"...it's not the training to be mean but the training to be kind that is used to keep us leashed best." ~ Black Dog Red

"In case you haven't recognized the trend: it proceeds action, dissent, speech." ~ davidly, on how wars get done

"...What sort of meager, unerotic existence must a man live to find himself moved to such ecstatic heights by the mundane sniping of a congressional budget fight. The fate of human existence does not hang in the balance. The gods are not arrayed on either side. Poseiden, earth-shaker, has regrettably set his sights on the poor fishermen of northern Japan and not on Washington, D.C. where his ire might do some good--I can think of no better spot for a little wetland reclamation project, if you know what I mean. The fight is neither revolution nor apocalypse; it is hardly even a fight. A lot of apparatchiks are moving a lot of phony numbers with more zeros than a century of soccer scores around, weaving a brittle chrysalis around a gross worm that, some time hence, will emerge, untransformed, still a worm." ~ IOZ

Jul 24, 2011

Open Letter to A Registered Democrat

1. Your party hasn't changed. It isn't betraying you. That you ever believed otherwise is entirely to your discredit. The onus isn't on you to figure this out. The onus is  you. We've been carrying your credulousness for so long now, you don't realize that you're a burden.


Your party hasn't rediscovered Reagan in the guise of Barack fucking Obama. It's still the same committee of vultures, with the same set of goals. They're just as content to dismantle the res publica now as they were two years after it looked like black people and the womenfolk might really want a piece of it. They're committed to a complete Enclosure of the remaining commons. Nothing is new except your whiny "disillusionment."

2. It's the messaging which has changed. That is all. The media environment is different because the media consumer no longer looks like your working class ward boss grandfather. It's a media market, represented by the credentialed middle manager, the professional and the sub-class of creative mercenaries. They're wholly invested in the meritocracy. They've bought in. The Ratchet moves with the medium.

3. They'll still take your loyalty, when you're ready to give in and give it back to them. They might even make useful noises about homosexuality and domestic terrorism. Ungod knows you're scared silly of god-sots with a microphone. And that's nothing new, is it? The Republicans have been willing to play bogey for seven decades now.

4. Everything you hate about today's Democrats was already in evidence during FDR's Administration. Everything. The compromises, the marginalization of population groups, the handing over of the Commons to private control, the transfer of public equity to corporate holding, the obsession with currency stability, oil supply, hegemony, central banking and European economic liabilities already obtained with Roosevelt and Truman. And the wars, the wars, the corporate bottom lining wars? C'mon now. War was as good for Democrat donors then as it is now.

The problem isn't a change in real relations. No matter what you tell yourself.

The problem is that you were never attentive enough to notice a change in perceptions.

The New Deal Democrats didn't have to worry about how to appease women and black people. That's the unspoken secret to FDR's success. His environment allowed him to appear as a patriarch - a precursor avatar of Rockefeller's bomfoggy united white Republic. The nationalist and universalist language was exclusive. The New Deal had no room for the Negro. It was a deal for the disciplined laborer, for the nationalist who was willing to do what he was told. It was a deal for the company man, not for the undesirables.

5. The Democrats still hate the undesirables. They still want a nation of property "owning" employees. Just like the Republicans do, of course. The Republicans are honest about it. They talk up their merit and bootstrapper rhetoric right out in public. They blame the poor, the Mexicans, the uppity women and the "urban welfare leeches." And they campaign on it. The Democrats treat with the poor dishonestly - as problems to be fixed, as people to be saved from themselves, elevated by Democratic grace into membership in the property "owning" class of behaving minions. The Democrat doesn't want shared responsibility. He isn't interested in cornucopia and the redirection of labor towards the enjoyment of life and the living of it. He wants more people disciplined by crippling debt, thirty year mortgages and student loans with compounded interest.

6. The fault is you. You've been a consumer of propaganda and your own stupidity for so long that you had yourself persuaded by delusions.  Your heroes were bought men. Made men; they were obvious stooges of the real victors of World War Two (transnational corporations). They were never in fact crusaders for the commonweal. FDR wasn't fighting for the little man. He was keeping his ruling class friends from facing down revolution. FDR was first and foremost good for business. Carter was a voice of austerity. Clinton, a remarkably forthright enemy of the little people.

And Obama?

Fucking Obama. It's not his fault you believed in him. He was preaching the Gospels of Austerity, War and the Bootstrap from the first day of his rise into prominence.

So, fuck you, registered Democrat. Fuck you and your self-deceptions. You have been neutering, negating and compromising genuine labor agitation, unrest and revolutionary impulses for so long we're past measuring in decades, and we're on to counts in centuries.

You know what you can do with your disillusionment and disbelief?

You can fucking choke on it.


Will Shetterly said...

The job of the Democrats, perhaps since 1800, has been to be the fake people's party so a real people's party can't arise.

Jack Crow said...

It is kind of sad and cute when a Registered Democrat figures this out, Will.

But, that species of common barnyard fowl never seems to manage an escape from the chicken house upon this realization. It just goes back to laying eggs and rooster crowing, confident in the faith that if only it can produce more eggs or louder barnyard screeches, the farmer will learn to love it and refrain from eating it.

