Trump shows leadership, Clinton clings to cash

The door in Trump's wall can't match this.

The door in Trump’s wall can’t match this.

Leadership is bringing people somewhere they would otherwise not go absent your leadership. The Donald Trump base simply would not go beyond a racial, nationalist, deportation rage unless Trump himself dragged them there. We thus see the first evidence of Donald Trump acting presidential.

Trump’s recent loud, openly meandered “softening” on immigration comes as he co-opted the hardest core anti-immigrant Brietbart alt-right at the very top of his campaign. Just imagine the conversation (argument from hell?) between Steve Bannon and Trump the last few days, as the softening softened. What’s Bannon gonna do, go back to his stupid blog and whine about the wetbacks some more? Talk about getting Trumped. Machiavelli couldn’t do better.

In contrast, Hillary Clinton could have shown precisely the same leadership by adopting the central core of the Bernie Sanders campaign at her convention; refusing corporate money, superpacs, the entire architecture of the Clinton funding machine, and pledged to rely only on small donors. A mere sniff of the political breeze would have made that leadership mandatory. Instead, Hillary and the Clintons just can’t quit the cash. The Clinton Foundation’s reeking stench of corruption, the Goldman Sachs speech transcripts, millions of tendrils in email leaks suddenly visible, now engulf the Clinton campaign like a fog. Instead of leading, the Clintons cling to their cash cow like grim death, on live television.

Leaked photo of Bill Clinton "helping cure AIDS in Africa"

Leaked photo of Bill Clinton “helping cure AIDS in Africa”

Will Trump lose base voters who will see another “softening” on immigration as yet another betrayal? Some, perhaps a lot. Rick Perry collapsed in the 2011 GOP primary not due to the famed “oops” brain fart in a debate, but when he sounded humane on immigration.  The alt-right racialist base of the GOP piled the political corpses atop Rick Perry for years, after each attempt at the same leadership Trump is now forcing onto his own voters. Many of Trump’s hardest core base will probably just stay home and not vote, for this “softening” is the ultimate betrayal.

The gamble of course is that Trump picks up more undecideds than he loses base voters. Has Trump made himself untouchable to undecided voters in the year he’s spent proving to his base that he’s with them before he leads them? Possibly. Trump’s a salesman; he closed the deal with his base, and kept on closing it with ugliness well beyond when the sale closed. Do swing voters believe him now? Will they ever?

Trump is gifted with an opponent who is now collapsing under the weight of her own corruption. A sprinkling of leadership pixie dust could have solved Hillary’s problems, just as Trump is attempting to solve his problems with leadership. The good news for Hillary? Plenty of time to show that leadership, and cast the fog away with one blown goodbye kiss at her corrput to the core funders. Cut the cord, Hillz. Trump is taking a far greater risk with his base than Hillary would risk by kissing off the Citizens United model of her entire campaign.

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Back to school, graduating in spring; a Tim update

Leaving The Closet by force, one should never build another one. This is the story of my journey against The Next Closet, another leg of which will be my graduation from the MAGI program at CSU Spring, 2017. I write this for anyone who’s interested, including future employers, or future voters for that matter! Put the kettle on.

So I met a boy.

FreeTimesCoverJune2008UnforgivenOnce I was granted early release from probation in December, 2002, I fled to London in January, 2003 to leave it all behind and start a new life. Soon a hot summer romance with an American Labour Party student intern bloomed; totally my type. I was finally exploring my bisexuality openly for the first time, in a city I love. One day he was stepping out the front door of Labour HQ, saw me turn down Old Queen Street (¯\_(ツ)_/¯), ran to kiss me; and I broke his heart. Couldn’t kiss him in front of a place we both worked; fear seized me, and I became my conviction that instant. My New Closet’s walls appeared everywhere. Probably irrational, I know! But that’s how a criminal conviction governs you sometimes.

