The (Demented) Logic of the Democratic National Committee

Social democracy can’t even defend itself, let alone us. Therefore we should vote for Hillary Clinton.

9 Comments

  1. bystander says:

    Wow, William. I’ve read this, and re-read this, and I’m still not sure I fully understand what you (or, the DNC?) are saying here. The only thing I know is, were I looking for a political ideology/philosophy to save me, Neoliberalism (and, maybe even Liberalism) isn’t one I’d pick. I’m not sure an ideology, of any stripe, ever saved anyone. “Anything given can be taken away…”

    • Maybe I just outsmarted myself again. In trying to illuminate the gap in the DNC’s logic, I appear to have exposed an ambiguity in my own.

      The slightly longer version is this: The ancient and honorable social democratic parties of Europe — Labour in the UK, the SPD in Germany, the PS in France, etc. — have essentially sold out to neoliberalism. In the U.S., the Democratic Party of the New Deal, now the party of Obama, Clinton and the DNC, has not only sold out, it’s become an active collaborator.

      Unfortunately — and here I suppose I am indeed echoing in part the subliminal message of the DNC, albeit reluctantly — neither Sanders nor Corbyn will likely be able to resurrect the rotting corpses of their parties, any more than Tsipras could in Greece, or Iglesias in Spain. Class struggle goes on, whether we in the polite — and clueless — social democratic opposition are too refined to admit it or not. Those of us on the short end of the current excesses of Capitalism need a Left for the 21st century, not another Arkansan on the make. Nor am I alone in thinking so. Here’s Yannis Varoufakis, in his recent interview with The Economist, laying it out in some detail for us:

      Interview with the Economist.

    • Come to think of it, maybe a slight change in the title of the post would help clear up the ambiguity….

  2. bystander says:

    Thanks for the clarification. Sorry to be dense. That’s an excellent link; I have a lot of respect for Varoufakis and was cheering him on as it unfolded. Not sure how many people recognize that Greek experience has lessons for us all. But, I’m also not sure how well people understand the insidiousness of “financialization” – even given the heroic efforts of some to make it understood.

    It is true that Social Democracy can’t save us – as if anything other than ourselves could. But, I’ll vote with the young’uns because I feel I owe it to them. Their hope is worth something to me – enough for me to max-out in Sanders’ campaign praying that maybe their hopes aren’t utterly (though probably) dashed by June.

    Most important of all: It is so *good* to hear your voice. I have missed it terribly. So this exchange is a treasure. Thanks, William.

    • It wasn’t you, it was me. The confusion was undoubtedly due first to a misguided attempt at brevity, and second to the ambivalence I feel toward old Bernie’s attempt to revive a version of the left which, as appealing as it is in the Age of Trump, is in fact long past its sell-by date. On the other hand, he is running for office in the U.S., which inevitably scoffs at any serious attempt to bring down the walls of Jericho. If he isn’t prepared to fall on his sword like Yannis, it’s probably the best he can do. I’ve already voted for him in the cunningly-named AZ Presidential Preference Poll, and if by some miracle he shows up on the ballot in November, I’ll do it again. Otherwise, Hillary can play lesser evil to Trump without my help.

      I appreciate the encouragement, by the way. As it happens, I’ll probably be posting more regularly in the future, although not on politics narrowly defined. I gave up for a while to broaden my reading in the history of economics, and to polish up on my German for the foray into Heidegger I’ve been promising myself since I left college. (It occurred to me, you see, that I might be running out of time, and how to explain to St. Peter that I’d like another year, please, sir, to read Sein und Zeit?)

  3. Pedinska says:

    Good to see two of my favorite UTers in one space. 🙂

    I have missed your voice too.

    • Thanks, Pedinska. It’s been a long time since the old UT days, eh? It’s been nice to watch GG prosper the way he has, but then it always seemed to me that UT, remarkable as it was for the time, was never going to be big enough to do justice to the importance of his message.

      • Pedinska says:

        Yes, it’s been an interesting journey to witness. On the one hand remarkable, on the other not entirely unexpected at all.