Michael Hudson: Why We Need to Abolish the Democratic National Committee, Even if That Means Breaking Up the Democratic Party

Yves here. Lambert has been pondering for some time the question of what kind of organization is the Democratic Party? Hudson stresses the role of the Democratic National Committee as the vehicle for assuring top 10%/big money control. Worse, the DNC seems to operate like a zombie fungus, raising the question of what would be left if its power were severely curtailed.

By Michael Hudson, a research professor of Economics at University of Missouri, Kansas City, and a research associate at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. His latest book is “and forgive them their debts”: Lending, Foreclosure and Redemption from Bronze Age Finance to the Jubilee Year

Thursday’s debate on Walt Disney’s ABC channel is shaping up as yet another shameless charade. The pretense is that we are to select who the Democratic presidential candidate will be. But most Americans, as the Irish say, vote with their backsides, belonging to the informal but dominant party of non-voters who choose not to be sucked into legitimizing the bad choices put before them.

The debate is being presented as a reality entertainment show. The audience is invited to rate the candidates who seem most likely to implement the policy they want – but not including the economy. Most Americans are now living from paycheck to paycheck and cannot come up with even $400 in an emergency. They are afraid to go on strike or even to complain about their job, because they are afraid of getting fired – and of losing their corporate health care, knowing that getting sick may wipe them out. These problems will not appear on Walt Disney.

Voters basically want what Bernie Sanders is promising: a basic right to Single Payer health care and a retirement income. That means protection against the Republican-Democratic threats to cut back Social Security to balance the budget in the face of tax cuts for the richest One Percent and rising Cold War military spending. This means a government strong enough to take on the vested financial and corporate interests and prosecute Wall Street’s financial crime and corporate monopoly power. When neoliberals shout, “But that’s socialism,” Americans finally are beginning to say, “Then give us socialism.” It beats being ground down into debt peonage.

But here’s the trick that the TV debates sweep under the rug: It is not the voters who are empowered to choose the Democratic Party’s candidate. That privilege belongs legally to the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Since stacking the political deck in 2016 to serve up Hillary Clinton as nominee, it has put in place rules that will enable its Donor Class members, superdelegates and other lobbyists for the One Percent to repeat the trickery once again in 2020.

I hope that the candidate who is clearly the voters’ choice, Bernie Sanders, may end up as the party’s nominee. If he is, I’m sure he’ll beat Donald Trump handily, as he would have done four years ago.

But I fear that the DNC’s Donor Class will push Joe Biden, Kamala Harris or even Pete Buttigieg down the throats of voters. Just as when they backed Hillary the last time around, they hope that their anointed neoliberal will be viewed as the lesser evil for a program little different from that of the Republicans.

So Thursday’s reality TV run-off is about “who’s the least evil?” An honest reality show’s questions would focus on “What are you against?” That would attract a real audience, because people are much clearer about what they’re against: the vested interests, Wall Street, the drug companies and other monopolies, the banks, landlords, corporate raiders and private-equity asset strippers. But none of this is to be permitted on the magic island of authorized candidates (not including Tulsi Gabbard, who was purged from further debates for having dared to mention the unmentionable).

Donald Trump as the DNC’s nominee

The problem facing the Democratic National Committee today remains the same as in 2016: How to block even a moderately left-wing social democrat by picking a candidate guaranteed to lose to Trump, so as to continue the policies that serve banks, the financial markets and military spending for Cold War 2.0.

DNC donors favor Joe Biden, long-time senator from the credit-card and corporate-shell state of Delaware, and opportunistic California prosecutor Kamala Harris, with a hopey-changey grab bag alternative in smooth-talking small-town Rorschach blot candidate Pete Buttigieg. These easy victims are presented as “electable” in full knowledge that they will fail against Trump.

Trump meanwhile has done most everything the Democratic Donor Class wants: He has cut taxes on the wealthy, cut social spending for the population at large, backed Quantitative Easing to inflate the stock and bond markets, and pursued Cold War 2.0. Best of all, his abrasive style has enabled Democrats to blame the Republicans for the giveaway to the rich, as if they would have followed a different policy.

The Democratic Party’s role is to protect Republicans from attack from the left, steadily following the Republican march rightward. Claiming that this is at least in the direction of being “centrist,” the Democrats present themselves as the lesser evil (which is still evil, of course), simply as pragmatic in not letting hopes for “the perfect” (meaning moderate social democracy) block the spirit of compromise with what is attainable, “getting things done” by cooperating across the aisle and winning Republican support. That is what Joe Biden promises.

The effect has been to make America into a one-party state. Republicans act as the most blatant lobbyists for the Donor Class. But people can vote for a representative of the One Percentand the military-industrial complexin either the Republican or Democratic column. That is why most Americans owe allegiance to no party.

The Democratic National Committee worries that voters may disturb this alliance by nominating a left-wing reform candidate. The DNC easily solved this problem in 2016: When Bernie Sanders intruded into its apace, it the threw the election. It scheduled the party’s early defining primaries in Republican states whose voters leaned right, and packed the nominating convention with Donor Class super-delegates.

After the dust settled, having given many party members political asthma, the DNC pretended that it was all an unfortunate political error. But of course it was not a mistake at all. The DNC preferred to lose with Hillary than win with Bernie, whom springtime polls showed would be the easy winner over Trump. Potential voters who didn’t buy into the program either stayed home or voted green.

Starve out the DNC

Now is the time to start thinking about what to do if and when the DNC presents voters with neoliberal Hillary 2.0, preferring to lose with Biden or his clones than to win with Bernie.

I think the only effective response will be to boycott the Democratic Party – not only its presidential candidates, but its Blue Dog candidates and incumbents.

The legal kerfuffle raised by Sanders supporters in the aftermath made the switcheroo official. The courts affirmed that the Democratic Party’s candidate for president is legally chosen by the DNC alone, and may or may not be the candidate elected by voters in the primaries. To cap matters, the superdelegates serve as a safety valve against any candidate unwilling to go whole-hog neoliberal. A legal tangle of state and national U.S. election laws effectively blocks third parties from meaningful representation in Congress. Registered Independents such as Sanders are constrained to caucus with and serve on committees of one of the two parties.

That makes it difficult for any third party to play more than the role of a spoiler in elections. When the Democratic Party runs its right-wing Blue Dog candidates, a third-party protest will throw the Senate or Congressional election to the Republican – until the DNC finally just walks away.

It would not help much to take over the Democratic Party as long as its rules cede control to Wall Street donors. For the party to be reconstituted, the coterie that has imposed Rubinomics, Hillary’s neocon military empire, and is threatening to balance the budget by cutting Social Security needs to be isolated.

The most obvious start is to run real progressive candidates against incumbents, like AOC in Queens. If the DNC bans consultants from working with them, they should be attacked in the primary and then either stay home or vote for a third party in the fall election to defeat the incumbent rather than participate in the fake choices of just which neoliberal may be the least worst.

Democrat leaders will denounce the Third Party, claiming that voters would have supported Democratic otherwise, much as they blamed Ralph Nader in 2000. The reality is that voters refused to support the right-wing neocon Joe Lieberman (how appropriate that he became Obama’s Senate mentor) and his neoliberal Democratic Leadership Council front-man Gore, who would have given George W. Bush a run for awfulness.

The only way to make the Democrat Party democratic is to clean house, to boycott its Blue Dog candidates even though this throws elections to the Republicans until the DNC is emptied out. Only at that point can its rules be replaced with ones committing the party to follow the choice of voters and the majority non-Democratic (even non-voting) bloc instead of big donors and super-delegates.

This tactic may lead to Republican sweeps in the next few elections. That is the price that the Democrats have forced to be paid for their neoliberal intransigence that has made Donald Trump theirpresident as much as that of Republican voters.

There is no such thing as centrist stability in a polarizing economy

There is no “middle class” policy in an indebted economy polarizing at an accelerating pace as financial rentierslord it over an indebted majority. That is why wage earners have lost their identity with the Democratic Party’s loyalty to Wall Street. Although Democratic politicians presents themselves as the only alternative to Republican corporate lobbyists, the DNC is a smoke-filled room of donors, packaged in identity politics – every identity except that of indebted wage earners. It is merely a diversion to focus on personalities and to claim that economic reform is “divisive” because it may offend centrist voters such as the Democrats’ dream of attracting suburban Republican women.

Joe Biden’s promise of a moderate centrist policy is like Warren Harding’s slogan of a “return to normalcy” a century ago, in 1920. But a “return” would mean rolling back the enormous post-1980 increase in debt, the privatizations, deregulation and other neoliberal nightmares. Today’s U.S. economy – like that of Europe – has no middle ground. Attempts at a “moderate” party are merely a euphemism for backing the financial and real estate sector, the oil industry and the military-industrial complex.

If America had a parliamentary system reflecting voters’ preferences for parties, the Democratic Party would share the fate of German and other European Social Democrats that have embraced neoliberal economics and would poll about 5 percent of the vote, just barely being represented in a truly democratic congress. Voters are rejecting neoliberalism everywhere, but the DNC and foreign formerly left-wing party bureaucracies are holding onto it. They have become zombie party hacks.

Sanders rightly blames Wall Street and the One Percent for the economy’s financial mess. Warren strikes a resonant chord in seeing the need to alleviate the debt burden saying in effect, “It’s the debt, stupid.” But she also seems prepared to go along opportunistically with the rest of the Democratic Party’s platform.[1]Even so, the DNC seems quite willing to throw the election to Trump as its major funders and super-delegates back Biden, Harris and Buttigieg.

When Bernie says he will take on Wall Street, people believe him. When Elizabeth Warren says that, voters worry about just how far she may compromise. When Biden or Harris say that, most voters realize that they are simply grabbing slogans that play well in focus groups, selling their personalities without policy content.