Came back home after my life got exploded, the first of the pattern I would not yet recognize for years. I spent a month in a nonprofit job before some jerk blew me up in March 2004, days after I signed a year long Tremont apartment lease, and a three year car lease. Thus began the Tremont Era, a years long drunken stoned blur tailspin during which I turned to writing and video online, college radio at WRUW (that glot blowed up too), clinging to the hope of something working out abroad. The blind side hits just kept coming.

I learned another lesson in that blur. Jobs, gigs, proposals, partnerships, business plans, every single hustle I stooped to for survival blowing up in my face was never really about my conviction. It was about money. People imagined losing a nickel if associated with me, a phantom paranoia that turned even friends (very close ones, too) into vicious animals toward me in the blink of an eye, whenever it suited the ghosts they conjured circling their pocketbook.

Project Whole Tim

West Bank election observation mission, 2004

West Bank election observation mission, December, 2004, still in Closet #2

Over time, this pressure of another secret (my conviction) forcing me to live two lives became too much. My crime being so minor I didn’t have to register as a sex offender just didn’t matter. No difference in the real world. I still sometimes safely navigated my old world with none the wiser, to Latvia in 2003, even into the West Bank, my last well paid international politics gig from late 2004 to early 2005. It would take Congressman Tim Ryan’s own wife calling me during the 2005 Labour Party campaign and asking me (me!) for a job to be the last straw. As I imagined myself on the cover of The Sun for a week (Labour Perv!), it became clear. This wouldn’t work. At 37 years old, I would have to start over as if I’d just been born.

So I decided, as the Kennedys might say, to hang a lantern on my problem, as painful as I knew that would be. If I kept the conviction to myself, it would blow up in my face predictably. People would hurt me, and I would hurt people I loved, just like my First Closet did. Every time I wonder if this road is the right one, I think of my London fling, who I’ve never heard from again. Maybe he finally Googled me, or maybe he just couldn’t be bothered with a hot mess who couldn’t kiss in broad daylight in the middle of London. We should have made out right there in front of Labour HQ like star crossed London lovers. Instead, I hurt him, and shouldn’t have. No More Closets.

It’s kinda working

Basically, I had a political problem, and using my skills and experience, I would proceed to solve it. Like I always did. I threw myself into that decision as I would any political campaign. PR rollout, online investigative journalism, two runs for public office, I started planting stories I knew would be hit pieces just to get that Kennedy lantern ever higher on my problem. Over the last year, I even went through the motions of attempting an expungement I knew would never happen (Judge Ambrose rejected the motion without so much as a hearing this spring). Project Whole Tim is now about 10 years old. It should be an HBO series, so many twists and turns, trials & tears, with tiny triumphs here and there.

My 2010 campaign yard sign in Tremont

My 2010 campaign yard sign in Tremont

After winning my very public battle to get into CSU, using the votes I earned countywide to fight my way in, it was like I crossed the finish line of a marathon with a sprint then collapsed in a heap. Boy did I need the rest. Still do. Slowly, I felt myself become older, and suddenly very tired. The MAGI program can be done in 2 years, but I took it slow. I’ll brush up on international law in the fall, my last class being international economics this spring. I’ve had some battles on campus, all minor skirmishes associated with Project Whole Tim. But I’ve kept a 4.0 GPA throughout, am interning with a highly respected international attorney in town, and have contributed to my community in the MAGI program with my experience abroad like an extra professor in the room. The MAGI program as a whole is excellent, helped me put theoretical meat on a lot of old bones, even producing some of my best writing. And I’ve made some new friends from all over the world, who met the Whole Tim the first time, and accept me.

I kinda feel like I’m back at NDI. I’m consulting on politics, training, helping build power for the powerless, at home, because I want to, and have to. Not for a handsome salary in a far off land (which would still be nice). My long battle with the internet has given me a unique understanding of its political power, which I’ve put to use successfully. I’ve written at length about the duality of this power, how it can create dystopia or utopia in equal measure, in what I think is a pretty solid theory about how the internet works globally. My hope is to find work where the skills I learned on this long journey can be useful. I know for a fact they are quite useful, indeed.

