Ocasio-Cortez, Nancy Pelosi, and the Con of Diversity
Poor people, especially poor Black Americans, cannot eat from or survive off “diversity.”
“The current divisions within the Democratic Party over Pelosi will eventually lead to consensus around an imperial agenda.”
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he midterm elections have been over for two weeks and the Democrat-controlled House is set to nominate corporate mainstay Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House. Pelosi has been met with opposition in her own party and the Bezos-owned Washington Posthas questioned whether she will garner enough votes for the nomination . Even Donald Trump felt compelled to come to Pelosi’s aid, offering the long-time California representative votes from the Republican Party . The debate over the Speaker position is indicative of growing divisions with the Democratic Party-wing of the duopoly. However, this debate has little significance for the masses of exploited and impoverished workers and poor people, especially Black Americans, in the United States and around the world. The opposition to Pelosi is a public relations stunt on the part of the Democratic Party, which has long united against the interests of the poor and working-class around the con of diversity.
“Even Donald Trump felt compelled to come to Pelosi’s aid, offering the long-time California representative votes from the Republican Party.”
The con of diversity, as outlined by BAR executive editor Glen Ford, allows the corporate ruling class to brand imperialism as “inclusive” at the expense of Black Americans. Diversity began when affirmative action was effectively tossed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1978 in theRegents of the University of California v. Bakkecase. Institutions were no longer required to enforce “quotas” for racial minorities, freeing the corporate ruling class from any mandate to provide redress to Black Americans who have been historically disadvantaged by injustices of white supremacy. Diversity served as a convenient replacement for affirmative action. Loyal servants to the U.S. empire and capitalist state were elevated to a small number of high places while poor and working-class Black Americans were denied political and economic power in every aspect of society.
Democrats like Pelosi and Ocasio-Cortez are two different strands of the same diversity disease. Pelosi is an entrenched corporate Democrat with a net worth of 196 million dollars . She is a staunch advocate of capitalism and most of her campaign contributions come from large donors or corporate Political Action Committees (PAC). Pelosi has been a major supporter of the drive to war with Russia, a policy that has its roots in her support of U.S. funding for the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan during the Bush Jr. Administration. In a word, Pelosi is beloved by the ruling class for her decade’s worth of service to finance capital and the war machine even as she promotes herself as a progressive politician for the “99 percent.”
“The opposition to Pelosi is a public relations stunt on the part of the Democratic Party.”
Pelosi’s office was recently occupied by activists from the PAC “Justice Democrats.” Activists demanded support from Pelosi for a Green New Deal. The policy has been a feature of the Green Party’s list of demands on the U.S. government for years, but no Greens were consulted prior to the protest. New York Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortezpaid a visit to the protest as a show of faux-opposition to Pelosi. Despite the sexy optics of the protest, Ocasio-Cortez demonstrated the full extent of the danger that the diversity con game poses to the oppressed and exploited masses. Ocasio-Cortez said this about Pelosi when speaking to the corporate media at the protest, “One of the things that I admire so much about Leader Pelosi, is that she comes from a place of activism and organizing and she really appreciates civic engagement.”
Nancy Pelosi does indeed come from a place of activism and civic engagement in service of imperialism. In a townhall last year, Pelosi told a young socialist activist that the Democratic Party was capitalist through and through . Pelosi opposes Medicare for Alleven though nearly ninety percent of Democrat voters support single-payer healthcare. Pelosi has fought for the militarization of immigration policy and has drawn staunch criticism from immigrant rights groups. And most recently, Pelosi has used her “activist” spirit to call for bipartisanship in the form of tax policy that would effectively strangle in their crib any hopes for Medicare for All or any other progressive demand. Her proposal for a three-fifths majority requirement in the House to raise the tax rates of the bottom 80 percent of earners is a right-wing dog whistle that masquerades as an attempt to “increase” the income of a mythical “middle class.” And as a loyal servant of Israel and war, Pelosi was perfectly fine with giving the U.S. military 57.4 billion dollars more than what Trump proposedfor the defense spending in 2017.
“Pelosiopposes Medicare for Alleven though nearly ninety percent of Democrat voters support single-payer healthcare.”
Ocasio-Cortez’s faux-activism in urging Pelosi to support a Green New Deal is a dangerous distraction. The Democratic Party hopes that its pro-war, pro-corporate policies go unchallenged so long as it allows an array of white women and women of color to distribute the pain that the policies cause. Now that the midterm elections are over, there has been not a word about a recent study by Credit Suisse which found that one out every seven of the poorest people in the world lives in the United States. The study concluded that the accumulation of debt has triggered several “deaths of despair” for U.S. workers that go beyond wages. Workers and poor people in the United States cannot afford healthcare, childcare, housing, and other essential needs and are thus forced to indebt themselves to creditors to survive.
Poor people, especially poor Black Americans, cannot eat from or survive off “diversity.” Yet the imperialist system has essentially given poor Blacks and other workers two choices. They can support the White Man’s Party led by Donald Trump or support the Rainbow Coalition of Death and Plunder led by the Democrats. This is no choice at all. U.S. imperialism is a class system in crisis. Both corporate parties are scrambling to resolve the crisis but neither has any solutions to the inherent contradictions of imperialism. Thus, all choices made within the duopoly electoral system only reinforce the suffering of the people.
“As a loyal servant of Israel and war, Pelosi was perfectly fine with giving the U.S. military 57.4 billion dollars morethan what Trump proposed.”
The only choice that exists for the poor and exploited in this decaying empire is the development of an independent political movement. Ocasio-Cortez and the new crop of “diverse” politicians emerging from divided and disoriented Democratic Party are in no position to lead such a movement. As the vote for Pelosi inches closer, it becomes increasingly clear that leftists have no dog in this fight. Pelosi, like the Mueller investigation, is no champion of social democracy. She is a champion of the monopoly capitalist class and whatever it takes to preserve its wealth and power.
Make no mistake, there is no battle for the heart and soul of the Democratic Party as Ocasio-Cortez would have us believe. The current divisions within the Democratic Party over Pelosi will eventually lead to consensus around an imperial agenda.What revolutionaries should pay attention to, however, is the growing unrest and disillusionment of the Democratic Party base. That is what support for Sanders initially represented in 2016. The Democratic Party’s commitment to war and austerity will continue to create the conditions for a possible split among those who want healthcare, jobs, and education. Our job as radicals and revolutionaries is to organize these sentiments into an anti-imperialist and socialist alternative to the duopoly. The con of “diversity” is impeding the motion of the masses toward these ends by neutralizing revolutionary politics and privileging infantile misleaders willing to capitulate to the corporate ruling class at every turn. If this phenomenon could be explained in a picture, look no further than Michelle Obama’s warm embrace of George W. Bush. Expect Ocasio-Cortez to take advantage of similar photo opportunities after finally announcing public support for Nancy Pelosi for speaker. “Diversity” is, as Ocasio-Cortez shows us, class betrayal.
Danny Haiphong is an activist and journalist in the New York City area. He and Roberto Sirvent are co-authors of the forthcoming book entitled American Exceptionalism and American Innocence: A People’s History of Fake News- From the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror (Skyhorse Publishing). He can be reached at email@example.com
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