Most potential voters have no party in the United States, but are forced into a choice between Republican and Democratic neoliberals. The polls euphemize most voters as “undecideds,” as if they have not decided to avoid both parties and try to scrape by as best they can with the bad choices put before them: Republican corporate lobbyists, or Democratic Wall Street lobbyists, both parties supporting military spending and representing the One Percent who form their donor base.

Most Democratic voters have decided not to back Biden or Harris. They realize their interests were betrayed first by Clintonomics and its deregulation of Wall Street and stripping away of social spending, and then by Obama protecting his Wall Street donors from “the mob with pitchforks,” namely, those who voted for his empty promise of hope and change. That is how the DNC views its constituency – to be manipulated and its attention diverted onto the Fantasy Island episode aired on Thursday on ABC.


[1]She also seems to welcome support from the Clintonites and is seeking their super-delegates. See Jonathan Allen, “Warren and Clinton talk behind the scenes as 2020 race intensifies,” NBC, September 7, 2019. https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/warren-clinton-talk-behind-scenes-2020-race-intensifies-n1049701

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  1. jackiebass

    As a life long member of the Democratic party, for yearsI haven’t voted for the Democratic candidate for president or the senate. The party leadership has abandoned its base in favor of big money. They are like what used to be moderate republicans. I live in NY state and have never voted for Schumer. The party needs to go back to its roots or get broken up. If Biden or any of the Wall Street Democrats is the nominee , I again won’t vote for them. I’ll vote for a third party candidate instead. If the progressive wing of the Democratic party splits and forms another party, I will join it. Many years ago I occasionally voted for a republican. That was when there were moderate republicans. Today most of the republicans are conservative bible thumping politicians that I could never vote for. They don’t share my political and social beliefs. The same goes for Wall Street Democrats.

    1. Eclair

      You express my position exactly, jackiebass. The DNC has very effectively disenfranchised a huge percentage of American voters. All without the hassle of imposing poll taxes or other inconvenient barriers, hacking voting machines or purging voter rolls.

    2. Janie

      My history, too, although I’m from the western part of our country. Neither party has represented me for decades. The blunt statements from the Democrats’ leadership that they do not have to honor the choice of their voters is a slap in the face never to be forgiven.

    3. inode_buddha

      I’m from the opposite side. I was a moderate GOP voter for decades and I finally lost it when they voted Bush. Concurrently I began having serious health problems. I went looking for a new political home, and was seriously investigating the Democrats after 20 yrs in the GOP. I was thrilled with Obama’s rhetoric and began investigating the party….. and was horrified. The way the DNC operates is viscerally repulsive. So horrified at the corruption and elite smugness, I ran away screaming. I’ll never join the Dems either. But I will do everything in my power to make sure Sanders is elected.

        1. marcyincny

          It seemed pretty obvious to peace activists early on. Obama demonstrated his duplicity the minute he locked up the nomination. As I remember it, after feigning opposition to the invasion of Iraq to distinguish himself from Hillary Clinton during the primary, once he had his delegates lined up the first thing he did was to assure AIPAC of his support.

          1. Oh

            I smelt a rat when Obomber couldn’t wait to vote for Bush’s bailout of the banker right after he got nominated by the DImrats. That was quite shocking when even McCain voted against it. Foolishly, I gave him the benefit of the doubt. There were too many people drinking the Kool Aid and I was one of them. I couldn’t see thru the haze created to fully investigate his shenanigans in Chicago. There was a Chicago Tribune article that exposed them fully but I never got to reading it until he became Prez. That’s why I’m so suspicious of Warren who seems to be cozying up to the DNC and Hillary.

            To me it’s Bernie and Bernie only. If the Dimrats obstruct him in the primary I hope he runs as an independent.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Agree with Oh. Well done! You’re the only person I’ve run accross that actually investigated Obama. I was carried away with his bs until he flushed the public option down the toilet where he felt it belonged. Not that the PO was anything great, as Lambert readily points out, but it was the only thing that even seemed to have value in that whole ginormous give away to insurance companies and the industrial health care complex.

        For me, Obama was one more painful lesson in how slow I am to get the picture.

        1. sj

          I investigated when he gave the keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic national convention. Everyone on-line was raving about it so I poured myself a glass of wine, kicked back and prepared myself to be wowed and inspired.

          Instead I just received a scolding. To this day I can find no other lens to view that speech.

          It was always obvious who he was if one wasn’t dazzled. After all, he “won” his very first race in Illinois by having his competitors disqualified. Not illegal. Just sleazy.

        2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          Same here, BB. How embarrassing is it that i openly mocked Tea Partiers and wore a sweet Obama hat bought from a gas station.

          2012- didn’t vote
          2016- Green Party

    4. Carla

      I love M. Hudson’s definition of non-voters: those “who choose not to be sucked into legitimizing the bad choices put before them.”

      Back in 2003-4, I spent a year — a YEAR — two afternoons every week, at Cleveland’s Free Clinic getting signatures on petition for an Ohio-wide single payer initiative, and attempting to register all those who said they couldn’t sign because they were not registered to vote.

      By the end of that time, all I felt was guilt — guilt for having represented our political system as one that would ever help the people who, without the Free Clinic, would never receive any medical care at all.

      It became abundantly clear to me that neither political party had ever done a god-damned thing for those people — so why on earth would they vote? It is extremely time-consuming to be poor (waiting for buses, waiting all day at free clinics, taking public transport for miles to get groceries & then getting only what you can carry home on the bus, etc.). Why would they add to their own heavy burden for no reason whatsoever? Just because somebody who looks down on them and will continue to ignore their needs wants their vote?

      By the way, Cleveland’s Free Clinic no longer exists, perhaps a victim of Obamacare — which did some good for some people — unfortunately at the expense of others.

      1. Leroy

        I vote for a candidate, not the DNC. In 2016 the best candidate (more qualified than any other,ever) was Hillary Clinton. She won the election by three million votes. Perhaps it’s time to look elsewhere for the mess we’re in eh ?

        1. inode_buddha

          Her entire margin came from a single state which was manipulated by the DNC. She was very good at would spreading death and destruction, while enacting even more miserable neo-liberal policy. Just like she did as Sec. of State, and just like her hubby did in the white house. No she isn’t competent, at anything that is any good for We the People. The only thing Hillary ever represented was Herself.

        2. lyman alpha blob

          Still waiting for a list of those qualifications the Clinton dead-enders keep touting. I suspect we’ll be waiting for a while. Meanwhile they’re selling slaves in Libya – bang up job there Hillary!

        3. John Wright

          Perhaps you are being sarcastic, but HRC = more qualified than any other, ever?.

          Her record was one of harm: Iraq War support, poorly conducting Bill Clinton’s health care initative, and pushing for Obama to destabilize Libya, Syria, Ukraine while SOS

          Furthermore, HRC spent her entire lifetime in politics and she SHOULD have known how the electoral college works and that massively winning the state of California by a wide margin would not add any more electoral votes than winning CA by 1 vote.

          The sum of the popular vote in the other 49 states had Trump with a popular vote margin over HRC.

          Then there is the email server which should have resulted in disqualifying HRC for security issues alone.

          Add in the massive Clinton Foundation revenue stream that sure appeared to be an influence peddling scheme that dried up after she lost (and would have much more free time to dedicate to helping humanity via the Clinton Foundation)

          The there are the Wall Street speeches, her willingness to state “we should not have held an election in Palestine unless we could determine the outcome” and her cynical statement of her “private positions vs public positions” it is difficult for me to understand HRC supporters’ enthusiasm.

          At the time some on NC suggested that voting for HRC was voting for the “more effective evil”.

          Nearly three years after the election, given HRC’s prior record and the Democrats’ Russiagate performance art, it is still debatable that HRC would have been better for the average Joe/Josephine in the USA and rest of world.

          The 2016 voters may have been given two different flavors of hemlock to elect to drink, courtesy of the DNC.

          1. Off The Street

            Exhibit A for the Prosecution: George Washington
            Exhibit B for the Prosecution: John Adams
            Exhibit C for the Prosecution: Thomas Jefferson
            Exhibit D for the Prosecution: James Madison

            There is a pattern, perhaps even discernable by the hardcore DNC true believers.

            1. Oregoncharles

              In fact, it enabled her to “lose” about half of them. In fact, it appears that concealment from FOIA claims was the primary purpose. The insecurity was just a bonus.

              1. John Wright

                So one can excuse the HRC email server because “Apparently you do not understand how bad government IT systems are. They were even worse in 2008.”?

                HRC was probably sending/receiving emails to/from others in the State Department who WERE likely using the allegedly bad government IT systems.

                This suggests many Clinton to/from emails did reside on the “bad government IT systems” anyway.

                So much for enhanced security from the Clinton email server.

                If she, or her people, were aware of this IT problem, should not the head of the state department (which was HRC) have tried to fix the problem?

                Seems like a case of HRC dereliction of duty, if she was allegedly using her server due to bad government IT that should have been her responsibility to highlight and fix.

                And she did not make a backup before the editing/discarding process began just in case there was a legal discovery issue and she needed to be viewed as not destroying evidence..

                Also the edited results were delivered in paper form rather than electronic form, which does not give great credence to IT sophistication of HRC and her team.

                The FOIA discovery avoidance seems more likely to me which is yet another reason to think poorly of HRC (and her advisors).

        4. Rainer Bahr

          Yeah Hillary got 3 million more votes than Trump, with rigged Voting Machines! The whole Election was rigged, including the Electoral College, which was stacked to the rim with Republican Electors!