Bottom line, I’m starting to feel whole now, like I’ve never done before. Project Whole Tim is working, slowly. Took a lot longer than I wanted it to, but that was (is) the road ahead of me. Please feel free to forward this along to folks who might be interested. And thanks to everyone who helped along the way.

 

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A Corbynista on the inside must be sabotaging the Blairite coup

CorbynWinningOne of my favorite qualities of the Blairite apparatchiks who used to be my closest friends was their ability to make the hard left Trots think they were getting what they wanted, while at the same time knifing them in the back.  “You won’t believe this one, mate,” would begin the latest war story, followed by uncontrolled cackling laughter at pulling another fast one. Nothing would bring them more delight.

Given the suicide mission of this year’s Blairite coup, which is now so obvious the plotters are literally using members’ money to fight their own membership in court, repeatedly, I can only conclude that Jeremy Corbyn has someone at the very top of Labour convincing Blairites to continually chop their own heads off spectacularly. As we all know, Britain has a long history of expertly deployed counter intelligence. Who could it be? And when will Billy Bragg pen a working class Woody Guthrie style ode to this unnamed hero of the movement?

One imagines Our Hero dragging on a cigarette in the Stranger’s Bar at the House of Commons, cuff links gleaming, collar pressed, eyes telling nothing, surrounded by whispering coup plotters awaiting Our Hero’s next word to set them racing to their own guillotine. Our Hero is no Fredo Corleone, flailing about in desperation, easily discovered. Oh no. Our Hero is quiet, elegant, may be a femme fatale in stilletos mingling amongst the City boys, flowing effortlessly through Westminster. He, or she, will never be known, but for her heroic service to the revolution.

The plant would have to be very high up, with enough credibility that party lawyers leap into court to self immolate at his (or her) mere suggestion. Someone with a political compass that still functions well enough to sniff the breeze, who can feel the political tectonic plates worldwide about to bury neoliberalism, and its hideous progeny Blairism. Could it be Tony Blair himself? Blair’s political radar was once this accurate. After Blair’s very public takedown in the Chilcot report, and Blair’s personal defense thereafter, he would make the perfectly unsuspected saboteur.

A far more likely Jezza’s Jihadi James Bond would be Gordon Brown. Brown once claimed the mantle of the left, famously feuded with Blair for years, thus has precisely the self-interest to help Blairites salt the earth over their own graves. Brown can still call on a clique of MPs, members of the House of Lords, former and current staffers, right up and down the country. And Brown has been conspicuously quiet throughout this entire squalid affair.

Either way, this summer has been a display of political strength by Jeremy Corbyn none of the Blairite coup plotters could have foreseen. British voters reward such strength handsomely, whatever their political beliefs. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and unwittingly, this coup has made Jeremy Corbyn infinitely stronger than he was before the coup oozed out of neoliberalism’s backside. Before the coup, Corbyn seemed easy pickings for the Tories. After the coup, Corbyn is now the strongest figure in British politics.

If you’re going to try to kill the king, better get it right the first time.

 

 

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Zombie Blairite Undead prepare to refuse another thrashing Corbyn victory

LabourZombies

You know you’ve got Blairite neoliberal capitalist pigs in a corner when they start leaking to the Torygraph, anonymously, how they’re going to sue to grab the Labour Party for themselves. Such a cunning plan!

…it emerged frustrated Labour politicians – many of whom expect Corbyn to retain the leadership in September – are looking at proposals to choose an alternative figurehead in the Commons and pick their own shadow cabinet, as well as approaching Commons Speaker John Bercow to try to be named the official Opposition on the basis of having a greater number of MPs.

