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Today in the Left as Bernie Sanders Personality Cult

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In my post yesterday about the “Obamacare was worthless neoliberal crap, and the Democrats are monsters for not using unspecified magic powers available to the House minority from stopping it” thing, my original draft had a line about how Jacobin would be publishing pieces about how Kirsten Gillbrand — who has not only been steadfast in resisting Trump and co-sponsored every bill proposed by Sanders since the election but supported Medicare For All running for a purple House district in 2006 — as a neoliberal sellout, but decided to take it out because I wasn’t sure it was fair. What I couldn’t know is that Jacobin had a piece in the pipeline…smearing Kirsten Gillibrand as a neoliberal sellout. Apparently, in Trump’s America everything gravitates towards self-parody.

The piece starts out acknowledging the obvious:

She racked up the best record on Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees, opposed Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court nomination, railed against Trump’s immigration executive order, and grilled his appointees in widely shared videos. She was even singled out by the Trump team — along with Vermont senator Bernie Sanders and, of all people, New Jersey senator Cory Booker — as one of the “radical liberals” blocking his anti-Muslim travel ban.

Now her name is being floated as a progressive presidential candidate in 2020.

Gillibrand — who has consciously positioned herself as an elite face of “the Resistance” in the wake of Trump’s election — has some good spots on her record. She led efforts to curb sexual assault in the military, pushed to get the 9/11 first responders bill passed, campaigned to end Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act, and has been advancing a paid family leave bill for years.

Sounds good! So why is Gillibrand a “suspect tribune for anti-Trump resistance”? Well:

  • She interned for Al D’Amato, rather than…moving to another state that had better senators? I swear this is the opening argument. (I hope someone is also doing an investigation into her voting record in junior high student council elections.)
  • Rather than moving to another state and running for office there, she worked with Chuck Schumer and — worst of all! — the neoliberalist neoliberal produced by neoliberalism since Margaret Thatcher, Hillary Clinton.
  • She has been responsive to pressure from the left, which is bad. (“…this shows that Gillibrand isn’t implacably opposed to taking more progressive stands” OK.) She was also considerably more left-wing as a statewide representative than when she represented a relatively conservative House district which, if you don’t really get how politics works, is highly disturbing. (Also, as a House member she somehow supported the tax cuts passed under Bush in 2001 and 2003 although she wasn’t elected until 2007. Her actual votes against extending the Bush tax cuts, of course, aren’t mentioned.)
  • Rather than moving to another state and running for office there, she has completely orthodox Democratic positions on Israel.
  • Rather than moving to another state and running for office there or refusing to raise money, she accepted money from local interests. This once caused her to put forward an amendment weakening a minor element of Dodd-Frank and then withdrawing it. And surely absolutely consistent support for the Lincoln Amendment has always been far more important to the left than trivia like, say, universal healthcare.

In addition to how ludicrously tendentious this hatchet job is, the theory of politics underlying it — that responding to pressure from the left is bad, making you “a garden variety ladder-climber” — is transparently wrong. It is, indeed, anti-politics. Responding to local interests is what all politicians — including Bernie — do. You can’t build an anti-Trump resistance solely out of people who have always agreed with you about everything. If I may be permitted to quote myself:

But worse than that is that the conception of politics here is absolutely ridiculous. Of course Hillary Clinton is in part “motivated by political concerns.” That’s what politics is. Trying to get people in positions of power to move in your direction is why ordinary people engage in politics. Drawing sharp distinctions between “principle” and “politics” when dealing with leaders of large brokerage parties is making a category error. Hillary Clinton will nominate judges who will restore Roe v. Wade, and she will veto any bad abortion regulations a Republican Congress would put on her desk. What mixture of principle and prudence motivates her is completely irrelevant.

Three presidents can be plausibly said to have greater records of progressive accomplishment than Barack Obama: LBJ, FDR, and Lincoln. Were these men, as deBoer suggests they must be, consistent left-wing ideologues, men who were committed to consistent left principles who did not concern themselves with practical politics and never had to be “pushed” from the left? Er, no. Good God, no. They were practical men. They were not ideologically consistent. They had progressive records in large part because of the organized pressures from the left placed on them. Lyndon Johnson had a voting record in the Senate that makes Hillary Clinton look like a Wobbly. Did civil rights and labor groups follow deBoer’s advice, refuse to work with him and support him, and seek to throw the election to Goldwater in the hopes that a REAL ally could eventually control the White House? No, they did not, because they understand politics as deBoer does not. And the result was arguably the most progressive domestic policy presidency ever. The Emancipation Proclamation was a compromise motivated in large measure by political expediency. So what? Who wants political leaders who disdain politics, who aren’t responsive to their constituents?

A politics founded on refusing to take yes for an answer isn’t a politics at all. It’s a pose from people more interested in congratulating themselves for being too good for politics than accomplishing anything.

…and, yes, wjts was a prophet:

If she runs in 2020, I expect the True Leftist Clinton Critique to be amended to, “Any political position that Gillibrand has ever taken that I disagree with is her real position. Any political position that I can imagine Gillibrand taking that I disagree with is her secret real position. Any political position that Gillibrand has taken that I agree with is insincere pandering.”

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  • jim, some guy in iowa

    it is odd, usually when people say “yes” to me I expect them to deliver. When they do I remember that, and am willing to ask them for other things. Never occurred to me to reply, “fuck you, you don’t mean it” and go away emptyhanded right off the bat

    • pillsy

      If you were truly committed to progressive change, you’d understand the most important thing is the spiritual purity of our elected representatives.

      • Well, as a pony riding Sander’s supporter, I would be more than happy to support a Gillibrand run for pres.

  • D.N. Nation

    Ultimately, the effort to defeat Trump and build a new egalitarian politics must come not from a single political figure, but from grassroots action. Still, it helps to have politicians in office resolutely committed to advancing equality and democracy.

    Gillibrand’s history suggests she’s not one of them.

    Then primary her, come up with someone better, or STFU.

    Statler/Waldorf Progressivism strikes again.

    • McAllen

      Ultimately, the effort to defeat Trump and build a new egalitarian politics must come not from a single political figure, but from grassroots action.

      How does Marcetic not realize this sentence renders the entire rest of the article moot. No, you’re not going to get a perfect leftist president who hands down decrees from on high. But you can get a president who’s open to pressure from the left, and there’s no reason to think Gillibrand wouldn’t be one.

      • Pat

        Because Marcetic’s point is to discredit Gillibrand years in advance in case she ever even thinks about running for president.

        The article is all about priming.

        • eclare

          Yup.

        • SatanicPanic

          Why on earth do they want to kneecap someone so early? What’s the goal here? Trump’s re-election?

          • NonyNony

            Honestly? At this point I just assume that there are many men on the Left who are terrified of women with power and will only be happy when Daddy is in charge. If it can’t be a Leftist Daddy then a right-wing Daddy will have to do, so long as Daddy is in charge.

            (Not all by any means, but there really do seem to be a number of Leftist men who have severe issues with women that become very apparent when you see the politicians they revere and the ones they try to kneecap.)

            • eclare

              Yup. See also, “there’s just something about her that I don’t like/trust.”

            • Origami Isopod

              While that is probably the true motivator, I would be completely unsurprised, as I said in the last thread, if someone at Jackoff Bin was in cahoots with the Putin crowd. If they’re not, they’re just useful idiots. The latter isn’t as morally reprehensible but it’s still contemptible, and the results are the same.

            • StellaB

              Point it out to them and they will be quick to assure you that they are big fans of ex-state Rep. Nina Turner. She is also their proof that they aren’t racist….

              • Origami Isopod

                Nina Turner and Susan Sarandon are the Twoo Weft’s version of, “I can’t be sexist! Camille Paglia agrees with me!”

              • As I said to Scott on twitter, it feels like just yesterday that I was being assured, in the comments on this very site, that of course left-wing opposition to Hillary had nothing to do with her gender. Why, the left would be happy to support a female candidate who was a Real Progressive, like Kristen Gillbrand!

                • The potential female Kwisatz Haderach always recedes in front of us, along a timeline that is just beyond our grasp.

                • SatanicPanic

                  Prediction- Tulsi Gabbard will be the name that will always be brought up by leftist doods who want to deny they are sexist. That she doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of getting the nomination makes her even better.

                • efgoldman

                  of course left-wing opposition to Hillary had nothing to do with her gender.

                  As a really old, really angry, really white guy I call bullshit.
                  Bros gotta’ be bros; and bros don’t vote for wimminz.
                  Apparently they were all terrified by their mothers and/or big sisters.

                • Brien Jackson

                  As a double-plus bonus for the Pink Bunnies; that Gabbard is a non-starter specifically because she’s an anti-Muslim bigot. 3-1 says they’re running around screaming about the “race card” like Sean Hannity within 3 years.

            • CP

              Yeah, but it’s also the fact that you’ve got a big chunk of people who are already so predisposed to believing anything bad about the Democratic Party that any one of their trusted sources pointing to any Dem and saying “neoliberal” is all it takes to make them hate them.

              Bonus points if it’s a rising star like Gillibrand that people are already talking about for president. That just shows how savvy you are. You’re not one of those crowd-following herd animals. You didn’t fall for that (corporate media manufactured) rock star. You didn’t like Kirsten Gillibrand before it was cool.

              • John Revolta

                This. The ultimate hipster thing is to hate something before anyone else has even heard about it.
                AKA, “She was better before she got elected”.

          • The Great God Pan

            What’s the goal here? Trump’s re-election?

            Yes. This iteration of the left (“the dirtbag left” as many of them call themselves) has as its motto (courtesy of Will Menaker) “We must declare eternal, holy war on the Democratic party.”

            The GOP is not their enemy. GOP voters are actually repressed socialists who will embrace the Revolution once the elitist technocratic wonks of the Democratic party are finally disposed of.

            • Origami Isopod

              The GOP is not their enemy. GOP voters are actually repressed socialists who will embrace the Revolution once the elitist technocratic wonks of the Democratic party are finally disposed of.

              The GOP also hates identity politics. In fact, the GOP hates politics, just like the Dirtbag Left does. Wonkery is for nerds who got shoved into their lockers at school. Compromise is for pussies, not real men.

            • CP

              “The problem with the Democratic Party is all those Third Way moderates selling out to the Wall Street Republicans. What we should all be following is the True Progressives selling out to the Focus On The Family Republicans instead!”
              /the “real” left

          • Redwood Rhiadra

            What’s the goal here?

            The Dictatorship of the Proletariat, of course.

    • mojrim

      Shouldn’t that be hyphenated, like Dunning-Kruger?

  • Bingo! I co-sign this entire blog post (if I may). And I’m bookmarking it because we are going to be taking it out and linking to it every time anyone who isn’t the reincarnation of Emma Goldman crossed with a wolverine tries to run for office.

    • hypersphericalcow

      crossed with a wolverine

      From the Jacobin review of Logan:

      In this movie, Wolverine’s healing powers are declining, leaving him unable to defend a group of innocent mutants from a multinational corporation. This proves that he was always sympathetic to neoliberal capitalism, and never truly committed to the cause of mutant liberation.

      • It says something about the current content of Jacobin that I wasn’t sure this was a joke until the second sentence.

        • TroubleMaker13

          There’s just no topping that Pokemon Go piece they published a while back. The word “joke” starts to lose it’s meaning at some point.

        • MyNameIsZweig

          I wasn’t sure even then.

          • “Neoliberal capitalism” was the tell for me. But I could very easily imagine a Jacobin contributor writing that sentence in all seriousness about a real-life figure.

        • Manny Kant

          I’m still not absolutely certain.

      • sonamib

        I miss the maoist film reviews.

        • Bruce B.

          No true comrade would miss them at all, since they’d have diligently practiced their marksmanship. Your inability even to mount a small-arms assault in their general vicinity shows you’re a running dog.

      • hypersphericalcow

        I really need to start using the sarcasm tag.

      • Hob

        My “favorite” recent example of a critic trying perhaps a bit too hard to guard against not-as-revolutionary-as-possible content in art: this review of an episode of Sense8 in which the author first got very impressed by the show’s characters describing themselves as “a threat to secrecy and sovereignty”, and said that might mean the second season of the show would include “legitimate critique of the West’s War on Terror”… but then immediately, like in the same sentence, speculated that it might instead turn out to be “superficial to the point of actually supporting the perma-war”.

