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Barkan writes: "Many voters, particularly young people, understand the time for incrementalism and moderation is long over, and ended for good when a race-baiter who empowers white supremacists and oligarchs stormed into the White House."

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is an unabashed leftist, supported by the Democratic Socialists of America and numerous progressive organizations. (photo: AP)
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is an unabashed leftist, supported by the Democratic Socialists of America and numerous progressive organizations. (photo: AP)

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Represents the Future of the Democratic Party

By Ross Barkan, Guardian UK

29 June 18

Voters have had enough of Democrats who sell out the working class in the name of moderation that only serves those with money and power

t is fitting that the earthquake victory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez over one of the most powerful Democrats in the country came sandwiched between two catastrophic US supreme court decisions. The court, shifting rightward with Donald Trump’s Neil Gorsuch, defended a travel ban on people from Muslim-majority nations and chose to devastate labor unions with its decision on Wednesday

Many voters, particularly young people, understand the time for incrementalism and moderation is long over, and ended for good when a race-baiter who empowers white supremacists and oligarchs stormed into the White House.

It ended with the kids in cages, the attacks on immigrants and all people of color.

Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old former Bernie Sanders organizer, crushed Joe Crowley, the number four-ranked Democrat in the House, on Tuesday night. Crowley was widely viewed as a possible successor to Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader.

Not only was Crowley a Washington power broker, but he was one of the most influential Democrats in New York state, controlling the Democratic party in his home borough of Queens and directing much of the internal Democratic politics of New York City. Other than Ocasio-Cortez, almost no Democrat would dare rebuke Crowley publicly.

In retrospect, Crowley as a future speaker was a laughable proposition. Ocasio-Cortez represents the future of the Democratic party. When she breezes to victory over token Republican opposition in November, she will be the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. She is a Latina in a majority minority district that Crowley, who is white and raises his family in Virginia, never truly represented.

Just as important, Ocasio-Cortez is an unabashed leftist, supported by the Democratic Socialists of America and numerous progressive organizations. She ran on a platform of Medicare for All, abolishing Ice and a federal jobs guarantee. She was unafraid of calling out corporatism and capitalism.

I count myself a proud supporter. Her election was truly grassroots driven. She was Crowley’s first opponent in 14 years. Voters were longing for a choice and Ocasio-Cortez offered, by far, the best one.

What the institutional Democrats who closed ranks around Crowley until his dying breath can’t understand is that there is no place, any more, for action to not match rhetoric. Not any more. You can’t wave the progressive flag, as Crowley had begun to, and vote for the Iraq war, the Patriot Act, and take gobs of cash from Wall Street.

You don’t get to do both. You don’t get to be the Democrat who sells out the working class in the name of a mythical idea of moderation that only serves those with money and power.

Republicans, especially the foot soldiers of the far right, long understood politics is simply a struggle of leverage and power, a zero-sum war where winners set the agenda and losers wail from the sidelines. Republicans run the country. They are the reason so many states are hell-bent on gutting unions and ending the social safety net as we know it.

Lives are literally on the line. Democrats like Ocasio-Cortez comprehend this. They aren’t going to Washington to compromise, to shake hands with an enemy that would prefer to kick the working class, the poor, and people of color to the gutter and leave them there.

Voters are ready for politicians who will speak to the hopes that they have and offer solutions that aren’t meaningless, that aren’t focus-grouped bromides spit out by consultants pulling in a half-million a year who never knew what it was like to work as a waitress or a bartender, as Ocasio-Cortez had done for years.

National Democrats will understand, perhaps, that it was a mistake to ever consider anointing Crowley, who merely represented a “new” generation because he was younger than Pelosi, who at least had the sense to oppose the Iraq war. Ocasio-Cortez is not a hero because she is young: she is a hero because of her ideas, vision, and courage.

It was Bernie Sanders, a senior citizen, who began this movement, and it will be all of those – of all ages and races and ethnicities – who battle for a politics that serves the most vulnerable among us. The 2020 presidential candidates (will Sanders be among them?) will adjust accordingly.

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+3 # Moxa 2018-06-29 14:08
Let us PRAY that Sanders will be among them. He is arguably the only one who can win. He is the only one that has earned our vote. He is the only true progressive in the whole lot of them. He is the only one with a truly revolutionary vision for this country. I think short of a Bernie presidency the country has very little hope in the foreseeable future. Bernie 2020!
+4 # librarian1984 2018-06-29 14:28
The establishment will try to say Ocasio-Cortez won because of demographics -- but she won because she has a vision for a better country, something Hillary and the establishment don't seem able to muster.

This isn't about age or even race. It's a chance for ALL decent people who love this country to kick out our corrupt politicians.

I've already seen Democrats and Republicans trying to discount Ocasio-Cortez, but that isn't going to work. She is fantastic, convincingly speaking truth to power.

