Into a coffin

It is hard not to worry that the report on inflation will become the nail of Manchin and Sinema to put the Build Back Better (human infrastructure) bill into a coffin never to be seen again.

Meanwhile, the Republicans and the whole right wing, racist authoritarian network in no surprise will pound away on the Biden administration for the inflationary pressures, most of which are connected to the economic disruption caused by the pandemic.

Uncle Leo

Hats off to my favorite uncle and WW II vet, Leo Woodside. Uncle Leo was a Navy man and served in the Pacific for most of the war. He was my mother’s older brother who along with my grandmother jumped into the breech when my mother suddenly died for which I will be forever grateful.

I remember him proudly marching with other vets on Memorial Day and receiving applause from people lining the sidewalk in our small town in Maine. For young and old, and especially the vets, it was a festive and solemn occasion, complete with the playing of taps and a gun salute. For me and my friends, not yet teenagers, it was also an opportunity for us to weave our bikes in and out of the parade and enjoy ice cream and candy.

Changing perceptions

A big challenge in the coming two years is to convince people that the future of democracy, as we know it, will likely hang on the outcome of next year’s midterm elections and the presidential elections two years later. The existential threat to democracy posed by Republican rule may seem evident to you, but it isn’t in my experience evident to lots of other voters – tens of millions I’m afraid. They don’t necessarily see the existential threat to democratic governance and democratic rights were Trump and gang back in the driver’s seat.

How to change their perception isn’t so simple however. But I know one thing for sure. It won’t happen if Congressional Republicans, along with the help of Manchin, Sinema, and a few other Democrats, are able to block the main legislative initiatives of the Biden administration.

Linking one with the other

The interesting thing in the Economic Policy Institute report is that the surge in strike activity this fall is a continuation – perhaps on a new level – of a trend that began in 2018. No less interesting is the challenge to link this strike surge with struggles in the political/electoral arena is a first class challenge. The energy of one would amplify the energy of the other. It seems to me that the leadership of the AFL-CIO is positioned to play a special role in this regard.

No pissing contest

In recent years people on the left have used the terms fascism or authoritarianism (with some adjectives – racist, white nationalist, plutocratic , right wing, anti-democratic, etc. – affixed to the latter) to describe and analyze the rise of Trump and the Trumpist movement. I have no problem with either designation, although I prefer for the moment anyway, “authoritarianism.”

In any case, I don’t see the value of getting into a pissing contest over which term captures today’s realities best. Both have their merits, including that they are class based, aware of the imperative of anti-racist unity, and mindful that so much hangs on the outcome of the next two elections cycles. Of far more importance would be a concrete (not abstract) discussion on what is the class and social composition of the coalition fighting Trump and the Trumpist movement.  Where does the Biden administration and its agenda fit into this coalition? The Democratic Party? What is the specific role of progressives, the left, social justice activists within this coalition? What are the main and common tasks of this coalition at this moment?

Share This