Paul Craig Roberts
Once upon a time the leftwing of the political spectrum was committed to the advancement of the working class and its protection from political and economic abuse by the owners of the means of production. Consequently, the leftwing was politically potent and reached a pinnacle of power when Henry Wallace was selected by Franklin D. Roosevelt as his third term vice president. Despite his wealth from the company he founded, Wallace stood for the farmer and the working class.
The Democratic Party power brokers refused to accept Wallace as the vice president candidate until FDR told them he otherwise would decline the presidential nomination.
Wallace was Roosevelt’s and the Democratic voters’ choice for vice president in Roosevelt’s fourth term. But Wallace’s progressive views had alienated the party bosses, Wall Street bankers, anti-union businesses, and America’s British and French allies with his support for labor unions, women, minorities, and victims of colonialism. When he called for the emancipation of colonial subjects and for working with the Soviet Union in the cause of peace and working class justice, he sealed his fate. Despite a Gallup Poll released during the Democratic national convention in July 1944 showing that Wallace was the favorite with 65% of the vote and Roosevelt’s announcement that if he were a delegate, he would choose Wallace, the party bosses chose Harry Truman who was preferred by only 2% of Democratic voters.
This was a turning point in US politics and world history. If the people had prevailed over the corrupt Democratic party bosses, Wallace instead of Truman would have become the first postwar US president. Most likely, there would have been no Cold War, no Korean War, no Vietnam War, no NATO, and no decades of mutual distrust between the US and Russia that today threatens life on earth.
Moreover, in place of today’s highly skewed income and wealth distribution toward the very rich fraction of one percent, there would be an equitable distribution that would support a strong consumer market instead of declining real incomes and debt expansion that threatens economic growth, business profits, employment, and high equity values.
Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick in their best seller, The Untold History of the United States, describe the Clinton-style Democratic Party corruption that was used to block Wallace as the vice presidential candidate:
“Party insiders made sure they had an iron grip on the convention. Yet the rank-and-file Democrats would not go quietly, staging a rebellion on the convention floor. The groundswell of support for Wallace among the delegates and attendees was so great that despite the bosses’ stranglehold over the proceedings and strong-arm tactics, Wallace’s supporters almost carried the day as an uproarious demonstration for Wallace broke out on the convention floor. In the midst of the demonstration, Florida Senator Claude Pepper realized that if he got Wallace’s name into nomination that night, Wallace would sweep the convention. Pepper fought his way through the crowd to get within five feet of the microphone when the nearly hysterical Mayor Kelly, purporting that there was a fire hazard, got the Chairman, Senator Samuel Jackson, to adjourn the proceedings. Had Pepper made it five more feet and nominated Wallace before the bosses forced adjournment against the will of the delegates, Wallace would have become president in 1945 and the course of history would have been dramatically altered.”
The next day Senator Jackson apologized to Senator Pepper: “I had strict instructions from Hannegan not to let the convention nominate the vice president last night. So I had to adjourn the convention in your face.”
Thus was the power of interest groups to prevail over democracy 73 years ago when there was still a press that would on occasion speak for the people. Dave Kranzler and Brett Arends describe the power of the interests and the degeneration of the media today:
“It’s been my view since circa 2003 that [the oligarchs] would hold up the system with printed money and credit creation until every last crumb of middle class wealth was swept off the table and into the pockets of those in position to do the sweeping.
“Obama delivered nothing on his original campaign promises. He was going to “reform” Wall Street. But the concept of Too Big To Fail was legislated under Obama, and Wall Street indictments/prosecutions fell precipitously from the previous Administration.
“Obama left office and entered into a world of high six-figure Wall Street-sponsored speaking engagements and to live in a $10 million estate in Hawaii paid for by the Chicago elite (Pritzkers etc). Now Obama will be paid off $10’s of millions for his role in aiding and abetting the transfer of trillions from the middle class to the elitists. Look at Bill and Hillary – need I say more? Trump has reversed course on his campaign promises twice as quickly as Obama. Almost overnight after his inauguration, Trump became a war-mongering hand-puppet for the Deep State’s ‘Swamp’ creatures.
“The media has been willingly complicit in this big charade. Much to my complete shock, Brett Arends has published a commentary on Marketwatch which, from an insider, warns about the media:
‘Do you want to know what kind of person makes the best reporter? I’ll tell you. A borderline sociopath. Someone smart, inquisitive, stubborn, disorganized, chaotic, and in a perpetual state of simmering rage at the failings of the world. Once upon a time you saw people like this in every newsroom in the country. They often had chaotic personal lives and they died early of cirrhosis or a heart attack. But they were tough, angry SOBs and they produced great stories.
‘Do you want to know what kind of people get promoted and succeed in the modern news organization? Social climbers. Networkers. People who are gregarious, who “buy in” to the dominant consensus, who go along to get along and don’t ask too many really awkward questions. They are flexible, well-organized, and happy with life. And it shows.’
“This is why so many reporters are happy to report that U.S. corporations are in great financial shape, even though they also have surging debts, or that a ‘diversified portfolio’ of stocks and bonds will protect you in all circumstances, even though this is not the case, or that defense budgets are being slashed, when they aren’t, or that the U.S. economy has massively outperformed rivals such as Japan, when on key metrics it hasn’t, or that companies must pay CEOs gazillions of dollars to secure the top ‘talent’ when they don’t need to do any such thing and such pay is just plunder.”http://investmentresearchdynamics.com/the-sqeeze-is-on/
The American leftwing has been transmogrified. The left, which formerly stood for “peace and bread,” today stands for Identity Politics and war. The working class has been redefined as “the Trump deplorables” and splintered into separate “victim groups”—women, racial minorities, homosexuals, transgendered. The oppressors are no longer oligarchs who own the means of production. The oppressor is the sexist, misogynist, homophobic, heterosexual, fascist, white supremacist male working class.
The rise of Identity Politics has brought with it politically controlled speech. Primarily white people, especially heterosexual white males, are subject to this control. The limits on their free speech are growing ever more severe, and no one has to be concerned about white heterosexual males being offended by offensive or threatening speech. White males can be called anything and they are.
By splintering the working class into victim groups, Identity Politics has made opposition to war and income inequality impossible. In place of unity, Identity Politics has dismembered the working class and directed its energies into internal disputes. We now have fistfights in London’s Hyde Park between radical feminists and transgendered activists. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4891484/Fists-fly-politically-correct-rally.html
Diana Johnstone has shown how Antifa, the violent arm of Identity Politics, has turned the leftwing into a suppressor of free speech and a supporter of war. See https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/10/09/antifa-in-theory-and-in-practice/ andhttps://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2017/10/23/harmful-effects-antifa-diana-johnstone/ .
A splintered society cannot recognize or resist its oppression by a ruling elite. Feminism turns wives and husbands from complements into rivals. Indeed, Sarah Knapton, science editor for the London Telegraph, reports on the rise of “bromance,” strong emotional relationships between heterosexual men. Feminist attacks on men and political correctness have reduced millennial heterosexual males’ relationships with women to sex only. Their emotional commitments are to their male friends. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/10/12/rise-bromance-threatens-heterosexual-relationships-warn-social/ This doesn’t seem like a victory for women.