What Does the Election Mean for the Left?
Panelists join Paul Jay to discuss the future of independent politics under a Trump presidency
PAUL JAY, TRNN: Comment he’s saying. If Clinton is saying Trump should concede and everyone should rally around the president, now is she going to do that and her forces rally around the president. I suspect that she will.
LESTER SPENCE: This is the moment where these channels we’re watching, where it should really be clear. This is what your – so you say this election’s a joke. You give whatever language you need to give to articulate the elections being legitimate. But you’re saying okay this is the person you elected. Right. This is all the things he said and this is all the things he’s done and this is who you elected. But they’re not going to even do that. They’re not even like wow wait a second, this is who you elected and this is what we kind of enabled to happened.
JAMES: This is her Al Gore moment and she will follow suit. She will follow script to hold the republic together.
SPENCE: Right and when Obama said on the campaign trail he was uniquely unqualified which was accurate, what is he going to say?
IMANI SPENCE: But I think this is a great moment to talk about how the democratic party has taken this stance to kind of being okay with Trump’s Trumpism basically. It’s this idea that we will give money to Trump like a headquarters that are burned down because it doesn’t really matter because we wanted to be stronger together. But at the same time I’m not trying to unify the people who are trying to oppress me. I don’t think anyone should. I would never ask anyone to do that.
So, it’s important to realize that the democratic party is really here for party politics. It’s not really here for me as a black woman. It’s not here for black people, black working class people especially, so what do we do now that this party that is supposed to be for black people has failed us? Deeply failed us.
L. SPENCE: So, this is where it becomes challenging because the analogy doesn’t quite work. Or it’s not quite symmetrical. The republican party was taken over. So they were institutions outside the republican party that took it over. So, whatever we look at, to the extent we’re looking at party apparatus. Whatever party apparatus that is, we have to further develop the institutions outside the party to in fact take over.
JAMES: Well I would take a different vantage point to that.
GLEN FORD: Some people would say that the Republican party’s base actually took it over and demanded that it actually be a white nationalist party.
L. SPENCE: Yea but the Tea Party was a constitution.
JAMES: Every party has trends, currents within it. It can be a communist party and people just say oh well they’re just all communist. Not true. They share a general ideology and then they have different currents, different tendencies, different historical profiles and trajectories. The same is clear of bourgeoisie parties. Every party has internal debates and fights and struggles and somebody wins and somebody loses and they may fold in.
So, this in my lifetime is the boldest line in the sand in bourgeoisie American politics. If the black caucus and Barack Obama and people do not say here is a line in the sand, we stand opposed, we are going to fight you in the same way that the republicans fought him, they will show the ultimate nature of their bankruptcy and this is where the black lives matter movement and other progressive young millennials and all the [inaud.].
This is where we’re going to find out who your generation is because right now it too has different sectors within it. Some of them are very radical. Some of them are progressive. Some of them are liberal. Some of them are just humanistic. This is going to be the test case that we can say.
I. SPENCE: I almost think that that language is kind of a scapegoat. So, we inherited the world that we live in, right? We did not necessarily build this world. We did not build a world of crippling student debt.
JAY: I say that’s true for every generation including our generation. We were born into this place too.
I. SPENCE: No, that’s totally fine. I think that’s valid. But I don’t think people were having the platform to blame your generation as much as they are to blame our generation. Right so they’re saying okay millennials are going to decide this election. Millennials are going to be the reason that Trump wins. Because they voted for Jill Stein. But at the same time. Was anyone blaming you guys when a lot of other electoral politics went through?
JAMES: I’m not blaming millennials. No.
L. SPENCE: It’s a responsibility thing. It’s not blame.
JAMES: I’m just saying this is going to be a test for all age groups, all sectors, all genders, all sexual identities of whatever the issues are out here, this is going to be a test case because this system is in crisis.
JAY: I think that’s the critical point.
