Written By: - Date published: 6:04 pm, November 9th, 2018 - 29 comments
Categories: activism, elections, International, Left, liberalism, political alternatives, Politics, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, us politics, vision - Tags: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, progressive politics
Some good stuff came out of those midterm elections in the US. There was positive electoral reform across a number of states and the re-enfranchisement for ex prisoners in Florida. Some states made moves on the minimum wage front. Some good people got voted into Congress, while some arsewipes got booted out.
Some people have sought to latch onto the fact that women (black women, Muslim women, Latino women, indigenous women) were elected for the first time or in greater numbers than ever before. To my mind, the fact that it’s a “really existing” thing serves an indictment of representative democracy and is no cause for celebration.
People with solidly progressive politics got elected, and progressive policy platforms were fairly widespread in spite of the DNC having earlier opposed candidates with progressive policies in the Democratic Party primaries.
And finally, the Democratic Party is now in a position to block the passage of legislation in the House of Representatives. Whether it will or not is another question. We’ll see.
But imagine what would have transpired if the DNC, instead of encouraging the msm to wank on about Russia for the past two years, had used that time to focus on policies and even (God forbid!) to suggest and promulgate new ones that weren’t merely repackaged versions of all the stale stuff that has been roundly rejected by electorates. What then?
Well, of course, we’ll never know.
And as November rolls around into December and on to Christmas, we can expect the Mueller investigative findings. The problem for the DNC and their fellow travelers is that there’s nothing there. Yes, there are corrupt politicians and their dodgy business dealings. And yes, there are politicians who were dishonest. But there is nothing by the way of collusion between Donald Trump’s campaign team and Russia. So all that stuff will be dumped during the “festive season” when no-one’s paying too much attention. And the usual suspects will likely insist that whatever the investigation happens to withhold from the public sphere is the “really big proof” that Russia and Trump and blah.
And so the interminable nonsense of an establishment with rapidly diminishing levels of credibility will grind on that bit longer. God help us if they don’t go for some measure of damage control during the holiday season and try to keep this stuff rolling up to the 2020 Presidential elections.
If they do that, then every news segment and every piece of commentary given over to it, will be taking directly from news and commentary that ought to be focused on US politics and the budding promise evident in those midterms. Things are changing. But some individuals, and certainly the institutions they are tied to, don’t want that change to be manifest.
For those that want to talk of influence, then consider the number of think tanks in Washington funded by Saudi Arabia and stack them against those funded by Russia. Or look at the number of Zionist lobby groups and their direct political influence and stack them against the number of Russian lobby groups and their political influence. Or look at the corporate dollars swilling around the lobbies of Washington and stack them against the Russian rubles swilling around those same lobbies.
And when you come back from doing that, and it should be done, then there’s the likes of this awaiting your attention. The future…
Here’s as best as I can capture the text of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “out of the ballpark” speech.
I almost cannot believe that it is the honour and the privilege of my life to be able to say and to thank you and to thank all of our supporters and organisers and the people and the residents of the Bronx and Queens for electing me as your next Congresswoman.
We have made history tonight. We have made history on multiple levels. We have elected the first campaign and the first member of Congress from this district to not accept any lobbyist corporate funds in a generation.
In addition at over 70% of people of colour, half immigrant and overwhelmingly working class, we have elected the first person of colour to ever represent the people of New Yorks fourteenth congressional district. And lastly, it’s a privilege and an honour to say that we have also elected the youngest woman in American history to serve in Congress.
This is what is possible when every day people come together in the collective realisation that all our actions, no matter how small or how large, are powerful, worthwhile and capable of lasting change.
Words cannot express my gratitude to every organiser, every small dollar donor, every working parent and dreamer who helped make this movement happen. And that’s exactly what this is – not a campaign or an election day, but a movement; a larger movement for social and economic and racial justice in the United States of America.
When I started this campaign a year ago, I was working in a restaurant in downtown Manhattan. And it wasn’t because—and we didn’t launch this campaign because I thought I was special or unique or better than anyone else. We launched this campaign because in the absence of anyone giving a clear voice on the moral issues of our time, then it is up to us to voice them. We launched this campaign because no one was clearly and authentically talking about issues like the corrupting role of money in politics, like the disturbing human rights violations being committed by ICE, by the fact that no one was giving voice to the idea and the notion that an entire generation is graduating with crippling loads of student loan debt, a ticking time bomb for our economy. No one was talking about these issues. And when no one talks about them, we have the duty to stand up for what is right.
I think about oftentimes that incredible day on June 26th, when, despite no attention, despite no media fanfare, despite the fact that no one wanted for us to get the word out on what was going on, we were able to organize everyday people, knocking on our neighbors’ door. And despite being outspent $4 million, 18 or 13 to one. Despite the fact that we were running against a 10-term incumbent. Despite the fact that it was our first time running for office. Despite the fact that we didn’t have the money. Despite the fact that I’m working-class; despite all those things, we won.
