Democrats’ Moral-Political Bankruptcy

by NORMAN POLLACK

An end-of-year article in the New York Times, Jonathan Martin and Michael D. Shear’s “Minimum Wage Key to Democrats’ 2014 Strategy,” (30 Dec.), enables one to foresee what the coming year will be like: deft, cautious appeal for votes on an obviously significant human issue, yet treated in isolation as meanwhile the surveillance-war machine-deregulation core of public policy grinds on, making a mockery, a study in the use of opportunistic cosmetics, of Democrats’ claims to represent the people, the people it spits on as it drains the national treasury to feed detestable Behemoth as part of a global vision of counterrevolution and commercial-financial supremacy.

Delightful. Democrats have discovered a presumably winning issue, I say “presumably,” because POTUS and the party have already so pushed the culture of politics to the Right that even this modest increase in the minimum wage seems somehow brave, titillatingly subversive, worthy of respect by the working people en masse they have consistently shafted—when in reality it is a cover for a policy syndrome wholly opposed to the needs of the people it allegedly serves. Dangle the bait (already half-eaten by living costs that $10.10 by 2015 just about keeps things as they were) of a minimum-wage increase in front of their eyes, at the same time as a steadily enlarging crop of billionaires suck at the public teat, and you have a sure-fire formula for encouraging false consciousness among working (if they have employment) Americans that keeps capitalism—as defined by upper groups—healthy and on its toes.

Where, then, meaningful job creation? Public works? Progressive taxation? Effective, thoroughgoing regulation of banks, hedge funds, derivatives? De-escalation of the Pacific-first, heavily deployed “pivot” inviting confrontation with China? End to spying, more spying, still more spying? The list continues and adds up, to any who can transcend the societal myopia an obfuscating USG (in cooperation with the Business Community) disseminates broadcast, to incipient—if not a more advanced stage of—fascism.

Fascism in America wears a smiling face. Its moniker is, Corporatism, itself the sweetheart relationship between government, business, the military, and, increasingly occupying a forward position, banking. Why not a modest increase in the minimum wage! Class structure remains the same. Power remains concentrated and free to pursue military objectives while still preserving, even maximizing, profits. Liberalism sparkles brightly, adding a veneer to the bloodletting and malnourishment it sponsors. Welcome, then, 2014; prospects are good for more of the same. JPMorgan Chase, I toast you, along with those who keep America safe—the massive defense industry, our brave warriors, no gender-bias there, spread over much of the earth’s surface, and the whole apparatus making possible, from armchair “pilots” to faraway airstrips, drone murder, our environmental depredators, and the New American Heroes, NSA and the corrupted judiciary which supports it.

Therefore, Go Green, Go White, drown any misgivings we might have (highly unlikely!) of the human pain and suffering the US daily creates in the world, in the bread-and-circuses of our Bowl Games. For want of anything better, I shall cheer for Stanford at the Rose Bowl, having seen for thirty-odd years the complicity of Michigan State in the fascistization of America.

My New York Times Comment, same date, on the Martin-Shear article follows:

Pathetic, revealing the opportunism and moral bankruptcy of the Democrats. They speak of income inequality and “value issues,” yet under Obama have created the widest CLASS differentiation in income, wealth, and power in American history. The US has a sizable underclass, thanks in large part to massive defense spending, interventions, drone assassinations, JSOC-CIA paramilitary operations intended for regime change, and yet POTUS and Democrats have the chutzpah to talk about raising the minimum wage–a drop in the bucket for the wreck they have pressed upon the American polity.

The cynicism of using the issue for electoral gain, whilst leaving INTACT a reprehensible record on all other issues, demonstrates beyond peradventure they are no better than the Bushies and Republicans, indeed, the continuities of public policy are clear–except, going forward under a “liberal” banner makes the hoax that much more hurtful and inhumane. When Democrats begin to stand for principle, and expose their leader as a devotee of massive surveillance, China-bashing, and deregulation, then one can begin, yes, only begin, to listen to their moanings about reelection.

The party that brought you the greatest violation of CIVIL LIBERTIES hardly deserves commendation for engineering votes on the backs of the working poor, as though stalking horses so that the party and POTUS could confer still more benefits on Wall Street and the Military. A solemn farce, were it not so tragic.