        I’m not sure which is dumber: 1. reacting to a line like that as if finally! at long last!! the creators of The Matrix and producers of V for Vendetta, in their TV show that for more than a year now has depicted mutants being pursued by government/corporate assassins and fighting back with righteous computer hacking skills, might be taking an anti-authority stance!!!… or 2. the implication that if they don’t actually end up saying anything super deep in that regard, that’ll mean they’re actually neocon-fascist betrayers, because… I guess because they got our hopes up or something.

        If this guy had been reviewing TV and movies in the ’60s, I guess he would’ve been explaining how every expression of general anti-Vietnam-War sentiment, if it wasn’t intellectually rigorous, was actually pro-war. God forbid that anyone be “superficial” while agreeing with you.

    • efgoldman

      we are going to be taking it out and linking to it every time anyone who isn’t the reincarnation of Emma Goldman crossed with a wolverine tries to run for office.

      The bros have a problem with Goldman, too, besides the incorrect set of chromosomes. There’s the religion thing; that’s why I never understood the fealty to Wilmer.

  • sigaba

    She has been responsive to pressure from the left, which is bad.

    You’re not supposed to respond to pressure from leftists, you’re supposed to open bidding to the left of them and then accuse them of being neoliberal sellouts.

    Thus, Gillibrand can innoculate herself from the charge by calling for the execution of all redheads while decrying Jacobin as “reactionary twaddle.” Only then will she pass muster with the Jacobin editorial board.

    (Off topic, but I’m looking forward to seeing Matthew Brodderick’s face on a blog post later today.)

    • Q.E.Dumbass

      What did redheads ever do the pink– oh, that’s right.

  • lawtalkingguy

    25 year old, New Zeelander, of some kind of Balkan heritage, ‘freelancer’ has some thoughts on a country that he isnt a citizen of and cannot vote in. Who cares? At this point Jacobin’s goal is pretty clear: become the Breitbart of the left and get hate clicks to ensure the gaggle of 20ish kids who own it continue living their hipster life style in Brooklyn.

    • wjts

      That’s completely unfair. Some of them live in Pittsburgh.

      • NonyNony

        Zing!

      • mds

        And some of them are Jewish, none of whom are white or hipsters.

    • rfm

      Jacobin’s real goal is a revived and viable Strasserism.

      • Colin Day

        I prefer dead Strasserism.

        Round up the usual suspects

      • rea

        I thought they advocated a Stuart restoration, but I guess those are Jacobites, rather than Jacobins.

    • farin

      25 year old, New Zeelander, of some kind of Balkan heritage, ‘freelancer’ has some thoughts on a country that he isnt a citizen of and cannot vote in.

      Andrew Bogut has to occupy himself somehow now that he doesn’t have any legs.

      • kped

        He’s from Australia! (and he’s a total right wing nut too).

        • D.N. Nation

          Now, now, when Bogut got drafted #1 and decried the state of the NBA, with its tattoos and rippity-rap and the saggy pants, there was absolutely nothing to that, no sir.

        • Origami Isopod

          I’d never heard of him but he seems nice. His Wikipedia page has none of this detail, shockingly.

          • tsam

            OMFG THE TWEET FROM THE MAVERICKS!!!

            HAHAHAHAHA!

            • Lost Left Coaster

              My god that was the corporate PR-speak version of “SHUT THE FUCK UP YOU’RE EMBARRASSING US ALL.” Hilarious.

        • farin
          • kped

            Love “Flight of the Conchords”. I highly recommend the movies “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” and “What we do in the Shadows”, made by a director from “Flight of the Conchords” Taika Waititi. “What we do in the Shadows” is even co-written/directed by Jemaine Clement.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAZEWtyhpes

    • Matty

      It’s funny, I opened the link on the bus this morning, and went “oh, of course it’s this dude.” He’s the most reliable voice of “everything is terrible and only rubes hope” they have on offer. Aside from the fact he must pitch them constantly, I have no idea why they run him.

    • Domino

      If they (somehow) go full Breitbart they will able to pay a 24 year-old reporter $110,000 a year for no explicable reason.

    • efgoldman

      At this point Jacobin’s goal is pretty clear: become the Breitbart of the left

      I really don’t understand why we allow these klowns to get our panties in a bunch. 36k quarterly circulation; hell, Reason has 50k as an (almost) monthly.
      Plus, apparently, most Jacobin writers are ill-informed crackpots. They’re apparently talking to each other and a few bros. I mean, what’s the point?

      • I know a fair few people who take them seriously, but I don’t know how representative that is. They’re really only influential over a certain subset of the population, but it doesn’t have to be a very large subset to have been decisive last year, given the narrowness of the margin.

        • personwhoreads

          yes. and most of the people I know who take the Jacobin most seriously also broadcast the articles in TL/DR summary form to many others in facebook comments, twitter, etc. They seem quite influential with the under-40 purity ponies who have to be begged to show up and vote for Dems and then only do so once they’ve completed many rounds of performative nose-holding.

          Jacobin readers are often able to convince otherwise lazy and not-very-politically active left-leaners and anti-establishment types that voting for Dems is a waste of time, giving them an easy way to rationalize their desire to stay home and avoid those pesky long lines and learning about all those ballot measures and candidates, “who are just corporate sell-outs anyway.”

          There is almost nobody in my social circle who subscribes to the Jacobin AND spends more time criticizing Republicans than Democrats.

          • MilitantlyAardvark

            Jacobin is basically for the people who think that the US needs its own version of Jeremy Corbyn.

      • Manny Kant

        Right, Chapo Trap House is the real enemy.

  • Q.E.Dumbass

    Rather than moving to another state and running for office there, she worked with Chuck Schumer and — worst of all! — the neoliberalist neloliberal produced by neoliberalism since Margaret Thatcher, Hillary Clinton.

    Should read “neoliberalest neoliberal.”

    I think our Leftist Betters/pink anarchist bunnies are getting stupider every week. They don’t deserve Sanders — they deserve a 2020 primary between Jim Webb! Joe Manchin, Andrew Cuomo and William Maher SUPERGENIUS.

    • rfm

      Michael Tracy would love that.

    • Origami Isopod

      Why are you leaving out Heidi Heitkamp? She’d bug them the most. I mean, there's just something about her they don't like.

      • Q.E.Dumbass

        I actually should have left off Manchin tbh

  • My favorite part of that Jacobin article:

    Bloomberg, the centrist billionaire who oversaw stop-and-frisk and the NYPD’s surveillance of Muslims, among other things, reportedly disliked Gillibrand so much his advisors were in talks with potential challengers.

    This is one of the four people mentioned as examples of “questionable political connections”. Yup.

    If Hillary Clinton’s closeness to Wall Street torpedoed her campaign — and more importantly, made her a poor agent of change — then Gillibrand has the same problem in spades.

    That “If” is carrying a lot of weight.

    Branko Marcetic is a journalist from Auckland, New Zealand.

    Oh.

    • ap77

      That “If” is carrying a lot of weight.

      Seriously. You’ve got to love this form of argument: “If [unsupportable premise], then profit!”

  • Dilan Esper

    Is the misspelling of her name, twice, a joke that I am not getting?

    • Dilan Esper

      Apparently it was no joke. Scott corrected it.

  • rfm

    Everyone who writes for Jacobin should be killed, tbh.

    • Shantanu Saha

      We’re gonna need bigger tumbrels.

      • Q.E.Dumbass

        And the mother of all woodchippers.

    • Linnaeus

      Indeed, the Red Menace is everywhere and must be stopped.

      • Q.E.Dumbass

        While I definitely don’t endorse rfm’s proposed solutions, I understand.

        Isn’t a big part of the problem that the better columnists aren’t regular and the regular columnists aren’t that good?

        • Matty

          I think so. I’ve read some really good stuff from them even recently, but Breunig gets to throw up whatever “Democrats are actually worse” crap that hoves into his mind, and Marcetic gets to pitch whatever garbage he wants. I don’t subscribe to the print version, so I wonder how much of this is even lefty magazines having to be on the clickbait treadmill.

          • lawtalkingguy

            Trump winning for a segment of the left is like Obama winning was for the right, a lot of grifters ooze in. Bruening makes something like 60k a year from donations for a ‘alternative public policy institute’ or whatever he calls his blogging. Its the equivalent of Herman Caine or Hucakbee using their email lists to sell snake oil, but actually kind of worse because at least the GOP grifters are stealing from people wholl be dead soon.

            • To be fair here, a) I have no problem with people supporting other people’s writing voluntarily and b) when Bruenig is not busy satisfying his blood lust for the Democratic Party (which is 80% of the time unfortunately), his work can be very good.

              • kped

                It’s that 80% that makes me never read him though. I’ll read Chait because his stupid shit only occupies about 15% of his writing, but Bruenig is just awful for far too much time.

                Also, I don’t support people who go after women and minorities on twitter repeatedly. Seriously, fuck that guy.

                • Origami Isopod

                  I’ll read Chait because his stupid shit only occupies about 15% of his writing

                  Also, too, NYMag has other people worth reading, like Traister. Bruenig’s blog doesn’t.

              • Matty

                I only read Breunig if someone I otherwise trust (Sean McElwee, e.g.) retweets his work. The bloodlust-to-usefulness ratio is way too high otherwise.

              • rfm

                The left’s internal standards are so sadly low. (Not that that is unique among political movements.) Someone with that high of a bullshit ratio (and none of whose “good work” is original) should be unequivocally ostracized.

            • Origami Isopod

              Bruening makes something like 60k a year from donations for a ‘alternative public policy institute’ or whatever he calls his blogging. Its the equivalent of Herman Caine or Hucakbee using their email lists to sell snake oil, but actually kind of worse because at least the GOP grifters are stealing from people wholl be dead soon.

              How dare you deny him that money. Don’t you know he has (or had) a pregnant wife?! Why do you and all those neoliberal women of color in Twitter want Bruenig’s family to starve!?

            • dogboy

              Speaking of politically focused grifters, boingboing had an item about an article discussing how Alex Jones makes all the money.

              It is a brilliant business model. If you can be convinced that an international cabal of globalists is hell-bent on creating a New World Order, perhaps you could be persuaded to buy Infowars Life Survival Shield X-2, a one-fluid-ounce bottle of iodine supplement for $39.95.

              • Matty

                One of the most shocking “the old man is farther gone than I thought” moments I had visiting my folks was noticing that my dad had a couple jars of Infowars branded vitamin drink mix floating around the kitchen.

              • Origami Isopod

                Sounds like what Perlstein covered in “The Long Con.” It’s good to see this aspect of the right being aired to a wider audience.

        • Linnaeus

          I agree that Jacobin has been, at least as of late, a mixed bag. The article that Scott wrote about yesterday was rightly lampooned. That said, I’m still glad to see that a socialist publication like Jacobin has managed to gain something of a foothold, which is not the easiest thing to do in the heart of the church of capitalism.

          • Domino

            It also published one of my favorite article, where someone took a proverbial machete to Zizek’s argument.

          • NeonTrotsky

            I agree, I think Jacobin is being driven by and overwhelming desire to not bee seen as “liberal” by its audience, which leads to a lot of knee-jerk anti-Democratic party contrarianism that is not useful. The same process leads to a lot of stupid anti-free speech arguments as well, because many of the most robust defenses of that come out of liberal theory and that’s not pure or whatever.

          • While on one hand, I’m glad to see overt socialism finding an audience, I’m annoyed when people think it has anything to do with this kind of purity trolling. Jacobin has published a lot of great articles, but I always have to treat it conditionally. I really wish there were a widely read socialist publication that didn’t engage in this kind of crap. But then I might as well just wish for full on anarchist communism while I’m at it – that’s probably just as likely to happen in present-day America.

          • Origami Isopod

            It doesn’t surprise me that there are enough left-leaning people with enough disposable income in the U.S. to sustain a socialist e-magazine. I’d share your gladness, but I think socialism deserves better than this.

            • tsam

              Yeah–people have to remember, above all else, that the two parties control 100% of the political power in this country. One party is a whole continent closer in ideology to a socialist than the other. So how about you attack the one that is destroying everything we’ve spent a century building that has improved and saved countless lives instead of crying like a 3 year old that the Democrats aren’t exactly what their uninformed little minds decide they need to be.

              They still have to get elected to do ANYTHING, and they’re much more receptive to overtures from the base when they have the office than when they’re sitting on the sideline.

              • efgoldman

                I’m glad to see overt socialism finding an audience

                there are enough left-leaning people with enough disposable income in the U.S. to sustain a socialist e-magazine

                A piggy-toenail hold. 36k quarterly.

