‘Awkward’ socialists tarnishing the Democratic Party’s big business-loving brand

Dastardly socialists fighting for the common good.

Dastardly socialists fighting for the common good.

Today in a Politico article titled “The Socialist Surge” Ben Schreckinger and Jonathan Topaz discuss how uncomfortable it is for the Democratic Party to have a self-identified socialist Presidential candidate—Bernie Sanders—picking up so much steam among the Democratic Party base. The sub-header reads: “The rise of Bernie Sanders is proving awkward for the Democratic Party.”

You know what might be even more ‘awkward’ for the Democratic Party than the idea that many of their base voters would vote for an open socialist? How about the reality that most Democratic Party politicians holding national office owe their political careers to their cowering before Wall Street and big business—as the latter wrecked the economy and consolidated their stranglehold over the American political system—all while claiming to represent and fight for the ‘middle class’?

Yeah. That’s some serious awkward there. Go, Bernie, go. #Bernie2016

Thank you, Ernesto Laclau

ernesto-laclauI was sad to learn of Ernesto Laclau’s passing this morning. Laclau’s intellectual contributions to Left social movements were profound and bountiful. He is the author of many books, including Hegemony and Socialist Strategy (co-authored with Chantal Mouffe). He has a new book due out in May: The Rhetorical Foundations of Society.

Laclau deeply influenced my own thinking about how subjective political actors (e.g., social movements) frame their political projects in relation to broader political alignments and society; and about the political uses of symbols and ambiguity. We corresponded during the first few months of Occupy Wall Street and then attempted to meet up while he was lecturing in the United States, but it didn’t work out. A few weeks ago, to my delight, he agreed to offer comments on the draft of my book. I was quite eager to read his feedback.

In Verso’s write-up today, Robin Blackburn offers an account of Laclau, just last month, “in excellent form leading the company in the singing of revolutionary songs, with special emphasis on those associated with the Italian partisan movement.” Surely, he will be missed. Ernesto Laclau, presente!