    5. lyman alpha blob

      Chuck D and Public Enemy had it right a generation ago –

      “All my money is spent
      On the goddamned rent
      Neither party is mine
      Not the jackass or the elephant”

    6. JBird4049

      Moderate Republicans were not as corrupt as the current Democratic Party is because the rule of law gets in the way of monied class making more bank. I honestly don’t think we have either a conservative or liberal party. We have the corrupted conservatives of the Democratic Party and the corrupted Ultras of the Republican Party.

    7. Tim

      “Today most of the republicans are conservative bible thumping politicians that I could never vote for.”

      Good God, what dope are you smoking, lady?
      And where can I buy some?

      1. JBird4049

        To be fair, that is what is in the Republican propaganda. A lot of money has been spent since the 1980s to convince people of this.

    8. arihalli

      I moved to the Green party. I have voted Nader and Stein 5 elections in a row. I agree with Hudson that the only way to change leadership of the Dem’s is to pressure them and not support the centrist neo-libs.

      I WISH i could vote for Hudson early and often!

  2. voteforno6

    I have no doubt that the DNC will do what it can to nudge the primaries in their preferred direction. I just don’t think that they have as much wiggle room to do so as they did in 2016. Some may think that the large number of candidates is a coordinated attempt to flood the zone, in order to dilute support from Sanders / Warren. I don’t give the DNC that much credit – these are the same incompetent hacks that managed to get more votes than the most unpopular candidate in history, and still lose to him. With the collapse of the House of Clinton, and the Obamas more interested in building their own brands, there’s a power vacuum in the Democratic Party. That presents an opportunity for all sorts of unprincipled grifters (Harris) or people trying to cut the line (Buttigieg). It also presents an opening for the barbarians (Sanders) to come crashing through the gates as well. The DNC can try to rig the process all that they want; the problem for them is, they just can’t make it too blatant. The challenge for reform candidates like Sanders or Warren (probationary) is to make it hard for them to steal the election.

    It wouldn’t surprise me that, if (especially) Sanders or Warren were nominated, the DNC would attempt to sabotage their campaigns. I don’t think that would matter much, though. Once again, these are the same incompetent hacks that lost to Trump. Also, if there’s one lesson from 2016, it’s that if Trump can be elected President, anyone can.

    1. Watt4Bob

      I have no doubt that the DNC will do what it can to bludgeon the primaries in their preferred direction.

      Fixed it for you.

    2. Patricia

      I don’t feel as sanguine about the Democratic establishment. When people’s livelihoods are at stake, and when they also power positions to do something to keep them, they get clever, even if not actually all that intelligent.

      Its like what Lambert sometimes says, “they learn nothing, they forget nothing”. In that small hard area, lots of manipulation can happen.

      1. jsn

        Between absentee ballot box lids floating in San Francisco Bay and Dibold voting machines, the Democrat Party will do what it must to preserve it’s rice bowls.

        It’s up to the rest of us to force them to change. What Hudson is proposing is probably what’s most likely, but the logarithmically accelerating ecocide makes it a losing proposition.

        We need to get more militant now, ideally with voter registration but if not that, civil disobedience: extinction rebellion is on the right path it seems to me.

        1. Hepativore

          The Diebold voting machines get hacked to favor the preferred DNC establishment candidate during the primaries then when said candidate flops in the presidential election, the DNC will blame it on another Russian hacking attempt then we will have Russiagate 2.0.

          Either way, the DNC would see it as a win. Whether or not they win the presidency is just gravy.

    3. Cat Burglar

      Sabotage of a Sanders candidacy would be a repeat of the 1934 California gubernatorial election, when socialist Upton Sinclair was the Democratic candidate. They organized a media campaign and fielded a moderate spoiler candidate to split the vote, and Sinclair lost.

      Because Sinclair headed the End Poverty In California movement, the campaign still had some positive outcomes. EPIC managed to elect some state representatives, and a governor in 1938. It solidified political backing for the New Deal. It inspired Helen Gahagan Douglas to get into politics, to become the first woman to represent California in Congress.

      It is also worth noting that the first professional campaign consulting firm was formed to defeat Upton Sinclair.

    4. Acacia

      Agree with you that the party machine is full of incompetent hacks, but submit this is in part because they have insulated their power, i.e., by arguing in court that the DNC is a private corporation, ergo not accountable to the public or even to their own bylaws.

      Superdelegates and the internal DNC decision to throw Sanders under the bus already in 2015 are not blatant enough rigging?

      Bear in mind also that Sanders made an agreement with the DNC to not attack HRC on certain points in the 2016 campaign, and then supported her after the primary. Given the way he rolled over in the 2016 election, and given that the DNC pretty clearly doesn’t want him as the 2020 nominee anyway, what leverage do he and Warren realistically have over the DNC? It seems to me the DNC corporation will do whatever it wants, and as other comments on this page have pointed out, part of the reason the DNC has become so corrupt is that they know they can do whatever they want, and nobody will hold them accountable.

  3. Jesper

    To me the key bit in the article is this part:

    If America had a parliamentary system reflecting voters’ preferences for parties, the Democratic Party would share the fate of German and other European Social Democrats that have embraced neoliberal economics and would poll about 5 percent of the vote, just barely being represented in a truly democratic congress. Voters are rejecting neoliberalism everywhere, but the DNC and foreign formerly left-wing party bureaucracies are holding onto it. They have become zombie party hacks.

    So why does the US not have a parliamentary system reflecting voters’ preference for parties?

      1. Jesper

        Ah. Ok. And since any and all changes to the constitution will be for the worse for the common people then I guess the citizens of the US are doomed to continue having the current situation continue as it is.

        1. Leroy

          It won’t continue as it is. We’re already into full blown fascism. We just need to tidy up a few things first.

          1. lyman alpha blob

            Yeah that Obama guy with all his deportations and extra judicial killings of US citizens and taking marching orders from his corporate backers really did set a nasty precedent, didn’t he?

        2. inode_buddha

          It is fantastically difficult to pull off a constitutional amendment when it requires everyone to agree that one is needed. And you better believe that process will be manipulated to death, just like the elections.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      I’m also not sure what that would solve. GB doesn’t seem to be doing all that well with it, assuming it does indeed provide a means for expressing preference for different political parties, nor for that matter do the member nations of the EU that also have it as part of their system of government at least if the degree to which neoliberalism flourishes, at the direct cost of the public, is any sort of test.

      1. Jesper

        I am not sure why you say that the UK has it? As per this old article where representation in parliament was compared with number of votes then it would seem that UK does not have it:
        A quote from the article:

        Under proportional representation, Britain’s political landscape shifts radically: Ukip suddenly has 82 seats and the Greens 24. Conversely, the cohort of SNP MPs shrinks to 31, while the Tories lose 90 seats, with the likely result being that Britain would have been faced with another coalition instead of a Conservative majority.

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          Fair enough. Perhaps I was fooled by the word, “Parliament.” FWIW, and that’s not much, I did go on to say, “assuming it does indeed[…].”

          I’ve followed the Brexit discussion here on NC but still can’t make head nor tails of the British political system (nor, and as it turns out, of our own).

    2. jsn

      Between absentee ballot box lids floating in San Francisco Bay and Dibold voting machines, the Democrat Party will do what it must to preserve it’s rice bowls.

      It’s up to the rest of us to force them to change. What Hudson is proposing is probably what’s most likely, but the logarithmically accelerating ecocide makes it a losing proposition.

      We need to get more militant now, ideally with voter registration but if not that, civil disobedience: extinction rebellion is on the right path it seems to me.

    3. JBirs4049

      So why does the US not have a parliamentary system reflecting voters’ preference for parties?

      Caution, berserk button pushed here. :-)

      The individual states can set up a parliamentary system if they want. Most states just copied the federal system, but there is nothing in the Constitution dictating what form of government it can have.

      The original Thirteen Colonies after winning a war against the British Parliament, which consisted really as thirteen independent countries, with three million plus people stretching from the small farms, proto-industrial, banking New England to the slave plantations of the Carolinas; it would not have coalesced into one country without being either a federation or a confederation.

      The federal republic with its two separated houses, three separate branches of government, and effectively separate semi independent states, not provinces, with their own form of governments and their own independent militaries was what was agreed on. The goal is to prevent anyone state of region from dictating to anyone else what to do, never mind a central national government. If say New England and the West Coast could dictate to the West and/or the South using a national parliament Bad Things Could Happen. If that happens now, it is more likely to be a generally national consensus.

  4. Auntienene

    The last time I voted for a Democrat was 2005, when Corzine ran for governor of NJ the first time. Since then it’s been third party only. My congressional district went from Republican to Dem blue dog (recruited and aided by the DCCC). I finally changed my voter registration to Unaffiliated. I’ll have to change it back to vote for Sanders in the primary. Except for that, I will never consider rejoining until superdelegates are no more.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Indie voter here. In order to vote for Bernie, I will become a temporary Democrat. After the Arizona primary is over, I will return to independent status.

      1. Chris Smith

        I’m registered as a Democrat because as far as local elections go in my neck of the woods, the Democratic primary might as well be the general.

      2. Big River Bandido

        That makes you a big target for Democrat voter disenfranchisement tactics. People who declare party late, or change party affiliation, are exactly the people whose votes in the AZ primary were invalidated in 2016.

        The change of registration is a red flag for party hacks with access to the voter rolls. It tells them who’s not likely to follow the bosses.

        1. Arizona Slim

          In the interest of full disclosure, let me say that I was a Bernie Sanders campaign volunteer during 2015-16. And I’m also a volunteer during this election cycle.

          I’ve forwarded this NC post to another local volunteer. Let’s just say that this individual is more than a little concerned about these and other shenanigans that the statewide Democrat is up to.

