by Margaret Kimberley, published on Black Agenda Report, May 6, 2021
There can be no more excuses made for Democratic “progressives,” who steadfastly refuse to fight for what they know to be right.
“There is no lesser evil, no one who will save us.”
No one is holding Joe Biden’s “feet to the fire” or pushing him left or taking any of the other make believe actions which were meant to silence the Democratic Party’s left wing. There is no longer any need to say that such claims are phony when proof comes straight from the horses’ mouths.
The Justice Democrats, Progressive Caucus and Congressional Black Caucus all sing Biden’s praises despite the fact that he lied to them and to their constituents during the 2020 campaign. All of the policies that rank and file Democrats want to see realized are again left behind though their party has the power to enact them. Only fools believe that a Senate parliamentarian prevented inclusion of a minimum wage increase in the stimulus plan. There is no $2,000 stimulus payment, no plan to lower prescription drug prices or add a public option to the Affordable Care Act.
The best that can be said is that Biden’s temporary tax provisions and unemployment payments will help many people cope in a time of economic distress. But his proposals are a far cry from groundbreaking legislation such as the Social Security Act, Medicare or Medicaid. Of course, it must be pointed out that Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson were responding to popular pressure. They did not act solely out of conviction even as their legislative successes benefited millions of people for decades to come.
“Only fools believe that a Senate parliamentarian prevented inclusion of a minimum wage increase in the stimulus plan.”
Biden’s friends in corporate media call him “transformational” and the living embodiment of FDR. It is ironic that Democrats must go so far back in history to find a name with such universal appeal. Such is the case after decades of neo-liberal Democratic policies that the party knows it can’t defend when it needs fodder for a propaganda campaign.
Progressives have come to Biden’s rescue with even greater gusto than doubters like this columnist predicted. Congressional Democrats known as progressives have prostrated themselves without a hint of unhappiness and in the process make a mockery of themselves and the people who support them.
Congressional Black Caucus member Cori Bush was asked if she and other progressives known as “the squad” would be willing to use their leverage as much as those Democrats who own up to being conservative. She said this about herself and her colleagues, “…you vote alone, and you’re voting for your districts.” Bush therefore admitted that there will be no action on behalf of what the people want. She defeated William Lacy Clay, known as an establishment Democrat, but like other progressives she is no more willing to buck the system than the person she replaced.
“Congressional Democrats known as progressives have prostrated themselves without a hint of unhappiness and in the process make a mockery of themselves.”
Bush is following in the footsteps of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who entered Congress with great fanfare, also after defeating an incumbent in a primary. After being beaten down by Biden and the leadership she proclaimed that he “exceeded expectations that progressives had.” Pramila Jayapal joined in the capitulation by pronouncing that she gives Biden an A grade. No minimum wage hike, no public option, no prescription drug cost reduction and nothing else that these members said they wanted is taking place. In fact Ocasio-Cortez demurred from forcing a vote on Medicare for all in favor of using leverage to push for a minimum wage increase. Biden dismissed her fake strategy with a cynical ploy about a parliamentarian and she is left with egg on her face.
There can be no more excuses made for these people. Regardless of what they may want, they steadfastly refuse to fight for what they know to be right. None of them are revolutionaries, which is what they would have to be in order to fight a corrupt system. Biden is in no mood for compromise and he doesn’t have to when no one will fight back. The leadership do what their donors want and by definition that means the people don’t get what they want and need.
“Pramila Jayapal joined in the capitulation by pronouncing that she gives Biden an A grade.”
What passes for a left in the Democratic Party doesn’t even pretend to fight. They smile and give praise even as they are kicked while they are down. The degree of genuflection required by Democratic Party leadership is unprecedented. In the past some token opposition was allowed to be expressed. No longer. All the Democrats take a dive and the people are asked to join in the disgrace.
There is no lesser evil, no one who will save us. The very least we can do is name and shame the scoundrels who brought us to such a low point. They betrayed the people who voted with an expectation of getting at least some of what they wanted. Biden was honest about one thing. Nothing has fundamentally changed.
*Featured Image: Democratic Representative-elect Ilhan Omar (C) of Minnesota, one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress, poses in the front row with other incoming newly elected members of the U.S. House of Representatives on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., November 14, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque – RC199D14A510
Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. Her new book, “Prejudential“, looks at the history of US Presidents treatment of people of color. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well at patreon.com/margaretkimberley and she regularly posts on Twitter @freedomrideblog. She is a member of the Administrative Committee of the United National Antiwar Movement. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com