Fuck Schumer on Rachel Maddow—The Logic of Conciliation and Capitulation

January 29, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


Chuck Schumer, the Senate Democratic leader, was on Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC show Tuesday, justifying the Democrats' ending of the government shutdown without getting the protection of the Dreamers passed into law. What he said, and the underlying logic he was revealing, provides an important lesson to all.

Schumer Gives Away His Power and Then Pleads Powerlessness

“What people have to understand ... we don’t have the levers of power,” said Schumer, referring to Republican control of Congress and the presidency.

First, the government shutdown was precisely a “lever of power,” one the Democrats supposedly exercised to demand protection of the Dreamers, but they caved and capitulated within days. Why? “Craven” Chuck’s logic: “The public would lose support of the shutdown. The public does not like shutdowns and we’d actually lose support for the Dreamers.”

Who exactly is “the public” here? Mainstream polls showed mass support among liberal and progressive voters for the shutdown to demand Dreamer protection. But Democrats are working within an electoral calculus of the 2018 midterms, aiming to get conservative Democrats elected in more conservative states. Schumer and other Democratic leaders don’t want to alienate these voters, “the public.” From their standpoint, the liberals and progressives are already “in the bag,” and have no choice within the electoral framework. Indeed, Schumer’s task is to first scoop up and then hem in the progressives who want real change.

The Republi-Fascists Invoke the Military, and the Dems Fall Right in Line

What were the terms of “the public” not liking shutdowns? As soon as it started, the fascists, including Trump himself, went on overdrive saying the Democrats are pitting the interests of immigrants over the “brave men and women” of the U.S. military, who would earn their pay but not actually get it during the period of the shutdown. Schumer and the Democrats caved, placing the paychecks of “the troops” ahead of the lives and even survival of millions of people.

Reality check: these are troops of a military that has committed and continues to commit war crimes untold, from use of nuclear weapons to genocides and massacres across the globe (see the revcom.us “American Crime” series), enforcing the interests of this system. The down-the-line Democratic support of these troops is not a mistake but reveals the Democrats for what they are: a ruling class party of the worldwide system of exploitation and oppression enforced by those troops. Indeed, this very military—both directly and as “trainers” or through aid—tore apart many of the very countries from which the immigrants have been driven.

Schumer Shills for Mitch McConnell’s “Promise”

Oh, but Mitch McConnell “promised” to take up a bill on immigration in February. “The thing about McConnell’s promise,” said Schumer, is “he didn’t just make it to me. He made it to 10 Republican members of his caucus. A leader is very, very reluctant to break a promise to members of his caucus.”

This statement flies in the face of reality. First, there is a whole history, including recent experience, of McConnell making promises and breaking them, in order to advance the fascist agenda, including with the recent tax bill’s provisions undermining healthcare. Second, the Republi-Fascist Party is precisely the one advancing this horrific anti-immigrant program with senators like Tom Cotton, David Perdue, and others... advocating not only mass deportations of the undocumented but also restricting legal immigration—and would not allow such a move unchallenged. Third, Schumer himself made promises with the shutdown to members of his own caucus, and then promptly turned around and broke them!

Schumer Then Goes on to Actually Welcome the Prospect of Mass Deportation—As a Political Tool!

Even if the bill were to miraculously pass the Senate, the House, controlled by Republi-Fascists, would have to pass it, according to Schumer. This is what he had to say about the strategy for the House:

“But if we pass it in the Senate with a bipartisan vote, we have a good chance to put pressure on the House to do it, particularly if they don’t do it by March 5th ... the awful, awful, awful pictures of DREAMers being deported, I think, will rally the nation and the House will be forced to do it.” Later he repeated this thought that “the pictures of people being deported will rally the nation” and will put pressure on House Republicans!

This was the clincher, the Democrats’ strategy: Let the Dreamers start getting deported, then, maybe, the House will do something. Instead of forcing shutdowns and using every single means at their disposal to secure protection for the Dreamers and prevent deportation, this is their strategy!

The logic is akin to: Once the trains are on their way to Dachau, to Auschwitz, then maybe we can get the Nazis to do something. Who do you think is running those trains, who do you think is filling those trains?