                • Q.E.Dumbass

                  And those piggy toes all have ainhum.

            • FlipYrWhig

              “Socialists with Money” is either the aptest characterization of a huge swath of leftish opinioneering in the 21st century, or a lesser Public Image Ltd. track.

    • Matty

      This is the correct way to build a broad left coalition.

      • rfm

        Indeed. Purge the fifth column!

        • Matty

          Could we at least have the revolution before beginning the purges, this time?

          • rfm

            The revolution is impossible without the purges.

      • so-in-so

        Fewer, but better, leftists?

        • Leisure Suit Lawyer

          How could one possibly assemble a democratic majority otherwise?

          • FlipYrWhig

            It’s like Elaine Benes’s theory for a restaurant seating policy that would be better than first come, first served: “it should be based on who’s hungriest.”

    • Sly

      Charlotte Corday, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

    • mongolia

      i agree. it’s impossible to avoid columns from the jacobin, what with how ubiquitous it is online and on the teevees.

    • ASV

      Pour encourager les autres.

  • cleek

    former regular, Joe From Lowell, once wrote this over at BJ. i keep it tucked away for special occasions:

    The most important thing to Protest People is their self-image as Protest People. If they’re the first to denounce something, that gets them mega-points on the Protest People scale. If they’re wrong, whatever loss of credibility they gain in terms of being reality-based is outweighed by the demonstration of what awesome Protest People they are. Heck, it actually helps their credibility among their intended, Protest People audience to be so wrong, because it’s just more evidence of how ideologically hard core they are.

    what’s important is that Jacobin is complaining, and that you see them complaining.

    • rfm

      This is dead on. “Purity” isn’t the right framing, because there’s no platform these people will actually endorse and help contend for power. It’s all about the comfort of permanent opposition, of never being wrong because you never test yourself.

      • cleek

        It’s all about the comfort of permanent opposition, of never being wrong because you never test yourself.

        exactly.

        if you never support anyone, and oppose everything, you can avoid having to live with the stain of other people’s imperfections. nothing will ever be your fault or your responsibility. you can remain pure, virginal and unblemished forever – in your own estimation.

        it’s all about avoiding responsibility.

      • JMP

        Yep; these folks don’t actually want to win, as we saw when Obama one the election and the fake leftist idiots immediately shifted to claiming he was really just like George Bush because “drones” or some other bullshit; they want to continually be fighting against authority, so it doesn’t matter if that authority is actually good, they’ll just lie and say they’re bad so they justify continuing to fight.

        • efgoldman

          they want to continually be fighting against authority

          So what makes them different from the anarchist black block assholes, besides the abject fear of going outside and getting their heads stove in?

          • Origami Isopod

            At least Black Bloc punches Nazis now and again.

    • Shantanu Saha

      But what seems to be most important is that they’re always seen complaining about potential allies, instead of demonstrated enemies.

      • cleek

        gets them lots of attention doesn’t it…

      • so-in-so

        Well, duh, EVERYBODY knows to hate enemies. Only the true leaders of the proletariat know to hate FRIENDS and ALLIES!

    • Rob in CT

      Sure seems true, yeah.

      Also, as others have said: thanks hardcore New Zealand leftist for your Deep Thoughts! You sure have lots of skin in the game!

      I mean, shit, it’s one thing in a blog comment or something. Ok, fine. I can comment that I think Brexit is a bad idea, even though my knowledge of UK politics and the specific issues between the UK and EU is very limited. I might be wrong, but whatever, I’m just some guy in the comments.

      Jacobin is providing a platform for this shit. Ugh.

      There’s a reasonable article to be written that basically says “here are some things in Gillbrand’s record that aren’t great. Some she changed on, some she seems to still hold. Let’s work to keep the good changes and try and pressure her on the bad ones.”

      THAT might be useful.

      • mongolia

        but that acknowledges that the dem party is the proper vehicle for national political change, and we all know that the dems are really about neoliberalism so that can’t be right. better to keep ones powder dry and constantly complain about how democrats. don’t. even. try. to do do this like medicare for all and whatnot.

        • efgoldman

          but that acknowledges that the dem party is the proper vehicle for national political change

          Not to mention, acknowledgement that there’s a real world [:::gasp:::] out there, which requires real politics by real people who happen to be politicians.

    • FlipYrWhig

      And then, as though in an ancient tragic drama, Joe became one.

  • waspuppet

    Gillibrand — who has consciously positioned herself as an elite face of “the Resistance” in the wake of Trump’s election —

    She has consciously positioned herself! BURN HER

    has some good spots on her record.

    They then list some more, as if the opposition to Trump is not part of her record.

    Responding to local interests is what all politicians — including Bernie — do.

    Oh, come on. Bernie’s record is the result of his being pure of heart and steadfast in his determination and NOTHING else. If he were in Alabama he would say exactly the same things and would have been reelected for decades as well.

    • Hogan

      has some good spots on her record.

      “You know, my brother once told me that nothing someone says before the word ‘but’ really counts.”

    • efgoldman

      has some good spots on her record.

      Nothing that dry-cleaning fluid can’t solve

  • Turkle

    I am just so disappointed in Jacobin. When they first started, I thought they were doing some really interesting stuff. Really interesting speculative theory, and I thought some pretty fresh views on labor and technology, etc. They have responded to the changing political environment by crawling up their own rear ends and engaging in the most egregious purity trolling.

    I remain baffled by the sheer energy and violence of people’s emotional responses to Hillary Clinton, and Democratic politicians in general, from both the Right and the Left. There’s some pretty outrageous projection going on here, if you ask me.

    Sad, sad, sad.

    • CP

      I expect it from the right. It’s what they do for every Democrat.

      From alleged “progressives” uncritically repeating every meme from the right wing and the “corporate media” MSM as long as it hits the other candidate in the primary? Yeah. That’s worse.

    • Origami Isopod

      I remain baffled by the sheer energy and violence of people’s emotional responses to Hillary Clinton, and Democratic politicians in general, from both the Right and the Left.

      There is absolutely nothing baffling about it. It’s sheer misogyny, compounded by a 25-year hate campaign by the fever-swamp right.

    • Brett

      Jacobin depends on subscribers, and apparently harsh anti-Clinton stuff and liberal-bashing is getting them.

  • N__B

    Jacobin managed something I thought hardly possible: they’ve made me like Gillibrand more.

  • CP

    In my post yesterday about the “Obamacare was worthless neoliberal crap, and the Democrats are monsters for not using unspecified magic powers available to the House minority from stopping it” thing, my original draft had a line about how Jacobin would be publishing pieces about how Kirtsen Gillbrand — who has not only been steadfast in resisting Trump and co-sponsored every bill proposed by Sanders since the election but supported Medicare For All running for a purple House district in 2006 — as a neoliberal sellout, but decided to take it out because I wasn’t sure it was fair. What I couldn’t know is that Jacobin had a piece in the pipeline…smearing Kirtsen Gillibrand as a neoliberal sellout. Apparently, in Trump’s America everything gravitates towards self-parody.

    Judas Priest.

    I swear to God those fucking peckerheads are going to give us the full eight years of Trump.

    • Shantanu Saha

      But that’s their strategy. If they keep Democrats in a permanent minority status, they can keep calling them neoliberal sellouts while the Republicans strip mine their bodies for organs to sell.

    • Phil Perspective

      I swear to God those fucking peckerheads are going to give us the full eight years of Trump.

      Yes, because Jacobin is the most powerful force in the Democratic Party. Pelosi and Schumer kiss Sunkara’s feet every week and have Jacobin lying around their Congressional offices.

      • D.N. Nation

        Hey, bud, who should I vote for in 2018/2020?

        • D.N. Nation

          This question is like spraying Raid at you, I swear.

          • Phil never answers any questions. He’s sure he knows everything but he’s got better things to do than actually engage in good faith.

            • This is true. I don’t think Phil has ever even attempted to answer a question. It’s probably the biggest argument in favor of officially calling him a troll and eliminating him.

              • There are other people I’d rather see banned first, since Phil’s refusal to respond to responses means he also doesn’t hijack entire comment threads, but it’s also an indisputable reason he can’t be considered to be engaging in good faith, and I certainly wouldn’t object if he were banned.

                • Q.E.Dumbass

                  And unlike the BJ transplant, Phil isn’t usually hostile to other commenters — just annoying (although they have about the same level of maturity). My opinion of them is the same as Cassandra’s and stepped pyramids’, but I’d prefer editing the more trollish comments to get the point across.

                • CP

                  Wait. Which one’s the BJ transplant?

                • Q.E.Dumbass

                  @CP: Phil isn’t. It’s the Mearsheimer/Walt-pusher who also pretends nobody here thought appointing Comey was a stupid idea. (Though I don’t think they should be banned, yet, just forced to defend their arguments.

                • Rob in CT

                  Concur – he’s not here to have a real discussion, but he doesn’t shit all over the blog. He makes 1, maybe 2 comments and then leaves. You’re not going to get a debate, but you’re also not going to have a loooooooong derail by someone who isn’t engaging in good faith.

              • jim, some guy in iowa

                no, actually Phil has attempted to answer a question. He did it in the form of a question, though, which makes me think Jeopardy! might be a better venue for his talents

                • efgoldman

                  which makes me think Jeopardy! might be a better venue for his talents

                  He’d have to ditch the hat, though.

              • MyNameIsZweig

                I’m starting to come around to that perspective (ha!) myself.

              • tsam

                For me, Phil’s comments are so perfectly timed to jump in and prove the OP’s point that they just make me laugh.

                OP summary: Don’t bash on Democrats with a good legislative record to prove you’re leftier than all the peoples.

                Phil: YABUT PELOSI IS LITERALLY SATAN AND WORSHIPS ( person I’ve never heard of)

                • Q.E.Dumbass

                  Right. He’s a crank and a crackpot, but not especially offensive.

                • humanoid.panda

                  I hold the hardest-line position on trolls around these parts, I think, but I never considered him one. He is clearly a crank, but he doesn’t derail, annoy, or insult.

          • Domino

            LOL. Honestly feel like this question should be the default response to Phil.

  • Keaaukane

    I saw a “Tulsi Gabbard 2020” bumper sticker in Pahoa recently. As the hippies of Puna go, so goes the Nation.

    • Matty

      I saw “Tulsi Gabbard 2020” in the comments on the Jacobin Facebook post for this article. The derp is real.

      • Origami Isopod

        Why not. After all, who cares about homophobia other than identitarians?

        • farin

          Jeez, is she anti-gay too? I was perfectly content hating her for being a BJP stooge.

          • Origami Isopod

            Yep. Claims not to be anymore, but, well. She’s also Islamophobic, and last November she refused to sign the letter from House Democrats demanding Bannon be booted from the Drumpf administration.

            • tsam

              I think I spotted my answer:

              She clashed with Debbie Wasserman Schultz at the DNC, quit in a big public row and endorsed Bernie, even though their records are not remotely similar. Democrats in Hawaii laughed when Berniebots, grateful for her support but ignorant of her politics, started promoting her as a progressive.

        • McAllen

          True leftists don’t care about such trivialities in the face of her overwhelming positives, such as Assad apologism.

        • tsam

          What IS the attraction to Gabbard? My friend who couldn’t bring himself to vote for Clinton because reasons has been trying to sell her to me, and I can’t find a damn thing that makes her anything other than a neophyte with a big mouth. Is it because she’s a Hindu? Because she surfs??? WHAT IS IT?

          • Q.E.Dumbass

            BECAUSE SHE’S HAWWWWWWT

            • tsam

              I seriously hope that’s not why.

              (Though it might explain my doofus friend who is pretty sure he’s smarter than me because he literally wrote ME in on his presidential ballot. Fucking asshole)

              • TroubleMaker13

                I seriously hope that’s not why.

                Sweet, innocent tsam. Never change.

              • farin

                Honestly, it would be less worrying than people actually preferring her policy positions. Thoughtless sexism is at least modestly better than considered eliminationist bigotry.

            • Origami Isopod

              Yeah, that’s pretty much it.

              I’ve seen a number of manarchists on Twitter and elsewhere sneeringly refer to HRC as “Mother,” as in “Must never contradict Mother!” It speaks volumes about their contempt for women who don’t appeal to these guys’ dicks, and of their fear and mistrust of powerful women.

              • tsam

                And here I thought it couldn’t get more vapid than deciding which candidate you’d want to “have a beer with”.