Cabeza de Vaca said...


I would be interested to hear: what, in your opinion, was the closest America ever came to real class revolution? The Haymarket Riot? The Battle of Blair Mountain? The late 60s student revolts? The Black Power movement?

Just curious what your sense of this is, and whether you think there's something to be learned from the conditions under which that "turn which never quite turned" took place.

Also, in addition to sating my curiosity, this would help give me some historical footing for better understanding your attitude towards the New Deal.

fish said...

I think there are a large number of Democrats that know the Dem brand is shit, but they believe the 0.06% less shitty doctrine (as BDR calls it). Digby is a classic example of someone who just can't make the first step to walk away. Not that this is any better, just slightly different.

Jack Crow said...


I'm typing off-hand while trying to keep a ten year old and a fourteen year old separated so my wife can have a moment of peace.

Apologies in advance for brevity.

The period 1910-1940 was the most revolutionary. Seattle, St. Louis and Kansas City, the Knights of Labor, the wobblies, the Bread and Roses, Sinclair Lewis and Debs, Red Emma and Mother Jones, Haywood and Gurley Flynn, the red carding and radicalization of timber workers, the soldiers' revolt - this all took place during the period of consolidation now curiously referred to as the "Roaring Twenties," which was built on gains achieved during the Fin du Siecle and the Morgan underwriting of the busted federal government.

The captains of industry were so concerned that Roosie wouldn't handle it correctly that they came close to organizing a coup d'etat. Their only mistake was approaching Smedley Butler.

Slim Charles said...


That's a great answer to Cabeza. I'm wondering: are there any books about radicalism during that period (1910-1940) that you liked and that you might recommend?

I'd be grateful for any suggestions.

Anonymous said...

nice response to the "constitutional lawyer" glenn fucking greenwald and his braindead hangers-on and worshipers

Anonymous said...

fish, digby's a shill/gatekeeper, not a naif

Jack Crow said...


My best recommendation is to start with Zinn. The Wobblies also used to have a pretty decent history archive. Don't know if they still do now.


"Brand" is the right word. And as long as the Teaps and Republicans (heh - a Teap is a Republican...) make scary noises about secession and guns, the Dems will stay loyal.

what the Tee Vee taught said...

Slim Charles,

From a few decades before the 10'-40' range you asked about, but: The Populist Moment by Lawrence Goodwyn might be useful... I found it to be so.

JM said...

What do you think of Crimethinc inc?

fish said...

I don't think she is a shill (not like Kos for example), I think she actually believes she is being critical towards Dems and that enough collective effort along those lines will result in incremental progress. I strongly agree with the gatekeeper aspect though. In effect she forces people back into the fold that would otherwise have walked away long ago. She is more harmful than a shill because she does it for free and therefore has some credibility.

Jack Crow said...


I agree about Digby. Great take on her. If she were a shill - say an Yglesias - it would be enough to ruin her function as gatekeeper.

Jack Crow said...



Feel the same way about Jensen and Zerzan.

Prims refuse to acknowledge that they're hankering for the death of billions.

JM said...

I have to say I agree, I was just curious.
I say take heart, we still have Bernie Saunders:

Anonymous said...


better than kos ain't a real meaningful difference except maybe to a kosfan!

in either case the pundit lies on behalf of the donkle -- which is where I tend to look... results

Anonymous said...

also, we don't really know digglewiggle gets no donkle coin... do we?

fish said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
fish said...

better than kos ain't a real meaningful difference except maybe to a kosfan!

Not saying better, just qualitatively different. Although it is true that we don't know she isn't being paid. And it can be argued that trips to conferences etc. is a kind of coin...

awesome guy said...

Karl, she (Digby) gets "coin" from her readership, so she's presumably mindful of not alienating them.

Anonymous said...

Not saying better, just qualitatively different.

hmmm... since I perceive an absence of quality how about "stylistically" different?

(insert little devil image)

the old divider of blogger vs NYT columnist dissolves faster daily



that's part of the problem -- maybe the biggest part

Landru said...

As always and with love...right back at you, in the most Pythonesque way possible.

fish said...

A classic in the gatekeeping genre.

Jack Crow said...

I was just finishing up a comment there, fish. Not often I care to comment digby-way.



Landru said...

Nuffin really, Jack. Mutual talent for flipping each other off from time to time, may as well do so warmly. I'd be a bad man to judge another's harsh. Or his frustration.

Jack Crow said...

Fair, if still a bit gnomic.

Anonymous said...

classic indeed, fish. cite to Salon within gains extra points for condescension via "culturally superior" POV. arugula and goat cheese with a nice chardonnay for the win!

Landru said...

Gnomic? Me?

We disagree on the degree of difference between one and the other, is all. I genuinely respect your position, though I question many parts of it (certainly not the base notion that anyone who voted for Obama--including me--got what they deserved).

We bonded the day I flipped you off, harshly but not personally, at my place. You deserve no less than the same credit from me, and you get it without grudge, and with some warmth.

TriBuMinYuu said...