May 26, Jacobins Liza Featherstone published an article claiming that Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was helping inspire a socialist movement against corporate power by endorsing the Democratic Socialists of America’s (DSA) slate of 13 candidates for state office. from New York.
In an article titled “AOC Approves Full Slate of Democratic Socialist New York State Candidates,” Featherstone wrote, “AOC’s endorsement reflects solidarity with the NYC-DSA platform and movement, against the forces of capitalism and reaction both inside and outside the Democratic Party.”
The article is a public relations ploy to resurrect Ocasio-Cortez and the DSA’s failing image as a “socialist.” Ocasio-Cortez and many official DSA accounts tweeted the Jacobin article almost immediately after publication.
At this point, the assertion that everything Ocasio-Cortez and the DSA do is “against the forces of capitalism and reaction” is downright embarrassing.
In mid-May, Ocasio-Cortez and all DSA congressmen voted to send $40 billion in military aid to arm fascist militias in Ukraine, to train Ukrainian soldiers and police, to house American soldiers throughout Europe and to replenish American missiles and tanks. and other weapons. The vote brings two nuclear powers, the United States and Russia, closer to a war to the death than at any time since the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.
Ocasio-Cortez and DSA members of Congress voted to spend such large sums of money to pursue Wall Street’s geostrategic interests amid massive social suffering at home. In AOC’s own district, which includes parts of the Bronx and Queens, poverty is rampant and workers are struggling to survive the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and rising cost of living. A gallon of gasoline in her congressional district costs $5.00 largely because of the war she voted for. One cannot pretend to fight “against the forces of capitalism” at home while bidding abroad.
feather and Jacobin present the DSA list as the spearhead of socialism, but the DSA recipients of Ocasio-Cortez’s endorsement are not opponents of imperialist war. For the most part, their campaign websites and official Twitter accounts ignore the danger of nuclear war and refuse to condemn the role of the United States and NATO in the proxy war against Russia.
In March, the New York Times attempted to ask members of the DSA New York list what they thought of the war and the results were telling. After quoting the statement of a DSA candidate that “NATO is one of the main lines of defense we have against Russian aggression against Ukraine”, the Time wrote:
Many other DSA-aligned New York City officials — some of whom have often weighed in on other national and international issues in the past — were far more circumspect.
“Thank you for reaching out, but our campaign has no comment on this,” Stephen Wood, spokesman for Brooklyn State Senate candidate David Alexis, emailed Wednesday.
Other elected officials who declined to comment or did not return requests for comment include Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; State Senators Julia Salazar and Jabari Brisport; and Assembly members Zohran Kwame Mamdani, Marcela Mitaynes and Phara Souffrant Forrest. Congresswoman Emily Gallagher of Brooklyn also declined to comment.
“If you’d like to write about any electrical building law, LLC disclosure legislation, or any other work from my job as a legislator, I’d be happy to talk,” Ms. Gallagher said.
All of the candidates referenced here are among the 13 people approved by Ocasio-Cortez. Such recklessness is to be expected from Democratic Party politicians like those the DSA hopes to send to Albany.
Featherstone has been using it for a long time Jacobin column to promote the “leftist” good faith of various right-wing capitalist politicians. In January, she wrote an article titled “New York Democratic Socialists Are Playing the Long Game,” which went so far as to praise Democratic leaders like Senator Charles Schumer and Governor Kathy Hochul.
“Schumer has embraced some of the main priorities of socialists,” Featherstone wrote in January. Jacobin quoted State Senator Salazar, who said, “Senator Schumer is a shrewd politician who listens and sees that politics is changing and communities are electing Democratic Socialists because those are the policies that they support.”
Featherstone said Hochul was “somewhat responsive to socialist demands” and even praised his support for increased police budgets. She wrote in January: “There is no ‘working class’ perspective on policing, but so far the message of ‘defund the police’ could complicate policing efforts. NYC-DSA to build a mass voter base,” calling it a “risky message.” which “may seem out of touch with well-founded fears of crime.”
The political essence of the DSA is submission to the right-wing leadership of the Democratic Party. Its elected officials do not pressure the Democratic leadership to the left; they only support them and facilitate their right-wing policies, including on issues of imperialist war.
One of the most humiliating examples of this dynamic appeared in the book by Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns This won’t pass (May 2022, Simon and Schuster), which looks back on the 2020 elections and their aftermath. The authors tell the following story from early 2021:
Indeed, Pelosi worked with the left-leaning activists in her caucus as intensely as she courted grumpy moderates. They too could block his path to the presidency if they wanted to. The president assembled a group of six of the House’s most outspoken young progressives, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and newly elected lawmakers Jamaal Bowman and Cori Bush, for a meeting in her office to hear their priorities for the new Congress. . Both Bowman and Bush had beaten the incumbent Democrats in the previous summer’s primary election, and both had been silent about their intentions toward the president.
The progressives left impressed. All ended up backing Pelosi for President. Bowman, a trained educator, was won over by her authoritative style: “The Pelosi lecturer is a gangster,” he says admiringly.
This sums up the pro-war and pro-capitalist politics of the DSA. As Leon Trotsky wrote in War and the Fourth International: “A ‘socialist’ who preaches national defense is a reactionary petty bourgeois in the service of a capitalism in decomposition.”