                Guess I was wrong as fuck.

          • SatanicPanic

            She’s “anti-imperialist”. Never underestimate the lengths anti-imperialist left will go to defending anyone, anywhere, who has negative things to say about the use of US military power.

            EDIT- added some scare quotes. I don’t know enough about her to say what her actual views are, only that people present them this way.

            • Brien Jackson

              Doesn’t Gabbard support ramping up US bombing so long as it’s of the Muslims she specifically wants us to bomb?

              • ForkyMcSpoon

                Well, we shouldn’t bomb Assad, but we should definitely say the magical incantation “RADICAL ISLAMIC TERRORISM”.

                • farin

                  Anyone oppressing Muslims should be supported, even Muslims.

      • efgoldman

        I saw “Tulsi Gabbard 2020” in the comments on the Jacobin Facebook post for this article.

        Would she finish with more than single numbers of percentage, even in a Hawaii primary?

  • Charlie S

    Politics is about purity and pink ponies. Why don’t you folks ever get it?

  • Dilan Esper

    BTW, I like Gillibrand, a lot, but I don’t buy Scott’s defense of her support of Israel. Israel/Palestine isn’t a big issue for me, but I don’t think people have to excuse her because of her state any more than Southern Democrats should be excused for supporting the death penalty or New York Dems should be excused for supporting Wall Street.

    Voters have every right to say “we don’t care where you are from, this is unacceptable for a Presidential nominee”.

    • McAllen

      We don’t need to excuse it; it’s a mark against her, sure. But you’re just not going to get a strongly pro-Palestine president in the near future.

      • lawtalkingguy

        or ever. The optics of that issue are so poisoned that it will take the next 20 years of Likud turning Israel into a Jewish version of Hizballah before people finally notice its no longer a Democracy and the people living in it are not like North American Jews.

        • free_fries_

          Are you an American? If so, writing off the ‘people living in [Israel]’ as militant Likud is pretty remarkable. I guess you expect foreigners to consider every resident American to be as stupid and evil as the traffic cone sitting in the Oval Office.

          • farin

            The people living in Israel include at least a plurality voting regularly for the extreme right. North American Jews are among the most consistently liberal demographics around. Forgetting that leads to thinking Bibi is something other than an Israeli Erdogan or Orban.

            • free_fries_

              Plurality sure but to paint the entire Israeli population that way is a huge disservice to doing those everything they can to defeat him.

              As to your point about the difference between North American Jews and Bibi, perhaps it’s the result of spending my entire adult life in SF and Seattle, but I feel like it’s more likely to for anyone Jewish (such as myself) be dismissed as an automatic Bibi/Israel one-stater than for people to see Bibi/Likud party as anything close to liberal. Hence my sensitivity to using “Israel” in place of “Bibi/Likud party”.

        • guthrie

          I think you are too optimistic. By this stage, in part due to Islamophobia, Israel could nuke the west bank and Gaza strip and nobody would say anything, and I expect it to be like this for over 20 years.

      • CP

        Heck, pro-Palestine politicians alone, at any level, are damn near miraculous already.

        This issue pisses me off something fierce, but Israel/Palestine belongs in the same category as gun control when it comes to “issues on which the right wing position has completely taken over the political scene.”

        • Matty

          But unlike gun control, it can completely suck the oxygen out of any room of lefties. It’s a magical attractor. No matter what the topic, it can be related back to Israel-Palestine. There’s a whole universe of anti-imperialism work that could be done but gets either ignored or subsumed to I-P.

    • Lost Left Coaster

      I agree but it isn’t a very good argument for why Gillibrand is a particularly bad candidate. After all, Bernie Sanders is pretty conservative on Israel too, and not many people held it against him.

  • daves09

    And Kamala Harris said fuck in public, thereby cheapening the political discourse and therefore totally beyond the pale.
    Seriously-Jacobin, sticking it to the man without ever knowing who the man is.
    Something left and right really have in common-being deeply(derply?) concerned with the essential unfitness of de ladies to be president.

    • farin

      Somehow The Man is never a man.

  • wjts
  • ochospantalones

    The shot at Cory Booker is also an example of what happens when you view Wall Street regulation as the only component of political ideology. Cory Booker has been very strong on opposition to the Muslim ban, and actually testified against Jeff Sessions’ nomination for Attorney General. Which is unpresidented unprecedented for a sitting Senator. It’s not really mysterious why the Trump Administration would perceive him as a liberal opponent.

    • Phil Perspective

      Because someone there knows how to play a bit of chess? Booker, along with DeVos(yes. the now Education Secretary) used to sit on the board of a pro-privatization schools organization board. It’s not just Wall Street where Booker is bad, but nice straw man.

      • MyNameIsZweig

        So – just to clarify – once a politician does something that is not Phil-approved, he or she is tainted forever and should be judged by that one thing, as opposed to the entirety of their record in office?

        Not that I’m a big fan of Booker, but jeez, man.

      • Mayur

        Purity trolling will be the death of the republic.

        • Jay B

          The mindset has definitely helped get us to where we are today. On the edge of oblivion.

        • ColBatGuano

          Phil is sure that if Michael Dukakis had taken more lefty positions he definitely would have won the 1988 election in a landslide.

  • Mike in DC

    There’s going to be similar hit pieces on every potential rival to Sanders for the hearts and minds of the left wing of the party.

    • Morse Code for J

      Let them come. The comments are as good a place as any to teach Coalition Politics 101 to 18-30yo progressives.

      • tsam

        How do you teach someone who already knows everything?

        • Origami Isopod

          Yeah, this. AFAIK, not a single one of them has ever been convinced by LGM commenters. The ones who actually want to learn are going to be clear about it.

          • Spider-Dan

            I can tell you that as a fresh-faced 22-year-old, I eagerly consumed every bit of post-2000 “A vote for Nader is a vote for Bush” explanation I could get my hands on. 2000 was my first Presidential vote and it was a harsh lesson; I chose to vote for Gore over Nader at the last moment, but not for the very good EV reasons that were never explained by the media.

            Don’t let the loud idiots dissuade you. The #1 rule of internet debate is that the discussion never (and I do mean NEVER) takes place for the benefit of the people participating in it.

    • Captain Oblivious

      I’m going to confidently predict that a lot of these guys (they’re almost all guys) will latch onto Zuck if he decides to run. Not that anything about Zuck suggests he’s a True Leftist (TM) but he does have a penis, last we heard.

      • Q.E.Dumbass

        I’d put my money on them carrying Cuomo’s weed, personally.

        • ForkyMcSpoon

          If Bernie doesn’t run, the fact that Cuomo did an event with Bernie will mean he kissed the ring, thus making him a True Leftist.

      • Origami Isopod

        Facebook got its start judging the “hotness” of Zuck’s female classmates, so I’m sure the pink anarchist bunnies will fall all over themselves to declare him a soulmate.

    • efgoldman

      There’s going to be similar hit pieces on every potential rival to Sanders

      Wilmer’s not running again. Besides the fact that he’s too old, and would turn into Harold Stassen, he can’t stand the exposure now that it’s become public that mrs wilmer is under investigation for possible financial shenanigans.

  • MacK

    It’s a long article, but I think this writer tries to make the same point as you juts did with respect to Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters:

    http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/june2017/2017/04/jeremy-corbyn-has-attracted-socialism-fans-not-labour-voters

    • Phil Perspective

      Does the writer address the fact that the British media hates Corbyn?

      • Lost Left Coaster

        If only there were some way to find out…if only some sort of “link” to the information under discussion had been provided.

      • aab84

        Voters hate Corbyn. He’s polling behind May on every issue, including the NHS. Some polls have shown a majority of Labour voters think May would be a better PM than Corbyn.

        Meanwhile, his campaign just banned Buzzfeed for accurately reporting his answer to a question. At some point, media bias stops being a sufficient explanation for all his problems.

      • JMP

        Who doesn’t? Corbyn is awful and is busy doing everything he can to destroy the left in Britain.

      • Matty

        So? Either learn to work the refs, or develop your own alternate channels. It’s the same fucking problem the left/liberal chunk of the spectrum has in America. Corbyn appears to have taken option 2, but done it poorly.

        • CP

          It’s the same fucking problem the left/liberal chunk of the spectrum has in America.

          I do love the fact that “biased media coverage” is considered an unacceptable act of buck-passing when it comes to Hillary Clinton, but apparently not Jeremy Corbyn.

          • MyNameIsZweig

            I wonder what could possibly be the difference between the two.

            • MacK

              That Clinton at least tried not to make things worse.

        • msdc

          Developing alternate communications channels may be at the heart of Corbyn’s political problem (and Labour’s Corbyn problem).

          Epistemic closure: not just for conservatives anymore!

          • Matty

            That was fascinating, thanks, as was the linked piece about Corbyn supporters picketing the New Statesman (!).

            That second piece had a comment under it claiming that things were fine, and labor had the broadest membership of any party in Europe. Which, of course, invited the question of why they’re polling so badly then.

      • sibusisodan

        The fact that Corbyn’s media spokesperson is on leave from the Guardian* and yet has been unable to gain any kind of toehold in terms of favourable media from them indicates strongly that there isn’t any to be had.

        Arranging favourable media coverage from the paper you technically work at should not be any kind of challenge.

        Can’t see how that’s the media’s fault.

        *Private Eye reports that this has caused all kinds of frictions at the Guardian, since reporters aren’t sure if Milne will return/is technically still there/whatever.

        • N__B

          since reporters aren’t sure if Milne will return/is technically still there/whatever

          Maybe he’s stuck in a rabbit’s burrow door.

          • sibusisodan

            Next to the sign saying SANDERS?

            Connect the dots, people!

            • Matty

              How deep does the rabbit hole go?!

          • Origami Isopod

            Corbyn’s the one stuck in Rabbit’s picture frame with his arse hanging out of it.

          • farin

            Maybe he’s stuck in a rabbit’s pink anarchist bunny’s burrow door.

        • MacK

          Jebus – you are talking about Seumas Milne – I don’t know anyone who does not think he’s a complete arsehole – a pseudo-marxist intellectual wanker of the first order. He’s a large part of Corbyn’s problem.

          • Redwood Rhiadra

            From what I understand, “pseudo-marxist intellectual wanker of the first order” also describes Corbyn’s entire career – except for “pseudo”, as Corbyn is an actual Marxist.

            So you can’t really blame Milne, Corbyn comes by it naturally.

        • MacK

          Seumas in fact quit permanently in January, which means he cannot go back. The political journalists at the Guardian are supposed to have had a rollicking party when they heard the news.

      • MacK

        Yes – and points out that that is the sea in which politicians swim … and that Labour has won elections despite the media. He also addressed the “why don’t you fuck off and join the Tory” party line of many of Corbyn’s supporters – and the reality that it seems that a lot of Labourites have indeed taken that advice.

        Corbyn by the way announced he is not stepping down even if Labour loses establishing the reality that he, McDonnell and Seems Milne have always been entryists.

        • ForkyMcSpoon

          If the Labour Party is decimated and Corbyn still refuses to step down, maybe “fucking off and joining” the Liberal Democrats would be a productive avenue for the non-Corbynista left in the UK?

          Lib Dem entryism for the center-left, I guess. Just spitballing…

    • Murc

      I confess that article was somewhat off-putting to me.

      I mean… even if you grant the point that “Corbynism” involves entryists seeking to re-make the Labour Party in their own image, my response to that is “Yes? And?”

      Because isn’t that what many of us are constantly yelling at and berating the hard left to do? To join one of the already-existing political coalitions and seek to gain power within it so as to achieve their goals? I mean, that’s the line Blair and Brown and even Milliband were always taking when criticized from the left: “if you don’t like us, assemble the votes to put in someone to your own liking.”

      Well. That happened.

      I’m not a big fan of how Corbyn has been playing this, but if the people who don’t like him want to topple him, the way to do that is to assemble the votes. Find someone who either has different politics, or has the same politics but is like 100% more competent. You might not win, but that’s your path to taking down Corbyn.

      • sibusisodan

        even if you grant the point that “Corbynism” involves entryists seeking to re-make the Labour Party in their own image, my response to that is “Yes? And?”

        Like Corbyn and the EU, I’m with you 70% on this. But the other 30% is rather important.

        There is a difference between changing the focus of a party and changing its function. Changing the focus, by advocating for a different set of policies, is just politics.

        Changing its function is rather different. There’s a big thread in Corbynism that is at best indifferent to parliament, or to the exercise of power therein.

