Future Progressive Struggles

September 12, 2016

Articles

While progressives must maintain present struggles, they also must track the development of the right wing, not only at present but also for the future.  As a rule, progressives react to immediate struggles from the Flint Water Crisis to the fight to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline.  Those responses are absolutely necessary.   But progressives have a responsibility to do more.  As Nelson Perry said so correctly – people will fight out of anger, but we must also think out of analysis.

On September 7, 2016, the New York Times carried an ominous headline on its front page.  “Koch Brothers Move to Shape A New G.O.P.  – Classroom Training In Free-Market Values.” The article states:

“BUT IF THE KOCH BROTHERS HAVE LOST THE BATTLE FOR CONSERVATIVE VALUES IN 2016, THEY ARE ALSO QUIETLY PREPARING FOR A LONG WAR.”  THE END OF THE NEW YORK TIMES QUOTATION.

This information is ominous based upon two books Dark Money by Jane Mayer and The Shock Doctor/Disaster Capitalism by Naomi Klein.  In Dark Money, Jane Mayer tracks the political machinations of the Koch Brothers over the past 40 years.  They have access to enormous sums of money.  Not only are they multi-billionaires, they have built coalitions with other multi-billionaires, mostly inherited wealth.

Because they have vast sums of money, they have been able to make a mistake, even many mistakes and then alter course to restart and to avoid those past mistakes.  They have purchased law schools, infiltrated colleges with the sole purpose of making legitimate a dangerous and violent ideology – free-market capitalism.  They are now training political operatives to promote their positions.

Quotation taken from the New York Times.

“The goal is not just to equip activists to compete with the left, but also to help rebuild the conservative movement in the wake of a Trump loss – or even a Trump victory.”

“The Kochs will be key figures in any discussion about what direction the party takes after 2016, and they are determined to steer it toward their free-market vision.  A bank of trained volunteers focused on elections further down the ballot could help raise their standing for 2018 and beyond.”

“The network hopes that these activists will learn how TO make a compelling, personal pitch to win over new converts to the cause, and that if volunteers are grounded in a strong philosophical understanding of free-market principles, they will be better prepared not only to explain their beliefs but also to ward off candidates, like Mr. Trump, who do not espouse their vision.”

END OF Quotation taken from Pages 1 and 14 of The New York Times 09/07/16.

The agenda of the Koch Brothers and their allies is clear.  They seek to buy cadre to fight for a political agenda while camouflaging the ultimate devastating impact it will have on working people.

the beginning of quotation. “THE EFFORT HAS TAKEN ON NEW-FOUND URGENCY BECAUSE MR. TRUMP HAS SHOWN THAT REPUBLICN VOTERS WILL SUPPORT A CANDIDATE WHO DENOUNCES TRADE AGREEMENTS AND REJECTS THE FREE-MARKET DOCTRINE THE KOCHS HAVE SPENT HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO PUSH.”

“THIS REPUBLICAN NOMINATION BATTLE FOR PRESIDENT HAS DEMONSTRATED THAT NO ISSUE IS EVER FULLY WON,” SAID TIM PHILLIPS, THE PRESIDENT OF AMERICANS FOR PROSPERITY.  “YOU MUST KEEP COMPETING AND EXPLAINING.  FOR EXAMPLE, WHY FREE TRADE IS BETTER, WHY ENTITLEMENT REFORM IS NECESSARY.” (emphasis added)

END OF QUOTATION TAKEN FROM PAGE 14 OF THE NEW YORK TIMES 09/07/16.

Entitlement reform by the definition of the Koch Brothers means destruction of social security and every governmental program designed to address the failures of the free-market. Obviously, this agenda requires brutal repression and dishonest political projection.

Naomi Klein’s book proves that implementation of a free-market program requires dictatorial governmental powers.

BEGINING OF QUOTATION TAKEN FROM NAOM KLEIN’S BOOK THE SHOCK DOCTRINE/DISASTER CAPITALISM.

“NOR WERE THESE CATASTROPHIC RESULTS UNIQUE TO [SHOCK DOCTRINE] RUSSIA; THE ENTIRE THIRTY-YEAR HISTORY OF THE CHICAGO SCHOOL EXPERIMENT HAS BEEN ONE OF MASS CORRUPTION AND CORPORATIST COLLUSION BETWEEN SECURITY STATES AND LARGE CORPORATIONS, FROM CHILE’S PIRANHAS, TO ARGENTINA’S CRONY PRIVATIZATIONS, TO RUSSIA’S OLIGARCHS, TO ENRON’S ENERGY SHELL GAME, TO IRAQ’S “FREE FRAUD ZONE.”  THE POINT OF SHOCK THERAPY IS TO OPEN UP A WINDOW FOR ENORMOUS PROFITS TO BE MADE VERY QUICKLY — NOT DESPITE THE LAWLESSNESS BUT PRECISELY BECAUSE OF IT.  “RUSSIA HAS BECOME A KLONDIKE FOR INTERNATIONAL FUND SPECULATORS,” RAN A HEADLINE IN A RUSSIAN NEWSPAPER IN 1997, WHILE FORBES DESCRIBED Russia and Central Europe as “the new frontier.”90  THE COLONIAL-ERA TERMS WERE ENTIRELY APPROPRIATE.

END OF QUOTATION TAKEN FROM PAGE 304 OF THE SHOCK DOCTRINE/DISASTER CAPITALISM.