          So, Big River Bandido and everyone else, we’re keeping an eye on ’em.

  5. the suck of sorrow

    Time is the salient issue. We need a radical change in policy now, not later.
    If Sanders gets over the hurdles and assumes office his first positive steps will be whatever is possible to enact with executive orders. The rest of his term will be beating the bully pulpit for a better congress and senate. Expanding the Supreme Court is a must as well; or else any progressive reform will be found unconstitutional.
    This is not to disagree with Mr Hudson’s analysis other than we do not have the time for party formation while the planet burns and our citizens die early and homeless.

    1. Acacia

      Mr. Hudson is assuming — and it seems a pretty fair assumption right now— that the DNC will block Sanders’ nomination, and we’ll get their candidate instead. The planet will continue to burn, citizens will die early and homeless, etc. The DNC has already demonstrated that they simply are not serious about these issues. Their own power is the only thing they really care about. The question is: how to strip their power away?

      1. Carla

        Hudson outlines how to strip the DNC of their power. Unfortunately, most will find it unpalatable to say the least. From his post:

        “The only way to make the Democrat Party democratic is to clean house, to boycott its Blue Dog candidates even though this throws elections to the Republicans until the DNC is emptied out. Only at that point can its rules be replaced with ones committing the party to follow the choice of voters and the majority non-Democratic (even non-voting) bloc instead of big donors and super-delegates.

        This tactic may lead to Republican sweeps in the next few elections. That is the price that the Democrats have forced to be paid for their neoliberal intransigence that has made Donald Trump their president as much as that of Republican voters.”

        None of the Democrats I know are willing to do anything like this, which is just one reason I’m not a Democrat.

        1. Big River Bandido

          I’ve been registered as a Democrat for 30 years, and this strategy is exactly the one I’ve been following for the last 18.

          I’ll actually be “upping” that strategy this fall in the Queens DA race. The Queens Democrat Party was so blatant and heavy handed in its disenfranchisement efforts against Caban supporters that I’ll be voting Republican in that race, and I don’t care how Neanderthal that candidate might be.

        2. Brooklin Bridge

          From my conversations with friends, I would have to agree with you, but then from those same conversations, Sanders would not be doing as well as he is. Something is going on (what’s that song? “what it is aint exactly clear”) that is truly terrifying the DNC and that alone is a significant ray of hope.

        3. Katniss Everdeen

          Some of us recognized this in 2016 and voted for Trump instead of voting Green or not at all. It “worked” to the extent that the clintons have been pretty much politically neutered, which is, I think, what Hudson is saying will need to be done.

          I did it and, despite the recriminations that often come my way, I’m not sorry.

          I get that such an approach is a hard sell, but it shouldn’t be. Given that the higher ups in both parties have sold out completely, what difference does it really make whether the donkeys or elephants are in charge? Just look at what’s going on in the democrat-controlled house right now. Or what’s NOT going on, just like the first two years of the obama administration.

          Commentary is occasionally written, correctly IMNSHO, that democrats can get away with making damaging changes that republicans never could. See the clinton admin for numerous examples. They have exploited their grossly undeserved “champion of the people” image long enough. Look at the smack they’re talking right now–somebody / anybody but Trump. Don’t worry about history or policies, you MUST pick a donkey. ANY donkey.

          This is about as disrespectful and degrading and entitled as it gets. Get pissed. If they will not give you Bernie, they can all go to hell.

          It’s not that hard, and, like a shot, it only stings for a second. And you might find that some good comes of it.

            1. Katniss Everdeen

              I am fed up to the hilt, and, having observed the behavior of dem “royalty” over the clinton, bush, obama and especially the Trump admins, I am actually less afraid these days of the elephants than the donkeys.

              The last three years have been particularly enlightening. There seems to be no dem “principle” that cannot be violated, no position too slimy to take and no organization too corrupt to support in the deranged quest to regain dem “power.”

              Any damage done by temporary elephant control can be reversed once the democrat party is rebuilt into a TRUE people’s party. So it’s time to do what needs to be done.

          1. Big River Bandido

            You are probably right that the Clintons themselves are “politically neutered” in that their own political careers are finished.

            Clintonism, however, is a zombie.

        4. Cal2

          Either nominate and win with Bernie Sanders,
          Or, we will stay home on election day, or, actively vote for Trump (Again).

          See Katniss’ comment above:
          “Get pissed. If they will not give you Bernie, they can all go to hell.”

          How many times does this have to happen before the corporate parasite within the ‘democratic Party shrivels up and dies?

      2. Cat Burglar

        Hudson advocates boycotting Blue Dog Dems as a way of breaking the power of large-donor class control of the party. That’s what I have been doing since the 2000 election. In the last presidential election, as a voter in a state that was going to go for Clinton, I told people we needed to weaken Clinton on the left, so she would have to give us policy service to shore up support. Silly me.

        I do not know how effective the tactic is on a large scale, though Neera Tanden and her ilk seem to think so! If anyone can tell me of a more effective electoral tactic, I am all ready to hear it. Incrementalist candidates and policies have not shown a credible progressive record (cf., President Copayma ).Until I can think of something better, I will continue the boycott.

        But will it work? One of the most damaging points in the article — familiar to readers of NC — is that the large-donor class gets what it wants from the DNC when it wins and loses. (And that is a great thing to share with Dem friends who are always lamenting, “Why don’t the Democrats do something? Why are they always so spineless?” Well, they aren’t spineless at all, are they? As we saw in 2016, they were very disciplined at defeating Sanders!) But what control will a boycott have if they are willing to be an election losing service for the large donors anyway?

        1. Kurtismayfield

          Hudson advocates boycotting Blue Dog Dems as a way of breaking the power of large-donor class control of the party. That’s what I have been doing since the 2000 election. In the last presidential election, as a voter in a state that was going to go for Clinton, I told people we needed to weaken Clinton on the left, so she would have to give us policy service to shore up support. Silly me.

          The problem is that the DNC will still go further right, no matter what the election results.

          If the Blue dog wins, it’s “See we need more Blue dogs!

          If the Blue dog loses, it’s “They were not suburban Republican enough!”

          No matter what, it’s the endless March right. Wall Street money has tainted this party beyond repair.

        2. False Solace

          The Democrat Party doesn’t care if their Blue Dogs lose.

          They could lose every election and they wouldn’t care. Boycott them all you want.

          What matters to them is being the only alternative.

          Being the only alternative guarantees donations keep rolling in from the owner class. The owners correctly perceive they merely need to own the two options permitted to appear on the ballot.

          Your voting strategy is irrelevant. Democrats don’t care if they lose elections. They break out in a cold sweat when they’re actually in power. But if an alternative party were to rise, you can bet they’d unite with Republicans in an instant to crush it. But there’s little need for this because the necessary laws are already in place.

          There’s a giant vacuum in American politics. No one has stepped into the gap because the existing parties have enacted barriers against it. Eventually this configuration will topple over. The longer this takes, the more chaos and violence will be involved.

          1. inode_buddha

            Yes, this is why I voted for Jill Stein last time. I wasn’t going to hold my nose and vote Republican because both parties are owned by the same entities.

    2. Oh

      This moran conservative I know told me that “Sanders is an angry old man. People won’t vote for someone who’s angry all the time”. This is a meme pushed by the Dimrats and the Repigs are now parroting it. Looks like they’re afraid of Sanders.

      I don’t see why Sanders shouldn’t be angry. Quite a lot of people are angry at the current situation, unaffordable health care, high cost of college and corrupt politicians. I hope they show it by voting for Bernie.

      1. Massinissa

        “Sanders is an angry old man. People won’t vote for someone who’s angry all the time”

        Except, you know, people voted for Trump. ‘Angry Old Man’ arguably fits Trump better than Sanders. Yeah, your friend isn’t very smart I’m afraid.

    3. Oregoncharles

      Very appropriate screen name.

      I’ve read far enough in the responses to see the same thing that happened in 2016 (already a long time ago, but so little has really changed). So I stopped reading them and will try to post this at the end of the string:

      We’re once again riding off in all different directions. If that’s typical, we will get nowhere good, once again. Personally, as you probably know, I’m a Green advocating that we settle on that alternative (third party, as Hudson euphemistically calls us). But that’s less important than settling on a coordinated approach.

      Our hosts are evidently thinking about it – this is the second post on the topic in two days; the other was https://washingtonsblog.com/2019/09/the-majority-of-americans-hate-both-parties.html. To me it seems obvious that to smash the system you have to vote for something else; I don’t see how voting for Trump or not voting helps. And I don’t think our present condition supports either those approaches or trying to “take back” the Democratic Party – I’ve seen talk of that for 20 or 30 years, and it only got worse.

      The present trends say we sail right past peaceful, electoral means straight into torches and pitchforks, or the contemporary equivalent. At that point, no one knows, except that there will be a lot of death and destruction.

      There are finally babies being born in my family; I hope we figure this out soon.

  6. ptb

    I agree with not voting for faux-centrists with a nasty policy history such as JB.

    I would highlight that individual states, not the federal government, set the electoral rules which lock in the two-party system. The author here is talking about starting the long process of replacing one half of the Dem-Rep pair nationally. To create breathing room for this process, taking it to the state level is essential.

    Until then, voting independent in the general will remain the only avenue to express dissatisfaction with a broken primary process. If ~3-5 million people do it as happens from time to time, the message will be heard, but the reaction will probably be to shoot the messenger. It shouldn’t be surprising that the types to rise in national party organizations will prefer to lose with a loyalist than to win with a reformer.

    Also beware of the spoiler rule in the US constitution, where if neither party has a majority of electors in a Prez election, it goes to the House where the party controlling the most states (i.e. Rep) takes it.