        Given that Labour is expressly a parliamentary party, this is a largish problem.

        Obviously it is one for the members to solve, but I don’t think it’s accurate enough to describe it as a mere policy difference.

        • Murc

          All extremely fine points.

          Obviously it is one for the members to solve, but I don’t think it’s accurate enough to describe it as a mere policy difference.

          It’s certainly not a “mere” policy difference; Labour right at the moment seems deeply riven by fairly large and consequential policy and political differences, such that it cannot function as an effective opposition party.

          My quite-possibly-very-wrong view on British politics is this; the right is fairly united with its various factions willing to support both postwar-consensus Toryism or UKIP/BNP racist nationalism, whichever one is ascendant; neither of those policy standpoints are enough to get people to bail in large enough numbers to prevent them from periodically forming a viable governing coalition, although there will certainly be grumbling.

          The left is both not as united and not as numerous. It doesn’t appear to be able to win elections without the centrist vote, which is happy to vote Tory if they decide Labour has moved too far left, but there are enough leftists to actually make things very, very difficult for Labour because they’re not comfortable with Labour basically governing forever much further to the right than they’d prefer.

          And this is all complicated, at least for the next couple years, by Scotland, which is way, way more left than the rest of the UK and has a political party willing to run candidates on that leftist platform and to govern that way… which is also an explicitly independence party that is political poison for Labour within England.

          There honestly might not be a way to square that circle. If the choice is “maybe winning with Blairism 2.0 or losing forever” then obviously you choose Blairism 2.0, but at the same time I find it hard not to respect people who are all “no, that’s just not good enough; the policy positions this allows are not sufficient and we’re going to fight to make the party adopt better ones.”

          Or at least, that’s my view from across the Atlantic.

          • sibusisodan

            Hmmm. I think the unity of the right and the faults of the left are both exaggerated, but it is what it is right now.

            If 2015 had been slightly different, we could have had Milliband leading the country, and happy Labour party and a Tory party which would be facing the deepest schism about Europe of my adult life, battling with UKIP.

            Brexit will by no means quell division within the Tories, it will just move the fault lines around some. May is doing a game job of party management right now, but it won’t last.

            On Labour, I have no idea what the future holds!

            On Scotland: the idea that it is significantly more left than the rest of UK is not very firm. The Tories still receive a plurality of the vote. There were Scottish Tories in the Cabinet in recent memory, there will be again.

            On Labour policy: yes, respect to the policy visionaries. It’s when they want to shortcut the process of actually persuading people that I get nervous.

            • MacK

              You mean the other Miliband brother – the one who’d have spotted the Ed-Stone – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EdStone – for being the risible stunt that it turned out to be….

            • Murc

              On Scotland: the idea that it is significantly more left than the rest of UK is not very firm. The Tories still receive a plurality of the vote.

              Wait… what?

              If… if the Tories were still receiving a plurality of the vote in Scotland, wouldn’t they hold a shit-ton of seats up there?

              I mean. Doesn’t the SNP have the power it does because it gets a plurality of the vote? If you’re get a plurality in a FPTP system, you usually win… yes? I struggle to see how the Tories could be getting more votes than any other party and yet be as thoroughly wiped out in Scotland as they are.

              • sibusisodan

                Eep. I didn’t mean plurality, sorry. You’re absolutely right about Westminster elections.

                But for the Scottish parliament, done via AMS, the Tories are currently the opposition leaders.

                I meant the Tories receive a solid minority of the vote, at least 20%, possibly trending to 30%.

                Scotland is currently delivering leftist politicians. But the gap between the general populations as a whole is not terribly discernable (Scotland are as pro EU as most big English cities, I don’t thing there was a discernable difference on gay marriage or STV referendum).

                • Murc

                  Eep. I didn’t mean plurality, sorry. You’re absolutely right about Westminster elections.

                  You are very well versed in the intricacies of UK procedural politics, so I was worried for a second that I fundamentally misunderstood just about everything about how Scotland voted.

                • sibusisodan

                  Goodness no, sheer failure to use words on my part!

                  The SNP have done amazingly. They genuinely seem to be doing a good job in both Westminster and Hollyrood.

                  I’m just cautious about reading that success into an intrinsic set of preferences about the Scottish electorate.

          • LeeEsq

            That’s my reading of the situation to but it seems to go back even further than you suggest. Labour never really seemed to recover from getting defeated by the Tories for eighteen years between 1979 and 1997. It just created two factions, one that still believes in socialism and another that believes most of the British electorate no longer wants Clause IV socialism and its time to move on to something else.

        • Yes, this. I’ve found the entire Corbyn situation utterly fascinating, partly because a large component of my UK twitter feed has been driven completely batty by him, both for and against (the for people are definitely more batty, but not by that much).

          But mainly, it’s because no matter how much I read about the man and his actions, I can’t figure out what the hell he’s trying to do. What is his plan? What is his goal? As near as I can tell, he wants a socialist government. Well, great, I want that too. But does he have any plan to achieve that? Does he have any plan for the interim, for functioning in a government, or as minority party, or in opposition? Does he have any plan on how to achieve any of these outcomes? I mean, fuck, he doesn’t appear to have a firm stance on Brexit, which is only the most crucial issue facing the UK in my lifetime and quite possibly his.

          Right now, it really feels as if the only thing Corbyn wants to do is stand to the side embodying the left and talking about what he’d do if he had absolute power. Which is such a completely bonkers thing for a major party leader to do that I keep thinking I must have got it wrong. And yet I can’t find any evidence to the contrary.

          • sibusisodan

            Today, Corbyn dodged the question on whether he would reverse Brexit at least six times. Thereby pissing off both the Brexit vote and the non Brexit vote.

            He’s not good at the politics part of politics.

            I occasionally muse that he’d make a good bishop. He’s got that earnest wishywashyness about him.

            As far as plan, I can’t see one. He’s not that interested in parliament as a source or centre of power. He’s visiting seats Labour don’t have a chance of winning, and he completely fluffed the ‘will you stand down if you lose?’ question.

          • MacK

            The theory of the entry-ists was always that because they could never create a mass party of their own (given their factionalism amongst other things between flavours of Marxists, Marxist-Leninist (which actually means Stalinists), Trots, Maoists, Anarcho-whatever) – that what they needed to do was take over an established left-of-center party, like the Labour Party, coopt its apparatus and its supporters and voila, revolution…..the public would be instantly enlightened – they win the next election, people’s paradise.

            What happened the first time they tried it is that they kept Margaret Thatcher and John Major in office for an extra 15 years, split the party – and things only recovered when their organisation, Militant, was ejected. But their baaaack…….

            • Yeah, this is definitely chiming with some of what I’m seeing from the Corbyn supporters on my feed. It’s like the underpants gnome theory of politics:

              Step 1: Get Corbyn elected Labour leader
              Step 2: ????
              Step 3: Socialist utopia!

            • ColBatGuano

              I wonder how they think the factionalism will be solved by taking over a left-of-center party? All those folks will just stop jockeying for power once they have the means to enact their agenda? Yeah, that's how politics works.

          • BloodyGranuaile

            Sounds like Corbyn is basically what would happen if Jacobin writers ever wound up in office, then.

          • Redwood Rhiadra

            I mean, fuck, he doesn’t appear to have a firm stance on Brexit, which is only the most crucial issue facing the UK in my lifetime and quite possibly his.

            He doesn’t *talk* about it, because most Labour voters are pro-Remain, but his *actions* – including making voting for immediate Brexit a three-line whip – speak very loudly indeed.

      • econoclast

        Someone has assembled the votes. They’re called the Tories.

  • daves09

    Most disturbing to me, because evidence of intellectual dishonesty both in the writer and the editors who passed it-the constant use of weasel words-suggests; possibly; seems, etc. Not just a weasel but a chicken shit weasel.

  • catbirdman

    Every purity troll I know has a big “but.” C’mon Jacobin, let’s talk about your big “but.”

    • Q.E.Dumbass

      and I cannot lie

      [dat cosmopygia]

      • Origami Isopod

        cosmopygia

        I can’t help but interpret this to mean “The asshole of the world.” Even though that’d be more like cosmoproctia.

        • Q.E.Dumbass

          It’s a reference to the “Baby Got Back” video, where Cosmopygian is the counterpart magazine to Cosmopolitan; it’s basically Greek for “dat ass.”

    • N__B

      That could be a new motto for the pragmatic left: “No but stuff.”

      • tsam

        HAHA!

        Today’s winner

    • SatanicPanic

      With these people it’s like we’re unraveling a big cable knit sweater that someone keeps knitting and knitting and knitting and knitting

      • MyNameIsZweig

        Do you have something you’d like to share with the rest of the group, Amazing Larry?

      • Colin Day

        Hey, Madame Defarge worked hard on that sweater.

  • LF

    The logic is fascinating. She has ties to Al D’Amato who is “best known for holding the Clintons in the 1990s with his Whitewater investigations.” She also has ties to Hillary Clinton who was the victim of that witch hunt.

    Therefore: neoliberal perfidy!!

    • nemdam

      She’s obviously calculating and untrustworthy as this is an example of her playing both sides. Really, really unlikable. And what’s with that shrill voice?

    • Origami Isopod

      She has ties to Al D’Amato who is “best known for holding the Clintons in the 1990s with his Whitewater investigations.” She also has ties to Hillary Clinton who was the victim of that witch hunt.

      Maybe she has ties to Bill Clinton’s Dead Friends, too. She probably held Vince Foster still while Hillary took aim.

  • eclare

    Is this the opening gambit in a campaign that will ultimately end with “of course I’d vote for a woman candidate, but there’s just something about Gillibrand that I don’t trust?” Only time will tell.

    • msdc

      Gillibrand/Harris/Warren/any other woman who actually runs.

      Don’t worry, so long as least one female Democratic senator or governor declines to run, there will always be at least one woman they could support!

    • nemdam

      Wait, are you telling me that their “But Hillary” with regards to voting for a woman wasn’t true? My world has been turned upside down.

  • Captain Oblivious

    Marcetic’s piece is classic Bernie Bro misogyny — cloaking his fear and distrust of strong, smart, successful women in precious leftier-than-thou-ism and chin-stroking concern-trolling backed by nothing more than a risible list of guilt-by-association ad hominem (see also Clinton Foundation).

    We’ll be seeing a lot more of this the next three years.

  • PotemkinMetropolitanRegion

    Woman Democratic senator since 2009: the “elite face of ‘the resistance’ (end sarcasm marks)”

    Male independent senator since 2007: a pure angel of the common man, like driven snow, despite holding the same rank for longer

    • tsam

      “elite”

      Yer eh… signalling is showing, bruh. Might wanna get that fixed.

  • tsam

    who has consciously positioned herself as an elite face of “the Resistance” in the wake of Trump’s election

    Let’s play WHICH WORD IS THE UNNECESSARY CODE WORD FOR BAGS OF DOUCHE?!!

    Seriously, man. Just fucking stop. I’m over it, which means you need to be over it.

    • Justin Runia

      Chris Hedges really needs to answer for unleashing this weasely epithet into progressive discourse.

      • tsam

        Yes, and people need to stop bending themselves into knots trying to define, redefine, condemn or exonerate based on the word. It’s a piece of shit term in the context of politics and has become nothing more than signalling to bucketheaded leftists.

      • Origami Isopod

        Chris Hedges needs to answer for a lot of shit IMO.

  • rm

    Who wants political leaders who disdain politics, who aren’t responsive to their constituents?

    The Green Lantern Corps!

    In brightest day, in blackest night
    No evil shall escape my sight!

    That sounds pretty hardcore, pure, above all the politics and compromise bullshit.

  • Ramon A. Clef

    I hope someone is also doing an investigation into her voting record in junior high student council elections

    Ugh. She probably voted for Tracy Flick.

  • Murc

    I’m gonna be honest: I was careful to fact-check most of it, because Jacobin, but there was some shit in there from her time in the House that make me like Gillibrand much less.

    I still basically like her but there’s some ugly shit in her record and I’m not very sympathetic to “it was a conservative district.”

    The big question is… okay. You don’t like Gillibrand because you think she’s vulnerable to pressure in ways you don’t care for and/or because you think her positions are insincerely held and thus, will be abandoned if it proves convenient for her to do so or difficult for her enact desirable policy. Fine. I can accept that as well.

    But if you don’t like Gillibrand for 2020, who DO you like?

