We are in trouble in this year of 2020, when global warming is causing ethnic strife and the break-up of states into warring chiefdoms; when there is an intensified nuclear arms race between the United States, China, and Russia; and when India, Pakistan, and North Korea may now also be stockpiling nukes. The expert on peace and security issues Michael Klare has recently written that “rising temperatures will increase the likelihood of nuclear war, largely because climate change will heighten the risk of social stress, the decay of nation-states, and armed violence.” If he is right, then various doomsday scenarios will only become more and more likely in the future, unless we can somehow get off the path we are on.
One can get a quick grasp of how fragile the ground on which we stand is by looking at the “Doomsday Clock” that has been published by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists every year in January since 1947. The Clock gives us a way of comparing the danger level from one year to the next. At present, they say that we are 100 seconds from “midnight” (i.e., doomsday). By comparison, they estimated that we were at 2 minutes from midnight in 1953 after the United States and the Soviet Union each tested their first thermonuclear weapon. At the other extreme, in 1991 we were at 17 minutes to midnight as the Cold War wound down, and as the United States and the Soviet Union signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (abbreviated as START I. The New START, of 2010, required reductions in US and Russian arsenals, but it will expire next year unless the U.S. and Russia renew it).
Thus some would say that the survival of our species is in greater jeopardy than at any point during the last several decades. In spite of that, averting man-made global catastrophe is a lower priority for the DNC (Democratic National Committee) than promoting so-called “U.S. interests.” For the uninitiated, it must be noted that this technical term “U.S. interests” does not encompass the entire population of the U.S. but rather is limited to the interests of U.S.-based multinational corporations, who already control about half of all the world’s wealth. Among the U.S. business class, it is widely agreed that such corporations and the wealthy individuals who own them should accumulate even more wealth, and that they should have more even more advantages over their rivals. Perhaps the usual craving of the rich for riches had something to do with the DNC’s seeking to make us “comfortable” with their becoming even more Republican-like, i.e., how they appealed to their patriotism and martial spirit
One can see the DNC’s current attitude toward Americans and the world by taking a look at the list of the standing committee members for their 2020 Democratic Convention. Thomas Neuberger and Kevin Gosztola are two rare journalists who are telling us a little about them, who were chosen by the Party establishment, not by the people of the U.S.
Looking at the list of names and reading Gosztola’s series of Tweets about each of them, we can see that the DNC is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. While the values they establish for the Democratic Party differ somewhat from those of the Republican Party, they share many of the same destructive and all-for-us-and-none-for-others tendencies. Even as we now witness the effectiveness of their anti-Sanders campaign as they set up their un-level playing field so that Biden can win and produce among Americans belief in his legitimacy, let us be mindful of their violence—in the usual sense of the word as well as in terms of symbolic violence. We should have some estimation of what the chances are of stumbling into a global catastrophe as a result of a Biden win.
Death: Keep the Endless Wars Endless
There are numerous examples, but an obvious agent of state violence would be Denis McDonough. He was Barack Obama’s chief of staff during Obama’s second term. He also chairs Rework America Task Force, which launched Rework America Business Network with Heidi Capozzi, who is the senior vice president of human resources at Boeing. Boeing was number two among military contractors in 2012 and was one of the founding members of Rework America Business Network.
Furthermore, McDonough has worked for the Center for American Progress (CAP), who are “Washington’s leading liberal think tank”. One aspect of their “liberal” ethos is their “interventionist dogma”, i.e., that the “United States faces threats everywhere, it must therefore be present everywhere, and ‘present’ includes maintaining more than 800 foreign military bases and spending trillions of dollars on endless confrontations with foreign countries.”
The fact that McDonough is on a standing committee is consistent with the fact that there is so little discussion among television-commentator Democrats about how we can end wars. It is consistent with DNC bias and corruption. Just one example: Unlike the Democratic Party elite, many non-elite Americans and most of Northeast Asia would like to see the 75-year-long Korean War come to an end. Way back in June 2018, President Trump almost did start to shut down the War by taking the “dangerous” step of meeting Kim Jong-un in Singapore. For Democratic Party elites and many other “liberals,” that was a close call. That would have drastically cut the subsidies for the War, reduced the income of many wealthy Americans, and even reduced the profits of certain U.S. companies. Americans can thank the Democrats for preventing the eruption of the dangerous scenario of peace in Korea. War is always far safer.
Andrei Lankov, a leading historian and expert on North Korea, recently mentioned a point about the Korean War that is rarely discussed, i.e., that it is “highly likely that the UN Security Council sanctions will remain in place for the foreseeable future, in spite of all of North Korea’s efforts to have them removed. This will probably be welcomed by a significant number of American decision-makers. They tend to believe that the consistent implementation of a tough sanctions regime will eventually push North Korea towards making what in Washington is seen as the ‘right decision’—that is, the decision to abandon its nuclear and missile program. Unfortunately (not only for the U.S. but perhaps also for the majority of earthlings) this assumption is wrong.” With the phrase the “majority of earthlings,” Lankov was hinting at the threat of “nuclear winter”, in which millions or possibly billions of the world’s people would starve to death as ash is kicked up into the atmosphere and sunlight is blocked—caused by an exchange of nuclear strikes. One could easily argue that the dirty-deeds-done-dirt-cheap DNC is a national security threat as well as a global security threat.
