As long as I’m giving people credit (which hopefully does not become a habit), I guess I should mention this:
Think of the left’s programs, and lay them against the PMC’s [professional-managerial class –Eric] interests. (1) Free College, even community college. Could devalue PMC credentials. Na ga happen. (2) MedicareForAll. Ends jobs guarantee for means-testing gatekeepers in government, profit-through-denial-of-care gatekeepers in the health insurance business, not to mention opposition from some medical guilds. Na ga happen. (3) Ending the empire (and reining in the national security state). The lights would go out all over Fairfax and Loudon counties. Na ga happen. These are all excellent policy goals. But let’s be clear that it’s not only billionaires who oppose them.
Please let this end now.
Credit where credit is due:
Most of the writing about alternatives to capitalism still see the need to rely on a market system. One interesting and different approach is embodied in the many decades of work by two political economists, Michael Albert and Robin Hahnel, on participatory economics or parecon. They and other point out that markets corrode human values and solidarity and propose a series of worker and consumer councils to make production decisions and allocations of goods and services. While this may be difficult in practice, it is important food for thought.
Never thought I’d see anyone actually acknowledge parecon’s existence. Quiet Revolution in Welfare Economics is just one non-stop fact after another, though. Yet 30 years later, no one knows what it is — a testament to the left’s ongoing and deep-seeded classism.
I don’t know who this guy is, but he seems pretty smart.
The clip with Shant Mesrobian that Jimmy Dore plays at the end of this video perfectly describes the left in the United States. The people on the left might say they care about suffering, but what they do says otherwise. As Mesrobian says, the base of the left is upper-middle-class professionals — the coordinator class. And the people who own and operate the left are even more upper-middle-class professionals — the crème de la crème of the coordinator class.
Mesrobian says (lightly edited for clarity):
On the strategic question of “Force the Vote,” I think it was a very smart campaign. However, I think the reason for the campaign wasn’t actually — you know, Medicare for all was the hook of the campaign. But the reason why the campaign started, the genesis of that campaign, was simply because the Squad failed to do what they were hired to do, which is to challenge the Speakership. Right? I mean that’s what they were expected to do.
And they failed to do that over two successive cycles. And then Jimmy Dore, very — I think very smartly — did a bit of organizing — better organizing than I’ve seen any actual
organizer on the left do. [Emphasis added.] And he’s not an organizer, he’s a media figure. But he was very smart and very in touch, I think, with what people actually want and he was smart to kind of recognize, okay, they’re going to do this again — they’re not going to challenge Pelosi at all. They’re going to vote right in line with the party establishment, the leadership.
Well, what if we use Medicare for all as a wedge issue, essentially, to activate the actual base and say, “Hey, you need to challenge Pelosi and tell her that if you don’t bring Medicare for all to a floor vote then I won’t vote for you.” I mean, this is a very smart campaign, and what it sort of exposed is that there’s a real rift — I wouldn’t say within the left, but between the left and people who care about things that the left cares about.
I would say that the problem here isn’t really with just the Squad — it’s really with the left in general. I don’t think the left cares about an issue like Medicare for all in the same way that a lot of people at home do. So what I would say is that the left, the professional left — [and] not just the professional left but the base of the left, too — is a very upper middle class professional class set of people. The actual apparatus of the left is an even more rarefied kind of group of people. They’re media influencers, intellectuals. They are academics, NGO activists, that sort of thing.
For them — the left is really more of a sort of an industry and a lifestyle brand. And it has this issue stack, and Medicare for all is somewhere in there, but it’s not really treated as the priority that many people — clearly Jimmy Dore’s audience — see it as. And so I think what Jimmy Dore did was sort of expose that there are a lot of people who care about the left’s issues but don’t actually care about the sort of politics that the left espouses as kind of exemplified by the Squad.
The left is not a working-class left. It doesn’t represent the working class. It doesn’t raise the bulk of its funding from the working class. Its content is neither produced nor consumed by the working class. If we were going to apply something like Herman and Chomsky’s propaganda model to the left, we would say that it would be shocking if the left were anything other than a coordinator-class left. Interestingly, this also applies to the website — ZNet — owned by one of the guys — Michael Albert — who invented participatory economics.
Also interestingly, Albert is the guy who talks about “non-reformist reforms” — which was exactly what the whole “Force the Vote” campaign pursued by Dore was designed to promote. Yet, when the chips were down in December and January, ZNet smeared it and carried water for AOC. Then they ran another article in February from the Democratic-party mouthpiece Intercept smearing it — certainly consistent with Noam Chomsky referring to Medicare for all as “candy.”
So basically, we’re all for non-reformist reforms as long we don’t have to actually do anything to bring them about. That’s the message.
Chris Hedges says:
“We should have walked out on the Democratic Party in 1994 after NAFTA and stood by the working class. And they know it. Much of my family comes out of that lower working class in Maine. And I have seen their communities and lives – where my grandparents house was in Maine, the bank is boarded up, there was a Methodist church that caught on fire and burned, the town doesn’t have enough money to raze it, so it’s charred embers. There are methamphetamine labs all over the place. That is what the Democratic Party and the self-identified liberal class has done. And that is why they hate (liberals).”
“I totally get that hatred. They continue to speak out of both sides of their mouth. They continue to speak that traditional feel your pain language of liberalism while putting the knife in the back of these people. So the hatred for the Democratic Party is far fiercer because there was a time when organized labor mattered. It doesn’t matter anymore.”
“I live in Princeton. They are all mostly liberal Democrats. They have no relationships with people who have been victimized by this system. For them, it’s all an abstraction.”
Instead, Albert and Chomsky carry the Democrats’ water. Jimmy Dore really is the only true left in the United States. The guy who invented parecon — which is absolutely completely correct theory and really is both a necessary and sufficient condition for the liberation of the working class — is such a fraud.