    Warren? Okay, sure. I’d vote Warren over Gillibrand but Warren seems uninterested.

    Sanders? Sanders age and health will be legitimate issues and I personally am not comfortable putting someone in office who will be 83 when running for re-election and 87 when (if) his second term ends. Some people can keep it together that long; George Herbert Walker Bush is 92 and still seems to be an entirely competent and even energetic (for his age) individual. So is the Queen. But man, hell of a dice roll. And I honestly don’t think he’s running again.

    Booker? HAHAHAHA. Man, if you don’t like Gillibrand you must hate Booker.

    Cuomo? See previous but with, like, much more laughing.

    Brown? I’d support Brown over Gillibrand as well, I think, but man, trading in that Senate seat would hurt.

    Ellison? Now THAT would be interesting but I don’t think he’s positioning for a run.

    I’ve no objection to hit pieces on Gillibrand per se, but if she’s unacceptable as a standard-bearer you gotta propose alternatives.

    • kped

      George HW Bush has been in and out of the hospital for the past few years, near death a few times if news reports were to be believed.

      And for sure, you can be critical of anyone, but to hold someones early record above their current record is total purity trolling.

    • tsam

      I’ve no objection to hit pieces on Gillibrand per se,

      I’d have far less of an objection if they weren’t the same useless concern trolling and digging a thing out of the target’s past to bash them with, which is signalling to the audience that this person is not good enough.

      There’s no issue with trying to move the party to the left, but bashing Democrats without (as you say) proposing SANE alternatives is pure useless wankery. It’s also something of a tantrum that has no effect other than factionalizing the left even further, which is a stupid idea.

      If these Jacobites want to do something useful (which I think it’s clear they really don’t), they could make the case for a leftward shift to the voters. The politicians will respond to the voters. We all like to think that doesn’t happen, because we all buy into the bullshit narrative that politicians don’t care what the voters want, but it absolutely does.

      • Right. And this article unintentionally appears to prove that point, since it acknowledges Gillibrand’s shifts in policies with respect to districts versus Senate and so on. It’s as though the author doesn’t understand the representative part of representative democracy.

        • tsam

          Right, and above all else, there’s this:

          Coalition
          [koh-uh-lish-uh n]
          noun
          1. a combination or alliance, especially a temporary one between persons, factions, states, etc.
          2. a union into one body or mass; fusion.

        • Hogan

          It’s not enough to move the party to the left in the future–we must also move it to the left in the past!

          • so-in-so

            But Obama won’t loan out the time machine!

            • I don’t understand why he won’t use the time machine to go back and fire Comey before he threw the election. Must be one of those fixed points in time the Doctor is always telling us about.

    • Jay B

      Nothing says youth and progress for Democrats like an 87 year old socialist.

      Gillibrand has a record that has moved left for almost 10 years. Literally, only lefties who want to lose care — the Right has LONG since stopped caring about how their assholes USED to vote (for example, Gingrich used to be a conservationist with a fairly green voting record!), but care deeply about how they say they’ll vote now. Seems like a fair standard that a gigantic number of lefties will never, ever, ever accept.

      Now worry about some votes in Kamala Harris’ past! She’s been a stalwart for progressive issues for the better part of a decade, I’m sure we can make her into a compromised “politician” in no time!

    • Mayur

      Agreed. Murc: Her fucking House record doesn’t mean much, and refusing to address the fact that she represented a conservative district is less than what I would expect from you. Or do we want to talk about St Bernie’s record on guns or his Gitmo votes?

      And seriously: Warren over Gillibrand? Warren is old, turns off a lot of voters we need, and has a strong brand in the Senate that needs maintaining. We can afford to move KG out of the Senate; we can’t really afford to lose Warren.

      As for Bernie: Fuck him. I gave him money, I supported him, right up until that Daily News interview where it was clear that he was 70% interested in scoring points and 30% interested in decent policy.

      • Murc

        Her fucking House record doesn’t mean much, and refusing to address the fact that she represented a conservative district is less than what I would expect from you.

        Jon Bel Edwards represents a conservative state, but I would still hold his conservative record against him if he tried to run for president, despite the fact that said record was almost certainly necessary to get elected.

        I don’t see any reason to hold Gillibrand to a different standard, and “they changed when circumstances changed” only holds so much weight with me; there are many positions where I do not want a politician to change when circumstances change.

        Or do we want to talk about St Bernie’s record on guns or his Gitmo votes?

        His record on guns is terrible and I absolutely hold that against him. I also acknowledge that it was probably necessary to get elected where he got elected. Those two things aren’t mutually exclusive.

        I was unaware he had a poor record on Gitmo, which I would also absolutely hold against him and would lower my opinion of him.

        • MyNameIsZweig

          Jon Bel Edwards represents a conservative state, but I would still hold his conservative record against him if he tried to run for president, despite the fact that said record was almost certainly necessary to get elected.

          I think you’re eliding a key difference between Gillibrand and Edwards, which is that the former has been actively moving to the left for years while the latter has not. I wouldn’t vote for Edwards based on his record either, but then again, if ten years from now we looked at him and said, yeah, he started off conservative but has been gradually improving for a decade now, it’d be a different story.

      • Origami Isopod

        And seriously: Warren over Gillibrand? Warren is old, turns off a lot of voters we need, and has a strong brand in the Senate that needs maintaining.

        Yes, but Warren said mean things about Obama, who is the most neoliberal sellout to ever sell out neoliberally, and that gives pink anarchist bunnies the leg tingles.

        • Rob in CT

          What’s funny about that to me is that her criticism of O really wasn’t harsh.

          • Brien Jackson

            IF there’s one thing I can say for the Jacobites, it’s that the “any criticism of Obama’s seaking engagement is racist” argument may well be dumber than anything they’ve ever said.

            • JonH

              Jacobins, not Jacobites. Totally different things.

              Jacobites wanted to restore the Catholic Stuart line to the English throne.

              Jacobins were the radical extremists who led France to the guillotine and Reign of Terror.

              Presumably if Jacobin writers had control of government they’d have Gillibrand’s head chopped off, rather than just publishing antagonistic propaganda about her.

      • TopsyJane

        Warren is old, turns off a lot of voters we need, and has a strong brand in the Senate that needs maintaining. We can afford to move KG out of the Senate; we can’t really afford to lose Warren.

        Both ladies might disagree with you there. Gillibrand has issued some fairly strong statements in support of Cuomo and disavowing any interest in running in 2020. You never know, of course, but she has sounded pretty firm. She probably also thinks she’s more valuable in the Senate than you do.

        Warren, on the other hand, has shown some interest and hasn’t ruled out anything. If she really does make a run, she’s not going to back off in favor of Gillibrand as she did for HRC.

        • Rob in CT

          And if those things come to pass (KG not running, EW running), I’ll happily line up behind Warren. I’ll worry about her appeal to a nationwide electorate, but past experience indicates I don’t know shit and we should always worry.

        • Mayur

          Gillibrand has issued some fairly strong statements in support of Cuomo and disavowing any interest in running in 2020.

          Just curious: What are the “statements in support of Cuomo”? I haven’t seen anything about that.

          Regarding Gillibrand’s statement about focusing on Senate 2018 and refusing to consider Prez 2020: her words were less committed than those of a certain Sen. Barack Obama in 2004 when stating he wouldn’t run:

          “You know, I am a believer in knowing what you’re doing when you apply for a job. And I think that if I were to seriously consider running on a national ticket, I would essentially have to start now, before having served a day in the Senate. Now, there are some people who might be comfortable doing that, but I’m not one of those people.”

          About Warren we agree. That said, I still don’t want her to run.

        • brad

          Gillibrand is running. I’ll admit no knowledge of these noises you claim she made, but the idea that she’d step aside for Cuomo is… a laugh I needed.

        • Malaclypse

          If any MA pol should get the nom, it should be Maura Healey, followed by Joe Curtatone, and only then Warren.

      • Warren… turns off a lot of voters we need

        Who? How?

        • tsam

          Lemme guess. WWC?

        • msdc

          She underperformed Obama by about 16 points in deep-blue Massachusetts. Granted, some of that could be explained by his incumbency vs. her challenging the incumbent, but it also suggests real dangers for a national campaign.

    • nemdam

      As long as Warren criticizes Obama and the Democratic party, she has no business being its standard bearer. If this is her MO, I will vote for any other Dem.

      • Murc

        As long as Warren criticizes Obama and the Democratic party, she has no business being its standard bearer. If this is her MO, I will vote for any other Dem.

        Wow. It’s true what they say, tribalism really is a hell of a drug. Cuomo over Warren regardless of substance, so long as Cuomo doesn’t criticize the tribe!

        • jim, some guy in iowa

          in a primary that’s an entirely defensible position to take

          • sibusisodan

            Is it possible to prelitigate the 2020 primary?

            • jim, some guy in iowa

              ooo… myself, I’d prefer to wait for people to announce their candidacies… but you know some folks do like to get their Christmas shopping done early

          • Murc

            in a primary that’s an entirely defensible position to take

            It is not. “I don’t like their ideology or policy” is defensible. “I don’t think they’re electable” is defensible. “They criticized other members of the tribe” is not, at least, not by itself and without qualification.

            It’s also very hard to have a primary without criticizing other members of the same party. How would that work? “I have nothing bad whatsoever to claim about my worthy rivals and no area in which I think I am superior to them, but you should vote for me anyway?”

            I both expect and demand the Democratic Party to engage in self-reflection and self-criticism, and others should expect this as well. I don’t want it to be unacceptable to, say, criticize Schumer’s attempts to torpedo the Iran deal. (To pick an issue at random.)

            • nemdam

              There’s a difference between criticizing other candidates, positions, and ideologies and criticizing the party and its legacy. If you regularly do the latter, that is a deal breaker because it will ensure defeat. If your goal in a primary is to tear the party apart and rebuild it in your image and not try to win the election so you can implement your agenda, then you have missed the point of running for office.

              Yes, I would pick Cuomo over Warren if Warren is serious about her attacks on the Democratic party. And please note that I haven’t already written off Warren. This is only if she continues to do this.

            • jim, some guy in iowa

              that’s all true and fair. On the other hand, a lot of criticisms can be untrue, unfair, and damaging to the party’s prospects in a general election. If nemdam or anyone else sees a candidate’s criticisms in that light then I think yeah, they’re entitled to say, “No, I want someone who understands a bit about the big picture”

            • TopsyJane

              It is not. “I don’t like their ideology or policy” is defensible. “I don’t think they’re electable” is defensible. “They criticized other members of the tribe” is not, at least, not by itself and without qualification.

              Absolutely. Sanders’ criticism of Obama was unwise politically (it gave Clinton an opening upon which she capitalized shrewdly by emphasizing her loyalty to her old boss, while Sanders failed to highlight those areas in which Obama and he were in agreement) but he had every right to say where he disagreed with the president and his rival HRC politically. (“Unqualified” on the other hand? Not so much.)

              • nemdam

                Sanders didn’t merely criticize Obama. That would be uneventful. I’m sure Hillary criticized Obama at some point in the campaign. If she did, I can’t remember since it isn’t memorable.

                No, Sanders called to primary Obama in 2012. And he insinuated that he is bought by his donors. That’s different than criticizing his Wall Street policy, his decision to not prosecute bankers, Obamacare, etc. That’s a direct attack on his, and by extension, the party’s legacy. Not only is that deeply insulting to regular Democrats, more importantly, that’s a road straight to defeat. To win elections, you have to have near unified support of your base. Attacking the party ensures that doesn’t happen.

          • tsam

            I think the “any other Dem” is taking it way too far. Jim fucking Webb ran as a Democrat. If you pick him over Warren because of her criticism of Obama…well you gotchyerself some problems.

      • Warren can criticize Obama all she wants, as far as I’m concerned. What is she saying about the Democratic Party?

    • jeer9

      Booker is the favorite.

      Gillibrand a close second.

      (Think Obama vs. Clinton in ’08.)

      My preferred choice is Warren, though I suspect she won’t run.

    • sibusisodan

      So is the Queen. But man, hell of a dice roll.

      Choosing to misinterpret this has provided the highlight of my day.

    • Bruce B.

      Another way of looking at her record is that she started off with thoroughly mixed impulses and has been getting better and better over time at acting on the good ones, learning as she goes.

  • NewishLawyer

    As I’ve mentioned a billion times before, some of the most privileged and wealthiest people I know are also some of the most radical. We are talking people who said that they could not stand the Clinton’s for welfare reform/DOMA and find Obama to centrist.

