It's no longer possible to rely 100% on ads to keep our organization going. If you believe in why Films For Action exists, we hope you'll become a supporter on Patreon. A monthly donation of $1, $3, $5 or more per month will really help!
What Does It Mean to Be an American Liberal Today?
Liberalism is “an ideology rooted in a nation founded upon imperial conquest and rabid capitalist exploitation.” Its main proponent is in the Democratic Party, which “has become the engine of US imperial rule.” Hillary Clinton is a twin of Barack Obama. “While Obama intensified imperial war, austerity, and domestic repression, liberal supporters sat on the sidelines and watched.” Liberals wage fake wars on Republicans and real wars on the world.
What Does It Mean to Be an American Liberal Today?
By Danny Haiphong / blackagendareport.com
Jun 8, 2016

An American liberal is the arbiter of a more effective politics of exploitation and oppression.”

If anything, the 2016 elections have exposed the steep descent into bankruptcy of liberal politics in the US. The concluding years of the 1970s began a right-wing, authoritarian process in the US that grew from the roots of a capitalist economic base in decline. Historians and left academics framed this process not as a sign of decline but as a right-wing backlash. The term neo-liberalism was created to describe the backlash. However, "neo-liberalism" was less new than it was an exposure of what has always been true about American liberalism. American liberalism has always been an ideology created by and for the interests of the American capitalist empire, regardless of the period.

To be a liberal in America has meant being a participant in the highest form of opportunism. Liberals have historically championed the freedoms of American capitalist society and defended developments like the enslavement of Africans as a necessary evil. Once these evils become unmanageable, liberals jump ship and look to support more palatable forms of exploitation. For example, during the Civil War, many American liberals did not oppose slavery. It wasn't until the combined force of African rebellion and industrial capitalist development dug the slave-ocracy's grave that many liberals warmed to the idea of abolition.

“It was the bankrupt liberal leadership of the labor movement that collaborated with President Roosevelt to "stabilize" capitalism.”

During the Great Depression, US capitalism was on the verge of collapse. A recovery in the system seemed nowhere in sight. Socialists played a key role in organizing unions across industries to strengthen the position of the working class in this time of crisis. It was the bankrupt liberal leadership of the labor movement that collaborated with President Roosevelt to "stabilize" capitalism. This leadership proceeded to settle for legislative gains and purge socialist elements. And so began the labor movement's descent into the back pockets of the Democratic Party.

American liberalism has thus historically been able to fester and thrive in the US political landscape in periods of reforms in the capitalist order. The transition from chattel slavery to industrial capital, and subsequently from industrial capital to the so-called age of social welfare, gave American liberals political space to adjust their bourgeois principles to fit the needs of the time. In the current period of capitalist decline, this is no longer possible. The rule of capital has reached its highest stage and it must eliminate all that stands in its way of unfettered profit accumulation.

This period of capitalism has stripped liberalism naked of its supposedly "progressive" veneer. US capitalism has no room for welfare politics. The system's rate of profit is falling and its corporate debt is mounting. Finance capital has speculated the economic base of US society into a hole it cannot crawl out of. It is under these conditions that liberalism has revealed itself for what it really is: an ideology rooted in a nation founded upon imperial conquest and rabid capitalist exploitation.

“Finance capital has speculated the economic base of US society into a hole it cannot crawl out of.”

In the US, the home base for liberal politics resides historically in the Democratic Party. During the height of anti-communist hysteria and Black liberation insurgency in the mid 20th century, the Democratic Party was compelled to promote itself as a force of progress. To this day, the Democratic Party takes credit for Civil Rights reforms and anti-poverty programs that were pressured into existence by grassroots movements. However, the wheels of reform have reversed. No longer able to deceive the masses with crumbs, the Democratic Party has become the engine of US imperial rule.

