Stop Blaming Progressives For Right Wing Corporatism

Photograph Source: Lorie Shaull – CC BY 2.0

If I have caused confusion by my left bashing then I do apologize. I want to make a very specific argument that is in support of left-wing ideas. The problem I’m having with much of the anti-Marxist, pro-Trump left is that they really are quite Stalinist in their obsession with owning progressives and it’s causing damage to whatever the left is supposed to be.

I am finding it really hard to believe that it’s the progressive Democrats who are to blame for the botched Build Back Better negotiations. I am wondering who on earth could be making such an argument in good faith. It’s very similar to the Force The Vote episode by Jimmy Dore and co.

While I am more than open to a critique of progressives from the left it seems to me a fundamentally right-wing to hold them responsible for the problems in Washington right now.

The first thing to note is that there aren’t many of them there. If the left really feels so betrayed then it will be easy to get them out the door. Corporate money and gerrymandering is already ready to do that and likely will. All of this with no support from either corporate party, who operate as one party teaming up against the progressives.

Even death threats by Republicans towards progressive Democrats don’t inspire corporate Democrats to do anything. A violent insurrection planned by the Republican Establishment doesn’t rile up the corporate Democrats or Trumpenleft. They blame the progressives and cast establishment Republicans as revolutionary Avant- grade. It’s so upside down.

On top of that what do people want or expect out of progressive Democrats? For anything to happen there has to be a mass movement on the ground or a far far greater number of progressives in the government. What is the point of piling on to progressive Democrats?

My theory is that many of the leading grifters are corporate themselves and chasing the dollar bills and clicks. Many of their followers may be more benign. They may simply believe that the Democrats, not the people, will bring the changes we need.

I disagree with this and I don’t see how dunking on the progressives would bring these changes either. Yes, they could hold out more but unlike President Biden or the corporate duopoly, they don’t have the power in Washington. Why not criticize the people in power? It might not be as edgy but it’s a lot more relevant.

There are a few progressives in Washington now. I don’t think it changes much but I’m not going to spend my days trying to test to see if they are really leftists or not. These sorts of purity tests always smell fishy. Why sow distrust unless you want the left to fail?

I am more interested in seeing which progressives could be persuaded to socialism as the only solution to so-called neoliberalism. I don’t think this will come from the Democratic Party. Right now the main priority of voters is electability as Democrats give away democracy to the fascist Republicans. With a left who is so focused on eating its own, who could blame them for being skeptical?

Perhaps I am doing the same thing, right here and right now. Maybe it’s just frustrating that we have so little power and they have so much. Perhaps that’s why at times I’ve gone against myself to defend the Trumpenleft to those who can only see them as bad faith sellouts. Perhaps all of that was in vain.

It may be most true that there is too little good news to be too critical of anything good. While the progressives may be ineffective I see their critics as even worse because their aim usually seems to be just to discredit the people they wrongly put hope in as a matter of spite. This hurts working people and the left should be more mature than this or it risks losing what credibility it has.

Of course the left I may be talking about here is not the left on the ground, either. That may be the most important lesson about living in the real world. None of this can be settled without organization and cooperation. We need each other now more than ever.

Nick Pemberton writes and works from Saint Paul, Minnesota. He loves to receive feedback at