What is missing in Vanden Heuvel’s analysis is the imperative of popular action at the local and national level. Vocal support outside the halls of Congress, history tells us, complements the Biden-Democratic legislative initiatives and bills inside the House and Senate. Biden, Bernie, and Pelosi need the leverage of millions on the street to rein in their own caucus, defeat GOP opposition, and pass legislation that is game changing – a break from neoliberal economics and Trumpian politics. Nothing is more important at this moment. All eyes and energies – people and social movements – should be trained on this Congressional battle.

What do you think

I can’t quite understand why the coalition of organizations and people that elected Biden are not doing more to acquaint and win the support of the American people for Biden’s domestic agenda in general and the American Jobs Plan in particular. One would think that progressives and the left would be all over this, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. I have some thoughts as to why, but I will leave that for some other post. What do you think?

Itching to fight

It’s a curious thing that, while Republicans see the American Jobs Plan as “transformational,” deserving of sustained opposition and a crushing and dispiriting defeat, not all in the coalition that elected Biden seem to appreciate the scale and scope of this bill and the imperative of its passage. When the Republicans say it is “transformational,” for once they speak the truth. We should understand the bill that way too, and thus deserving of our practical attention and action too.

Or, to put it differently, if you are itching to fight neoliberalism, join the effort to pass this bill.

Main site of struggle

Shouldn’t write off legal remedies to end voter suppression, but the main site of struggle is legislative. But it can’t be left to Congress or state legislatures to decide the fate of voting rights legislation. Democratic minded people have to intervene and leave their stamp on this struggle that has such a high gravitational pull. End of the summer actions in Washington or cities and towns around the country would seem imperative. Delay is the ally of our enemy on the extreme right.

Obviously that decision isn’t mine to make. It will be decided elsewhere – mainly at the leadership levels of the diverse organizations that were instrumental in electing Biden-Harris and Congressional Democrats last year.

Economic reductionism

Here’s Engels letter to Bloch in which he makes a case against economic reductionism, at least, in the “first instance.” E.P. Thompson, by no means an economic determinist and in a reply to (or polemic against) Louis Althusser, a French Marxist, said that the economic factor is present not only in the last instance, but in every instance and the role of historians is to uncover how and to what degree. Thompson, it should be said, thought highly of Engels, who in letters at the end of his life, addressed and challenged dogmatic interpretations of the writings of Marx and himself. In the wake of the lively, at times contentious, debate over the rise and fall of Trump, Engels observations/letters when he was an old man, are worth reading (or reading again).

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