We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Monday, August 8, 2016

Class Dismissed: Identity Politics to the Front of the Line

Click here to access article by Alan Nasser from CounterPunch
Since an anemic recovery with rising unemployment was no obstacle to electoral success, the Democrats are convinced that need not address economic issues nor direct attention to the business interests which finance them. They need only address what they take to be their decisive constituencies. Enter identity politics as the predominant way of political thinking
What has taken the place of class issues are so-called “social issues.” Identity politics is foregrounded among “liberal” elites. We find a perfect illustration of the explicit and unabashed use of identity politics to misdirect attention from economic and class issues in a Hillary Clinton campaign speech at a February rally in Henderson Nevada.
I agree with this analysis of the Democratic Party and their current strategy. And, yes the present situation of this party being totally out of step with the realities of their traditional constituents offers an excellent opportunity for an organized effort "to induce people to a new way of thinking about politics". However over the many years of my life I have learned not to underestimate the influence of corporate media to manage the minds of the vast majority of my fellow Americans. In his hopeful conclusion Nasser asks:
Who would have imagined five years ago that it was remotely possible that socialism would become a feature of daily discourse?
But has socialism really "become a feature of daily discourse?" I think not. This socialism is only the old New Deal/Great Society repackaged with a radical sounding name that capitalist media has been so successful in smearing in the past. The fact that a liberal politician such as Bernie Sanders has been able, along with the collusion of corporate media, to redefine what socialism is all about (public ownership and control of the economy) is another indication of the power of the liberal wing of the ruling capitalist class to manage the political thinking of the majority of Americans. 

For me a promising organized effort will only occur when thinking Americans seriously get behind an alternative media to fight the corrosive effects of corporate media. In addition they will have to give up the notion that our capitalist masters will ever allow genuine socialist candidates to run in their elections. My fellow Americans must be prepared to go all the way to a revolutionary change by keeping their eyes on the real prize--public ownership and control of the economy, a most vital component of any society that pretends to be egalitarian.

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