The “Resistance” is a mask for those supporting our rulers

Summary: Change always begins on the fringes. Since journalists focus obsessively on the big names in the DC circus, change always comes as a surprise to them and their audience. Let’s look elsewhere. See the cracks opening in the foundation of the alliance that controls American politics. They are small today, but can grow quickly.

Jim Hightower on the two parties

 

When the Resistance is Really the Assistance

By Bruce A. Dixon at the Black Agenda Report.
9 August 2018.
Reposted with their generous permission.
Graphics added.

 

We all learned in school that some countries have a single governing party. If you’re not in that party, you can’t be part of the government. The US has two government parties, Republicans and Democrats, both funded by the corporations and wealthy individuals who make up this country’s capitalist elite. If you’re not in either one of the government parties, you’re denied access to media and in many states, laws are passed specifically to keep you off the ballot.

While the two parties are funded by pretty much the same class of people, their social bases are different. Since the 1960s, Republicans have made it clear that they are the white man’s party, the party of war abroad and racist reaction at home. Democrats, for electoral purposes are obliged to stake a contrary claim. Since the election of Donald Trump Democrats have branded themselves “the resistance.”

Bipartisan love: donkey and elephant

This month the House and Senate passed the reconciled version of the 2019 Pentagon budget on to the White House. On TV and establishment media they call it a defense budget, but that’s branding too. The second world war which ended in 1945 killed 60 or 65 million people, after the first world war claimed 30 million only a generation earlier. This sort of gave war bad name. So in 1948 they changed the name of the US Department of War to the US Department of Defense. With the stroke of a pen, wealthy merchants of death as they were widely known, the war contractors, all became patriotic defense contractors. The US Secretary of War became the US Secretary of Defense, and the US war budget, by far the world’s largest, became the defense budget. And so it’s been for seven decades.

Early this month, the House and Senate passed the reconciled version of the US war budget to the president for signature. It’s the earliest in the budget cycle Congress has done a military budget since 1996 or 1997, when a Democrat in the White House and Democrats in Congress were anxious to assure Republicans that they were all on the same side.

They call this year’s atrocity the John McCain National Defense Authorization Act, worth a record $716 billion. This total doesn’t include the budget of the Afghan war, which lives somewhere else, or the budgets of several other known programs, and there are secret budgets for more or less secret programs as well. Nobody really doubts that actual US military spending has hovered around a trillion a year for several years now.

So how did the resistance perform? In the Senate the vote was 87 to 10, three not voting. Only 8 Democrats resisted. Among them Liz Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand. Dick Durbin of Illinois also voted against the Pentagon bill. This is purest theater, because Durbin since 2005 has been Democratic Whip in the Senate, the man responsible for lining up the votes of his fellow senators. If this meant anything to him, why did only 7 other Democrats vote with their supposed leader?

In the House the vote was 351 to 66, with 139 Democrats voting yes, 49 voting no, and 5 not voting. So the resistance was really the assistance, voting almost 2 to 1 to continue spending as much on US wars around the world as the next nine or ten countries put together.

The Congressional Black Caucus was even more eager to assist the US posture of global war than Democrats as a whole, a pattern Glen Ford has called out repeatedly in recent years. CBC members voted 34 to 8 in favor of the permanent war budget, which includes Trump’s military parade, a new Space Force, and scores of drone bases in Africa that put almost the entire continent under US cameras and guns. Noted progressive Keith Ellison of Minnesota, the only Muslim in Congress, abstained. The CBC members who found the spine to cast votes against the war budget were Bonnie Watson-Coleman, Barbara Lee, John Lewis (who does have a US Navy oiler named after him), Hakim Jeffires, Yvette Clarke, Karne Bass, Bobby Rush, and Hank Johnson.

The House Progressive Caucus did a little better, but still only 28, less than half its membership of 64 opposed the Pentagon budget. That’s what it means to be a progressive Democrat these days.

When most of the so-called progressives are pro-war we can legitimately say that the resistance is really the assistance.

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Editor’s commentary

Today the 1% control to an extraordinary extent both political parties in America. As Dixon notes, the National Defense spending bill rains money on the military to an extent rarely seen in US history (even during the Cold War). Yet there was little coverage of it by journalists (they believed Trump’s tweets, however inconsequential, more important) — and both parties supported it.

To gain the 1%’s support, both parties have repudiated core beliefs. Republicans have embraced the racist beliefs exposed by the Confederacy. Democrats have become militant cold warriors, marching behind the banners of the national intelligence agencies (long-time opponents of the Left). And they have become firm supporters of Wall Street.

As a key component of the Democratic Party alliance, rising dissatisfaction of the Black Americans to this becomes an opportunity for change. So long as we are fragmented, unaware of our common interests, the 1% wins. Breaking long-held perspectives, as the Black Agenda Report routinely does, is the first step to building a broad coalition capable of reforming America.

Bruce A, Dixon

About Bruce A. Dixon

“A habitual troublemaker and incorrigible activist, Bruce Dixon has been comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable since 1968.

“As a rank and file member of the Black Panther Party in 1969-1970, a 1970s rank-and-file union activist in a string of factories, plants and workplaces, a 1980s community organizer in what were then some of the nation’s poorest neighborhoods, to organizing and consulting through the 1990s Dixon has built an impressive record of service in and to the cause of human liberation.

“In 2002 he began writing articles for Black Commentator, the predecessor of this publication, and broke the first accurate analyses of the phenomena around the election of Denise Majette over Cynthia McKinney in Georgia that year.” {From the BAR’s About Page.}

In 2006, Dixon co-founded Black Agenda Report, and now serves as a managing editor. He currently resides in Marietta GA, and is a member of the state committee of the Georgia Green Party. See his Twitter feed. See his articles at the BAR, especially these …

Black Agenda Report

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Books describing our broken politics, and how we got here

Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People? by Thomas Frank.

The Great Exception: The New Deal and the Limits of American Politics by Jefferson Cowie.

"Listen, Liberal" by Thomas Frank
Available at Amazon.
The Great Exception: The New Deal and the Limits of American Politics
Available at Amazon.

 

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