    It would be cool if the Sanders campaign used the attention it now has to raise issues of third party access.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Sanders can’t do that because he’s running as a Democrat.

      Considering that 42% of the electorate are self-avowed “independents,” he might have done better to run as what he is.

      Thanks for bringing up the importance of state law; states run elections. That lever is considerably more accessible than federal law. Too bad the Dems threw away so many state leges. I suppose it’s a way to serve their real agenda.

      1. inode_buddha

        Is there something that legally prevents him from switching if he loses the Dem nomination? After all, look at what Joe Lieberman got away with *after* he was in office.

        1. Oregoncharles

          No, not at the Presidential level. That’s why Jill Stein offered him the Green Party nomination (not hers to give, but th eparty probably would have nominated him, if available.)

          But there are things he can’t say WHILE running as a Dem.

  7. Mattski

    This is oddly out of tune with the facts on the ground, where the corporate media–and indeed, the DNC–seem to have reached the conclusion that Biden is too vulnerable* and that they will have to accept a modicum of change via Elizabeth Warren.


    This is why Bernie should have run as a third party candidate. Yes, that’s a long-haul effort, but what’s going to take place, should Warren win, is the same kind of sapping of progressive energy that we got with Obama. All that many people want is to go back to sleep, and Warren will sing the lullabies.

    If you look at recent bipartisan efforts on things like vaping, at state-level efforts to curb medicine costs, you can already discern the outlines of a corporate-engineered set of reforms that will change, as Biden promised, very little.

    *Indeed, it’s hard not to imagine Trump gleefully digging Biden’s grave at any future debate between the two. With Warren we’ll get the usual Republican bitterness toward women, attempts to make her Ms. Clinton, which may backfire enough to get Warren elected but leave us with the same civil war landscape.

    1. Watt4Bob

      DNC believes they may be able to keep Warren on a leash.

      Once they are sure of that, they’ll try to use use her as a candidate of last resort.

      Remains to be seen whether things flow in that direction…

    2. Anarcissie

      It is pretty obvious that someone who would vote for Biden would not vote for Sanders, and vice versa, not only for ideological reasons, but because of the bad blood and guilt that came out of 2016. So the Democratic Party is already split. It’s not something that’s going to happen, it’s something that has happened. In this case a third party might not be only a spoiler because many ‘conservatives’ don’t like Trump and might vote for a sufficiently right-wing Democrat. It only take a little bit over 1/3 of the vote to win a three-way, which may make the effort attractive.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Sanders and third party.

      In that case, and if no one candidate gets a majority, the House decides, among the top 3 candidates, with the entire delegation of each state gets one vote. So, the state of California delegation gets one, the same as that of a small state like, say, Vermont. And a majority here is again needed, such that, it is possible it could last until the 4th day of March.

      While the Democrats control the House currently, and neoliberal many of them are, because a
      big state like California get only one vote, the math is not simply so straigthward that the House winning vote will be a Democrat.

      1. Oregoncharles

        And in one of the Constitution’s several botches, it’s the old (present) House, not the new one, that votes.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          That’s a good point, because the transfer of power in the executive branch should be separate from that of the legislature branch, in the same way that the transfer of power, or the continuation of power in the judicial branch has nothing to do with that of the executive branch, because they are all (all three) separate.

          So, the ‘House’ (at the time of deciding the winner of the White House) should be that of fthe new congress.

    4. Mac na Michomhairle

      I agree that the DNC etc. has noted that the energy is running too strongly leftward for them to go with Biden etc. They are attempting to go along with that leftward energy publicly a bit, in hope of hijacking it or at taking it in a contralable direction that will preserve their power: ie. with Warren.

      That, I think, explains the NY Times recent favorable Sanders articles too. (They also realized that the Sanders campaign is now making a joke of CNN/Politico/NYT hostility, and using it against them. They will now try to appear more vaguely neutral and balanced, until the time comes to savage Sanders in a more apparently credible way.)

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Give in now (appearing more vaguely neutral), a little bit, until the time comes to savage in a more apparently credible way.

        That’s very ‘like water.’

        And can be very effective, unless it’s exposed like this here, and now, with said debunking also (or, further) made known to voters.

        For those urging China to hit back hard, this is an alternative ‘Dao’ strategy.

  8. Carolinian

    Doubtless most of us here would agree with the above. But the problem is that it isn’t just the Dems. All of the powerful institutions in this country–and most especially the media–are geared toward maintaining the current stasis. Therefore one can’t assume that elections are only about people voting their own interests. Americans are brainwashed out the wazoo. It’s the explanation for why Biden is still ahead in the polls despite his obvious unsuitability and why Gabbard couldn’t ger her polls above one percent. The public themselves have grown used to seeing politics as a sporting match and “narrative” and until things get much worse for the majority that may not change.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      and until things get much worse for the majority that may not change.

      I think things have gotten much worse. These people, all of us, are up against overwhelming odds as you point out quite clearly. Where I would agree with you is that people by in large still think they have a say in the matter. They don’t.

      1. inode_buddha

        What boggles my mind is those who advocate letter writing campaigns. I mean, its not like anyone has to pay any attention to them. They can just shred them all, ignore you, and what are you gonna do about it? Vote or something? You’ve already been told that won’t work either.

        You’re not gonna do anything *because you can’t*.

        Now, when the vast majority of the country wakes up to this fact, and is hurting hard enough (food) THEN you will see the Second American Revolution. But not a day before.

  9. notabanktoadie

    This means a government strong enough to take on the vested financial and corporate interests and prosecute Wall Street’s financial crime and corporate monopoly power. When neoliberals shout, “But that’s socialism,” Americans finally are beginning to say, “Then give us socialism.” It beats being ground down into debt peonage. Michael Hudson

    How can de-privileging depository institutions be seen as anything but ELIMINATING socialism for the banks and for the rich, the most so-called “worthy” of what is currently, in essence, the PUBLIC’S credit but for private gain?

    How can a Citizen’s Dividend be called socialism if it simply replaces all fiat creation beyond that created by deficit spending with equal fiat distributions to all citizens? Instead of, for examples, paying interest to the banks (Interest On Reserves) and buying assets from the private sector?

    How are inherently risk-free debit/checking accounts for all citizens at the Central Bank instead of deposit insurance for the banks socialism? Or should fiat use in account form continue to be limited to a government-privileged usury cartel?

    1. Patricia

      Seems to me, “socialism”, in current American parlance, is a re-introduction of the idea that the government works for the people, and is servant of the people. Americans no longer remember that government can/should be a common good. It’s strange that this is such a foreign idea to most, so that “socialism” comes to mean healthy democratic governance. But so it is, seems to me.

      Sanders’ way of approaching his campaign somewhat assumes this understanding, really.

  10. Dao Gen

    I understand why Bernie chose to run as a Dem, but I wish he were brave enough to denounce the fictional Russiagate/Spygate fraud (displays of obeisance to which are the entrance fee for Dem candidates — note Tulsi’s fate) and to run as a third-party candidate. At least as a third-party candidate Bernie could say what he really wants to say, and he could demonstrate to Americans very dramatically how undemocratic the laws limiting third parties are. This web of laws, as Michael Hudson points out, is a major factor enabling the Dems and Repubs to capture far more than the 10-15% they would capture if they were in a European-style system. Just think of what the Greenback Party and the Progressive Party were able to do in the late 19th century. I hope that Bernie, after he has been “liquidated” as a Dem candidate by the DNC, as he surely will be, will establish a new movement for the future (one with no relation to Lawfare) that will motivate young legal scholars and others to do a comprehensive review of all the laws limiting third parties in the US and to come up with an equally comprehensive strategy for rolling back these laws. We also need another movement to prepare the way for a constitutional amendment to establish a parliamentary legislative branch in the US. The present 18th-century House and Senate non-dynamic duo are in many ways designed to be restrictive and to prevent radical change. Unless the US can switch over to a parliamentary-type system, the US government itself may eventually lose so much legitimacy that the value of the US as a nation-state may be called into question.

  11. Otis B Driftwood

    This describes me, too. I voted Green for President in the last two cycles (without any provocation from Susan Sarandon, thank you). I left the Democratic party in ’16 and only rejoined recently so I can vote in the California primary.

    And yep, the DNC is up to the same old tricks again. Gabbard being the case in point.

    If Sanders is cheated out of the nomination again this time, I agree with Mattski that he should run as a third party candidate. Unlikely in any case, but if Warren is the nominee, I’m sure Sanders won’t do it.

  12. Tom Stone

    If HRC had been elected I would have put the odds of a Civil war above 50% because her Hubris is so great and her judgement so abysmally poor.
    We aren’t far from one now.
    The architects of the US National Security State clearly believe that between the most efficient surveillance apparatus in the history of the World and our “Night and Fog” laws that any organized resistance can be quickly quashed at a (To them) reasonable cost.
    They are probably correct in this view.
    What they ignore is the fact that change is inevitable.
    And if there is no avenue for peaceful (Or violent) organized change what we will get is violent chaotic change.
    Our Society depends upon the active cooperation of its members to function, it is an extremely complex dynamic system and without the active cooperation of our population it will simply fall apart.

    1. Watt4Bob

      Our Society depends upon the active cooperation of its members to function, it is an extremely complex dynamic system and without the active cooperation of our population it will simply fall apart.

      Without the active cooperation of our population, buying sh*t from China at Wall Mart, it will simply fall apart.

      TPTB have been busy impoverishing us and all the while cheerleading to gin up demand that can’t exist because austerity has emptied our pockets.

      They’re beating a dead horse, or trying to squeeze blood from a stone, or what ever metaphor you prefer for describing a ludicrous impossibility.

