The War for Quadrant Two

Quadrant two will prove to be the quadrant of victory for the proletariat

► Ship of Fools (graphic: Kshama, Hedges) – [WQ2.15.06.07]

Posted by Ben Seattle on June 7, 2015

(see graphic at bottom of article)

Ship of Fools

Good things may come from the new political formation that
is now taking shape: better wages, rents that rise more slowly,
maybe even fewer murders by the police. But the best thing that
will come from this, is that it will help increasing numbers of
activists recognize that our class needs a political organization
that is more than a fraud.

Comment by Ben Seattle on the “RALLY to Re-Elect Kshama
Sawant w/ Chris Hedges, Jill Stein, Pramila Jayapal, Dustin
Washington, and more!” (June 6, at the Seattle Town Hall)

From a Facebook post I read this morning (June 7):

> As a participant-observer of progressive politics
> in Seattle for more than 25 years, I just want to
> say that I’ve never seen anything like this. The
> broad cross-section of local community leaders
> represented, the national attention represented by
> Jill Stein & Chris Hedges, & even international
> voices reminding us of the global importance of
> what we are doing in Seattle, it’s very inspiring.
> Add to that the dozens of energized young people
> involved in this campaign bringing a ground game
> like none I’ve seen before. This is a force to be
> reckoned with. Thanks to everyone in this campaign
> & everyone in this movement for bringing it!

The last time I saw so much enthusiasm of this kind–it was election night on 2008. I walked among thousands who had flooded onto Broadway on Capitol Hill. They hooped and hollered and celebrated because, at last, “we” had (supposedly) won. It was all, of course, sound and fury that signified nothing. Today, probably half or more of these people, like me, have been evicted from Capitol Hill by rising rents.

800 people packed the Seattle Town Hall last night. They were loud. They were enthusiastic. It just goes to show what can happen when our ruling class, the bourgeoisie, gives you a green light.

The most impressive speaker was Chris Hedges, who spoke of a “revolution” that could “destroy the corporate system of power in all its manifestations”. How wonderful! Chris Hedges was able to speak so boldly, of course, because our ruling class has, essentially, given him permission to do so.

Chris Hedges is opposed to “unfettered capitalism” (see the graphic). But what does this mean? The man chooses his words with great precision. It means he believes that what we need is “fettered capitalism”.

Many other people are also in favor of “fettered capitalism”, but they usually call it something else (such as “socialism”).

It is better (it will be far less confusing, and will create more clarity) if we,
instead, use the phrase “social democracy” to describe “fettered capitalism”.

The social democratic ideology is based on the illusion that “we” can put fetters on the rule of capital–if we simply jump through the wonderful hoops that our ruling class has set up for us. The problem is that these hoops, of course, lead to the supermassive black hole known as the Democratic Party.

Just last week, Hedges earned some attention in soft leftist circles by proclaiming that Karl Marx was right. But during the Occupy movement (when the class struggle had reached the point of confrontations over space for the oppressed to meet and mingle) Hedges, in his moment of infamy, called the politically militant wing of the Occupy movement a “cancer”, and gave political cover for other professional journalists and “opinion leaders” to earn their keep and attack the movement. This, in turn, helped to “transform the national mood” and made it easy for the cops to go in and tear down the camps without creating the kinds of incendiary images that had captured the attention of millions. This is what social democracy can be counted on to do: it sides with the ruling class at that precise moment when the ruling class yanks hard on its leash.

What is happening today may be a slow-motion realignment of the traditional two-party system that was created, in its current incarnation, by FDR during the great depression of the thirties. The Republicans are being pushed to the side (for now) and the Democratic Party itself may (temporarily or permanently) split into two entities that will be “independent” of one another in exactly the same way as the Democratic Party has been “independent” of the Republican Party (ie: not at all).

The mainstream of the Democratic Party, in this scenario, could keep the (now tarnished) name “Democratic Party” in this divorce, while the “left wing” of the Democratic Party could merge with and becomes indistinguishable from the “socialists”. Already we can see, if we look at the political forces arrayed around Kshama Sawant, Chris Hedges, Bernie Sanders, Jill Stein, Primila Jayapal (and many other aspiring hopefuls) that there is no clear separation between liberal Democratic Party politicians and “independent socialists”–you can look at them and they are hardly distinguishable. It reminds me of a quote from “Animal Farm” by George Orwell:

> The creatures outside looked from pig to man,
> and from man to pig, and from pig to man again;
> but already it was impossible to say which was
> which.

For the working class and oppressed, the “break up” (ie: division of labor) of the traditional Democratic Party would be mixed blessing. The social democrats will present it as a huge victory. And it would certainly be a big victory (relative to what we have now). But it is important to keep in mind that the new party would be based on illusions and fraud–and has been engineered, from the git-go, to defend the status quo. We will need to keep in mind, so to speak, who has captured who. Or, in other words, who is the hunter and who is the faithful hound.

The new party (which does not really have a name yet, but which we can call the Social Democratic Party) would become (if our ruling class, the bourgeoisie, does not lose its nerve and pull the plug on this project) a political formation much like the Democratic Party was in the 1930’s (ie: full of reforms combined with hot air against “the rich”, etc). And, while the Social Democratic Party will be full of vim and vigor (and may even deliver a laundry list of partial demands if this is what the bourgeoisie must pay to purchase its credibility) we should make no mistake: the new Social Democratic Party, like the Democratic and Republican parties before it, will be a party that is controlled, at the top, by our ruling class, by the one percent.

And what we need is the opposite: we need a party that is more than a fraud, that is genuinely independent. And, if we work for it, we shall have one.

Ben Seattle

june-6

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