Disestablish the establishment.

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: ,

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.

29 comments on “Disestablish the establishment.”

  1. Adrian Thornton 1

    Thanks for that post Bill, spot on.

    There is little doubt that Cortez is going to be real force into the future….a super solid platform, a good back story, one of best orators in US politics today and none to shabby in a one on one debate, she must be scaring the shit out of the establishment Democrats…great stuff.

    Nice little uppercut from Cortez here…

    “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.”

    We are in for a very very interesting run up to 2020.

  2. RedLogix 2

    Interesting. America is more divided and polarised than ever before; you could ask the question did the Democrats improve their position and control of the House just because Trump is such a god-awful lout, or does no-one really want to vote for either of two deeply uninspiring establishment parties and the Democrats have yet again fallen well short of their potential?

    Bernie Sanders makes the case that progressives can win:

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/nov/07/bernie-sanders-midterms-progressive-2020-president

    Whatever interpretation you want to put on these mid-terms; it seems that both parties have a very short window of opportunity to re-define themselves in order to avoid meltdown in a post-Trumpian wasteland.

    • Adrian Thornton 2.1

      That is funny coming from those liberal guard dogs at the Guardian, they were outright hostile to the Sanders campaign right through out the 2016 election cycle…until he conceded, then all of a sudden when he wasn’t a threat, they became his best friend.

      Have to say though, that the comment section on The Guardian was quite something through the time of the 2016 election, fierce debate from all sides, some times 2000+ comments, it was great stuff.
      Unfortunately The Guardian have pretty much shut that platform down now, and on the very few stories that you can comment on, if you critique any thing that they say, they take you comment straight down, most especially on Israel.

      Funnily enough, a couple of months ago, I was having a lively but polite discussion on this very subject on one of the The Guardian’s comment sections, with a couple of staunch Guardian supporters, who where telling that I was completely wrong about The Guardian taking comments down from people who critique it , this went back and forth for about two hours, and about 8-10 comments between us all, then…BANG! The Guardian took down all my comments..I thought that was fucking hilarious.

      I have always wondered what those two Guardian supporters made of that?, hopefully it gave them pause for thought.

      • RedLogix 2.1.1

        Good story; I’m no great fan of the Gran either, but not all sources are wrong all the time.

        (I’d go one step further; it’s a bad mistake to only listen to sources you agree with. Go instead to the places you’d normally avoid, confront their arguments, their lines and see what holds and what folds. Over time this will force you to refine and consolidate how you think.)

        • Adrian Thornton 2.1.1.1

          @RedLogix
          Can’t argue with you there, I read The Guardian pretty regularly, but with my bullshit detector turned on high.

    • Bill 2.2

      I think the Democratic Party have two years to get their shit together (they won’t) or there’s another four years of Trump. The caveat to that is if Nikki Haley takes a tilt at being the Republican nominee.

      • Adrian Thornton 2.2.1

        Yeh, I have been following Nikki Haley’s apparent political maneuverings pretty closely lately, she is one very scary and horrible human that is for sure, I can’t believe I am about to say this, but I think I might even prefer Trump to Haley, and she (at this early stage anyway) looks like she could be a very real contender to go all the way.

        From The Real News…

        ‘Inside Nikki Haley’s Shocking Speech to Secretive Far-Right Group’

  3. Pat 3

    not a bad speech at all.

    Great to see that there appears to be a genuine attempt by the plebs to seize back democracy from the elites….lets hope others around the world are inspired as this is the form of populism thats needed…and quick.

  4. mickysavage 4

    Thanks Bill. I will (respectfully) disagree with you about Russia. I think this is a huge issue for the US although it may involve payback rather than one way interference.

    But I will agree with everything else.

    • Bill 4.1

      So, I don’t see any merit in getting into a big back and forth on this. But when you say Russia’s a “huge issue”, you’re talking in terms of electoral interference and collusion, yes?

      But I’m guessing you agree that Russia has nothing compared to corporations, Saudi Arabia or Israel on the fronts mentioned in the post, yes?

      Which, collusion aside, leaves us with one Russian company promulgating facebook memes just like many Greek individuals did .