They could even launch a legal bid to take control of the Labour Party names and assets, according to a report in the Daily Telegraph, which confirms plans which are known to have been in circulation in Westminster for some weeks.

The Tories couldn’t be more tickled. It’s as if the Lord Mayor convened a sanhedrin of the Worshipful Company of Suicide Bombers in the Guildhall, Chukka Umunna circled the room in a fuzzy hat lighting candles, they drew lots, and Owen Smith (a ten year BBC whore, then Pfizer lobbyist, which makes him perfect for the job) got the short straw to go blow up Labour, the one political party standing in the way of total Tory control of Britain. Masterful.

As us Yanks might say, we now see the whites of their eyes. Only Blairites could see hundreds of thousands of new members come in the door and spit at them. Spit some more. Then cry to their toadies in the media about how abused they’ve been for spitting in the eyes of hundreds of thousands of new members. Then threaten to sue and keep those members’ donations (best part), take the buildings, the party name, create their own fake rump PLP…this will all make excellent British comedy someday. Already is!

When the hundreds of thousands of new members literally repeat the exact same leadership election result they delivered a year ago, here’s what needs to happen after Jeremy Corbyn crushes these morons, again, at conference in Liverpool this September. Every tea room on Merseyside should boil with CLP members planning to deselect every single MP who participated in this nonsense. Why? Because they’ve revealed themselves to not be Labour Party members anymore, but naked tools of capital. As such, they won’t stop until they are out for good. They’ll be happier with the Tories anyway, deselection will be doing them a favor.

The lesson for us Bernie Sanders Yanks stateside? The fight to contain capital never really ends. Never.

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My structural theory of the internet in international relations

Scholarly publication isn’t a very good process, as I noted when I teased this paper in June. If you wait until an academic journal prints your stuff, no one may ever see it. I submitted this paper to such a journal earlier this summer, getting a predictable rejection. Since it’s a paper about the internet, rather than keep it under wraps on the off chance it gets through a bunch of editors years from now into a print publication you have to pay someone other than me to read (yay capitalism!), in the spirit of my theory, I’m tossing it out there for wider “peer review”. Let me know what you think.

The paper linked below is my contribution to the required group exit project for the MAGI program at CSU – the five of us each got on A. Woot! It’s a more traditional version of my previous Kantian theory, a paper I wrote in the Fall, 2014 semester for the international relations theory class. In a sense, it’s already “peer reviewed”, as I ran the theory by one of my professors regularly just to make sure I wasn’t off on some wild goose chase. I’ve been told it’s onto something. So there’s that!

Our group found that the internet behaves politically at the global level as a known ideational structural phenomenon, creating and contesting norms which govern nation state behavior. My portion of the paper focuses on internet memes (citing the now legendary Bernie Sanders Dank Meme Stash) as a variable which illuminates how these ideas are contested, the most “fit” ideas surviving a cybernetic discourse to become the normative global structure within which states act and react.

Here’s the paper in PDF form —->> TimRussoOnInternetRisk

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Hillary Clinton begins America’s Brezhnev era

BerniBirdieGoodbyeWoot. Once, Hillary Clinton being the Democratic nominee would have made me very happy. Now, she’s just another Clinton who bent the rules for herself, got caught, lied about it for a year, and now expects the rest of us to back up his (OOPS SORRY her) arrogant stupidity, for which she will never be punished, unlike the rest of us, who’d be rotting in prison today our lives destroyed.

Loyalty is such a one way street with the Clinton machine. Trust me.

Worse, at least when all us Democrats lied for Bill in the name of “unity” 18 years ago, it was just a blow job we defended. This time, Hillary’s term as Secretary of State was a 4 year long COME ON IN to hackers, who no doubt spread like termites from Chappaqua, even into the DNC. Edward Snowden was small potatoes compared to Hillary. Now that it’s all comin’ back to haunt her, whole lotta schadenfreude in that karma.

