by Jerilyn Bowen
As we progressives know all too well, the neoliberal power brokers in the Democratic Party have long been dead set on preventing those of our persuasion from obtaining a decisive voice in the party. Top example: the national party establishment overrode the grassroots uprising of the Sanders campaign in 2016, contriving to prevent Bernie from getting the presidential nomination and thereby throwing the country to the wolves. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by three million but Bernie would almost certainly have done what needed to be done to win in the electoral college as well. Given his demonstrated grassroots support in the industrial and midwestern states that narrowly handed Trump victory, Bernie would likely have taken the White House, bigtime. And we wouldn’t now be living this nightmare the Republican cartel is inflicting on the country.
So what did Democratic Party centrists learn from the avoidable debacle of 2016? That election was theirs to lose and they blew it. Did they then recognize the error of their ways and move to open the party doors to the influx of vital energy coming from grassroots progressives? No, they did not. Instead, following the remarkable and most fortunate 2018 midterm House victories, they moved to circle the wagons to protect their hegemony against the invaders who were instrumental in bringing that victory about. Among other things, under the leadership of Cheri Bustos in 2019 the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) instituted draconian new rules designed to prevent progressives like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY), Ayanna Pressley (MA), and Ro Khanna (CA) from running for office by denying anyone who challenges a Democratic incumbent the funding they need to hire consultants and vendors.
Continue reading AOC Turns the Tables on the DCCC and So Can We
by Jerilyn Bowen
In a recent interview entitled “Democratic Party Centrism Risks Handing Election to Trump,” as preface to his remarks Noam Chomsky had this to say: I find it psychologically impossible to discuss the 2020 election without emphasizing, as strongly as possible, what is at stake: survival, nothing less. Four more years of Trump may spell the end of much of life on Earth, including organized human society in any recognizable form. Strong words, but not strong enough.
In case you’re wondering, he’s talking about climate catastrophe and the growing danger of a nuclear holocaust.
Our venerable speaker-of-truth-to-power frosts his dark prophecy with this surmise: The Democratic Party, in its apparent determination to kill the left wing, may very well end up ensuring a Trump electoral victory for a second time.
Continue reading What’s at Stake
by Jerilyn Bowen
In his bafflement over the role of language in human knowing, twentieth century analytic philosopher Wittgenstein finally concluded that language is a game in which the rules evolve over time through usage practices. As we watch the impeachment proceedings in the U.S. House of Representatives with bated breath, we are witness to a battle between those who adhere to linguistic rules based on conveying a truth that accords with objective evidence and those who violate those rules by weaponizing language into a means of psychological manipulation and deception. In a culture where we are saturated with advertising designed to do the latter, perhaps it’s not so surprising that the longstanding rules of our major means of human communication have been eroded to such an extent that the more unscrupulous among us seize upon an anything-goes approach to public discourse in pursuit of both power and profit.
Continue reading Mind Games in the US Corral
by Jerilyn Bowen
The 1938 play Gas Light tells the story of a man who contrives to make his wife believe she’s losing her wits by dimming the gas-fueled lights in their home on the sly and insisting that her perception of the dimmed lights is a misperception. In our times gaslighting is widely recognized as one of the principle strategies employed by narcissists to undermine and control the people with whom they have relationships. By assuming an air of authority and calling into question the feelings, intuitions, interpretations and responses of their intimates, the narcissist maneuvers to make their unfortunate victims doubt their own sense of reality, thereby psychologically disempowering them so that they will go along with the narcissist’s hidden agenda of domination and emotional exploitation.
What plays out at the interpersonal level of human interaction can be magnified to apply to the collective level. And has been. Across the globe, here and abroad, the diabolical tactic of gaslighting is a key feature of the disinformation playbooks of state authoritarian forces. The aim is to undermine any reliable public standard of truth by which these bad actors can be called to account. In situations where they can’t supplant the truth with their lies, they settle for generating doubt about what is true and what is not. That allows them to escape accountability by creating a narrative in which it’s a matter of competing interests vying with one another for dominance rather than a matter of lawfulness, honorable action, and objective evidence.
Continue reading Gaslighting the Country