WELCOME TO THE DEMOCRAT CIVIL WAR – Democratic Socialists versus the Establishment. Get your popcorn ready, people:
The headlines are right. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old grassroots activist, just pulled off the biggest upset so far in the 2018 election cycle. Her Democratic primary win Tuesday in a race with Congressman Joe Crowley, a veteran party operative and 10-term incumbent who is the fourth-ranking Democrat in the House, may well be the most remarkable New York City congressional election result since 31-year-old Elizabeth Holtzman beat House Judiciary Committee chairman Emanuel Celler in a 1972 primary.
The defeat of Crowley, who was widely seen as a potential successor to House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, was described by a stunned New York Times as “the most significant loss for a Democratic incumbent in years and one that will reverberate across the party and the country.” Ocasio-Cortez won 57.5 to 42.5, despite the fact that Crowley overwhelmingly outspent her and enjoyed support from the same top-ranking Democrats who are lining up to back New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in his September Democratic primary contest with Cynthia Nixon.
Nixon backed Ocasio-Cortez and hailed Tuesday’s win as “what happens when you give people a choice. They show up, and they reject the status quo.”
Matt Blizek, the elections-mobilization director for MoveOn, extended on that theme, saying, “These results are also a shot across the bow of the Democratic establishment in Washington: a young, diverse, and boldly progressive Resistance Movement isn’t waiting to be anointed by the powers that be. Americans from all walks of life who demand change are taking reins of power and showing the Democratic Party what its future looks like.”
The success of a young working-class Latina who served as an organizer for Bernie Sanders in the 2016 presidential race illustrates the volatility that exists within a Democratic Party in which most “leaders” are still too slow to recognize the intense yearning for economic and social change among its own base voters and among the millions of voters who could be rallied to the party line if it offered a dramatically bolder vision. “We were so clear about our values. We were always naming what we wanted to accomplish,” said Ocasio-Cortez, whose primary victory in an overwhelmingly Democratic district all but assures that she will secure the seat in November.
Socialist might be crazy but at least you know where they stand. Kind of. Before, like Ocasio-Cortez, they begin to expand on their vision:
When we talk about the word socialism, I think what it really means is just democratic participation in our economic dignity, and our economic, social, and racial dignity. It is about direct representation and people actually having power and stake over their economic and social wellness, at the end of the day. To me, what socialism means is to guarantee a basic level of dignity. It’s asserting the value of saying that the America we want and the America that we are proud of is one in which all children can access a dignified education. It’s one in which no person is too poor to have the medicines they need to live. It’s to say that no individual’s civil rights are to be violated. And it’s also to say that we need to really examine the historical inequities that have created much of the inequalities—both in terms of economics and social and racial justice—because they are intertwined. This idea of, like, race or class is a false choice. Even if you wanted to separate those two things, you can’t separate the two, they are intrinsically and inextricably tied. There is no other force, there is no other party, there is no other real ideology out there right now that is asserting the minimum elements necessary to lead a dignified American life.
Sadly for Ocasio-Cortez (and even sadder for everyone else who has ever been directly impacted), the real and implemented – as opposed to the dreamed and rhapsodised about – socialism produced very little dignity, and even less “economic and social wellness”. But yeah, next time it will be different, comrades. As for the inseparableness of race and class, they are only inseparable for the neo-Marxists who like to conflate these two completely different sociological concepts to make everyone forget that Marxism 1.0 really didn’t get it right, even at the most basic level of its theoretical framework. White people are not the bourgeoisie and other races are not the proletariat. There is still a very large white working class just as there is a growing black and Latino middle class. But however far removed from reality, treating everyone in otherwise vast and diverse groups as a downtrodden and oppressed victim makes for great though dishonest politics. But that’s socialism.