Still the po­lit­i­cal pro­ject calls to us

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Opinion/analysis/ National News - Ma­teo Pi­mentel

“But the state li­eth in all lan­guages of good and evil; and what­ever it saith it li­eth; and what­ever it hath it hath stolen.” —Friedrich Ni­et­zsche, The New Idol, Thus Spoke Zarathus­tra

“Many peo­ple, it is true, never con­tem­plate the pos­si­bil­ity of to­tal power; the very thought of it scares them.” — Si­mone Weil, On the Abo­li­tion of All Po­lit­i­cal Par­ties

NOT long ago, Obama openly lev­elled crit­i­cism against the po­lit­i­cal es­tab­lish­ment in Cuba. He righ­teously de­cried a lack of democ­racy and po­lit­i­cal freedom there, in­dict­ing the Cuban gov­ern­ment for its role in con­tin­u­ing an an­tidemo­cratic pol­i­tics for far too long after the Cold War. Now, how­ever, in the wake of the re­cent tur­moil sur­round­ing the fixed Democratic Na­tional Con­ven­tion in Philadel­phia, which can be de­scribed as any­thing but democratic or trans­par­ent, Obama’s shame­less de­nun­ci­a­tions of Cuba have lost what­ever pal­try sig­nif­i­cance they maybe had. And thanks to despotic blem­ish that stains the Democrats in their march to the White House, the US edges closer to con­sum­mate to­tal­i­tar­i­an­ism un­der Obama’s cho­sen pawn, Hil­lary.

Dur­ing his trip to Cuba, Obama pushed for re­forms in po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic spheres, speak­ing to Cubans about open­ness in a re­pres­sive state which lim­its in­ter­net ac­cess, con­trols the me­dia, and smoth­ers in­ter­nal dis­sent. But be­cause Obama is of the DNC, soon to be the party of Hil­lary, there is re­ally no rea­son to hope that he will ever pub­licly ac­knowl­edge the irony of the highly con­trived and highly an­tidemo­cratic con­ven­tion that his party so re­cently held in Philly. Never mind that he has traipsed around the world, hyp­o­crit­i­cally tout­ing “democ­racy” in coun­tries like Cuba. Nay, there is lit­tle hope that Obama will ac­knowl­edge just how ridicu­lous and disin­gen­u­ous the Democrats have re­vealed them­selves to be to Amer­i­can vot­ers this elec­tion cy­cle.

In­deed, the en­tire Democratic Party has made a fool of it­self this sum­mer. Per­haps, given the cur­rent polls, this be­comes more and more tol­er­a­ble; elec­tion re­sults this Novem­ber should leave no room for doubt that fewer and fewer peo­ple are in­clined to buy what ei­ther po­lit­i­cal party is sell­ing. And that goes for the DNC’s at­tempts to co­erce the pub­lic into vot­ing Hil­lary — not be­cause she is fit to be pres­i­dent, but “be­cause Trump.” At least rad­i­cals in Amer­ica will feel vin­di­cated this sum­mer as they re­flect on the ve­rac­ity of Raúl Cas­tro’s re­ac­tion to Obama:

“We must be alert, to­day more than ever . . . We are not naive, and we are aware of pow­er­ful ex­ter­nal forces that as­pire to, as they say, ‘em­power’ non-state ac­tors to gen­er­ate agents of change and fin­ish off the revo­lu­tion by other means.”

None should for­get that anti-im­pe­ri­al­ists and other rad­i­cals in the US have al­ways sym­pa­thised with such sen­ti­ments, or that to­day they clearly recog­nise es­tab­lish­ment ef­forts to­wards redi­rect­ing do­mes­tic revo­lu­tion­ary cur­rents as more of the same. Cer­tainly the mil­lions of Amer­i­cans hop­ing for a po­lit­i­cal revo­lu­tion this year would do well to heed Cas­tro’s sus­pi­cion of Obama and those of his ilk. They might con­sider adding the en­tire DNC hi­er­ar­chy to the list of un­trust­wor­thy sus­pects just as their rad­i­cal coun­ter­parts did long ago. They might re­alise that there will be no revo­lu­tion un­der a Hil­lary coronation, and thus they might cast their vote out­side the two-party sys­tem, if not, against it.

