I am a red dog Democrat not a blue dog Democrat. I see being played out in America today a classic Marxian struggle between the 99% of us who live by our own labor and the small but disproportionally powerful class that controls capital around the world. I am not speaking of social classes here; the miner, the truck driver, the electrician, the doctor, and the lawyer all belong to the same economic class in that they all work for a living, unlike the speculator, financier, or investor who takes advantage of their labor. As the interests of the latter class have become more global and less national, they have come to diverge more and more from the interests of working people and from those of any single nation, including the United States. Conversely, the interests of working people are converging more and more with those of working people in other countries, who struggle for jobs and livelihoods in the same pitiless market.
Politics in America, as in many countries, are profoundly corrupt. We live increasingly in a world where one person, one vote has become one dollar, one vote, and a tiny minority with an immense amount of dollars orchestrates the political process for its own ends, heedless of law, principle, or decency. When Citibank and Travelers insurance decided to merge in 1998, Congress and President Clinton obediently changed the law for them. When the Koch brothers decided to challenge the law restricting their ability to buy political influence, the Supreme Court struck the law down for them in 2010. The engineers of the global financial crisis of 2008 and the widespread pain that followed have gone completely unpunished, their profits kept safe by the laws their political friends wrote for them. Big corporations no longer need take interest in workers, communities, or nations, for they are all expendable; even the corporation itself will be slaughtered like a pig the moment its directors find it more profitable to sell it to a competitor or break it up than to keep it in business.
Workers, customers, communities, and nations are all losers under this political and economic regime. They -- that is, we -- need to come together, to unite in assertion of a common interest that includes the recognition that life, health, and livelihood are worth more than dollars, that laws and governments are made to protect and promote the welfare of people and communities, and that capital must be the servant of labor and not the other way around. For a Red Dog like myself, that is the goal, and all else is dangerous distraction. "Divide et impera", the principle by which Britain ruled India for 150 years, is the enemy's favorite tactic.
Take guns, for instance. Here is an issue by which the wrath of progressive working people can be easily diverted against fellow workers who happen to own guns, and the latter be persuaded to see progressives as the enemy and vote for antidemocratic agents posing as champions of "liberty".
Race, gender, and religion are all fault lines easily played on by the right using issues like abortion, drugs, or "illegal" immigration. The mass media, which are of course controlled by Wall Street, never scruple to whip up a frenzy of emotion whenever some atrocious act occurs, and in a nation of three hundred million people there will always be an atrocity from time to time. My response, if ever I find myself in front of a camera or microphone, will be to say: stop! Think! Consider the likelihood that if the enemies you picture in the heat of your outrage are working people, then you are on the wrong side.
Will Democrats be able to retake the House of Representatives, state legislatures and governorships in 2014? It would seem they must do so despite their President, who has betrayed them on Social Security and is spearheading a latter day Fourth Crusade on gun control. President Obama has shown by his friendship with Wall Street, his embrace of economic austerity, and the debacle that is Obamacare, that he is no progressive (would you offer Al Capone a seat on your anti-crime task force? then why give the insurance industry a role in crafting a law to reform health care?).
Marx had it right: workers of the world, unite. That's red dog democracy in a nutshell, and it's the only way forward, whether in 2014 or beyond. We need to embrace all working Americans, including cultural conservatives, and bring them into the struggle for fairness and real democracy. This is not a time when we can afford division, as much as it pains me to say so, for only this past Friday, on the anniversary of the Confederate bombardment of Fort Sumter that began the Civil War, I thought to myself how much better off we might be today if Lincoln had "let the wayward sisters go." But the reality is that we working people are all in this together, where here in Massachusetts, elsewhere in America, or in other nations around the world. Our enemy is the same, and we face a long, hard struggle. I pray that I may live to see its triumphant end.