Is the right-wing era over? Not yet

gop cartoon

Is the era of right-wing ascendancy over? I would argue that it is a bit premature to reach that conclusion.

Now don't get me wrong. Right-wing extremism isn't the same animal that it was a decade or two ago. Its "glory days" are behind it. The outcome of the elections last year - not to mention the divisions in the Republican Party that are cropping up now around the fiscal cliff and the president's nomination of Chuck Hagel as defense secretary - reflect a political movement that is no longer in a commanding position politically and ideologically.

That said, it continues to be the main, though not the only, obstacle to social progress.

As the people's movement readies itself for new struggles - on debt, immigration, gun control, jobs and infrastructure, equality, and so forth - in the coming year, count on the well-funded far-right at the national and state level to push the most reactionary measures, while obstructing anything remotely progressive and democratic, especially in Washington.

Of immediate concern is the attempt to use the lifting of the debt ceiling to force the president and Congress to accept massive cuts in, if not elimination of, earned income benefit programs - Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

On this issue, right-wing Republicans have the enthusiastic support of the main sections of the capitalist class (both on Wall Street and on Main Street), whose hooks extend into both parties, Democratic and Republican alike.

Much like the capitalist classes in the advanced capitalist countries of Europe, the U.S. capitalist class believes that capitalism can no longer afford the "welfare state." In its view, programs for the social good should be scaled back drastically if not eliminated altogether.

To complicate matters further, there seems to be some softness among Democrats in Congress and the White House when it comes to protecting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. That is evidenced by their much reported willingness to modify the formula for Social Security cost-of-living adjustments in a way that reduces benefits that are already insufficient, especially with the widespread implosion of job-related pension plans. This is the so-called "chained Consumer Price Index" modification.

In these circumstances, it is imperative to re-energize the diverse multiracial working-class-based coalition that reelected President Obama last fall. While sections of this coalition were active in the year-end "fiscal cliff" fight, a mobilization of greater scope, unity, and militancy will be needed in the coming battle to prevent any weakening of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

Just as it took broad-based, mass action of a diverse people's coalition to win these programs in the last century, it will take a similar but even broader, deeper, and more militant coalition to retain (and strengthen) them in the 21st century.

Are we there yet? I don't think so. But in the people's coalition that made the difference in the recent elections we have the makings of a political force that has the potential to stymie and roll back the power of the corporate class and its political supporters.

No small task, but accomplishing it is a worthy resolution for all of us for the coming year!

Image: The Republican House leadership. Left to right: Eric Cantor, majority leader; John Boehner, speaker of the House; Kevin McCarthy, majority whip. DonkeyHotey CC 2.0

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  • I think that the country can no longer afford capitalism

    Posted by Ronald Humphrey, 01/18/2013 2:21pm (2 years ago)

  • Very good Sam, right on target, right on time. Happy New Year to all.
    We are reactivating the LBI Dems. after the holidays and we'll get to work being part of that coalition on this storm ravaged Island. Seems to be a lot more anger and militancy among many people who are still suffering, still waiting for help from the storm destruction.
    Love to all.
    Carole

    Posted by Carole Marks, 01/16/2013 11:58am (2 years ago)

  • The right wing is not even close to being done. Don't even think about celebrating.

    There are still more right wing talk show hosts on the air than liberal. The gun activists are more vocal now than ever. Corporate America can contribute all they want to political campaigns. Politicians on both sides of the aisle are trying to control the pension mess they have ignored for years, at the expense of the working class. Unions are constantly attacked.

    The right wing over? No way, no how. It just may be a sleeping giant ready to pounce on the work of the left. Party members better stay alert less we have a new form of Reaganomics.

    Posted by detectivetom, 01/16/2013 6:40am (2 years ago)

  • The capitalist system is the economic substratum of the "right-wing era". As long as the capitalist system prevails, the "right-wing era" will prevail. The Democratic and Republican Parties are both capitalist parties and form the two wings of the "right-wing era", with the Dems being the more intelligent and flexible wing and, therefore, being the wing from which some measure of social justice can be wrung. Nevertheless, until the victory of socialism, we will be living under one version of a "right-wing era" or another.

    Posted by John Whiskey, 01/15/2013 10:19pm (2 years ago)

  • Let us also remember an Animal is most dangerous when it is wounded.

    Posted by Redgrandad, 01/14/2013 11:31am (2 years ago)

  • Yes you and we did hurt the tiger in the jungle,it is not
    slain or near that .It will be suicidal to think of going to sleep or rest.It is not a visionary that is needed to tell us that we are now facing the animal's assault much more fierce.How are we going to face that now is the time to plan.The center of the strategy should be to take back the house majority in 2014.The article is brief but weldone.Ramakant

    Posted by Ramakant Sharma, 01/13/2013 9:31pm (2 years ago)

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