithets at the Vietnamese community or fervently opposing the existence of a Martin Luther King holiday. McCain’s illustrious career as a racist, imperialist running dog is no secret. To Democrats and Republicans, it was his service to the lords of war and finance that made him so heroic.

In fact, praise from McCain has come from all sides of the so-called “Resistance” to Trump. Congressman and Black misleader John Lewis called McCain a “warrior for peace.”  Former President Barack Obama eulogized McCain as a prime example of what it meant to be a “patriot.” Al Sharpton praised McCain for his defense of Obama during a town hall for the 2008 election after a participant called Obama “an Arab.” Of course, Sharpton didn’t mention how McCain opposed her comment on the basis that Obama wasn’t an Arab, but a “family man.”

“Congressman and Black misleader John Lewis called McCain a ‘warrior for peace.’”

Max Blumenthal  and Bruce Dixon have discussed McCain’s record as a corporate servant and warmonger at length. The Black misleadership class and the duopoly’s support of the Nazi-loving imperialist is less surprising when the veneer of exceptionalism and “progressivism” covering up their crimes is lifted. What issurprising, or at least should be, is that self-proclaimed democratic socialists such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are guilty of the same crime. Ocasio-Cortez was on Chris Cuomo’s show on CNN this summer discussing how money is always available for war and tax cuts but not for Medicare for All. When McCain died, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted  that his “legacy represents an example of human decency and American service.”

Self-proclaimed socialists and “democratic socialists” have a duty to distance themselves from the positions of opportunists whose careers as Democratic Party politicians inevitably requires dutiful service to the oligarchs that rule in Washington. Some members of DSA have issued a rebuke  of Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet. While this is a necessary step in a positive direction, Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet is representative of much more than a mere case of bad politics. Her support of McCain means that she isn’t an opponent of empire. It also means that she certainly IS a Democrat.

“Ocasio-Cortez’s support of McCain means that she isn’t an opponent of empire.”

Ocasio-Cortez’s unapologetic co-sign of McCain’s corporate war agenda calls into question the limitations of running for elected office within the Democratic Party apparatus. Since Trump was elected, the Democratic Party has lost even more legitimacy as it further runs into the embrace of Wall Street and the military to take down the billionaire real estate magnate. The DNC has actively undermined the Sanders-wing of the party much more effectively than its sham “resistance” to Trump. This includes the ongoing controversy surrounding the victory of Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign . Democratic Party leaders promise only more austerity and war and actively suppress anyone who stands in their way. Their desperate attempt to maintain legitimacy has not only led to an attack on the Sanders contingent of the Party but also to the rabid anti-Russian policies targeted toward Trump, Russia, and the alternative press.

The Democratic Party has never been the party of the working class or oppressed. It has never been the party of Black America. The Democratic Party earned this false reputation based on the Republican Party’s transformation into the White Man’s party in the latter half of the twentieth century. Political parties under US imperialism are instruments of the ruling class and undergo reforms based on the conditions of the system. US imperialism is currently experiencing a total crisis. The system has compensated for a decline in economic influence globally by spending ever more resources automating away the livelihoods of all working people and waging expensive and murderous wars all over the world. These conditions have necessitated that the Democratic Party give up all illusions of being a “progressive” political option in favor of a total assault on the people.

“That Ocasio-Cortez joined the chorus is a reminder that socialism is more than just a word.”

The love that Democrats and their corporate media partners have shown McCain over the last few weeks is a stark indication of just how deep the bipartisan consensus for war and imperialism runs. That Ocasio-Cortez joined the chorus is a reminder that socialism is more than just a word. Socialism is a system that people fight for when armed with the understanding that capitalism and imperialism cannot be reformed. Socialism is a system where workers and oppressed people operate and control a new state, one that is geared toward the needs of the people rather than the profit motive. Such a system is impossible without a movement grounded in the principle of solidarity with people beyond US borders.

Real socialists understand that the expression of solidarity cannot be reduced to a political choice. Solidarity is a fundamental aspect of socialism. The concept recognizes that the US war machine is the principle instrument of imperialist oppression worldwide. Solidarity is a conscious decision to fight the US war machine so people around the world can strengthen their own movements for liberation. WEB Du Bois and Claudia Jones expressed solidarity with Africa and the Third World when they visited revolutionary China and Russia at the height of the anti-communist hysteria that has overtaken the US ruling class (see WEB Du Bois’ autobiography and the excellent work on Jones’ politics, Left of Karl Marx). It is what the Black Panther Party demonstrated when they offered members to fight on the side of the National Liberation Front in South Vietnam even while the FBI was conducting its own war against what it deemed to be the greatest threat to the internal security of the United States.

“Solidarity is a conscious decision to fight the US war machine so people around the world can strengthen their own movements for liberation.”

In the absence of such leadership and organization, the term socialism has made a contradictory revival in the political life of the United States. On the one hand, the renewed popularity of the term is rooted in the economic and political crisis of imperialism. This crisis has shown millions of people, especially young people, that capitalism has nothing left to offer but poverty and misery. On the other, socialism as expressed by figures such as Bernie Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez has dangerously associated the term with the Democratic Party. Such a contradiction cannot last for long. Wall Street Democrats will ruthlessly suppress even the most modest social democratic projects such as the Sanders-wing of the party no matter how much figures like Ocasio-Cortez kiss the imperialist feet of mass murderers like McCain.

Socialists have two paths before them. One leads directly to the graveyard of social movements staffed by the Democratic National Committee. The other leads to abandonment of the Democrats so new independent formations and organizations can emerge and find increased popular support. Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet to McCain reaffirms what some had already known months before the warmonger McCain stopped breathing. Ocasio-Cortez is a not a socialist. She is a Democrat and all socialist-leaning organizers, activists, and journalists should consider this when thinking about running another election campaign within the Democratic Party machinery.

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