What is Wrong with the American Left?

If you are (choose your mainstream American pejorative) liberal, progressive, socialist, where do you sign up to join a movement that is working hard and effectively to make change in a violently divided USA? This is not a problem on the right, even actual American Nazis have a clear list of well-known mainstream outfits to join, ideologically pure and nonjudgmentally welcoming, many with a virtual guarantee of a good paying job in the future. The Democratic Party is not a party of the left, however many times the “radical left” tag is repeated by the Loser-in-Chief and his lackeys.

The problematic Democratic party is not the subject of my question, but a word is in order, since I mentioned them. As a party they are famously spineless, their “opposition” always nuanced and cautious, always tacking to the “center-right”, their leaders are the iron-willed vote counting supporters of a slightly less horrible version of the status quo than the one embraced by their wealthy counterparts in the no holds barred Party of Lincoln. The popular (and hated) Bill Clinton was one of the genius architects of this move to the “center, the rebranding of the Democratic party into the socially progressive, fiscally conservative, large-tent neoliberal party of prosperity (for the investor class). Clinton was called, based on the influential laws he signed, the greatest Republican president of the twentieth century, and truly.

Worse than the party’s sly shuffle toward the political right, Democrats are prone to lynching their own, you can ask Al Franken about that. They are famous for knitting their brows and forming “circular firing squads” when the going gets tough. Faithful Nazis, on the other hand, are diehards who continue marching forward into the storm of bullets, no matter what the odds against them. Fuck them all, a pox on both of their stinking houses.

That said, there is, sadly, no choice at election time — a person on the left simply can’t vote for the party of the radical right. And voting for one party or the other, as we’ve seen over and over, is essential for preventing the very worst of us from ruling the rest. As Medhi Hassan said the other day: the far left in this country are calling for health care for everyone, the far right are Nazis.

My question remains. For someone on the left, for a person longing to work to see an actual reckoning with American injustice, the unaddressed racism, the institutionalized poverty, the utter disregard for the lives of most of our citizens, you can search the internet long and hard and find a scattering of small organizations you might join, hoping to find a large group of people who feel exactly the same way you do. Most of these outfits seem to only allow you to make a monetary donation to your favorite of their projects, that’s it for options for active participation.

If you are on the extreme right of the political spectrum, just click Republican. Done! Join the 73,000,000 and counting who again voted for your candidate, the greatest, most pious president in the history of white Christendom. A word from him (breaking his public silence since losing the election):

Truer words were never spoken by our president — he guesses right, time will tell.

Back to my original question — how to join our voices to millions of others who clearly feel much the way we do, to make real change, effectively influence our government’s policies directly and forget about hoping that politicians will do the right thing once elected.

It does not seem like an outrageous idea, to take one obvious example, to use some of that trillion dollars (literally $1,000,000,000,000) that America’s 614 billionaires have made so far during the pandemic to protect Americans at risk of death from the pandemic. A trillion or so would go a long way toward ensuring that masks and tests are available everywhere, that fewer Americans die, or merely become homeless, that millions fewer sink into poverty, that the US doesn’t continue to lead the world in out of control COVID infection and death rates. Unthinkable! To suggest something like this radical, confiscatory redistribution of legally earned wealth marks an American citizen as a murderous Stalinist Maoist intent on destroying our sacred way of life!

It’s clear that the Republican party literally doesn’t care how many Americans die of COVID-19. Senate (narrow) Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has blocked a debate on the pandemic relief bill the House prepared months ago, as he blocked countless bills and nominations while lustily hogtying President Obama.

There will be no discussion of preventing mass death, mass homelessness, mass suffering, McConnell announced grimly, until we appoint a 6th Federalist on the 9 vote Supreme Court and then recess, then come back to fight the indisputable election results for as long as possible in hopes of finally overturning this democracy argle-bargle once and for all time.

We will never know how many Americans suffered horribly and died deaths that could have been prevented if the federal government had acted in a responsible way, if it had shown the slightest concern for the safety and lives of its citizens. I have a feeling, looking at the sharp vertical rise on the US COVID graphs since early voting started, that thousands died needlessly because Republicans fought to limit absentee voting and millions were forced to expose themselves to infection in order to vote in person.

If you are a conservative, in college now, you can compete for a scholarship at a place like the Institute for Humane Studies, a Charles Koch-network financed echo-chamber for the amplification and legitimization of destructive, wildly insane ideas, a “think tank” as such places are called. Do well there and the world is your oyster. If you come from a comfortably affluent home, you could be the next Brett Kavanaugh– go to the right schools, join the right society in law school (Federalist), demonstrate your partisanship over and over, work diligently for extreme partisan judges and politicians, tirelessly serve the interests of the corporations (and the religious right, that helps) — and, sky’s the limit, little buddy.

There is nothing remotely analogous to this organized network of influence and advancement on the left.

I am a big admirer, and supporter, of Amy Goodman and Democracy Now! One of her proteges, Jeremy Scahill, has done some crucial investigative reporting and is the author of several excellent books, including Dirty Wars, detailing the multiple clandestine wars the US is fighting, the presidential kill list, the extrajudicial use of drone launched missiles to eliminate enemies on several continents. Scahill and others founded a news organization, dedicated to reporting that takes the fight to the powerful and unaccountable, called The Intercept. He had an excellent podcast called Intercepted that I listened to every week along with an equally great one called Deconstructed, hosted by Medhi Hassan.

In the fearful lead-up to the election, poor Sekhnet was wracked with the terrors of PTSD. She was reliving the horror surprise of the 2016 election, daily, hourly (she alone was not surprised by the result in 2016, she reminds me– though horrified and traumatized she also was). One evening right before the election she was beside herself because one of the founders of The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald, had angrily resigned, citing gross censorship at the left-leaning news outlet. This was going to be a huge story on FOX, she predicted.