That’s before you get to ideology. Hillary began America’s Brezhnev Era this week in Philadelphia, complete with corpulent rigged apparatchiks gloating at their victims on live national television while being fellated by a pliant media drooling to sweeten their beats. All in between Cialis ads, veterans begging ads, Pete Peterson’s debt con job ads, and as always the finely spun tapestry of ads for oil, oil, oil. I’m an Energy Voter! America’s beggar prostration before the market dwarfs Brezhnev’s soviet propaganda, because we all buy it hook, line, sinker. (See Gramsci.)

Or at least we all used to.

The idea keeping the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact afloat hadn’t yet begun to die when Lenoid Brezhnev became leader of the USSR in 1964. By Brezhnev’s death in 1982, the Soviet idea was dead, too. Call it what you will; communism, pure or otherwise, or some nationalistic bootstrapping thereof, the idea keeping the Soviet bloc alive was rotting from within as Brezhnev aged. The peoples over which Soviet dictatorship ruled had long begun ridiculing their lot in life, resigned to a futureless grinding descent into total poverty. Once Gorbachev began admitting the idea’s death with perestroika and glasnost in 1986, the clock began to tick on collapse.

Brezhnev’s USSR is where America is today ideologically, as Hillary Clinton claims her nomination to be president, which, thanks to Hillary’s aforementioned stupidity, is now documented as rigged from the very start. Capital rigging politics is the intended end result of neoliberalism, birthed in a 1930’s right wing corporate funded rejection of FDR’s New Deal. Neoliberalism as an idea was so absurd at the time it was ridiculed (Steadman Jones, p. 136), spending decades nursing on global capital until the Thatcher Reagan moment raised the idea to a commanding transatlantic height not even Friedrich Hayek, neoliberalism’s 1930’s originator could imagine. Democrats surrendered by 1992, Bill Clinton embedding neoliberalism into the Democratic Party so thoroughly, not only is the Democratic party itself enslaved to capital, the state Hillary Clinton seeks to lead is now shackled by capital. Scholars call it the “fiscal straight jacket”, a state incapable of governing at all, let alone the market. Neoliberalism’s 21st century victory has unleashed capital beyond Hayek’s wildest dreams.

Now that a massive movement led by 1900 Bernie Sanders delegates this week in Philadelphia has proven the idea of neoliberalism a failure, how long will it take to die?  Depends. Powerful, but failed ideas die slowly, leaving behind deep, widespread, generational wreckage. The pigs who feed at its trough become desperate, and cling on quite tightly, lest they slip into their own idea’s gaping black hole and never get out; like their serfs did. Like the rest of us did.

I’ll probably not even vote this year, the first time in my entire life. Whether the next president is another Clinton or Donald Trump frankly doesn’t matter to me. The idea that gave rise to both hideous caricatures has begun its slow, certain, death throes. Maybe another Berdie will give us hope to get up, torpedoes be damned, and try to finish this thing off. Maybe I’ll just wait it out.

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Capital gives us Tim Kaine, recycles Bernie Bro slur in British Labour

Since I used to do this for a living, I can’t stop finding similarities in the concurrent dramas of the US presidential campaign and the British Labour Party’s now year long fight to the death with neoliberalism.  With Tim Kaine as Hillary Clinton’s VP we see the Democratic Party take another lurch toward capital. Kaine himself seems nice, which reminds me to scratch my Gandhi itch.

We must remember that our fight is with capital, not the people who make themselves its tool. Capital will find a way to rig the state in its favor very like water finding its way to the ocean. Perpetually. It will not stop, it has to be stopped. That is what the New Deal was designed to do, specifically on Wall Street, but the New Deal barriers also directed the flow of capital, rather than always upward toward oligarchs as now, in directions that helped us all – the alphabet soup of federal government programs that built the white picket fenced unprecedented American post-war boom we now view through our 21st century nostalgic gaze backward.