      And at a stretch, you might argue that Podesta’s emails (one politicians emails!) were stolen by a Russian hacking operation , though on evidence around internet capabilities at the time, the emails seem likely to have been obtained by way of direct downloading onto a disc/drive.

      So, then we’re on to collusion. And arrests made by Mueller havn’t even hinted at anything on that front. All arrests have been for other stuff. (Lying and fraud – the normal fayre of politicians)

      I wonder if/when the report comes out during the holiday period, if you’re going to be of a persuasion to argue that the proof is there, but just couldn’t be put into the public domain “because national security”. We’ll see.

        • Andre 4.1.1.1

          Aww, c’mon Joe, that’s just more Dems shouting Russia! … uhh, wait, the author was Dubya’s ethics lawyer …

          For me, the big join-the-dots picture they’re creating kinda gets a bit hard to take too seriously when they just skip over the simplest and most obvious reason for the Repugs’ craven capitulation: the dayglo swamp-king’s proven ability to trash the political career of any Repug that isn’t sufficiently supine towards him.

          • Bill 4.1.1.1.1

            Two things.

            One. You think having been “Dubya’s ethics lawyer” lends the guy any kind of credibility of authority on anything?

            Two. This “proven” ability to trash the political career of any Republican…can you cite a couple of examples, or provide a couple of names of elected representatives that that “proof” might be based on?

            • Andre 4.1.1.1.1.1

              1: not particularly. It’s just worth noting that a Republican (not a Dem) sufficiently sleazy to stick around in Dubya’s cess-pit thinks current behaviours are sufficiently worse to make that kind of comment.

              2: Bob Corker. Jeff Flake. Jeff Sessions. And I fully expect Ben Sasse to cop it as he comes up for re-election in 2020.

              • Bill

                Well, apart from Jeff Sessions who had to resign to take up his position, the others are or were elected representatives – there’s that. But nothing outside the normal rough and tumble of politics seems to have afflicted them.

                Or is there some scandal I’m missing?

  5. NZJester 5

    Even when Republicans lose they try and keep power in any way they can. The current Governor of Wisconsin Scott Walker failed to win re-election after narrowly losing to the Democratic candidate Tony Evers. So now apparently in his last few days in office, he is conspiring with other Republicans to strip the new Governor of his powers before he can officially be sworn into office.
    They are trying to make sure they keep the power even though they lost. This is not the first time Republican have done such a thing either.

  6. Adrian Thornton 6

    @joe90
    Here is Richard Painter who wrote that piece…it’s pretty epic..

  7. Jackel 7

    It’s a rousing speech indeed from a one Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She’s headed in the right direction. Still it’s soft food for the delicate stomachs of the masses. Let those few with the weapons to do so fight the real fight when the time comes.

  8. Adrian Thornton 8

    If you want to torture yourself here is the opposite of the Cortez speech from Nancy Pelosi, but you have been warned it is painful to watch…she also happens to say pretty much nothing in those wasted seven minutes either.

    The establishment Democratic party is like all Western Liberal parties, completely out of ideas…as you will see.

    • Bill 8.1

      Aw c’mon Adrian, watching someone feebly punch’the air (at 2:49) to the rallying call of “Let’s hear it more for pre-existing medical conditions” is fucking comedy gold, no? 🙂

      • Adrian Thornton 8.1.1

        Yeh that is pretty funny, except I keep on sort of visualizing her as some sort of crazed half mummified zombie who can’t be stopped in her rampage of destructive terror….can nothing or nobody stop her seemingly unending and total destruction of the Democratic party from within?…

        • Bill 8.1.1.1

          I actually watched it again. And I’m not sure she didn’t know exactly what she was saying…(that glance over to the side suggestive of an “in joke” being shared)…which puts an entirely different and not so humorous angle on it.

  9. Ha!- whats the attraction with Jackson, though?

    Johnny Cash and June Carter – YouTube

  10. Carolyn_Nth 10

    Thanks for this post, Bill. It s an important outcome of the mid terms that diverse women stood as candidates, and any of them were elected.