    I’m off two minds of this. On the one hand, being a guilty liberal is much better than being a “I was born on third and thought I hit a triple” kind of person. On the other hand, I can’t shake my feeling that a lot of these people have the privilege to play strident radical because of their inherited wealth and they don’t quite get incramentalism as necessary and more safe for the majority.

    I grew up very comfortably upper-middle class and survived the law school crisis a lot better than most through connections and luck. But there were still years where I only had health insurance because of Obamacare. So I have a hard time dealing with people who went to the best private schools for their entire lives and can afford expensive housing while being in highly desirable but low-paying careers or seemingly not working at all. The more strident they are, the harder time I have being around them.

    • As an upper-middle-class radical (at least in terms of background), I’d say my radicalism stems less from having been born into a fairly well-off family and more from having experienced varying degrees of marginalisation (most notably being on the autism spectrum) and finding the existing system’s response to those to be woefully inadequate. However, at the same time, I’m enough of a pragmatist to sneer at those who reject coalition politics. It’s just how politics in this country work. Jacobin reads as almost a parody of itself lately.

    • eclare

      I get annoyed at radical folks who, for example, demand that we tear down the entire private insurance industry without recognizing that it would mean hundreds of thousands of jobs lost. I’m all for incrementalism not because it’s politically feasible, but because massive shocks to the economy tend to be pretty bad for working folk. It’s the height of privilege to be able to ignore the immediate carnage of a revolution if it is not meticulously planned and implemented with care.

  • Alex.S

    To be honest, it’s more along the lines of a Bernie Sanders Cargo Cult.

    The goal is to recreate the Sanders candidacy, but without Sanders. To get there requires painting everyone in the Democratic party as a neoliberal sellout, and then running the pure outsider.

    They don’t care about Sanders’ goals or what he supports. He’s useful as a purity icon, but only if they get to ignore everything he says and does.

    • veleda_k

      Seriously. They support an imaginary Sanders who only exists in their heads. By sheer coincidence, imaginary Sanders agrees with them on everything.

    • cleek

      the goal is attention, clicks, ad bucks.

      the extended Sanders campaign got a lot of attention because of the way it attacked Clinton while the specter of DONALD FUCKING TRUMP loomed in the background. for six months, my FB feed was full of leftier-than-thou agitprop.

      now, as then, these clowns don’t care about the political outcome. they just want the pageviews.

  • kped

    Alt-Left yesterday (literally): “OMG, Democrats are the worst, we want single payer and THEY.JUST.DON’T.LISTEN”

    Alt-left today (literally…again): “OMG, Democrats are the worst, we want single payer and they move toward our position! Where is your backbone?”

    Seriously, you need to be a 4th generation socialist to be approved by the fucking clowns. I know of one…

    • cleek

      it was the same thing during the last election.

      Clinton adopted Sanders’ positions and it wasn’t good, it was the worst thing evah.

      they don’t want to take Yes for an answer. they don’t want any answer. they aren’t even asking questions. it’s just performance.

      • Brien Jackson

        I don’t think this is true. Rather, to them, “moving the party to the left” doesn’t mean getting existing party members/leaders to agree with them and support more of their positions, it means PUTTING THEM IN CHARGE OF EVERY MEANINGFUL DECISION AND SHOWING TOTAL FEALTY TO THEIR EVERY DEMAND. Anything short of that doesn’t count.

  • mojrim

    Can we all just stop reading Jacobin already? Ideological purity zines all come to resemble parody.

    • Q.E.Dumbass

      At least at this point it hasn’t reached Counterpunch/globalresearch.ca levels of “you’re objectively a fucking idiot for even taking this seriously” awfulness, so it’s worth periodically calling it out.

      • veleda_k

        I still recall the time an ex-girlfriend linked to a Counterpunch piece actually arguing that the end of Western civilization would be a good thing, because we all deserve to die. That was when I unfollowed her on Facebook.

  • JB2

    This is why we can’t have nice things

  • DEJL

    For hipsters, in politics, as in music, movies, and literature, being “serious” usually equates to rejecting stuff that girls like.

    • Origami Isopod

      On the nose.

    • so-in-so

      For hipsters, in politics, as in music, movies, and literature, being “serious” usually equates to rejecting stuff that girls like.

      Huh, I thought being “serious” as a hipster meant rejecting anything anybody else liked! I guess that’s why I failed at being hip.

    • FlipYrWhig

      Perfection! <3

  • njorl

    Sometimes I think that if things like Jacobin didn’t exist, conservatives would create them.
    Other times I think they did.

  • Jay B

    These assholes talk about the grassroots and then do precisely shit to plant any seeds. Bernie, for what it’s worth, WAS a grassroots effort — from the start of his political career, he’s a grassroots guy — but the vast bulk of the lifting was done by lefty Democrats, institutional sorts who are involved with DNC (gasp) politics, but who want to change the beast from within. He’s crotchety and annoying, but that’s what a grassroots movement on the left looks like — and it got 36% of the primary vote against Clinton.

    Of course, what goes unnoticed and unspoken is that there was a DIFFERENT kind of grassroots push for Clinton too. Yes, she had the institutional support and tons of money, but the REAL LEFT doesn’t recognize that the real base of the Democratic party is minorities and women, which can also be grassroots.

    To sum up, the Stein/Nader left has done exactly nothing but install Republicans into power by not understanding politics, not engaging in retail politics, parroting right wing lies and ignoring the idea that the grassroots require more than a quadrennial pageant of some crackpot figurehead in order to get anything accomplished. Fuck them.

    • Concurred, though I will clarify that the “Stein/Nader left” shouldn’t be allowed to claim the mantle of left for themselves. I’m sure you weren’t intending to do that, but it annoys me that they’ve been able to fool so many people into thinking they’re representative of the left as a whole.

      • Jay B

        Nah, I didn’t mean it that way, but they are definitely a subset of the Left, which some new BernieBros Venn Diagram overlap, they have the same basic rhetoric, although, to be fair, the Bros do understand the need for a grassroots effort. However, they both lack even the basic drive to actually form one. Where are the Bros’ candidates? They should be out there already. ’18 is starting now. Assholes.

  • nemdam

    This is also why Bernie Sanders should be a peripheral player at best in the Democratic party. His cult is the only unique thing he brings to the table. You can find plenty of other politicians who will move the party to the left without engaging with a personality cult whose energy is at best equally directed to attacking their natural allies as well as their enemies.

    I’m hesitant to compare too much to other countries, but appeasing Bernie is like appeasing Jeremy Corbyn. It’s a path to self-destructive infighting and losing.

    • NonyNony

      Eh – comparisons between Sanders and Corbyn are completely overblown. Mostly because the Left in the USA has nothing near the organizational ability that the Left in the UK apparently has. Somehow the Left in the UK organized themselves well enough to all a) join the Labour Party and then b) vote for a single candidate.

      This is actually quite astounding to me as an American liberal who has been watching the Left for 30 or so years of his life. I don’t think the political Left in this country are capable of agreeing on much of anything. Because as soon as a critical mass of them start to agree accusations of “selling out” begin to fly and the whole thing falls apart again.

      • nemdam

        Fair point, but if the Dem party was decided entirely by caucuses, a small but energized electorate, Bernie would’ve been the nominee. My very limited understanding of British politics is that a similar process is how Labour selects its leader i.e. a small but passionate minority of the party’s regular voters actually votes for the leader.

        • NonyNony

          My understanding is that this is largely correct, but not quite so simple. In that you have to be a dues-paying party member to participate in Labour’s leadership elections. Meanwhile in the US in most states just voting in a partisan primary at some point makes you a party member for the party ballot you selected. There’s an extra level of organization needed at the party level in the UK that just isn’t needed here, making their ability to take over the party somewhat impressive (at least to me).

          If the US Left put half that much effort into taking over the Democratic party they’d probably be successful. Especially in places like Indiana or Kansas where the Democratic organizations are particularly weak.

          • ColBatGuano

            Especially in places like Indiana or Kansas where the Democratic organizations are particularly weak.

            I would be entertained to see what level of electoral success true left candidates would have in Indiana or Kansas. By not running candidates, they avoid having to confront that.

          • ForkyMcSpoon

            I believe that Jane Kleeb was a Bernie supporter, and she is the new chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party.

            We shall see what success she has. I suspect she’ll have quite a bit, because of… you know… Republicans holding the White House and Trump being unpopular. Question is then to compare to other states, I suppose. And whether they run True Leftists, or compromise on important issues (like abortion, say, for a totally random example).

      • mongolia

        isn’t the big problem for labour re: corbyn that the number of people that vote in their leadership elections only like 5% of the people that vote in the general? i don’t know much about the uk politically, but it seems that these leadership elections have turnouts similar to caucuses as opposed to primary elections, and we’ve seen in 2016 the spread that occurs between the candidate of the activists vs. the rank and file in two separate states – NE and WA. so i’m not sure how different it would be if the us had only caucuses, which may have led to a sanders win in the primary and frustration of moderate or conservadems, similar to what is being seen with corbyn’s labour

        • sibusisodan

          Belonging to a political party is a minority sport in the UK. It gives the impression of [shudder] enthusiasm.

  • free_fries_

    Apologies if this has already been shared but a nice palate cleanser-the article on neoliberal elite voters we’ve all been waiting for.

    • Joseph Slater

      This is outstanding.

    • sibusisodan

      That is epic. I have no words.

  • Joe_JP

    Kirsten Gillibrand’s mentor is Hillary Clinton. So, it isn’t surprising she’s tainted in the eyes of some people. There is a somewhat antiquated feel to opposition at this point. So, 2009.

    ETA: Gillibrand repeatedly tries to work with whomever she can to advance her goals, including Republicans in various instances. This is sure to taint her in the eyes of some, maybe with talk about how she is naive like Obama was for trying to get support across the aisle. She also is repeatedly a loyal Democrat, so you can find stuff where she rallied the troops for Cuomo and other Democrats people don’t like. The “she’s tainted” material is there for the clueless.

  • Docrailgun

    Noone who writes about politics and gets paid for it get to complain about someone else being “elite”, especially not some Kiwi Berniebro.

  • GoBlue72

    Your obsession with Jacobin, a relatively minor left wing magazine, and gratuitous swipes at Sanders is getting a bit pathetic. To the point of making the blog look like total amateur hour.

    But I get it. You’re a former tenured professor at a fourth rate college. Blowing up petty issues into mountains of significance is par for the course.

    • D.N. Nation

      I would say Freddie but Freddie always uses his real name/stupid avatar.

      • JMV Pyro

        No, GoBlue’s his own man. He’s a reoccurring character over at the Balloon Juice comment sections and his shtick is activism and debate by way of the Navy Seal Copypasta.

        • D.N. Nation

          AND THEN I GAVE THAT LIBRUL PROFESSOR THE WHAT FER

      • GoBlue72

        I have no idea who Freddie is.

        • free_fries_

          You don’t know BONERS?

    • JMV Pyro

      I had no idea Balloon Juice has started up a troll exchange program. Are we giving them Jenny, Phil, or NoMoreAltCenter in exchange for GoBlue?

      • Q.E.Dumbass

        Well, we’ve had a crackpot-bordering-on-troll and an eliminationist millennial as semi-regulars for the past few months…but it isn’t so much an exchange as it is an exile. If our LGM-original trolls are on Balloon Juice, then they must have different usernames.

    • cleek

      oh burn

    • tsam

      What the fuck did you just fucking say about me, you little pony? I’ll have you know I graduated top of my class in magic kindergarten, and I’ve been involved in numerous secret raids on Nightmare Moon, and I have over 300 confirmed friendships. I am trained in magic warfare and I’m the top pony in the entire Equestrian armed forces. You are nothing to me but just another friend. I will wipe you the fuck out with friendship the likes of which has never been seen before on Equestria, mark my fucking words. You think you can get away with saying that shit to me over the Ponynet? Think again, fucker. As we speak I am contacting my secret network of pegasi across Equestria and your hoofprints are being traced right now so you better prepare for the storm, maggot. The storm that wipes out the pathetic little thing you call your life. You’re fucking dead, pony. I can be anywhere, anytime, and I can hug you in over seven hundred ways, and that’s just with my bare hooves. Not only am I extensively trained in unarmed friendship, but I have access to the entire arsenal of ponies and I will use it to its full extent to wipe your miserable flank off the face of the continent, you little pony. If only you could have known what magical friendship your little “clever” comment was about to bring down upon you, maybe you would have held your fucking tongue. But you couldn’t, you didn’t, and now you’re paying the price, you goddamn pony. I will shit friendship all over you and you will drown in it. You’re fucking dead, pony.