EDDIE CONWAY, TRNN: The same way Vietnam was a test case for our generation and we stepped up to the plate, the same way civil rights was a test case for another generation. This now is a test case for a newer generation. To go forward to try to save the planet, try to reverse this kind of trend that’s going to be very detrimental to people all around the world. It’s not just the generation here in America but it’s South America, Africa, Asia, the whole entire world is in danger right now.
JAMES: We are going to find out who are the Fannie Lou Hamers, I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired and we’re going to challenge the democratic party. We’re going to find out who the Mohammad Alis of this generation. No Vietnamese ever called me nigger. I’m going to fight you not them and many other kinds of expressions that we’ve had. They are here. They will stand up. The question is, will we stand up in large enough numbers. Will we be able to find the proper compromises, the positive compromises which is in politics not in ideology. Ideology will inform it. But if you don’t think like I think then I’m not going to unify with you. That’s not going to be able to do it. It’s going to be where are the sectors on this side of the line? We may not all stand in the same place but we’re on this side of the lien versus who was on the other side of the line and how – that’s the realpolitik that we’re going to have.
FORD: I think people on the left are going to have to make sure that they are drawing the line and not just watching to see where the line is being drawn. Wanting Obama to draw the line.
JAMES: And we figure out what do we mean by the left because the status quo narrative is that the left is within the context of the duopoly. Who’s on the right, who’s on the center, who’s on the left.
DHARNA NOOR, TRNN: Well now everyone’s going to look like a progressive in comparison to Donald Trump.
JAY: That was onE of my reasons why I was concerned about this outcome from a point of view of someone who’s progressive is now there’s going to be this great anti-Trump united front alliance and all it’s corporate democrats is going to position itself within the anti-trump alliance.
NOOR: And when Trump starts 3 new wars over the next 4 years or whatever it is.
JAY: And it’s the Sanders people if that whole movement quickly and Sanders himself needs to do this now. If they will really turn on this Clinton camp and try to push this insurgency and actually literally split. Whether it’s Sanders or not Sanders, the whole organization of networks there – if they will turn on this and blame these corporate democrats for this and lead, one hopes to a real split within the democratic party.
SPENCE: But his whole thing was not being the figure head. Being a party that’s about policy and moving towards social democracy and social democratics right? So, that makes sense that it wouldn’t be him that leads this movement.
NOOR: But if he’s not going to be the figure head, then he maybe will take direction from tons of people who left his campaign.
JAMES: And maybe not. Let me find out who Elizabeth Warren is, in another dimension now.
JAY: Clearly there’s two things, there’s two levels here. There’s elite politics and the struggle is going to go on in terms of inside the democratic party and then there’s what Eddie was talking about and others here. There’s a longer term game here. Are the people going to get organized to have independent politics, completely independent politics?
FORD: If they’re not doing that, I don’t trust folks that say well we will go to the point of a split if they’re not organizing to be prepared to split.
JAY: The stock market is tanking. That probably won’t last very long. One of the things I once asked a finance guy. The Iraq War is such a disaster. So many of Bush’s policies have actually weakened the American empire. How come more of the corporate elite aren’t screaming about this. And he says, because it was like opening the piggy bank. You could do anything you wanted. The utter deregulation, the kind of fraud that went on.
JAMES: The commodification of war.
JAY: It was a free for all for the elites and they were in such a orgy of profit making. That they go okay invade Iraq.
JAMES: And take billions of dollars and be unaccountable with it and turn the military into cats with black suits and SUVs and with drones we don’t have to put troops on the ground. And then they tell us the narrative. My line is I do not abstractly support the troops. I’m not a pacifist. But what are you sending your sons and daughters into? You’re sending them into an abstract ideology that reinforces it’s history. I think we’ve got to challenge all of these narratives in saying, white America, white rural America your son or daughter walking around with a prosthetic.
JAY: Excuse me, can we get back to CNN and just get caught up here?
JAMES: I agree with you, I think in the past week to 10 days, that’s when the question about Michigan was even discussed.
DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a
recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.