What is the Democratic Party?

December 30, 2016


The Democratic Party is not an undifferentiated mass of voters and operatives. The question was asked what is a Corporate Democrat? People across the board speak of the Democratic Party as if it is an undifferentiated homogenized mass. Instead, the Democratic Party is an amalgam of different factions. It includes union Democrats, identity Democrats, progressive Democrats, socialist Democrats and of course rich Democrats. At one time, unions were a powerful force within the Democratic Party. Their decline in numbers has resulted in a decline in influence of working class positions.

With the success of the Civil Rights Movement minority representation has grown in influence. By voting almost 90% Democratic, the black community has gained enormous power. It has been a sophisticated and powerful strategy.

Suffering through and surviving slavery, Jim Crow segregation, lynching, police brutality, the Black community has earned power – moral power and political power. By concentrating that power in a sophisticated voting pattern the Black community rightfully provides directions to the Democratic Party. However, the Black leadership has become separated from the Black community programmatically. Compromised by Corporate Democrats, the Black leadership loses programmatically.

In the 1980’s the Democratic Leadership Conference led by the Clintons devised a strategy of supporting diversity in important positions while undermining progressive programs for minority communities. Using that strategy, the DLC then courted successfully wealthy donors. With the decline in unions and compromised minority leadership, the wealthy donors became all powerful. Also, in the 1980’s, Reagan Republicans established a program of deregulation, tax gifts to the rich, and heavy taxes on working people. Claiming that “free” market would solve problems instead of the Government, Reagan republicans set the narrative for the next 38 years. The collapse of the economy in 2008 allowed for a critical reevaluation of that narrative.

In the meantime, the concentration of wealth overwhelmed the entire economy. Because of the collapse of the Soviet Union, alternative analyses of the failure of capitalism were at best muted or absent altogether. In January 2015 and February 2015, HRC met with an amalgam of economists, political advisors to determine her position on income inequality. In other words, HRC/Corporate Democrats wanted to determine how to address the issue to the best political advantage, not because it was outrageous and unfair. In fact, at the time her advisors were contending that the American people are not angry at the rich, just concerned about how working people were being short-changed.

The narrative from Corporate Democrats/HRC Democrats is that capitalism works. It just needs adjustments. HRC’s message is the same as Corporate Democrats. If you work hard, you play by the rules, you ought to be able to get ahead. The necessary implication with that narrative is that those who have not “got ahead” did not work hard, and did not play by the rules.

I respect Richard Trumka. I met him many years ago before he became president of AFL-CIO. He has always had the best interest of workers in mind but he accepted the Corporate Democrat narrative. The AFL-CIO refused to endorse either Bernie or HRC for the nomination. Their action follows from an analysis that the unions are not fighting for a program for workers but for positions within in the established political structure. Unfortunately, that position along with many other compromises by union officials cedes power to the rich Corporate Democrats.

On 12/28/16, Trumka published an editorial entitled “Don’t let Trump speak for Workers”. Starting the quote from the Trumka editorial: “Working people do not want a savior to speak for us. We want to raise our own voices throughout unions – and those voices are more essential than ever. The share of income going to the middle class has fallen in almost perfect correlation with the declining percentage of people working in jobs where they enjoy a union. Collective, democratic representation in the workplace is essential to shared and durable economic prosperity. Yet Mr. Trump’s emerging cabinet and policy pronouncements seem to treat actual working people as bottom lines rather than human beings, our unions as a threat rather than a partner, and rising wages as a problem rather than a foundation of our prosperity.” (P. A23)

One must agree with Trumka’s perspective. But there are questions involved with this analysis. [Starting the quote from the Trumka editorial. “When Democratic capitalism is managed in ways that fail to provide good jobs, working people will turn in desperation toward authoritarian solutions. This is the great lesson of the 20th century, and we face the threat once again today. In industrialized countries all over the world, working people have come to believe that the institutions of liberal democracy have failed to protect them against the ravages of globalization. The leaders who exploit those very real anxieties are interested in power, not helping working people.” End of the Trumka quote.]

There are many other “great lessons of the 20th Century”. Capitalism unleashed from the threat of communist control will attack working people with a vengeance. Whatever one’s view of the Soviet Union, its very existence placed a check on capitalism. With the destruction of The Soviet Union the capitalist ideologues declared the “end of history”. By that they meant capitalists were now freed of all restraints.

Since 1989, the Chicago Boys have attacked every economy in the world to destroy worker’s benefits and did so in Russia too. I took the position in my book that capitalism unleashed always moves to fascism. The 1% cannot control the 99% without a fascist narrative. In this country, that narrative includes brutal racism, open misogyny and aggressive xenophobia. In other words, the 1% declared war on working people as soon as they were able to do so. Any narrative that excludes that fact leads to our current problem.

The HRC/Corporate Democrats picture of a system that “needs adjustment” is accompanied with a political strategy. The strategy is to take this position to those with wealth: the bankers, the corporations, private prisons, fossil fuels, big pharma. Then with this narrative, the Corporate Democrats raise millions of dollars, buy advertisements and thereby will “win” elections.