Norman Pollack is the author of The Populist Response to Industrial America (Harvard) and The Just Polity (Illinois), The Humane EconomyThe Just Polity, ed. The Populist Mind, and co-ed. with Frank Freidel, Builders of American Institutions. Guggenheim Fellow. Prof. Emeritus, History, Michigan State.  He is currently writing The Fascistization of America: Liberalism, Militarism, Capitalism.  E-mail: pollackn@msu.edu.

Norman Pollack has written on Populism. His interests are social theory and the structural analysis of capitalism and fascism. He can be reached at pollackn@msu.edu.

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
July 28, 2015
Harvey Wasserman
Will Ohio Gov. Kasich’s Anti-Green Resume Kill His Presidential Hopes?
Cesar Chelala
Effect of Greece’s Economic Crisis on Public Health
Mel Gurtov
Netanyahu: An Enemy of Peace
Joseph G. Ramsey
The Limits of Optimism: E.L. Doctorow and the American Left
George Wuerthner
Bark Beetles and Forest Fires: Another Myth Goes Up in Smoke
Jon Langford
Mekons Tour Diary, Episode 4, a Bowery Ballroom Blitz
July 27, 2015
Susan Babbitt
Thawing Relations: Cuba’s Deeper (More Challenging) Significance
Howard Lisnoff
Bernie Sanders: Savior or Seducer of the Anti-War Left?
Martha Rosenberg
Big Pharma’s Profiteers: You Want Us to Pay What for These Meds?
John Halle
On Berniebots and Hillary Hacks, Dean Screams, Swiftboating and Smears
Stephen Lendman
Cleveland Police Attack Black Activists
Patrick Cockburn
Only Iraq’s Clerics Can Defeat ISIS
Ralph Nader
Sending a ‘Citizens Summons’ to Members of Congress
Clancy Sigal
Scratch That Itch: Hillary and The Donald
Colin Todhunter
Working Class War Fodder
Gareth Porter
Obama’s Version of Iran Nuke Deal: a Second False Narrative
Joshua Sperber
What is a President? The CEO of Capitalism
Zoe Konstantopoulou
The Politics of Coercion in Greece
Vacy Vlanza
Without BDS, Palestine is Alone
Laura Finley
Adjunct Professors and Worker’s Rights
Jon Langford
Mekons Tour Diary, Episode Three, Where We Thrill Everyone by Playing Like “Utter Bloody Garbage”
Weekend Edition
July 24-26, 2015
Mike Whitney
Picked Out a Coffin Yet? Take Ibuprofen and Die
Henry Giroux
America’s New Brutalism: the Death of Sandra Bland
Rob Urie
Capitalism, Engineered Dependencies and the Eurozone
Michael Lanigan
Lynn’s Story: an Irish Woman in Search of an Abortion
Paul Street
Deleting Crimes at the New York Times: Airbrushing History at the Paper of Record
ISMAEL HOSSEIN-ZADEH
Making Sense of the Iran Nuclear Deal: Geopolitical Implications
Andrew Levine
After the Iran Deal: Israel is Down But Far From Out
Uri Avnery
Sheldon’s Stooges: Netanyahu and the King of Vegas
David Swanson
George Clooney Paid by War Profiteers
ANDRE VLTCHEK
They Say Paraguay is in Africa: Mosaic of Horror
Horace G. Campbell
Obama in Kenya: Will He Cater to the Barons or the People?
Michael Welton
Surviving Together: Canadian Public Tradition Under Threat
Rev. William Alberts
American Imperialism’s Military Chaplains
Yorgos Mitralias
Black Days: August 4th,1914 Germany and July 13th, 2015 Greece
Jeffrey R. Wilson
“It Started Like a Guilty Thing”: the Beginning of Hamlet and the Beginning of Modern Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Star Whores: John McCain, the Apache and the Battle to Save Mt. Graham
Pepe Escobar
The Eurasian Big Bang: How China and Russia Are Running Rings Around Washington
Charles Larson
The USA as a Failed State: Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “Between the World and Me”
Robert Fantina
Israel and “Self-Defense”
John W. Whitehead
The American Nightmare: the Tyranny of the Criminal Justice System
Leonidas Vatikiotis
Rupture With the EU: a Return to the Cave Age or a New Golden Age for Greece?
Murray Dobbin
Harper is Finally Right: the Canadian Election is About Security Versus Risk
Brian Cloughley
Meet General Joseph Dunford: a Real Threat to World Peace
Manuel García, Jr.
The Trump Surge and the American Psyche