Which Side Is The Democratic Party On? Really, Which Side?
In talking about the shortcomings of the Democratic Party with Seth Meyers on Late Night, Bernie plugged a classic song written by Florence Reece in 1931, "Which Side Are You On?" Reece was a union organizer for the United Mine Workers in Harlan County, Kentucky, where a bitter and very violent war was being waged against the workers by the mine owners. The song was performed and recorded by dozens of musicians, including the Almanac Singers in 1941, by Pete Seeger in 1967, by Billy Bragg in 1985, the Dropkick Murphys in 2001, Natalie Merchant in 2003, Ani DiFranco in 2012 and you may have heard it at the end of the episode of Succession named for the song (2018), with a bit of contextual irony that probably went over the heads of millions of viewers.
Bernie told Meyers' audience that "the Republican Party has become a right-wing extremist party. It represents the wealthy. It represents the powerful... But what the Democratic Party has got to do is make it clear, which side are they on?" He reminded the viewers that the song represents that "very simple and most profound political question there is-- which side are you on?" He continued to address the Democratic Party-- its leaders and its voters: "Are you prepared to stand with struggling working families all over this country. And are you prepared to take on Big Money Interests? That is the question."
Clearly, much-- if not most-- of the Democratic Party is not... not even little. The Republican wing of the Democratic Party-- Democraps in the Blue Dogs, the New Dems, No Labels, Problem Solvers... they are on the side of the mine owners (or Amazon owners), not the mine workers (or Amazon drivers who are told to sit on their seat belts rather than strap them around their wastes so they can jump in and out of their trucks faster.
This morning, Hill reporters Mike Lillis and Scott Wong wrote about filling the post-Pelosi power vacuum among House Democrats. They dub 3 as frontrunners, establishment types Hakeem Jeffries (a corrupt Wall Street empty suit), Katherine Clark, who is at least somewhat progressive, and corrupt conservative coke addict Pete Agular, a bad New Dem joke from southern California and barely a Democrat at all. (Pete, who endorsed Michael Bloomberg for president, was first appointed to the Redlands City Council as a Republican-- part of the incredibly corrupt Jerry Lewis political machine-- and switched parties when he realized he needed to to run for higher office as a Democrat in an area that was rapidly becoming bluer.) Lillis and Wong gratuitously threw in 3 other names as distant possibilities, David Cicilline, Pramila and Adam Schiff. They quoted a conservative Democrat saying that he thinks "it’s pretty clear that our next tier of leadership is going to be Hakeem, Katherine and Pete. I think probably 80 percent of people here believe that." Oh, I think he's wrong about the 80% figure. And as of now... Pramila for Speaker.
It is clear which side classic, values-free careerists Jeffries and Aguilar are on-- and it is decidedly not the workers'. They are on no one's side but their own, happy and eager to cultivate corrupting money and power from Big Finance, just the way the Clintons have taught the Democratic political establishment to do. Could progressives serve under a Hakeem Jeffries and Pete Aguilar duo? Oh, probably. Watch Mark Pocan be the first progressive to cozy up to them. After all, under Speaker McCarthy, who could possibly make a more inappropriate Democratic leader than Wall Street's favorite "liberal?"
Let's end on a high note this evening, ok? Remember this spectacular Bernie campaign ad from two years ago? I wish more people had seen it... and taken it to heart. But, sigh, Obama (and Clyburn) had a very, very different idea. Solidarity Forever!