      I wouldn’t be surprised to see Plasma Centers opening next to all the Wall Mart stores next.

  13. Brooklin Bridge

    This pot has been simmering, boiling, overflowing for some time now. Corny as it sounds, the broth has clarified and It seems appropriate that Michael Hudson who’s signature is clarity should present it point by point in its now overwhelmingly obvious logic. The Democratic party is moribund. Of itself, it will not reform, e-v-e-r. If we have to suffer Republicans for a period of needed drastic measures, so be it. Call us “purist” all you want; it has become obvious there is really no choice. But it wasn’t always so obvious. And, not mentioned in this article, it has been a particularly painful discussion at times.

    An interesting historical point along the way, illustrating this (the growing pains?) was Digby’s site, Hullaballoo, which stopped comments during Obama’s initial scam session, around the time he tossed off the public option as if it were a wart, because a growing part of the Hullabaloo commentariat were starting to voice the exact points raised here with such effortless clarity by Hudson. But at the time, things were less clear and many where understandably hanging on to ideas and assumptions about institutions and their putative ideologies they had grown up with and so the conversation became rowdy, particularly regarding this point about not letting the perfect become the enemy of the good. The term purist was flying about right and left. To Dibby’s credit, she initially tolerated the fracas, but then made the mistake of bringing in a neoliberal toady (his name being blessedly easy to forget) who took up the habit of joining the discussion of the commentariat with the uncomfortably obvious (to the point one felt embarrassed for him) and flatly propagandistic mission to: clean the place up. In the resultant heat I suspect Digby simply felt bad for her guest, that he be treated, verbally attacked, with such vehement disrespect. She started to “ghost” particular individuals so that only they saw their comments (and were left wondering why no on responded). As this rather insidious way of dealing with her “issue” became apparent to everyone, things only got worse, and then quite abruptly, with no explanation, she pulled the plug on comments all together.

    This whole issue was hardly restricted to Hullaballoo or Digby; it has played out in different (less insidious) but equally vociferous forms all over the Net such as Firedoglake, in everyday life, and even such luminaries as Noam Chomsky himself, weighed in as recently as the Hillary vs. Trump fiasco, suggesting, rather tone deafly, that purists were causing damage and that one must vote for Hillary in swing states where such votes counted. https://www.counterpunch.org/2016/09/09/fearing-trump-and-voting-clinton-some-faqs/

    In its broadest sense, this struggle is hardly over; it is becoming apparent to more and more people that we are fighting for our lives, not simply some transient political fads, and the means by which we do so naturally reflect that fact.

  14. flora

    Most Democratic voters have decided not to back Biden or Harris. They realize their interests were betrayed first by Clintonomics and its deregulation of Wall Street and stripping away of social spending, and then by Obama protecting his Wall Street donors from “the mob with pitchforks,” namely, those who voted for his empty promise of hope and change. That is how the DNC views its constituency – to be manipulated and its attention diverted onto the Fantasy Island episode aired on Thursday on ABC.

    Just wanted to repeat that.

    I suggest the current Dem estab has now morphed from a donkey into a Wall St. lapdog. Only a matter of time before they change the icon. /not even a snark

    1. polecat

      I think that the DNC has been found to be in a state of black-n-blue, having had to tread water in the shallow moral sea as that tsunami of their’s scraped them off the Isle Fantasia … to be deposited, high and dry, on the Fearfactor Archipelago !

      They’re not gonna like what they’ll be forced to ‘swallow’.

  15. The Rev Kev

    From my perch, I cannot see any sense in retaining the Democratic National Committee. Michael Hudson is quite correct here. As they make the rules they will deliberately sabotage any progressive candidate that tries for office and we have seen this at work. Supposing that there was a massive ground swell of progressive candidates that were coming into office. Why then the DNC would simply make up some bs rule that would disqualify any more coming in. Something like you have to be a veteran of the military or intelligence agencies to seek office as a Democrat candidate. Not so far off the mark that as we saw an enormous swell of such types going into office as Democrats which Lambert pointed out at the time.
    Power would have to devolved to the State level but the advantage would be that any campaign funds would stay in that State and would not be siphoned off to a national candidate like happened in 2016. Democrat candidates were left twisting in the wind through lack of campaign funds as it had all gone to the Hillary campaign. As for choosing a national candidate, have a Convention with candidates from each of the fifty States vying for attention in a majority vote. Yeah there would be all sorts of backroom deals being made but you have that now. I doubt that a Buttigieg would get beyond the first round of voting as he would be seen by the other forty-nine candidates and their supporters for the hopeless cause that he is. Maybe a Sanders would get serious attention in such a set up. One who actually wants to win.

  16. Shelby

    I agree with Hudson here. I think they are behind Harris, Biden and the ridiculous mayor Pete. The Obama people are for Harris and the clintons are for Biden and/or mayor Pete. While the press likes warren as a foil against sanders whom they despise.
    All they have to do to cheat is mess with the voter rolls, not count provisional ballots. Place polling places miles from peoples homes and never enough ballots etc. Just like last time.
    I have voted 3rd party in every election. If no third party person for that position, I leave it blank. I will not vote for my own oppression. I voted for Bernie in 2016 primary. I will again this election. Bernie 2020.

  17. Kristin Lee

    The American people were able to get environmental legislation passed during the Nixon administration!! (which probably cost him the position), proving that it’s never been about better ideas (though that would be nice), it’s always about entering the political arena and imposing your ideas. The agenda to demolish the political force of our once healthy middle class was supposed to make people think more about self-preservation than social issues like labor, women’s, health, food safety, environmental rights and protections. Fast forward 40 years later, and the nation is even more politically motivated than ever BECAUSE of the artificially created financial duress. So, Mr. Powell, the memo didn’t work.

    We need to shed light on how corporate socialism has been thriving by using PPPs (public-private partnerships). That neoliberal scam works like this:

    “Capitalists seek to maximize profits and reduce the cost of labor.” No they don’t, not any more.

    That may have been true a while ago, but now those at the forefront of capitalism – the neoliberal free-market capitalists realize you don’t have to actually do anything if you are clever enough.

    All you need to do is win a government contract for something – it could be anything – a government service that is privatized, or a contract to supply the government with something. It could be anything: bedpans, fighter jets, train services, water, ferry services, paper clips, build a hospital or a high speed railway.

    The government, as the issuer of currency, will never run out of it and default on its debt.The payments are guaranteed, whether you deliver your part of the contract or not.

    So make sure the contract is for a huge amount of money, set it up so that it doesn’t matter if you underperform, fail to deliver, it is late, and goes way over budget (in fact the more over budget you can make it go, the better).

    The best one yet I have heard of is where the government gives you a contract to provide, shall we say for example, a ferry service between the UK and the continent. (helped by your pal in government). The company (which you have just set up a few days before) has no ships, no operational port facilities, no employees, no idea how to run a ferry service.

    Then you add in a withdrawal clause so you get paid £14million if the government pulls out. You cleverly leak that the company is a sham and unable to deliver on the contract. The public furore (assisted by friends in the media) ensures the government cancels the contract, and BINGO – you’re £14M better off without having to so much as get out of bed the next morning.

    And pay your pal in government that awarded you the contract a few quid on the side for his help of course… Whether the enterprise succeeds or not is irrelevant – what matters is that you get money out of the government, guaranteed, no risk, money.

    That is the ultimate goal of capitalism. That is how it works. They know the secret of the power of control of the means of money production.” ~ ‎Malcolm Reavell‎

    The Neoliberal Scam: Public Money for Private Playgrounds

    By showing how fiscal policy is being abused, it will destroy the pretense of needing to balance the budget and convince the right that “socialism” is for everyone, not just the wealthy.

    “If there’s anything the establishment fears more than the working classes seizing the means of production, it’s the working classes seizing the means of production of money (or more precisely, of currency).”

  18. Dan

    Kamala Harris is the fruiting body of the DemoCorporate fungus. Instead of infecting muscles, she has been working her way up and through the body politic of California.

    She has never run for reelection in any office*, instead constantly climbing higher and higher while parasitizing and feeding off the energies and activities of real Democratic activism.

    *Second term as San Francisco district attorney, she ran unopposed.
    What’s her legacy on the streets and in the corporate board rooms there?

  19. shinola

    While I largely agree with prof. Hudson, I think he veers into hyperbole with statements like:

    “The DNC preferred to lose with Hillary than win with Bernie, whom springtime polls showed would be the easy winner over Trump.”

    Everyone I know thought HRC would be a shoo-in against Trump. IIRC, HRC did win the popular vote but lost in the Electoral College (which is not mentioned in the article). I fear that the Dem’s are looking at Trump’s low approval ratings and thinking they can win with just about anyone on the basis of being “Not Trump”. Which, of course, leads them to believe they can foist any old neolib. (Biden, Harris, et. al.) onto the ballot rather than a candidate who is for real change (Sanders).

    HEY DNC, LISTEN UP! If you put up another candidate from the Clinton/Obama/neolib. wing of the party I will, again, vote Green.

  20. NoBrick

    These “shysters” have shattered any conceivable justification for their “privileged” position,
    and no longer have any credibility among those who can think at all. The D/R acrimony is
    not real, it’s vitrolic political theater, an enthralling puppet show for diehard believers in the
    institutional mythology perpetuated by the “adults in the room”, signified by “proper”
    accreditation, determined and overseen, by the powers that be.

    ” As Hamlet says in a moment of lucid madness: “The body is with the king, but the king is not with the body.” The king is a social or symbolic function, not a physical thing. A particular king – say, James II – is no different biologically from his fellow men, yet he puts on a crown, sits on a throne and assumes a symbolic position of authority. It is from this place, backed by a mythic structure (divine right, for example), that the social structure itself borrows its substance.”