As an invented sharp end of capital, Blairite neoliberalism in the British Labour Party was never going to just go away; too many pimps and whores suckle from the foul teat of the oligarchy they themselves created. Thus, this summer there’s a second Labour leadership election in a year, forced upon the party by Blairite neoliberalism; forced upon Labour by capital.

Didn’t we just do this, you ask? Why yes! You’ll recall after Labour lost the 2015 general election spectacularly, Labour members elected the stereotypically bearded grey haired super lefty Jeremy Corbyn leader last September with 60% of the vote, his nearest Blairite challengers (plural) invisible in the distance. A year later, Blairites have manufactured a coup, first justified with the lie that Corbyn hadn’t done enough to defeat Brexit, which soon gave way to the absurdity of last year’s beatdown, and which now features a cut and paste, spun from whole cloth Bernie Bro lie narrative about “abuse” toward various and sundry. I suspect that came from David Axelrod himself, who consults for Blairites as I once did.

Capital will lose in Labour again this summer. Corbyn will crush the Blairites when ballot papers go out August 22, there is little doubt. The most recent poll showed Corbyn doubling up the weirdly conjured challenger, Owen Smith, a creature oozed out the corpulent back side of neoliberalism’s media spin, big pharma, Westminster petri dish. Owen Smith is quite like Tim Kaine in this regard; just another empty vessel through which capital flows upward.

 

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Cleveland RNC post mortem, a Cavs gift that keeps on giving

Why CLE was peaceful this week.

Why CLE was peaceful this week.

First things first. Applause to the Cleveland Police Department for their work this week. As I write this, on the final day of the RNC, the most high profile arrests and incidents surprise no one in town; the usual suspects up to their usual stupidity got their star turn, the police obliged peacefully (mostly) by arresting them. I could do without the Mad Max Thunderdome uniforms, the heavy handed fencing, but beyond that unnecessary show of force, the REAL show of force was not the counterproductive gratuitous militarism of humvees, but massive numbers designed to deter the lone wolves, and it worked. Spectacularly. Some of my comrades reasonably object to the “police state” overwhelmingness, but taken as a whole, can’t believe I’m writing this; bravo to the blue line. Well done. Thank you.

Which means the main thing a lot of cops from all over the country take from CLE is an ear full of what folks think of them, to their faces. If that’s the only interaction between police and protestors that lives on, good. Cops need to know the way they policed CLE this week is the way we expect cops to police ALL OF US, all the time. Peacefully, professionally, with utmost preparedness, kindness, politeness, and NO ONE GETTING SHOT, K?. Why is this so hard for police to understand? Why do so many police so often lose composure and shoot unarmed black people? Or routinely beat the living crap out of unarmed anybody on such a regular basis, black OR white? Come on guys, you know how to do this job, ya’ll just proved it, so do it right, every time, not just at high profile events you have 2 solid years to plan for.

Which brings me to the overhyped paranoia, which has been palpable in CLE since the day we were awarded this RNC bigot parade shit show. Big fat zero. Donald Trump tonite could certainly set off something that boils over into the streets, but folks, y’all been inexplicably missing the biggest thing in CLE history in my lifetime – we just won a ring. This town is in a great mood, and unless someone takes a shot at Lebron James, or starts making fun of shirtless J.R. Smith, we just ain’t havin’ it. Not this summer. If the Cavs had lost, that’s another matter. But we won, historically, with flair, in an all-time comeback, and to my mind, that’s the single most important factor keeping a lid on things at this RNC.

We now await the economic measure of this RNC, which no doubt will have been just as oversold as the paranoia. Will the city and county be in debt after this RNC? Will anyone be surprised if our oligarchic overlords demand some sort of tax increase on the poorest people in the county to pay for their glorious soiree? Will the omnipresent Potemkin Village of E. 4th St., not just the most seen image of CLE this week, but the most heavily publicly subsidized 500 feet in the Midwest, become a bad joke? Is the pope Catholic?