Greenwald had written a piece that included the possibility that there might actually be a newsworthy story, unflattering to Joe Biden, behind the Hunter Biden laptop that Giuliani announced finding, a purported treasure trove of dirt on Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. Greenwald published his correspondence with an Intercept editor who suggested he cut some of the article, and made a principled declaration, a couple of days before the election, that he would not submit to pro-Biden censorship at the news outlet he had co-founded. Greenwald lives in Brazil, where his lover, a Brazilian politician, is a target of the authoritarian Jair Bolsonaro. He seems to have limited patience for left-wing handwringing in the USA over an article that might hurt Joe Biden’s electoral chances, in however small a way.

To be sure, there are problems with Biden, from the left, many problems. On the other hand, is amplifying unsubstantiated rumors started by Rudolph Giuliani and promoted fleetingly by Rupert Murdoch, on the eve of a momentous election, the best use of your freedom of the the non-corporate press? I don’t want to take sides and, frankly, I don’t give a shit who is right or wrong in this particular dispute. Greenwald could well be the asshole, the Intercept editorial board could well be the assholes.

The point is, the fucking left is busy arguing over who is doing the most to serve the greater good, while every Nazi-admirer in the US is nodding in approval as Mr. Trump mumbles incoherently about not submitting to an unfair, illegal coup d’etat and guys like McConnell and Graham are doing their level best to pull off a miracle and get several state legislatures to flip their election results and give the presidency to the candidate who clearly lost. Can you honestly not tell me who the bigger assholes are?

If you are burned by the injustice we see all around us, where do you sign up? I am asking a very serious question, brothers and sisters.

My best, and only, current ideas for giving us at least a shot at democratic government for the next few years:

For Georgia volunteering opportunities see: Focus 2020 Volunteer Recommendations

Also, from another group devoted to ensuring a functioning Senate:

Dear Tinicum Together Postcard Writing Friends,

You changed the course of history through your postcard writing. You are among 600 Tinicum Together postcard writers from 32 states who wrote approximately 75,000 postcards to Democrats in Erie and Bucks counties. You secured Bucks, a Democrat-leaning county and you flipped Erie, a pivot county that had voted Obama, Obama, Trump.  Many of you shared with us your joy and pride seeing Erie move to blue when the results came in.  You helped flip Erie one postcard at a time, one voter at a time.

We are working with the Democratic Party of Georgia and the leadership of the Democratic Committees in Douglas, Paulding, Carroll and Cobb Counties in Georgia to bring our personal postcard writing to the Ossoff and Warnock US Senate runoff campaigns to be held on January 5. The Georgia Democratic organizers have created postcard messages to meet the needs of their communities.

We need your postcard writing energy and financial support for this next critical postcard writing campaign. Inspiring Georgia voters to elect these US Senate candidates will help protect health care, women’s rights, and the planet.

We estimate we will need $25,000 to purchase pre-stamped postcards and envelopes, duplicate informational materials, and mail packets to our volunteers. Please ask friends to join you in donating in one of two ways: please use VENMO (@Tinicum-Together) or send checks made out to Tinicum Together to POB 61, Erwinna, PA 18920

The COVID-19 pandemic makes door-to-door canvassing dangerous. Voters delete unwanted emails, screen phone calls, and discard printed campaign materials but they savor your handwritten postcards personally written to them.  Please ask friends to participate in this effort and let us know how many postcards and names/addresses you would like us to send to you. We will begin to mail the packets by the end of the week.

Also, please donate to Stacy Abrams’ organization Fair Fight

(https://fairfight.com/), which is responsible for registering 800,000 new voters and the Biden/Harris success in Georgia, and to the Jon Ossoff (https://electjon.com/) and Raphael Warnock (https://warnockforgeorgia.com/) US Senate campaigns.

With all best wishes and hope for the future,

Tinicum Together, Mindy Engle-Friedman, Triste Longcore, Ros Cahill, Karen Budd, Mary Pucci,

POB 61 Erwinna, PA 18920 tinicumtogether@gmail.com


Here are some other ways you can help in the Georgia runoff:

Donate. Both Block Power and Voter Participation Center are nonprofit, non-partisan 501(c)3s so . . . on top of giving by check, credit card, or stocks, you can also give through a DAF, charitable fund, or family foundation.
Block Power: (tax deductible option, 4 preferred) Click Here

The Voter Participation Center: (tax deductible) Click Here

Ossoff Campaign: (not tax-deductible up to $2,800 per individual) Click Here

Ossoff Victory Fund: (not tax-deductible up to $10,000 ): Click Here

For Georgia volunteering opportunities see:

Focus 2020 Volunteer Recommendations

Talking Points from the activist/organizers who compiled this list Inviting others to participate (from the Rev. Raphael Warnock Zoom session)t:

Congratulations to us all…but there is no rest for the weary! As you know, we are immediately turning our community’s attention to the GA runoffs! Who would have thought that clinching the Senate for the Democrats would come down to exactly 2 Senate seats, in Georgia, in a runoff!But that’s where we’re at and we have to meet the moment. This dream is in sight. 
Here is our plan: Since so much money is going to pour into the “usual suspects” – Ossoff and Warnock’s actual campaigns, and other known strategies, what we are doing, which has always been our MO, is presenting our community with smart, researched, and cost-effective strategies with a huge value proposition that, but for our community’s funding, would be underfunded and undiscovered. That way, we know we’re being additive.
You will have the opportunity to meet Reverend Warnock and hear our recommendations.

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