The strategy includes “movement to the center” to capture the majority vote. Notably, there is no definition of the “center”. Under Bill Clinton it involved sending “mixed cultural messages” with shades and a saxophone while signaling to poor and working class whites that he was tough on minority communities. This is identity politics with fish hooks. Corporate Democrats talk diversity, not integration. Diversity involves making important well publicized appointments. Integration involves addressing the demands of minorities and women on the basis that everyone benefits with better education, better health care, better housing, and a fair judicial system. Unfortunately, that is not the narrative of Corporate Democrats.

In order to implement this strategy Corporate Democrats must necessarily marginalize the progressive base within the Democratic Party. For Corporate Democrats, it is important never to mobilize the progressive base of the party because it will alienate the rich donors. In this “Move to the right”, Corporate Democrats claim that otherwise white workers will feel threatened by a progressive agenda that recognizes the legitimate demands of minorities and women.

The economic program of Corporate Democrats accepts the globalization of capitalism as necessary and inevitable. That is why Corporate Democrats support NAFTA, TPP and bank bailouts with necessary but limited regulations.

The foreign policy program HRC/Corporate Democrats accepts regime change with war if necessary. It totally supports Israel regardless of the inhumane suffering of the Palestinians.

More importantly, as a part of the strategy of Corporate Democrats they must withdraw economic support from any candidate or individual who “violates these principles”. The corporate media adheres to this narrative and echoes the program and strategy of the Corporate Democrats. The right wing media continuously attacks that narrative creating misinformed anger within the working class. That debate never includes a discussion of the programs supported by a majority of workers.  Both sides fight to camouflage the real issues.

The above described strategy of Corporate Democrats allowed Republicans to move the center far to the right with little or no resistance from the Corporate Democrats. In fact, as they move to the right, they were more able to raise more money from rich donors but lost elections nationally and locally.  In other words, their claim of moving to the right to win elections is proven wrong. They lose and hollow out the Democratic Party.

It is not that Obama believes that there were not blue states and red states only the United States. He simply accepted the basic Corporate Democratic narrative. For example, he appointed Larry Summers and Wall Street Banker Tim Geitner who supported the “limited adjustments” in the economy.

What is required when progressives take political positions? Obviously, progressives can and must provide analysis of capitalism that exposes the reality of capitalism’s failure in a way that reorders the narrative utilized by the ruling class. The Corporate Democratic narrative is used in our schools, the corporate media, advertising, and even capitalist “art” which elevates the rich and the so-called accomplishments of capitalist’s innovation and capitalist individualism. This elevation of the rich is done subtly but openly. This capitalist narrative fits neatly into the Corporate Democratic narrative.

However, exposing the failures of capitalism is the easy part. Fortunately, in spite of complete control of every channel of information, the capitalists are still unable to fool the great majority of workers. We are fully aware that the concentration of wealth undermines our way of living and civilization itself. While the capitalists have successfully imposed a consumer mentality, it is not without great discontent.

The hard question is how to overcome the enormous power of the capitalist class in control of the means of communication. Only when we attack the cynicism and pessimism that pervades the working class can we hope for change. Progressives must provide not only long term goals but also strategic and tactical actions that will address immediate suffering. Unless we overcome the false consciousness inflicted on our populace, we will fail. Until there is a program that provides the hope of successful change we cannot mobilize millions in support of that change. Unfortunately, because of complete control of the channels of information, the only time when political discussion is permitted is during electoral campaigns. In other situations, there is no political analysis. Bernie’s campaign was the first step in providing a national voice. We must provide the hope of healing the divisiveness of race and male supremacy. Only a united class can successfully overcome the power of the ruling class.

Until Bernie Sanders, there was no ability to oppose the narrative of the corporate media, the Corporate Democrats, and even of the right wing media. There were only marginalized complaints. Bernie was able to consolidate a movement in opposition to the Corporate Democratic narrative. He raised money independent of the wealthy donors, mobilized millennials and the progressive working class base of the party. As Bernie repeated numerous times, he started his campaign with no money, no campaign organization and complete opposition of the entire Democratic political structure. Yet he proved that their program and strategy had had a devastating impact on working people.

As a result, we now have Bernie Democrats and Corporate Democrats. Those different perspectives permeate every institution within this country and within the Democratic Party. It was interesting to note that many local unions supported Bernie Sanders and many international unions presidents supported HRC.

Because HRC ran a political campaign based entirely on the Corporate Democratic strategy and lost, Bernie Democrats can now take over the party. Even as of 7/2016, Bernie Democrats represent 46% of the votes in the nomination and 22 states fighting the HRC/Corporate Democrats machine and the entire Democratic Party structure.  It will be a fight, but due to bankruptcy the Corporate Democratic narrative, and a program using a bankrupt strategy is completely exposed.

An alternative strategy is not only necessary, it is obvious that it can succeed. We can utilize the strategy established by Bernie, following his leadership pursuant to the model he provided. It is only Bernie’s leadership and program that can heal the divisions within the working class. The model now created can unite the class against the 1% inspite of the tremendous power of the corporate media.


Yours in Struggle





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