And I think about the excitement that was unleashed on that day, not just in our community; not just the sense of hope; not just the sense of realisation that we can organise to change; not that it just got unleashed here – but that it got unleashed across the nation and to our down ballot candidates this September.
I think about that excitement because what was so interesting to me was that was not a partisan fight that led to that. It was not a partisan victory that led to the unleashing of that excitement, because I think we all know deep down, here and across the country, that our deepest challenges are not left and right; they are not red and blue – they are top and bottom; they are right and wrong.
And if we’re going to turn this ship around as a country, it is not good enough to throw a rock at our neighbour’s yard, we need to clean up our own house. That’s what we have to do.
There is nothing inherently noble about protecting a status quo that does not serve the needs of working class Americans.
And when we talk about the restless pursuit of a more perfect union, that in and of itself is a big day commandment to evolve as a nation, to grow better and to be better. And right now we are, as a nation, have a crooked path and it’s time to make that crooked path straight.
Right now it is not good enough and we cannot tolerate the fact that we’re a nation that grows our jails faster than we grow our schools; that we are a nation that builds more empty homes than the people it houses; that we are a nation that fears others more than we welcome them; that we destruct more in conflict than we construct in peace; that we neglect more then we heal – we can do better, and we can be better because a better world is possible.
If we continue to believe that we are a threatened, scarce and limited nation, then is exactly what we will become. Right now in the wealthiest nation in the history of the world, our greatest scarcity is not the lack of resources. [booing, disruption “because Texas”]
Oh. Sorry guys, I was like whoa, the room turned fast. I’m sorry. And I think this is what, you know what? But what we need to do as well is realise that these short term losses do not mean that we have lost the long run. Does not. It’s 2018. In 2018 we turned the state of Texas purple. That’s what we did this year. That’s what we did this year. And that is what Beto O’Rourke accomplished this year and that is a great position to be in going into 2020. We are going to flip that state in our generation. I’ll tell you that much right now. We will flip Texas. It’s just a matter of time. We should never be scared. There is never a fight that is too big for us to pick. We proved that this year. We proved that this year.When we advocate and champion the causes of our neighbours and our economic dignity and come with innovative and ambitious plans for our future, there is no …beyond our grasp and no community beyond our victory. We just need to keep at it.
Because the wealthiest nation in the history of the world, the greatest scarcity is not a lack of resources, but the absence of political courage and moral imagination. It is a hollow goal to simply be a rich country that seeks to concentrate wealth. We must also be a good nation too. We must be a good nation that seeks to invest in, and expand the potential of all human beings that live in our border. We can be that. We can be that country.
And in order for us to do that, what we need to do – it is not enough to reject the notions of this administration. It is not enough to reject that which we disagree with. We must advance our values and create the world that we seek to live in. That is why we say healthcare is a right to all people. That is why we seek and chart our north star to tuition free public colleges and universities for all Americans. That is we say in our lifetime we will dismantle a system of mass incarceration that targets the black and brown. And that is we will say, unequivocally, that an agency that systematically and repeatedly violates human rights cannot be reformed, it must be abolished.
We believe, have confidence that what we are standing up for is what is right. And we never be ashamed for fighting for what is right. We will never be ashamed for losing in the short term, or having a short term loss, in order to have a life long gain. We will never be ashamed of that.
These struggles that we are taking on are generational. These struggles that we are taking on are long. These struggles will not be solved in two years or four years – it will take our whole lives. But this is the fight for our lives. This is the fight of our lives. And we need to put everything on the line. We need to make sure we get to 100% renewable energy within 15 – within 10 to 15 years. There is no question about that. And we don’t ever, ever want to have to look our grandchildren in the eye and say we did not fulfill our potential as a nation and our obligation to future generations because we were too scared. We cannot do that. Or because we couldn’t figure out how to pay for it on day one. We will get there. When we chart our course, we will figure it out. That’s how we got to the moon. That’s how we electrified this nation. That’s how we established social security. That’s how we [..] medicare.
We have done these things.
They will always call the ambitious naive. They will always call the ambitious uninformed and radical, and marginalise, because we are engaging in a change of the balance of power in this country. And there are no if, and or buts about it. We are fighting to put more power in the hands of everyday working Americans where it belongs. And I am so proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with you all in that fight, because today is a milestone, but it is really a beginning – it is truly a beginning.
And in order for us to get there, and I believe we can always get there faster than we think, we have to keep organising. We cannot stop. Electoral politics is just a tool in a larger tool box. When we’ll have something beautiful and great tonight, but we have to keep engaged in our activism, in our organising, in our educating, because that is what it is going to take. But I believe we will come out of this a better nation, because I know, when we look our grandchildren in the eye, we will say we established a single payer health care system, we created tuition free public colleges, and we did save this planet in order for them to live.