Beginning of the end for neoliberals. Buh-bye.
+2 # DudeistPriest 2018-06-29 15:25
As a Socialist for over 40 years, I can only hope that Ocasio-Cortez is successful, but as a realist i have my doubts. The US has been in open opposition to Socialism since the end of the 19th century, and has never hesitated to use whatever means necessary to shut it down. She certainly has her work cut out for her. She's young, inexperienced and naive and she's walking into a lion's den.
+3 # kyzipster 2018-06-30 01:59
IMO, all we need to do is start calling it a Labor Movement and the controversy will go away, we don't have to change a thing about the agenda. Labor challenging the establishment has a long, successful history in this country. People need to remember. Yes, there was much resistance but there was also much change.

I don't think the younger generation is scared off by 'socialism' so much. They seem genuinely curious and associate it with Scandinavia instead of Soviet gulags like my generation.
+2 # librarian1984 2018-06-30 10:54
Last night Bill Maher said 'Ocasio-Cortez calls herself a democratic socialist but she knows that could be problematic, so she's going to drop the word 'democrat''.

I agree. The agenda is fine. If we call this an economic or labor movement it can appeal across race, gender and religious lines. Everyone is hurting economically, and we ALL need healthcare.

I think even oligarchs know this is coming. They just want to delay it as long as possible. We need to make them find giving us things is less painful than dealing with us. The history of the labor movement shows that general strikes, work slowdowns, passive resistance, etc are very effective.

Chris Hedges says we can accomplish anything if 2% of the populace openly resists.
+1 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-07-01 07:38
I saw a youtube of Ocasio-Cortez on Coldbert. He has condescending and avoided at all costs talking about the issues that gave her a win. He only wanted to talk about how she beat the polls.

"I think even oligarchs know this is coming." This is the problem. In most 3rd world nations, the oligarchs with US support are inflexible and resort to violence to crush change. But in the US they follow the policy of "bend but don't break." They were able to assimilate Obama and co-opt whatever desire for change he stimulated. The turned support for Obama the reformer into support for the troops, America first, and support for the cult of Obama.

The American oligarchs will make concessions and give things to the working class that they hate. But they won't give up control of the nation.

I think it is really telling that Hedges is now mostly published on websites and media coming out of Russia. He's too extreme for even the left in American independent media. Take this one from RussiaInsider:

America Shows Many Signs of Impending, Catastrophic Collapse - a Pulitzer Prize Winner Explains

The left has drifted so far to the right that it is slowly disowning Hedges.
+1 # librarian1984 2018-07-01 12:23
Well said.

Hey, remember when the billions we'd paid for our bloated intel agencies finally paid off when they warned US about the impending collapse of the Soviet Union?

Yeah, me neither.

We all know one of the reasons they collapsed was military spending, not least the war Afghanistan. We've been there 17 years now and still pay 90% of their security costs.

No one EVER talks about decreasing military spending, even though the majority of Americans want to. On the contrary, Congress and Trump kept one-upping each other to see who could increase their budget the most. I wish they'd fight like over our schools.

YESTERDAY I saw two congressmen say we're not spending nearly enough! The catch phrase right now is that we have a 'readiness crisis'. They're spinning recent collisions and accidents to say they need more $$. Agile.

A few months ago Putin hinted at weapons Russia's developed that the US can't counter. I think that was a strategic lie, meant to have us spending even more. I'm sure it worked.

But where's the Pentagon audit? When did we last win a war? Are we really going to watch people starve while we increase the military?

People here should not be so hostile to Russia. We'll want to get friendly tips when we follow them into militaristic oblivion.
+2 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-06-30 09:05
Change is slow. But it is very clear that the neo-liberal programs that dominate world economics and politics are a death spiral and cannot last forever. The neo-liberal politicians, think tanks, and corporations have all the money in the world and they control nearly all the media, but they are destroying billions of people's lives. We are moving toward a tipping point at which all the money in the world won't matter. People will choose to vote for a horror like Trump over the overtly neo-liberal Hillary. She won in the wealthy urban areas that are suffering less from her policies, but that was not enough.

I've been a committed socialist, too, for almost as long. We've not lived through a good phase in history, but history is on our side. All economies are mixed. We are arguing about the relative percentages of private versus public parts of the economy. The pendulum in the world has swung way too far to the private side. It is swinging back to the public/socialis t side.
+2 # DudeistPriest 2018-06-29 15:28
Oops, make that 50 years. I first joined SDS in 1967.
+2 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-06-29 20:40
Let's hope she is the future of the democratic party.

This is a depressing analogy but I think it is accurate. We saw very clearly how reformers in the republican party -- the Teaparty -- won many congressional seats and formed the "freedom caucus" in congress. This is what needs to happen with genuine democratic socialists in the democratic party.

The Freedom Caucus is strongly against the establishment republicans who are closer to establishment democrats. They pushed out Boehner. Democratic socialists need to do the same on their side.

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