That’s for another day. For now, Cleveland should be very proud. Did I mention we’re champions?

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Blairites stick a middle finger in Labour memberships’ eye on the way down the bin

CorbynHipHopThe post-Brexit Labour Party’s internal Blairite coup against new leader Jeremy Corbyn has descended into total farce. (Relatedly, why is Brexit even a Labour problem? It’s a Tory problem, full stop.)  Blairites didn’t merely bungle every step of their incomptent post-Brexit coup over last summer’s leadership election, which Jeremy Corbyn won in an emphatic 60% landslide less than a year ago. Blairite intransigence now features the party’s Blairite-packed governing body, the National Executive Committee (NEC), whistfully imposing rules willy nilly designed to suppress Corbyn’s vote, and keep new members out, as if no one is watching.

Not only has the NEC imposed clearly discriminatory arbitrary membership cut-off dates for voting eligibility, the NEC has even raised the fee for voting membership from £3 to an absurd £25 (isn’t Labour a party for, you know, workers?), and even if you pay that, you still might not be allowed to vote for leader, depending on your speed to the post box. One wonders how creative the NEC will get all summer attempting to plug the cracks in their collapsing neoliberal dyke. Will new members using pencil instead of ink on their ballot be denied a vote for leader? Must the ballot paper be folded a certain way? It really is that ridiculous at this point.

Call me crazy, but new members are the entire ball game in politics. Any politics. Anywhere. Anytime.

First, I very much doubt such stupidity from the NEC survives a legal challenge (perhaps the European Court of Justice? Blairites do love the EU!), as these machinations are transparently discriminatory and might even rise to breach of contract. Second, even if a court never takes a look at this nonsense, it’s a near certainty Corbyn will still win any membership vote, with coup plotters unable even to decide on a single candidate to challenge Corbyn.

Third, even if despite all this, the coup somehow, someway, results in the Blairite fever dream of a leader other than Jeremy Corbyn at conference this September, that “result” will be universally seen as illegitimate, corrupt, and deeply oligarchic. Labour will have told the vast majority of its current membership and any future members it does not matter what, or who, you vote for in the Labour Party, the rules will be changed afterward against you. What remains of a post-Brexit-coup Labour won’t really be a socialist party, will it, but instead an empty vessel for the safe movement of capital.

One of the reasons the British Labour Party liked having us Yanks around back in the neoliberal glory days of the late 1990’s was an uncanny Clintonista ability to deal with political reality. It’s largely a function of the European style British parliamentary electoral system, in which all the marbles ride on relatively rare general elections. America’s system of constant elections at every level from local council to the presidential primaries features high stakes at every level, all the time. Labour thus tends to be a pretty navel-gazing bunch, internally focused to a fault, while American political strategy is more head on a swivel, always looking around the next corner, then the next one, sort of a political radar turned GPS.

In this way we see Hillary Clinton, a neoliberal to her core, making all the right moves in victory before her convention in Philadelphia, while Labour’s Blairites make all the wrong moves in their precipitous decline into the bin of history. Hillary is adjusting to the political reality before her. She did not need to allow the DNC to adopt more than 80% of the Bernie Sanders platform at the convention in Philadelphia. Running against the trainwreck that is Donald Trump, an argument can be made Hillary does not even need the Bernie or Busters’ votes at all. Yet, the Clinton machine is doing the opposite of the Blairite rump – Hillary is changing the Democratic Party to meet the political winds all around her.

Instead of putting a finger in the breeze to see which way the wind is so obviously blowing, Blairites stick a finger in the eye of their own members, future supporters, and the British electorate as a whole. Neoliberalism, the chief governing theory of capitalism, is precisely this blind, as it only sees capital as power, not people. Fortunately for Britain, and for Labour, this worm long ago turned. Blairites are blindly putting themselves into traffic to get run over by the amply documented worldwide tectonic shift in our politics against neoliberal world order. No matter how clever they think they are, this will not end well for Blairites.