Klein traces the development of the tactics used to impose “free-market” governmental control from Pinochet in Chile to Banzor in Bolivia to Thatcherism in Great Britain to Yeltsin in Russia, and finally to Reagan and Bush II in the United States.  Each time, all governmental benefits for workers are attacked and governmental repression is a necessary tool to eliminate resistance.

The analogy to ground war is always appropriate when discussing class war.  Koch’s methods are comparable to artillery used to soften up the opposition leading to an attack on democracy itself.

The progressive movement is ill equipped to respond. Bernie’s revolution is under attack from the corporate media and it is also being attacked by left opportunists, particularly the Green Party.  We do not have vast sums of money to buy cadre and correct mistakes.  Moreover, we live in a society that promotes, nurtures, and rewards capitalist individualism.

We have a fractionated left — each group vies for cadre by attacking other actions and people and groups.  In fact, any attempt to define the enemy such as the Republican Party, the Koch Brothers, or even inherited wealth generally evokes claims of avoiding past mistakes.

Cognitive Dissonance

“SOMETIMES PEOPLE HOLD A CORE BELIEF THAT IS VERY STRONG.  WHEN THEY ARE PRESENTED WITH EVIDENCE THAT WORKS AGAINST THAT BELIEF, THE NEW EVIDENCE CANNOT BE ACCEPTED.  IT CREATES A FEELING THAT IS EXTREMELY UNCOMFORTABLE, CALLED COGNITIVE DISSONANCE.  AND, BECAUSE IT IS SO IMPORTANT TO PROTECT THE CORE BELIEF, THEY WILL RATIONALIZE, IGNORE, AND EVEN DENY ANYTHING THAT DOES NOT FIT WITH THAT CORE BELIEF.”

END OF QUOTATION FROM FRANZ FANOM.

It is a very important concept when we are trying to build a left movement that is neither fractionated nor internecine.

A good example is the recent nomination battle between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.  As a Bernie Sanders supporter, I hold considerable bitterness for the way in which the Sanders nomination was blocked.  Nevertheless, because reality is Hillary Clinton stole the nomination, there is no choice but to support her against Trump.  The reason that the choice is so limited is because we do have powerful, vicious racist, misogynies, and anti-working class right wing ideology in this country.  That right wing is supported and nurtured, not only by the Koch Brothers, but by the corporate media and the entire cultural structure of this country.  It is centered in the Republican Party operatives.  That is why the Koch Brothers are rebuilding the Republican Party. Therefore, we face a fractionated left with core beliefs that cannot allow for new facts and we face a powerful enemy that will opportunistically exploit our weaknesses.

In the past, the left relied on the concentration of the industrial proletariat to provide the material basis for working class consciousness.  The ruling class has addressed its problem for the ruling class.  The working class is disbursed in small groups throughout the world.  Automated plants employ 3,000 to 6,000 workers, not one hundred thousand concentrated in one geographical location.  The corporate media feeds capitalist ideology daily.  Advertising creates a consumer’s ideology by ownership of trinkets defines self-worth.  Political discussion is framed with the narrowest possible perspectives.

In this country and internationally, working class anger is funneled into narrow, often religion credenda.  While the Koch Brothers hire and train cadre to engage in ideological war, they already have an entire structure which daily presents that view point.  Naomi Klein destroys the myth that the “free market” provides a fair distribution of resources and supports democracy.

QUOTATION TAKEN FROM NAOMI KLEIN PP. 22 & 23 OF THE SHOCK DOCTRINE BY NAOMI KLEIN.

“THIS BOOK IS A CHALLENGE TO THE CENTRAL AND MOST CHERISHED CLAIM IN THE OFFFICIAL STORY – THAT THE TRIUMPH OF DEREGULATED CAPITALISM HAS BEEN BORN OF FREEDOM, THAT UNFETTERED FREE MARKETS GO HAND IN HAND WITH DEMOCRACY.  INSTEAD, I WILL SHOW THAT THIS FUNDAMENTALIST FORM OF CAPITALISM HAS CONSISTENTLY BEEN MIDWIFED BY THE MOST BRUTAL FORMS OF COERCION, INFLICTED ON THE COLLECTIVE BODY POLITIC AS WELL AS ON COUNTLESS INDIVIDUAL BODIES.  THE HISTORY OF THE COMTEMPORARY FREE MARKET — BETTER UNDERSTOOD AS THE RISE OF CORPORATISM.” – WAS WRITTEN IN SHOCKS.

END OF QUOTATION FROM NAOMI KLEIN THE SHOCK DOCTRINE PP. 22 & 23.

The implementation of the free-market involves brutal suppression, violent repression, elimination of every worker’s protection, and financial destitution for the working class.

That agenda, of course, is not the training that the Koch Brothers provide.  They paint a picture of successful economic development.  They must build the Republican Party from the bottom up, creating ideology similar to religious beliefs.  Because of Trump, the Koch Brothers, the Republican elites lost their reactionary working class army.  They now have an agenda to build an actual grass roots movement supported by hatred but guided by a false vision.

Whenever the failures of free-market capitalism are highlighted, the answer is that there is no other possible system.  That answer is dishonest in content and depends on a straw man argument that socialism has failed.  There are alternatives and the progressive movement is required to articulate those alternatives, but not as the Green Party does that one must vote to lose or that losing is good.  The alternative is articulated by Bernie Sanders.

I have supported Bernie Sanders leadership because he has created a narrative that resonates with millions of people.  That narrative is neither rigid ideologically nor internecine in implementation.  It is that hope for revolutionary change that sustains me and resonates with young progressives.  Our role as progressives is to expose the actual agenda of free market ideologies and provide an alternative vision.

Yours In Struggle,

Ron

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