What are we to make of a Democratic Party that has embraces an election strategy that includes demobilizing the majority working-class non-Republican electorate; legitimizing right-wing agendas and narratives; seeks bipartisan cooperation with right-wing politicians such as Liz Cheney; refuses to attack archaic minority rule institutions including the Electoral College and the Senate filibuster; repeatedly backs down from hauling Donald Trump into court and funds far-right Republican candidates in this year’s primary elections, repeating the disastrous Hillary Clinton campaign’s “Pied Piper” ploy of promoting the supposedly “more beatable” Trump in the 2016 Republican presidential primaries?
If Democrats threw out the filibuster today and rapidly passed legislation over the next 8 months as if they gave a damn — as if they were, oh, I don’t know, the Supreme Court — and if they put just what they’re increasing the military budget by into their Build Back Better bill, if they put through with majority votes just those items they were elected on that are favored by significant majorities in the country, they’d have done enough by 6 months from now to not lose those elections. And if they kept going, they’d need never lose an election again. The whole premise of keeping the filibuster around to restrain the Republicans is the plan to go on sucking badly for 6 more months in order to lose — combined with the delusion that Republicans are going to be restrained by something that THEY can and will choose to throw out. The Republicans will certainly plan on never losing an election again. Any elections they can’t win or rig, they can ask the Supreme Court to fix up for them — and hire Al Gore to explain to us that we should sit back and take it.
In front of us, something is unfolding that we don’t want to properly see, but that we subconsciously recognize. The warning signs for a fascist crackdown in America have been here for years, if not decades. It’s now that they’ve become too big for much of this country’s complacent left to ignore. We’re accelerating towards a level of direness which people living under fascism so often can’t perceive at first, until the reality of their situation has finished creeping up onto them. By George Jackson’s definition of fascism, which is when capitalism forcibly maintains itself through reform, we’ve already been living under fascism for generations. With the Supreme Court’s decision and its ramifications, this is becoming more visible to more people.
The overturning of the landmark Roe v Wade case providing federal protection for a woman’s right to choose is both appalling and enraging. Now, several conservative states have already begun outlawing abortion rights. It is undeniable that women’s rights have taken an enormous blow, and the effect will have repercussions around the world.
The leaked majority draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, which suggests the Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, returning the question of abortion to the states, is part of a broader assault against women.
In the midst of the threat of Roe V. Wade being overturned, and abortion being automatically banned in 13 states within the next two months, the calls from liberals to vote come across as totally vapid. This is because over the last several decades, we’ve seen dozens of times what happens whenever Democrats become the dominant party: they fail both due to their own lack of principles, and due to the reactionary nature of America’s political structures. Because of this, the paradigm is pushed further towards fascism regardless of which party is in charge. In the present moment, where U.S. hegemony is in decline and capitalism is the most unstable it’s ever been, this dynamic is intensifying.
Author’s note: this essay is an updated and expanded upon version of one published in May of this year.
There was a part of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, that is perhaps the most unsettling to me. The protagonist, Offred, is walking past the notorious Wall in the Republic of Gilead. This Wall, once part of a prestigious university in Cambridge Massachusetts, is now being used as a place of public execution, where corpses are left hanging for days to send a message of compliance and terror to the citizens of this authoritarian, theocratic state. Defy “God’s law” and you will suffer the punishment for doing so.
On Feb. 28, the Senate voted on the Women’s Health Protection Act, defeating the bill in a 46-48 vote. The WHPA, a landmark bill that would have enshrined the right to abortion access throughout the United States, narrowly passed by the House of Representatives in Sept. 2021; on Feb. 17, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced he was bringing it to a vote in the Senate, where it appeared unlikely to pass.
Sixty percent of the U.S. populace backs Roe v. Wade and just 27 percent back its undoing even as the nation’s right-wing Supreme Court is strongly predisposed to reverse the decision by next summer. Where is the call for millions in the streets to defend women’s right to control their bodies over and against this anti-democratic outrage? Where is the uprising against a government structure and social order that permits this and numerous other forms of authoritarian insanity? It’s shocking to hear liberal talking heads say (basically) “oh well there goes Roe v. Wade for a generation, until we can get the votes and a better court back some day.” Are these shrugging accommodationists aware that the nation’s right-wing Minority Rule party is actively and effectively working (in the name of “stop the steal”) to permanently suppress and nullify votes and elections and policies that don’t go their patriarchal, white-nationalist way? How do they not understand that, as the leading feminist and communist Sunsara Taylor notes: Continue reading →
Political physical violence and the threat and capacity to use such violence, enforce ruling class power and other and related forms of domination and oppression. Ideological indoctrination and informational bias to “manufacture consent” matter a great deal of course, but we should not forget the significant role of force.