Liberals have been instrumental in this political shift. The Obama era has been the quintessential example of what liberal bankruptcy looks like in the age of neo-liberal, capitalist decline. While Obama intensified imperial war, austerity, and domestic repression, liberal supporters sat on the sidelines and watched. In some cases, liberal forces cheered on Obama's policies (like the intervention in Libya) and decried Republican "obstructionism" as the primary reason for why social conditions continued to worsen under his rule. Yet these same liberals refused to acknowledge that it was Obama who sidestepped a Democratic Party majority in the House and Senate in 2009 and 2010 to push through the corporate Affordable Care Act and dash any hopes of universal healthcare being instituted in the US in the near future. 

“While Sanders is no revolutionary force, his brand of liberalism is now outmoded by the world capitalist system that he seeks to manage.”

The case of Bernie Sanders in particular and the 2016 elections have broadly exposed the Democratic Party and its bourgeois liberal base for the agents of Empire they've always been. Hillary Clinton and her supporters have tirelessly attacked Sanders throughout the duration of his campaign. The reason for the attacks is simple. While Sanders is no revolutionary force, his brand of liberalism is now outmoded by the world capitalist system that he seeks to manage. Finance capital cannot back a candidate that calls for universal healthcare, affordable public university, or higher taxation of the rich. These policy proposals run in contradistinction to neo-liberal capital's need to turn everything into a profitable market to ensure its survival.

When one asks what an American liberal is today, it is important to be honest. An American liberal is the arbiter of a more effective politics of exploitation and oppression. The American liberal supports the Democratic Party by waging a fake war with the Republicans while the entire establishment moves ever more rightward. The American liberal is no less an enemy of social progress than the right-wing, Republican oriented populace. The American liberal must be combated or its ideological stranglehold over emergent movements now and in the future will continue to lead them astray.

Danny Haiphong is an Asian activist and political analyst in the Boston area. He can be reached at wakeupriseup1990@gmail.com.
4.2 ·
2
Featured Films
The Staging Post: Courageous People Never Give Up! (2017)
61 min The Staging Post follows two Afghan Hazara refugees, Muzafar and Khadim. Stuck in Indonesia after Australia 'stopped the boats' and facing many years in limbo, they built a community and started the school which inspired a refugee education revolution. A real-life...
Inhabit: A Permaculture Perspective (2015)
92 min Humanity is more than ever threatened by its own actions; we hear a lot about the need to minimize footprints and to reduce our impact. But what if our footprints were beneficial? What if we could meet human needs while increasing the health and well-being of our...
Within Reach (2013)
87 min Within Reach explores one couple's pedal-powered search for a place to call home. Mandy and Ryan gave up their jobs, cars, and traditional houses to 'bike-pack' 6500 miles around the USA seeking sustainable community. Rather than looking in a traditional neighborhood, they...
Schooling the World (2010)
66 min If you wanted to change an ancient culture in a generation, how would you do it? You would change the way it educates its children. The U.S. Government knew this in the 19th century when it forced Native American children into government boarding schools. Today, volunteers...
Fall and Winter (2013)
102 min This stunning film takes you on a hypnotic journey, reaching to the past to understand the origins of the catastrophic environmental transitions we now face. Over two years, director Matt Anderson traveled 16,000 miles to document firsthand our modern industrial world and the...
The Economics of Happiness (2011)
65 min Economic globalization has led to a massive expansion in the scale and power of big business and banking. It has also worsened nearly every problem we face: fundamentalism and ethnic conflict; climate chaos and species extinction; financial instability and unemployment. There...
Trending Today


Love Films For Action? Become a Patron!

Our Patreon campaign is now live! We hope you'll be among the first to support this new direction for Films For Action. The goal is to go 100% ad-free by next year and become 100% member supported. A monthly pledge of just $1 -5 per month x a few thousand awesome people will ensure we can continue our work and grow our impact across the world. Click here to join.

Join us on Facebook
What Does It Mean to Be an American Liberal Today?