 

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Bernie Sanders’ endorsement of Hillary Clinton & movement politics

PD photo, 2001, when I still bought the con

PD photo, 2001, when I still bought the con

It’s over. So many Bernie people are completely new to politics, so I want to address them first.

The newbies may not realize it, but us tired, scarred old veterans needed your energy. We gave up on America, too. For me personally, until ya’ll showed up Feelin’ The Bern, American politics had become just as repulsive as post-soviet politics has been for 25 years to my old friends in Armenia. A sick joke, whose inner workings I knew so well, the joke got sicker every hour, year, decade. So first – even though we all got a few more scars outta this, thank you for getting me to engage and believe (if only just a bit) again.

Now, my grizzled veteran speech. Politics ain’t beanbag, the saying goes. There are winners, and losers. Sometimes it’s better to be the loser, and in the case of the 2016 Democratic Presidential primary, the Bernie Sanders’ “loss” and today’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton strikes me as one of those cases.

We all know this rickety system of exploitation is the governing bargain broken to pieces. Whether you call it end stage capitalism, or Washington Consensus neoliberalism, capital’s capture of the state is bound to collapse at some point, likely within Hillary Clinton’s presidency. If she cannot prevent this collapse, it will be Hillary’s responsibility to fix the coming trainwreck, establish the American economy on a New Deal foundation again, to remake the compromise between the state and capital which FDR got right. That’s a big job. It’s coming. Pretty sure Hillary Clinton herself knows it, too.

1996 Clinton Gore Campaign

1996 Clinton Gore Campaign

Our job now, as a movement, is to hound Hillary every step of the way, from within her own party, to hold her to the promises her party makes in the 2016 platform, and then some. The platform is a good start, and we owe a great debt of gratitude to the delegates who fought to change the Democratic Party from the inside out. True, they are just words on a page, and none of us think a President Clinton will just deliver these promises without a fight.

But we are a movement, so we know how to fight. I’ve written many times how the Bernie Sanders campaign for president is relatively new to the worldwide movement against neoliberalism. This movement began in the Tea Party reaction to the 2008 bailouts, exploded into the Arab Spring in late 2010, crystalized in the Western world on the streets with Occupy Wall Street in 2011, and is now at the ramparts of the establishment, with the Jeremy Corbyn takeover of the British Labour Party in 2015, and Bernie Sanders’ ideas now sitting firmly within the Democratic Party in 2016. Nineteen hundred elected delegates in Philadelphia in two weeks will march our movement directly into the halls of American power, representing millions of people.  Today, we make up close to half, if not more, of the oldest political party on earth.

Bernie Sanders is correct – this political revolution marches on. Only now, the stakes are much, much higher. With power comes responsibility. We used our power to transform the Democratic Party platform, and now we must keep that power fresh, deployed, at the ready, to enforce those ideas on President Hillary Clinton. In this endeavor, we have the advantage, because this movement has a long history largely outside of electoral politics, pushing political actors, not succumbing to them.

Bernie's Lakewood Office opening, Jan. 2016

Bernie’s Lakewood Office opening, Jan. 2016

And make no mistake, the interests of capital are like a cockroach. Fights there most certainly will be. In the UK, even though Jeremy Corbyn defeated Blairite neoliberalism utterly last summer, the zombie undead Blairites still mount an absurd post-Brexit coup from the shadows. Donald Trump, the hideous metastacized progeny of neoliberalim’s worst ugliness, stands in front of us. After Trump is vanquished, Hillary will be surrounded by the same neoliberal oligarchs who surround Trump.

Do we have to vote for Hillary Clinton because Bernie endorsed her? No, we don’t. She must come to us, not the other way around, if she wants our vote. She has work to do. But so do we.

Congratulations Berners – we continue to change our world. Thank you for helping me give it another try.

 

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