As the fascist juggernaut moves right and rolls on, the Democrats conciliate. Why? They are but a ruling party of the same system, the Republi-Fascists being the other. Objectives and strategies are determined from this vantage point, and not risking the stability of the system or their perch atop it, even as the horrors of fascism advance. These Democratic top dogs do NOT want masses in the streets in an uncompromising and defiant mood and will do whatever they can to prevent it. In other words, it is not a matter of Chuck being Craven, but Chuck being Chuck, who he and the Democrats are!

This is why instead of calling mass protests to stop these deportations in the first place, or continuing the shutdown till their demands are met, raising hell, stopping everything, Fuck Schumer and the Democrats opt instead for “the awful, awful, awful pictures of Dreamers being deported.”

For Schumer and the Rest of His Ilk, Fascism Is a Matter of Taste

Fascism is a matter of taste for the bourgeoisie, the capitalist ruling class. Leaving aside the actual living reality of what this means, the terror of uncertainty, the lives torn apart and asunder, the message is clear: This is all that’s possible—within the “normal” framework of how things are done—and that’s the limit of what you can hope, or fight, for!

The politics of the “possible” is the politics of monstrosity. To adhere to, or acquiesce in, the politics of the “possible” is to support, and actually to facilitate, monstrosity.

—Bob Avakian

However horrific it may be for some to contemplate, the “the awful, awful, awful pictures of Dreamers being deported” may even help “mobilize” the Democratic base for the midterms, and help them in the elections. Schumer says, “[I]f we become the majority next year, if the House becomes the majority [Democratic], we will get Dreamers.” And what happens till then?

Just on immigration alone, let’s look at the record of the Democrats: Obama’s tenure witnessed mass deportations, and he sought NO comprehensive immigration law when Democrats controlled both houses of Congress and the presidency (2009-2011). Whatever minor concessions were wrought for Dreamers is now under fascist assault. Democrats in recent times have been amenable to all manner of horse trading on this—“Trump’s wall,” effective surrender on Temporary Protected Status (TPS) that has already driven many Salvadorans to their deaths, severe and racist restrictions on legal immigration, etc. The Dreamers themselves have been used as a bargaining chip, and the Democrats have not drawn the line on this. Leading Democrats did not walk out when Trump labeled some countries “shithole” countries, expressing preference for immigrants from (the very white) “Norway.”

The Democrats are not proceeding—and will not proceed—from the interests of the immigrants. They, the Democrats, are not on “OUR TEAM,” the people, but are part of the ruling class. They are on the “same team” as the fascists, as Obama himself so eloquently and clearly put it—albeit with sharp differences at times.

Returning to Schumer’s opening line, what “cause” is he advancing, but that of the Democrats themselves, their electoral calculus, and conciliating while fascism marches on?

It is way past time to stop relying on the Democrats, and way past time for the people to ACT, independent of the electoral framework and normal channels, raising hell on the streets till society and the system shake. The Democrats are part of the problem, not the solution, especially in their channeling people back into the “normal” framework of how things are done and the killing confines of electoral politics, when what is needed is busting out of this framework of what is “normal,” “possible” and “realistic”—for these are not normal times, but the early years of a fascist regime that rains horrors and threatens the whole planet into oblivion. What is needed is to oust this regime at the soonest possible time, with millions and millions—who feel this is a nightmare—acting in concert till the ensuing political crisis results in this regime being driven from power!


Small Note: Fascist Fox News and Trump have gone into overdrive on the supposed “murders committed by illegal immigrants,” constantly invoking the name of Kate Steinle, a young woman killed by an undocumented immigrant, in what seems by all accounts to be an accidental firing of a gun—a crime for which he was acquitted. This reminds one of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show in the late 1800s to early 1900s. This show featured what historian Richard White has called the myth of the “inverted conquest,” depicting whites as victims of the Native peoples, thereby justifying the genocide of Native peoples as form of self-defense. How far are we from that reality now, with this new myth of the “inverted conquest”?


Volunteers Needed... for revcom.us and Revolution

Send us your comments.

If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.