      • NYD3030

        I laughed out loud for real. Nice work.

      • pseudalicious

        This is beautiful.

    • Rob in CT

      I note that you didn’t even bother to rebut anything. No defense of the Jacobin article.

      • tsam

        Trolly McTrollface knows that defenses of this kind of slipshod snake shit will only result in getting used for a chew toy.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Your obsession with Jacobin,

      I believe this is the second time I’ve written about a Jacobin article this year, but anyway.

      gratuitous swipes at Sanders

      Nothing in either post was critical of Bernie Sanders. Celebrating tenured people getting fired without cause is definitely the purest leftism, though, so well done.

  • NYD3030

    So have we reached the point where Scott’s Jacobin hit pieces cross the line into LGM click bait?

    • MyNameIsZweig

      “Hit piece” hahaha

      • NYD3030

        I don’t really know what else to call it. Must feel pretty good to get 10x the engagement as Loomis’ work on exploitation in the global supply chain just by mocking some socialists.

        • sibusisodan

          In order for it to be a hit piece, you need to show it unfairly maligns the argument.

          Otherwise it’s just a ‘piece’.

        • veleda_k

          just by mocking some socialists

          Mocking of bunch of useless, sexist morons, but if you want to claim them as representative of socialism, that’s your business.

          • NYD3030

            I don’t know if you’ve read much Jacobin. It’s not exactly a ‘sexist’ publication. And it’s not up to you to decide who is or is not a socialist.

            • veleda_k

              This particle article is moronic and the constant attacks on women candidates with ever shifting goalposts is sexist. Are you willfully misunderstanding me, or is this just the best you can do?

              And, no, I don’t get to decide who’s a socialist. But I’m happy to view the authors of today’s and yesterday’s articles as individual jackasses. You’re the one who has declared that this is about our attacking socialism itself. And again, if these authors and articles are what you want to put forward as to what socialism is about, you can do that.

              • NYD3030

                I didn’t say anything about attacking socialism itself, I said he’s attacking some socialists. I also didn’t put forward these articles, Scott cherry picked the articles from Jacobin that he didn’t like.

                • brad

                  Yep. Responding critically to idiotic published pieces sure is a clickbaity HOT TAKE, as opposed to the goddamn articles themselves.

                • veleda_k

                  Socialists don’t write hot takes, because socialists have hearts that are pure as driven snow. And snow is cold. So there.

                • Aaron Morrow

                  Has NYD3030 linked to any articles from Jacobin that are good, or does he just defend the lousy ones in an attempt to make leftists look bad?

                • NYD3030

                  Other writers on this site link to them – like, say, Loomis. You do read his stuff too, right?

                • ForkyMcSpoon

                  I’d be interested to see an article on Jacobin about electoral politics that is good.

                  Their takes on electoral politics seem to be mostly of this idiotic purity pony variety.

                  Other subjects they do better on, for sure.

    • Rob in CT

      Do you think the Jacobin article was good? Can you point out how Scott’s critique was wrong/unfair?

      I mean…

      Is the idea that “leftists” can punch liberals as much as they like, but liberals aren’t allowed to punch back (oh no, hippy punching!)? Because that’s bullshit.

      • Q.E.Dumbass

        Exactly — it’s an inversion of the 11th Commandment.

      • NYD3030

        I don’t think the Jacobin article was some kind of abomination. There are things about Gillibrand that Socialists aren’t going to like and it’s not inappropriate for them to write about it. Where it sucks is in the ‘Yeah well she changed her opinions to match mine too quickly’ section, which is just dumb.

        I don’t even think Scott’s critique is unfair, other than his continual insistence that the Jacobin crowd refuses to do real politics while he ignores the massive amount of DSA organizing going on right now. Perhaps he doesn’t consider organizing outside the Democratic party to be ‘real politics’ or perhaps he’s unaware.

        And yes, Scott is allowed to punch back. There’s a long, long tradition of the liberals ‘punching left’ in the last forty years and it must feel pretty disorienting to have an engaged left making some noise for once.

        • Rob in CT

          Where it sucks is in the ‘Yeah well she changed her opinions to match mine too quickly’ section, which is just dumb.

          Which I see as Scott’s primary objection. And it’s a real, serious problem that we’ve seen vis-à-vis Hillary Clinton. She moved left, incorporating some of Bernie’s ideas. Was she praised for this by Her Leftist Betters?

          Then there’s the getting basic facts wrong about support/non-support of the Bush tax cuts, but no big deal right?

          And yes, Scott is allowed to punch back. There’s a long, long tradition of the liberals ‘punching left’ in the last forty years…

          Yes, yes, hippy punching. We hear about it all the time. To me, it is a way of saying “don’t punch back ’cause no fair” unless it involves a rebuttal of the arguments. Just whining about someone attacking someone else’s arguments doesn’t cut it.

          • Mayur

            And FFS Scott getting angry at a bunch of idiot boho so-called leftist bros is NOT the same thing as the sneering, condescension, and flat-out lying about everyone left of center that the MSM has engaged in from time immemorial. “It’s always Chicago in 1968” has absolutely nothing to do with this particular back and forth.

            • NYD3030

              Why?

              • Scott Lemieux

                I’m not calling out “the left.” I’m not saying anything about DSA. I’m criticizing specific arguments, not because they’re “to my left” but because they’re really stupid. That’s it.

                • ForkyMcSpoon

                  Right, like you've ever criticized centrists who engage in their own forms of purity politics, like the No Labels group.

                  I bet you've never even written a post about it that you could then link to and throw in my face.

          • NYD3030

            The overall conceit of these pieces seems to be that the Jacobin people misunderstand politics, think they’re too good for it, and thus don’t do anything. They just complain online. He’s ignoring the explosion of Socialist organizing since the election and the part Jacobin plays in it. I think that counts as doing something.

            So if I offer a critique of Scott’s reasoning, then I get to complain about hippie punching? Okay. I think Scott is dead as wrong that we should write of ties to Wall Street as being supported by ‘local interests’ and thus no big deal. Notice he didn’t say ‘Wall Street’ or even ‘Finance’… ‘local interests?’ Gimme a break.

            • Aaron Morrow

              if I offer a critique of Scott’s reasoning

              “If you ignore the misogyny, the rejection of politics, the demand for authenticity, and the lies, then perhaps this wasn’t a column ghostwritten by Fournier!”

              • NYD3030

                Okay.

            • the part Jacobin plays in it.

              What part are they playing in it?

        • I don’t even think Scott’s critique is unfair

          Then are you retracting your claim that this is a “hit piece”?

        • econoclast

          There’s a massive amount of organizing by everybody. Do you want a cookie? I know a bunch of middle-aged women who hate Bernie Bros, would never join DSA, and spend all of their free time hunting Congresspeople for sport. These are the people who call Congress constantly, who show up at the town halls, who are going to be the backbone of the 2018 campaign to take back Congress.

          And you don’t get to claim the mantle of leftist. A bunch of us are leftists. A bunch of us voted for Sanders, and support a Sanders-like agenda. It’s not about left versus liberal. It’s about people who actually care about policy versus people who are all excited about striking the true leftist pose rather than getting anything done. They are actively hurting the cause of any leftward politics. This very thread is full of people who said that that voted for Sanders, but are now alienated by his supporters. Jacobin and the people like them are the greatest gift the political center could ever have asked for.

          • veleda_k

            +1

            • Joseph Slater

              + another one.

      • liberal

        There’s nothing wrong about it. The question is, given that Jacobin, whatever its vices, has essentially zero impact on US politics, why bother?

        Let’s take, in contrast, Obama’s decision to appoint Comey to run the FBI. If we accept the plausible claim that Comey’s BS adversely affected Clinton’s chances, why are there so few posts pointing out Obama’s folly?

        And you can’t even claim it’s water under the bridge, because the idiocy of appointing Republicans to important positions hasn’t, AFAICT, been written off.

        • Rob in CT

          Are you unaware that Scott has repeatedly railed against the Comey appointment? Including, crucially, BEFORE he helped screw us all in 2016?

          So. Scott shouldn’t bother taking on really stupid/self-destructive arguments in Jacobin. But nobody (except, you know, Scott!) is talking about how Obama fucked up by appointing Comey.

          Yeah, ok.

          Scott posts about Comey all the fucking time. More than about Jacobin. There’s a new Comey post just today!

          • sibusisodan

            If there are articles being posted from the left praising Comey and the general idea of appointing Republicans, I’m sure Dr L would be happy to respond to them with due care.

            In their absence, you write about the political idiocy you face, not the political idiocy you wish you faced.

        • mongolia

          how about for the reason that a lot of us would like to see a well-thought-out leftism, and eviscerating the bad stuff may help get us there by either (a) having the jacobin double down on the stupid, making it more likely that serious leftists look elsewhere to publish their thoughts, or (b) humiliating them into not airing bad arguments without considering the well-deserved derision it will recieve. now, i doubt either happens, because of the fact that both jacobin & lgm are communities with miniscule reaches and at best moderate overlap in readership, but demolition of egregiously bad takes could have positive effects on the margins

          with regards to comey – lgm loves to punch comey, and both in the posts and in the comments one of the biggest complaints with obama is how he tried too hard to work with the clear obstructionists in congress. would i personally have an issue if the authors blamed obama in every post for hiring comey for an important position? no. but i’m not sure it’s necessary when the point has been communicated many times already

        • TroubleMaker13

          why are there so few posts pointing out Obama’s folly?

          You mean like this one from 4 years ago?

          Seriously people, spend a few minutes with Google before posting embarrassing bullshit. You’re not fooling anyone.

          • Q.E.Dumbass

            He consistently pulls this tripe whenever the subject comes up — no matter how many times it’s been utterly disproven — to the point that it amounts to spamming the site.I don’t see why Scott doesn’t just start deleting the comments.

    • veleda_k

      Do you think this is a good article, or do you just think it’s wrong for Lemieux to criticize Jacobin?

      • NYD3030

        I think it’s an alright article, some of its points are good and others are dumb. And I think it’s okay for Lemieux to criticize Jacobin. He just does it an awful lot and it’s the most popular content on this site.

        • veleda_k

          it’s the most popular content on this site.

          GASP! That bastard!

        • Little Chak

          Did it ever occur to you that the number of comments on an article seems to be strongly correlated with how many people show up to argue against the points made by the article’s author, and how committed they are to challenging the consensus opinions of the blog’s readers?

          There isn’t as much to fight about in a post about the history of labor and the oppression of workers, especially when the post is historically accurate. It’s also not easy to jump into a conversation about history when you feel weak on the history.

          This does not mean that we don’t value those posts. Ffs…think a little.

          • NYD3030

            Yes it did occur to me, that’s why I called it click bait. You just defined click bait for me. Thank you.

            • veleda_k

              What? That is not click bait. A bunch of whiny idiots who can’t take criticism showing up does not make click bait.

              You are either an ethically bankrupt liar, or an intellectually bankrupt idiot. Or both.

              • Q.E.Dumbass

                BTW, does NYD3030 know where I can get the collagen boiled out of my ass? I hear all the cool leftists are doing it.

                • NYD3030

                  Brooklyn, duh.

              • NYD3030

                Yes, I’m a whiny idiot liar who is ethically and intellectually bankrupt.

                • veleda_k

                  Admitting you have a problem is the first step. The second step is behaving like you’re functionally intelligent. Let’s see if we can get there.

            • Scott Lemieux

              You’ve got me — I write posts about bad arguments not because I care about the underlying issues, but for the extra 3 cents a longer comment thread might earn the blog.

        • TroubleMaker13

          So, it struck a nerve then, huh?

  • Redwood Rhiadra

    You know, I’ve gotten mocked here before for suggesting that the Left would never accept Gillibrand because of her history as a Blue Dog.

    And guess what, I was right.

  • peterk69

    I was inclined to support Gillbrand if she’s the best the Democrats can do, but seeing the center left attack the left as a “personality cult” again over her makes me more skeptical. Reminds me of how the Hilbots treated Sanders supporters.

    There are philosophical center leftists and then there are philosophical leftists. They don’t agree on politics but can compromise. Then there are obnoxious people in both groups which make compromise difficult.

    Where is Warren in all of this? Is she definitely not running? Will the center left turn against her?

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