Politics is concrete

To say that you are for a cross class, all peoples coalition to defeat the existential menace of white nationalist, plutocratic authoritarianism, while at the same time remaining in practice at arm’s length from the many positive initiatives of the Biden administration reveals a failure to understand the “concrete” strategic and tactical requirements of this moment if we hope to advance democracy, social progress, and humanity’s future – not to mention win next year’s midterm elections.

Sober look

One thing I learned in politics – and it took a while – is the importance of taking a sober and objective look at what people are thinking and what they are ready to do. I would sometimes say in meetings of the Communist Party that it didn’t really matter what we think or are ready to do. What matters, I would argue, is what others are thinking and prepared to do. There was some overstatement and one sideness on my part here.

But I thought it was necessary at the time in order to counter the ingrained habit in our ranks of constructing demands and slogans out of wishful thinking and ideological zeal. Or to frame it a little differently, it was a response to the idea embedded in our political culture that the level of radicalization of the working class and the trend line of the class struggle, no matter the political and economic conjuncture, are uninterruptedly upward and only await a leadership and a political appeal that correspond with this rising radicalization.

This shouldn’t be understood as an argument for passivity or retreat necessarily. Only an insistence that political realism should be coupled with radicalism at every stage of struggle. And in today’s circumstances in which the dangers are existential and the opportunities for advance palpable, such a political methodology is all the more imperative.

Grandstanding or renewed commitment

Biden and Congressional Democrats, like it or not, will have to make some hard spending decisions as it appears that Manchin, Sinema, and a few others are dug in in their opposition to the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill. How to do this in a way that maintains the unity of Democrats and the larger coalition that elected Biden will be a challenge.

Hopefully we won’t see a lot of posturing and grandstanding from leaders and activists that militantly, but, in the end opportunistically, insist that the full package could have been won. A far better response would be a renewed commitment to win larger Democratic Congressional majorities in next year’s elections and an acknowledgement that the coalition that elected Biden – not least the left broadly defined – stood largely on the sidelines during this struggle.

Religious liberty

Under the banner of “religious liberty,” christian/evangelical nationalists do a lot of “unchristian” things. They have become a ruthless opponent of a secular, democratic, and egalitarian state. This term the Supreme Court will make decisions that could well expand the “rights” and facilitate the aims of this very undemocratic political bloc in the language of, you guessed it, “religious liberty.”

Factually wrong, politically counterproductive

The suggestion that the progressive/left wing in the Democratic Party is the “Squad,” plus Bernie and a couple of other Congressional Democrats is factually wrong and politically counterproductive. It’s small circle thinking – a mode of thinking that still is found on the left even though reality doesn’t treat it kindly.

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