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Convention: Having squelched left, DNC pivots hard right

Image: Liberation screenshot of DNC Livestream.

The Democratic National Convention proves exactly how far right the Democrat Party continues to move. It was also an exercise in cowardly fear in the face of Trump’s open redbaiting and Muslim baiting. That was the stated reason that the party’s most popular liberal member of the House, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, received just 90 seconds to speak. That’s precisely why the Biden team joined in Trump’s condemnation of Palestinian activist Linda Sarsour after she spoke as an invited guest on a panel discussion at the convention. That’s why Republican billionaires, militarists and anti-abortion politicians were given major roles.

The top priority of the “convention” as organized by Biden and his team was not putting forward a program to meet the urgent needs of the people, but instead how Trump and operatives would respond to it. In a very real sense, the script of the Democrats’ convention was dictated by the White House.

Ample time was provided to disgruntled present or former Republicans like former Secretary of State and head of the military, Colin Powell, ex-mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg, and former governor of Ohio, John Kasich. A video, glorifying the late Sen. John McCain and his relationship with presidential nominee Joe Biden, was highlighted. All of the above were supporters of the Iraq, Afghanistan and other wars, massive military budgets, U.S. bases around the world and sanctions against poor countries. Kasich is an all-round reactionary, especially known for his opposition to women’s right to abortion.

By contrast, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (also known as AOC), the most popular young Democratic elected official in the country, was granted just 90 seconds to second the nomination of Sen. Bernie Sanders, itself a formality. AOC is a very dynamic speaker with a huge following among young people and people of color, sectors of the Democrat’s “base” which must be mobilized if the Democrats hope to win in November. 

No one can imagine that John Kasich or Michael Bloomberg or Colin Powell would be a more persuasive or winning speaker than Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. So, why did Biden make the choice he did? And beyond any doubt he made that choice.

As was widely discussed in the corporate media, minimizing AOC’s speaking time was aimed at preventing the Trump administration from focusing on her role as proof of the imaginary ”far left” character of the Democrats. 

It didn’t work. One of Trump’s mouthpieces, Sen. Lindsey Graham, turned their tactic back on the Democrats in humiliating fashion: “Putting AOC in the corner will not hide the fact that she’s the co-pilot, along with other liberals.” But it did demonstrate once more that fear of the White House is what has driven the convention agenda.  

So, too, did the exclusion of the other members of “The Squad,” AOC and three other popular and progressive, first-term Congresswomen of color: Ilhan Omar, the first Somali American elected to the House; Rashida Tlaib, the first Palestinian American woman elected to Congress; and African American Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts. 

Omar and Tlaib were also the first two Muslim women elected to Congress. These were truly groundbreaking achievements, yet neither got even 90 seconds.

In fact, there were no Muslim speakers at all on camera in the “convention.”

Linda Sarsour, a well-known Palestinian American activist was invited by the party to participate in a off-camera meeting on mobilizing the Muslim vote in November. “The Democratic party is not perfect, but it is absolutely our party in this moment,” Sarsour stated, calling for the election of Biden.

Sarsour was one of the spokespersons for the Sanders campaign. When the rightwing media and Trump campaign found out about her participation, they launched a public attack on Sarsour for supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign for Palestinian rights, falsely claiming that BDS and Sarsour are anti-Semitic.

The Biden campaign, instead of defending their invitee, joined in the attack.

“Joe Biden has been a strong supporter of Israel and a vehement opponent of anti-Semitism his entire life, and he obviously condemns her (Sarsour’s) views and opposes BDS, as does the Democratic platform,” Andrew Bates said in a statement, on behalf of the Biden campaign.”She has no role in the Biden campaign whatsoever.” 

The Democratic party left, led in recent years by Sanders, went quietly down to defeat inside the platform committee on popular issues like Medicare for all and real relief for student debt. 

Major sections of the national security apparatus have lined up behind Biden. On the day after the convention ends, a group called “Former Republican National Security Officials for Biden” is set to publish an ad in the Wall Street Journal denouncing Trump as engaging “in corrupt behavior that renders him unfit to serve as president.” Among its 73 member are such war criminals and agents of repression as former national security director and head of the CIA, Michael Hayden; former head of both the FBI and CIA, William Webster and John Negroponte, former Director of National Intelligence. 

Demonstrating once again the imperialist character of the Democratic as well as Republican party leadership, there were recurrent calls for more aggressive action against “our adversaries,” meaning in particular Russia and China. Just before the convention, Democrats and Republicans joined together to pass the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, which calls for increases in the already massive military budget.

None of the false promises and deception emanating from this week’s Democratic non-convention or next week’s Republican charade in reality provide any real hope for the people or the planet. Only a mass people’s movement independent of both the Democrats and Republicans can bring the radical change that is so urgently needed. 

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