To investigate how the Octopus-like tentacles of the Military might have a hold on the DNC, begin by reading Gosztola’s 26 January Twitter thread and his article “To Rig Primary against Bernie, DNC Chair Tom Perez Nominates Regime-change Agents, Israel Lobbyists, and Wall Street Con.”
Shackles: Forget the First Amendment
Looking at the other members of the standing committees in Gosztola’s Tweet (see above), we find that many of them are the kind who would probably like to keep certain crimes of the U.S. military a secret. We see on the list a former ambassador of the U.S. to the state of Israel who favored U.S. military aid to them and the moving of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem; an agent of CIA torture; a national security adviser to former Vice President Joe Biden; and a member of the National Council of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the notorious anti-Palestine government lobbying group.
The DNC would surely have us all believe the fairy tale that Others, such as Palestinian suicide attackers, the governments of Russia and China, and an Australian publisher who is said to have “stolen” information are always about to attack “us,” when we have done nothing wrong and are simply seeking peace. Like the Republican Party establishment, the Democratic Party establishment wants us to peer outward from Fortress America at the scary and different Others overseas, instead of looking at the greedy bosses who dominate our country.
Lest the actions of Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange lead to prosecution of the second George Bush for his grave breach of the Geneva Conventions under the federal War Crimes Act, the Democratic Party with the DNC at its helm will no doubt fulfill its function of blocking justice for these two truth seekers, of preventing Julian Assange’s freedom, and of chipping away at Our “right to know.”
Misery: Steal from the Poor and Give to the Rich
Finally, looking at the sort of standing committee members who might have an impact on economic policies, it is obvious that they will continue to promote the violence of classism and the parasite-like transfer of wealth that were perpetrated by the Obama administration. Such members include the notorious John Podesta, who is on the board of directors of CAP, and who sent an email in 2016 in which he said that Senator Sanders needed to be “ground to a pulp”; a probable Trump insider who is a former congressman on the board of directors of a bank that is a “go-to lender for President Donald Trump’s family”; an organizer of a super PAC funded by crony-capitalism banks like Goldman Sachs and brutal multinational corporations; a blocker of action on climate change; a senior adviser for the super PAC named “Ready for Hillary” and her 2016 campaign; a superdelegate who protected the health insurance industry against progressive reforms and scared people away from the New Deal-style democratic socialism of Senator Bernie Sanders by painting it as a Venezuela-style economic disaster waiting-to-happen (as if no Americans caused Venezuelans any economic suffering); and a superdelegate who was a senior adviser for Mike Bloomberg’s presidential campaign.
These dirty DNC committee members are effectively pushing us toward the precipice of irreversible climate change and nuclear winter. By being silent about our endless wars, by not asserting our right to freedom of the press (a liberal cause par excellence), and by indirectly contributing to the empowerment of the unstable megalomaniac Trump by choosing the lackluster, liar, brain-drained, and sure-to-lose Joe Biden as his challenger instead of letting Americans decide who they want—none of those wrongs will be forgotten.
And so at last, it should be clear to everyone that the DNC’s standing committees, composed as they are by the members that DNC chair Tom Perez nominated( for the 2020 Democratic National Convention, are not going to give us the leadership that we need. Anyone who knows what time of day it is can see that we need new priorities. Donald Trump promised “America first,” and in some ways, he delivered on that selfish promise. But human cooperation on a global scale is necessary now more than ever. This is not a time for blind chauvinism.
We should recall those noble words from the Declaration of Independence that we hold close to our hearts, words that Americans have heard over and over again throughout our lives, that many have recited before—the words that the former Vice Sycophant Joe Biden forgot. Instead of delivering death, shackles, and misery to America and the rest of the world, the DNC should deliver on “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” The full sentence that Biden forgot was “we hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men [and women] are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” (Biden’s adding the words “and women” is an improvement on the original, but he did not give us the classic punch line).
Given the composition of the DNC’s standing committees, it is obvious that Sanders and Biden are not competing on a level-playing field. As a consequence, the reality is that we are headed for another Trump victory. Although the Republicans are obviously more destructive than the Democrats, the DNC’s impact may be more insidious because they present to us a fake resistance. They are not resisting Trump’s pre–fascism; they are facilitating it, just as they did four years ago. The real hope for Americans, and the billions who cannot vote in our elections and have no voice in them, lies in thousands of people, if not millions, in the streets. The non-cooperation of millions of Americans is necessary to pull us back from the doomsday cliff.
It is time for either a serious internal revolt among the members of the Democratic Party demanding reform, and/or a new system in which other parties can meaningfully participate in our elections. A new party along the lines of the #DemExit proposal of Kshama Sawant may be the first step needed to go in the latter direction. In any case, there is no need to depend on the Joe Bidens, John Podestas, and Denis McDonoughs of the world for leadership.
Thanks to Stephen Brivati for comments.