One prob­lem re­mains: As mil­lions more come to un­der­stand the Democratic Party to be at least as cor­rupt as the Repub­li­can Party, some will con­tinue to think it ridicu­lous that the Democrats should have brought the US to brink of to­tal­i­tar­i­an­ism only to push it over the edge. More­over, such wari­ness about the dan­gers that the Democrats ac­tu­ally pose is un­der­stand­able. Who should the skep­ti­cal look to for the facts? CNN? The New York Times? Th­ese in­stru­ments of em­pire excel at sell­ing sham­poo and get­ting the pub­lic to sup­port end­less war, which is good for busi­ness; their cred­i­bil­ity will re­main un­founded so long as they ex­ist to serve the cap­i­tal­ist in­ter­ests of the state. No, those who yet doubt the despotic dan­gers of the Democratic Party might con­sider as­sess­ing it by Si­mone Weil’s cri­te­ria of truth, jus­tice, and pub­lic in­ter­est, which she wrote in 1943. They could start with Weil’s three “es­sen­tial char­ac­ter­is­tics” of any po­lit­i­cal party:

1. “A po­lit­i­cal party is a ma­chine to gen­er­ate col­lec­tive pas­sions.”

2. “A po­lit­i­cal party is an or­gan­i­sa­tion de­signed to ex­ert col­lec­tive pres­sure upon the minds of all its in­di­vid­ual mem­bers.”

3. “The first ob­jec­tive and also the ul­ti­mate goal of any po­lit­i­cal party is its own growth, with­out limit.”

After see­ing that the Democratic Party fits the bill in 2016, the leery might go on to read more of what Weil has to say about po­lit­i­cal par­ties and the ethos of to­tal­i­tar­i­an­ism that marks them all: “Be­cause of th­ese three char­ac­ter­is­tics, ev­ery party is to­tal­i­tar­ian — po­ten­tially, and by as­pi­ra­tion. If one party is not ac­tu­ally to­tal­i­tar­ian, it is sim­ply be­cause those par­ties that sur­round it are no less so.”

The skep­ti­cal would note that Weil in­ci­den­tally of­fers an in­ci­sive crit­i­cism of the DNC’s au­to­cratic tra­jec­tory via an ad­di­tional note about her third char­ac­ter­is­tic: “. . . it is a par­tic­u­lar in­stance of the phenomenon which al­ways oc­curs when­ever think­ing in­di­vid­u­als are dom­i­nated by a col­lec­tive struc­ture — a re­ver­sal of the re­la­tion be­tween ends and means.”

Should the skep­ti­cal find what Weil says of all po­lit­i­cal par­ties to be true of the Democratic Party, they would also see that even their mis­giv­ings about the to­tal­i­tar­ian pro­cliv­i­ties of the Democratic Party are largely a deliberate con­se­quence of that party’s ac­tions:

“Once the growth of the party be­comes a cri­te­rion of good­ness,” says Weil, “it fol­lows in­evitably that the party will ex­ert a col­lec­tive pres­sure upon peo­ple’s minds. This pres­sure is very real; it is openly dis­played; it is pro­fessed and pro­claimed. It should hor­rify us, but we are al­ready too much ac­cus­tomed to it.” Rather than dread the Democratic Party’s pen­chant for to­tal­i­tar­i­an­ism this year, they would see that they sim­ply doubt it. And they would come to un­der­stand that should any­thing other than a rigged elec­tion put Hil­lary in the White House in­stead of her com­peti­tors, it will be their doubt. Join the de­bate on Face­book.

Ma­teo Pi­mentel lives on the Mex­i­can-US bor­der. You can fol­low him on Twitter @ma­teo_pi­mentel.

Hil­lary Clin­ton and Barack Obama

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