    Point: How can the fabric of society change if the “Myths” woven into it remain?

  21. ChristopherJ

    Thank you, Michael, Americans are easily led, like Australians, by the MSM. They distrust politicians, but participate enthusiastically. We don’t get to vote with our backsides, we have to turn up and vote, or be fined, which creates a different dynamic for us, but the dynamic which is the same is that the people who get informed here at NC and elsewhere about the truth; well we are a minority.

    The two party oligopoly in the US is baked in and cannot be changed. Like here, politicians work for the donor class. They’ll happily take money from the middle classes and the preciarious, but they won’t do anything for them in reality.

    We are in deep, deep trouble

  22. Big River Bandido

    Hudson did mention that Clinton won the popular vote, although the argument is undercut by the fact that Clinton’s entire popular margin came from a single state, which is why she lost the EC and the election.

    1. Cal2

      “Clinton won the popular vote”
      That and a dollar will buy you a newspaper.

      If you watch Uncounted, a youtube video about the cheer leader for Hillary, who just happened to be the secretary of state in California, you will see that had Decline to State and Independent voters not been disenfranchised by his I think deliberate activities to discourage their voting, Bernie might have won the California primary, gotten on the ballot and those disenfranchised pissed off voters would have voted against Trump in the general election and elected Bernie.

  23. notabanker

    I’ve been an avid reader and supporter of Mr Hudson, but I must say I am more than a little disappointed in this piece. He spends multiple paragraphs outlining the strategy to present a neo-liberal candidate, regardless of election outcomes, yet comes to the conclusion that a boycott is the answer “until the DNC finally just walks away”. This seems to me to be a logical fallacy. Their existence is the triumph.

    The DNC is a problem. The RNC is a problem. The Supreme Court is a problem. Congress is a problem. The administrative branch and all of it’s agencies are a problem. State and local governments are a problem. MSM is a problem.

    Boycotting either party to allow the other complete control for multiple election cycles seems like a death sentence to me, although the disease may already be terminal.

    1. Acacia

      Hudson does first speak of the DNC giving up and “finally just walks away” (which seems a little unlikely to me), but a few paragraphs later the image is a bit more forceful: the Democratic Party would be “emptied out” by a boycott in full swing.

      Letting the GOP rule via boycott might be a death sentence, but the nation is falling apart anyway. How deep is the rot? The body politic may already be at a point where either the cancer or the chemo will lead to death.

      The problem I see is even getting such a boycott off the ground in the first place. I personally know many people who are fully onboard with the “who is the least evil?” debate. The media’s incessant TDS alerts (Threat Level Orange this week and every week) and the progressive echo chamber they inhabit has scared the buhjeezus out of them. They nod along vigorously with all the mainstream liberal pearl clutching (“muh Supreme Court!!”). The very idea of not voting for whatever the DNC serves up makes them recoil in horror.

      Sadly, it seems like things are going to have to get significantly worse for a large number of Democrats before they might warm up to a boycott.

  24. Anon

    Great post Michael. Made my morning, thanks.

    A parliamentary system would be a useful way to get a better mix of ideas and a more democratic representation in government. However, the Electoral College is part of the US Constitution and designed to give the appearance of a “landslide” election. It seems to me the current two-party system is a feature, not a bug, in “our” representative government.

    When you recognize that the Senate gives disproportionate weight to small states and is the so-called “deliberative body” (6 yr. term) that selects lifetime Supreme Court justices (3rd Branch), it’s clear the representation in the US is skewed. It’s also clear the Founders were nowhere near egalitarian, magnanimous, or enlightened. The government principles they espoused were designed to protect their self-interests; ergo the DNC.

  25. dcblogger

    Now is the time to start thinking about what to do if and when the DNC presents voters with neoliberal Hillary 2.0, preferring to lose with Biden or his clones than to win with Bernie.

    Now is the time to nominate Bernie and transform the Democratic Party.

  26. Brooklin Bridge

    In Biden’s last two “runs”, he was used purely as filler. There was never any intention of his actually succeeding at becoming even the nominee, never mind going all the way. I think he was perfectly aware of this and was content just to bask in the electoral process for the big one and the bragging rights that went along with it. It can even be somewhat of a profitable endeavor if you have the right friends in the right places.

    That the DNC now presents him as a serious candidate, and that the polls are purposely skewed to enhance the process (it is simply NOT credible that Biden would be this far ahead in any normal process, he never has been before) is indicative of just how wooden and mechanical the DNC has become.

  27. Portlander

    I guess I’ll play devil’s advocate here, although I largely agree with Hudson’s frame. Well-established institutions have one imperative above all: survival. I think the apparent willingness of the DNC to countenance Warren is a sign of this. I do believe the DNC has an ingrained antipathy to Bernie due to his lifelong status as an independent. And, it has a default preference for Biden because of his history with Obama. But at this stage, I think the DNC just wants a winner. To win it will need a strong “unity candidate,” and clearly, Biden is not ever going to be that candidate. I also suspect Bernie can’t, but maybe it’s too early to tell. Right now, I think Warren has the best shot at unifying the Party. She has the policy smarts of HRC and the liberal-left cred of Bernie. Because of this, I truly believe it’s up to all of us voters to participate in the Democratic primaries, and talk of the whole system as “rigged” like Hudson’s is not what we need right now.

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Can we please stop touting the policy smarts of HRC? Please?!? Her whole campaign was basically “Don’t expect things to change too much but vote for me anyway because I am a woman”. She couldn’t even be bothered to lie about changing things as Obama did.

      Warren does have some decent policies but I’m still trying to come up with one from Clinton.

    2. Acacia

      The DNC’s own lawyers have argued in court that they choose the candidate in the primaries, not the people. Smoky back room is their choice. That was covered here at NC — did you see it?

      Given the case made by the DNC itself — that they had every right to throw Sanders under the bus many months before the 2016 primaries —, what is the point in going along with their charade again?

      1. Portlander

        “what is the point in going along with their charade again”

        OK, so the primaries are rigged. I plan to vote anyway. I urge you to do the same. Hold your nose, then vote.

  28. Carey

    Thank you for posting this fine piece by Michael Hudson, which is so spot-on it leaves virtually nothing left to be said. My plan, for the moment anyway, is to #boycott2020
    when the nomination is again stolen from Sanders, since Green votes probably don’t
    get counted anyway (1.03% in 2016? As Biden would say: come on, man!).

  29. Lambert Strether

    > what kind of organization is the Democratic Party?

    I’m still pondering. It’s not an easy question to answer, even for political scientists.

    The closest I have been able to come is the metaphor of a criminal syndicate (“street gang”). The ballot is “the corners” (as in The Wire). The “Democrat Party,” whatever it may be:

    1) Controls the ballot line (the candidates who get on the ballot)

    2) Controls technical aspects of balloting, like printing (or digital) and especially counting

    3) Controls who get to cast the ballot (mostly sins of omission, e.g. registering some classes and no others).

    (“Control” includes “enabling the purchase and sale of,” because that’s what a corner is for, commerce. Also, everything is like CalPERS.)

    Clearly, in all three of these aspects the party is deeply conflicted, since it has an interest in outcomes, and controls the process that produces outcomes. I don’t think we can ever get rid of parties (bundles of factions (classes of property interest)) but I think we must wrest control of the ballot from them.

    I’m not satisfied with the crime syndicate model because it doesn’t give an account of the ephemeral, circus-like nature of campaigns, or of the “flexnet”-style relations between the state and the Party (as part of civil society (though it is true that Gramsci enjoins us to separate the State and Civil Society only as objects of study).

    1. flora

      There was the ‘old’ Democratic party of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Then there was the ‘reformed’ Democratic party of the New Deal. Now, the party grandees have reverted back to the old model, imo. There’s more money in the old model for the party grandees.


      As for boycotting or walking away from the vote; that’s just what the DNC hopes we’ll do, if their increasing efforts to suppress the vote and purge voter rolls are any guide.

  30. Glen

    I vote for that candidates policies that best represent my interests, and based on a review of the candidates past action to determine if they are lying. I do not vote the lesser of two evils.

    So I have not voted for a Dem Presidential candidate since 2012, and I wish I had my 2008 vote back so I didn’t vote for that lying sack of family blog.

    I have no doubt that the top Dems and the DNC will continue to screw the voters until they are removed from power.

  31. Susan the other`

    Interesting about how Warren can’t capture the confidence she needs from the voters. Women have been trained never to spit in public. Bernie can. There is something we know is there but we can’t define it. One can only say that politics is a mystical experience, no? And speaking of Zombie Fungus (my favorite new metaphor, thank you Yves) – it is the remnant of our hubris and delusion because we can’t decide, nor can politics, just what reality is until it has happened. Like that poor ant. He staggers up that stalk in a stupor. Politics can only ever pretend. Faced with uncertainty and unpleasant certainties both, politics just wings it on subjects like “the economy”, on declining world populations and resources; on the waning energy from the sun, or the thinning of the atmosphere. So the body politic doesn’t know (like the zombie that it collectively is) when it is dead: neoliberal capitalism; mind-control consensus building; war; wide reaching ecosystems; Joe Biden. and blablablah from the DNC.

  32. Stormcrow

    Great analysis, but unfortunately Hudson assumes that time is not running out. Will there really be enough time left for his strategy to be put into effect?

  33. Roy G

    As the old saying goes, ‘Why does the US have a two-party system? Because there are less parties to buy off.’ The DNC has gotten fat for almost 30 years by virtue of owning the ‘not Republican’ party. They are so corrupt that they started Russia!Russia!Russiagate to deflect from the exposure of their corruption. They are Lucy to our Charlie Brown, alternately hectoring, chiding, and promising right before they pull the football away.