    Politics of gender, sexuality and ethnicity and their intersection, conflicts and contradictions can be pretty complex.

    I have come to thoroughly dislike the term “identity politics” and the way it is used by many on the left and right as a smear. It does not differentiate the complexities of oppression and power inequalities that politics of gender, ‘race’/ethnicity and sexuality address.

    The smear of “identity politics” sweeps up all these differences in power into one unified mass. For instance, I would differentiate “liberal/bourgeois feminism” from socialist feminism, or the politics of women of colour. Nevertheless on some issues, as with the #metoo movement, people across the feminist spectrum support it, and it can’t be dismissed as “middle class feminism”

    2 articles I’ve read this morning point to these complexities.

    An opinion piece by Moira Donegan in The Guardian states that 50% of white women voted Republican in the midterms. However, that percentage is in a gradual decline from it’s high points in the Bush-Regan years. And in the Trump election of 2016 53% of white women voted for Trump.

    But the decline is way to slow, and this is also an issue that white feminists everywhere need to consider and address.

    I also read this interview with Sarah Smarsh (white woman from a working class mid-west US background), on the mid terms in Kansas.

    She talks about the inaccuracy and damage done by labelling all people in the mid west states as reactionary, Republican rednecks.

    The reductive way that we talk about politics in this country renders all sorts of people invisible. It often amounts to a whitewashing of entire regions that are actually quite diverse in racial makeup. It also leads to the stereotyping of millions of people as politically homogeneous. There are progressives in so called “red states” like Kansas who are often even more radical than those in liberal enclaves like New York.

    Sharice Davids’s win in the 3rd District, where I lived for a long time, and, of course, Laura Kelly’s win in the gubernatorial race, were so heartening.

    For people who have not seen themselves in their own governments, through race or gender or orientation, Davids represents a special validation and hope.

    We are called a deep red state but as of this past week, we are the only state to have elected three democratic female governors. This election tells me that ultimately, the country is yearning to get back to a sense of stability—and they’re electing Democratic women to do that.

    • Bill 10.1

      It s an important outcome of the mid terms that diverse women stood as candidates, and any of them were elected.

      I don’t disagree with you, and am obviously just viewing it from a different angle.

      And beyond their ethnicity, there’s their politics.

      If I had a daughter, would I be thinking that (throwaway example) Nancy Pelosi, with all her $100 odd million of wealth and immense power made for a good a role model? No. Likewise if an ethnic version of her or Thatcher, or a female version of Obama had won a Congressional seat.

      But whether I had a son or a daughter, I’d say the likes of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or Rashida Tlaib make for fantastic role models.

      edit – I should maybe say, that when writing the post I had Amy Goodman’s election night reaction in mind, when she was celebrating what she termed the first “scarf wearing” Muslim or woman to be elected. She talked about it and sought opinion on it, but made no mention of her politics. I haven’t yet quite managed to articulate the sense of unease that gave me.

      • Carolyn_Nth 10.1.1

        I agree. And, I don’t see the mid terms as showing a major shift to the left for the Democrat establishment, which has long been centre right in practice.

        However, there are those like Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib and Davids who did get elected, and many more quite radical candidates who didn’t get elected. So, it indicates an upsurge in politically active people with confidence in taking on the right-leaning political establishment (Republicans and Democrats).

        That is hopeful for the next election, but there’s still a lot of work to be done by the true left in the US. And the right wing establishment will not go down without throwing everything at it, no matter how undemocratic.

      • Adrian Thornton 10.1.2

        “I had Amy Goodman’s election night reaction in mind…”, although I have been a long time DN! listener, and (small time) financial supporter, I have noticed a few disturbing shifts I their positions over the past couple of years, her position around
        the Russia conspirisory is another that comes to mind, I assume this is why Aaron Mate’ is now at Real News?

  11. UncookedSelachimorpha 11

    Cortez is sounding bloody good! Might have what it takes to lead real progressive change, which the USA desperately needs before a much ghastlier alternative takes over.

    I really like Bernie Sanders – but whatever you think of him, he does not have a long career in politics left. Good to see there are some young and competent real progressives in the pipeline.

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