  34. newcatty

    One of the ways the DNC and the RNC have fooled most of the people in this country is that they promote the narrative of the “lesser of two evils” as the only choice of voting for a political candidate. The voter has been , through the manipulation of fear, given a “choice” to vote for the candidate that offers a sense of security and hope. It is important to consider what the voter has as a cognitive and emotional frame of reference in what they most want to be protected from or against. Are they fearful of the status quo being changed? Their very self-identity may be partly riding on being an “American”…what’s happening in this country? Why are we being “invaded” by illegal immigrants? Why are we struggling to make ends meet? Why isn’t America the once “great country” it used to be? Why do the liberals control Hollywood, most of all network and cable, “fake news”, denigration of our brave military ( the best in the world), toleration of immoral LBQT being seen as “normal” and trying to interfere with parents right to schools that are better than the Godless and awful public schools that the liberals ruined ( yes, to charter and private school receiving tax payer monies). They may not like a lot about Trump, but if the Dems put up another neo-lib and neocon, like Hillary, then they will vote for the lesser evil. Now, switch to many liberals and the progressives (that are out there)…what do they fear? We know the answers. If Sanders is cheated out of the primary then will they vote for the lesser evil ( though see it as practical or TINA)? As Hudson said: lesser evil is still evil. Until people wake up to the fact that voting for, or supporting any evil, is the road to ruin; then the PTB are in control. Vote or not.

  35. Carey

    Just thinking that there’s a *small chance* that the Dems will “allow ” Sanders the 2020 nomination. While this would certainly interfere with their short-term business model
    (h/t Lambert), they could / would give him the McGovern treatment in the General
    Election, thereby setting back the (real) left for a very long time (“see, unelectable!”)
    to come (short of other approaches of course).
    I don’t think they’ll take this chance, but they could.

    There is now a quite small Predator class and their minions, and then everybody else.

  36. mrtmbrnmn

    Another Bull’s Eye shot from the estimable Michael Hudson.

    The sole purpose of the sclerotic Dementedcrat Party and its DNC goons & enforcers is to perform that most obscene of political acts: sucking donor wallets! Between these corrupt old coots and the GOP Zombies and Walking Dead, is it any wonder “None Of The Above” actually wins a majority in every national election? Unfortunately in the race between Doomsday and Revolution, Doomsday appears to be in the lead.

  37. James McFadden

    26 Years of Democratic Party Betrayals – It is Time for a Third Party!

    1993-2000 Bill Clinton betrayals for Wall Street and corporate political donations: NAFTA killed American jobs, 1996 Telecommunications Act – corporate control of media, 1999 Financial Services Modernization Act – repealed Glass-Steagall which separated commercial & investment banking, Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 – prevented regulation of derivatives and set up the crash of 2008, escalated the incarceration of blacks by increasing prison sentences, cancelled an executive order that had prohibited officials from lobbying for 5 years after leaving office.

    2001-8 Corporate Democrats in Congress: Supported the invasions of Afghanistan/Iraq that killed hundreds of thousands of people, supported huge budget increases for a war machine filled with graft, failed to press the Justice Department to prosecute torture, voted to take away Constitutional rights by supporting the Patriot Act, failed to provide oversight of the NSA which began illegal spying on American citizens, failed to end CIA rendition sites, failed to shut off the tax breaks for the rich, failed to properly investigate 911, continued to support neoliberal privatization, put Party politics first.

    2009-16 Barack Obama neocon and neoliberal: Bailed out the banks initially with >$13 trillion in direct subsidies, failed to prosecute Wall Street fraud, escalated the war in Afghanistan, withdrew from Iraq only after failure to secure immunity for troops, war on Libya created Boko Haram, assassination drone program, didn’t close Guantanamo, extended the Bush tax cuts for the rich, passed insurance reform that maintained Big Pharma profits (no real health care reform), Syria coup created ISIS, expanded police militarization and prison industry, war on immigrants fleeing conditions created by US globalization, carried out (or attempted) coups in Ukraine, Libya, Honduras, Syria and Venezuela.

    2016 Election, DNC and Hillary Clinton: Rigged primary to undermine Sanders, DNC backed the only candidate capable of losing to Trump, arrogantly ignored working class in favor of technocrats/banks, failed to disclose secret Goldman Sachs speeches, flip-flopped on TPP and Keystone, pushed for cold war with Russia, supported Syrian war escalation, DNC led by corporate Democrats Pelosi/Schumer/Perez.

    2017-19 Pelosi & Schumer – no resistance to Trump.

    Continued Wall Street control of Democratic Party is certain.
    Continued Democratic Party Support of the Military Industrial Complex is certain.
    What can you do to affect change?
    Answer: Be a part of the Rebellion.

    1. Register with a third party, preferably Green Party, to send a rapid direct message of your outrage.
    2. Inoculate yourself against manipulation by reviewing propaganda techniques and debunked myths.
    3. Focus on reliable sources of political analysis and books on history/politics (ignore mainstream news).
    4. Form a local neighborhood assembly to discuss and educate each other about history/politics/class.
    5. Use neighborhood assemblies to effect local politics – show up, speak out at government meetings.
    6. Run or support candidates who do not align with the major parties – who don’t take corporate money.
    7. Support community building through unions, anti-racism, public banking and higher minimum wage.
    8. Work to defund the militarization of police, to assert local control, and to build community policing.
    9. Change local ordinances to prevent corporate extraction of money from your community.
    10. Build boycotts/divestment/strikes into community governance to end the wars and corporate rule.

    “Every nation gets the government it deserves.” Joseph de Maistre

    “The French aristocracy never saw it coming either.” – Anonomous

  38. sharonsj

    I have been angry since 2008, when Congress bailed out the banksters, ignored all the fraud, and let 6 million people lose their homes. Immediately afterward, I noticed tremendous price inflation, that went on for two solid years, where the items I needed to purchase went up 30-50% without a peep from the media. And I’m even more furious since the Dem establishment screwed Bernie Sanders, forced me to vote kicking and screaming for Hillary, and still gave us Trump. No more. I now donate campaign money directly to progressive candidates and the DNC and the DCCC can go to Hell. If Sanders isn’t the nominee, I’m writing in his name.

    As for a boycott, at first I thought Hudson meant we shouldn’t vote. Voting instead for Republicans sounds like a horrible strategy because they are greedy loons and will destroy democracy and us in the process. Since climate change gives us about a dozen more years, we probably don’t have the time to wait for the DNC to wither away. We need the revolution Bernie talks about, whereby the grassroots takes back the nation beginning with local government. And millions of protesters in the streets would make a big difference. I have my yellow vest ready.

  39. Sound of the Suburbs

    Michael Hudson has found the fundamental flaw in the whole neoliberal ideology; I just don’t think he’s getting the message across.

    Did you know capitalism works best with low housing costs and a low cost of living?
    Probably not, you are in the parallel universe of neoliberalism.
    It’s that bad, I am afraid.

    Let’s have a look at what’s wrong with the parallel economic universe of neoliberalism.
    1) Capitalism works best with low housing costs and a low cost of living
    2) Making money is not creating wealth, money comes out of nothing and is just numbers types in at a keyboard
    3) Inflating asset prices is not creating wealth
    4) Wealth creation is measured by GDP
    5) In 1929 they discovered the problem of using the markets as a guide to the health of the economy and in the 1930s they invented the GDP measure (ref. 4).
    6) When you inflate asset prices with bank credit you impoverish the future, when the bank credit is paid back
    7) An economy can only take so much private debt before you hit the Minsky Moment
    8) Private debt causes the majority of financial crises
    9) You can’t maintain consumption with debt over the long term
    10) A Government surplus sucks money out of the economy and Government surpluses often accompany financial crises
    11) A Government deficit pushes money into the economy
    12) When economists said free trade was a nett positive for any nation this was based on the assumption trade was balanced
    Etc …..

    William White (BIS, OECD) talks about how economics really changed over one hundred years ago as classical economics was replaced by neoclassical economics.
    He thinks we have been on the wrong path for one hundred years.
    He’s right; the Mont Pelerin Society developed an ideology from flawed economics and then it was rolled out globally.

    What was known in the 19th century disappeared.

    The Classical Economists had shown that most at the top of society were just parasites feeding off the productive activity of everyone else. They couldn’t miss it as the European aristocracy never did a stroke.

    The Classical economist, Adam Smith:

    “The labour and time of the poor is in civilised countries sacrificed to the maintaining of the rich in ease and luxury. The Landlord is maintained in idleness and luxury by the labour of his tenants. The moneyed man is supported by his extractions from the industrious merchant and the needy who are obliged to support him in ease by a return for the use of his money. But every savage has the full fruits of his own labours; there are no landlords, no usurers and no tax gatherers.”

    The Classical economist, Ricardo:

    “The interest of the landlords is always opposed to the interest of every other class in the community”

    What does our man on free trade mean?

    Disposable income = wages – (taxes + the cost of living)

    Employees get their money from wages and the employer pays via wages.

    Employees get less disposable income after the landlords rent has gone.
    Employers have to cover the landlord’s rents in wages reducing profit.

    Ricardo is just talking about housing costs, employees all rented in those days.
    Low housing costs work best for employers and employees.

    Economics was always far too dangerous to be allowed to reveal the truth about the economy.

    How can we protect those powerful vested interests at the top of society?

    The early neoclassical economists hid the problems of rentier activity in the economy by removing the difference between “earned” and “unearned” income and they conflated “land” with “capital”.

    They took the focus off the cost of living that had been so important to the Classical Economists to hide the effects of rentier activity in the economy.

    The landowners, landlords and usurers were now just productive members of society again.

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