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No Honeymoon for Biden - Jeff Cohen

No Honeymoon for Biden is telling progressives you have to learn the lessons of history. Previous Democratic administrations have not delivered on promises made, and there should be maximum pressure put on Biden right away, says Jeff Cohen of RootsAction.org on theAnalysis.news with Paul Jay.

Transcript

Paul Jay

Hi, I’m Paul Jay, and welcome to theAnalysis.news and please don’t forget the donate button at the top of the webpage.

 

The online activist organization Roots Action is dedicated, they say, to galvanizing people who are committed to economic fairness, equal rights for all civil liberties, environmental protection, and defunding endless wars. They’ve grown to hundreds of thousands of members who sign petitions and advocate for progressive change. Their latest campaign is “No Honeymoon for President Biden”. Here’s a video they recently launched.

Excerpt from Roots Action video.

Various speakers: There must be no honeymoon for Joe Biden. There must be no honeymoon for Joe Biden. Joe Biden, there’s no honeymoon. No honeymoon. There must be no honeymoon for Joe Biden because starting on day one, you and I and everybody else have got to mobilize and organize and put maximum pressure on the Biden administration. We should have learned a lesson from the Obama-Biden years believing that they were going to be under a lot of pressure. So we should back off. It was the worst possible thing that we could have ever done.

 

Now joining us is the co-founder of Roots Action, Jeff Cohen. He’s a media critic, a columnist, a documentary filmmaker, retired journalism professor, and he founded the media watch group FAIR in 1986. For years he was a regular pundit on CNN, FOX, MSNBC, and he’s also the author of the book Cable News Confidential: My Misadventures in Corporate Media. Thanks for joining us, Jeff.

Jeff Cohen

Nice to be with you.

Paul Jay

So Jeff, talk about why this slogan about No Honeymoon for President Biden, and then what does it mean?

Jeff Cohen

Well, what we have done is looked at modern Democratic Party history. And you had Bill Clinton got into office in 1992. He wins the election. The Democrats have the Senate and the House. Instead of delivering for working-class people, middle-class people, and the poor what we get from Clinton is vacillation, hesitation, corporatism, NAFTA – the North American Free Trade Agreement – which warmed the hearts of corporations and disoriented environmentalists and labor activists. Jump forward to President Obama.

 

He wins what in modern terms was something of a landslide in November 2008. He’s got a Democratic Senate, a Democratic House. There’s hesitation. There’s vacillation. There’s a bailout of Wall Street, but not a bailout of Main Street through a foreclosure freeze that would have saved middle-class and working-class people’s homes. And, of course, the foreclosure year of 2009 disproportionately hit Latino and Black households. So again, both times, the Democrats, two years after taking the White House, the Senate, and the House, lose the Senate and the House, the Republicans come storming back because of the vacillation, the hesitation, the corporatism of first President Clinton, and then President Obama.

 

So No Honeymoon for Biden is telling progressives you have to learn the lessons of history. We worked our asses off to defeat Trump. RootsAction.org did a big social media campaign that everyone saw #VoteTrumpOut in swing states and ‘Then Challenge Biden’. Well, now it’s time to challenge Biden. If progressives ease off and they go to sleep and think, oh, we got rid of Trump, we got a Democrat in there, it’s going to be a couple of years of vacillation, hesitation, corporatism and a right-wing Republican will be storming back into power, and believe me, the next Republican candidate for president will have learned the playbook from Trump, the faux populism.

 

There will be a new threat slicker, smarter than Trump. That will only happen if the Democrats do not deliver big changes for poor working-class and middle-class people.

Paul Jay

So what do you make of it so far, the Biden administration, in terms of appointments, announcements, it’s kind of a mixed bag. What’s your take?

Jeff Cohen

It’s a mixed bag, but it would have been worse if not for us and other activist groups. We know that. I mean, we worked at RootsAction and Code Pink and World Beyond War. We raised hell about Michele Flournoy. All the reports said she was going to be the secretary of defense. Some good reporting was done at The New York Times and elsewhere. And Biden skipped over Flournoy. A bunch of environmental groups were yelling when it looked like Biden was going to nominate Ernest Moniz again as the secretary of energy – he’d played that role for Obama, he’s tied to the nuclear power industry, to oil, gas – and thankfully, Team Biden moved around Moniz and they chose instead as the secretary of energy, Jennifer Granholm, the former governor of Michigan who was pressed in 2016 during Standing Rock.

 

Do you stand with the protesters or not? And she said, yeah, we have to explain to people that we’re going to have to keep oil and gas in the ground. So because of the activism, the Biden team is not quite as bad as it would be. And because of the activism. Biden knows why he won. It wasn’t because they spent tens of millions of dollars trying to persuade moderate Republicans. And of course, after Reagan, Bush, Gingrich, Bush, Trump, I don’t know if there are 28 moderate Republicans left in the world, but tens of millions of dollars were spent on those ads.

 

But I think Biden is smart enough to know that it was because of progressive energy and activism, people of color activism and energy, youth activism and energy, is the reason they won Georgia, the reason they won Arizona, the reason they won Wisconsin. RootsAction.org we were big in Arizona and Wisconsin and all the other progressive groups. So I mean, because of our energy there are more executive orders we could go through one by one, there’s less there than meets the eye on some of these executive orders.

 

We could itemize. But there’s no doubt that it’s because of the progressive upsurge that the Biden administration is doing more than they would have done. And our goal at No Honeymoon for Biden and people can go to nohoneymoon.org or #nohoneymoon. There’s no doubt in our mind that we are trying to save Biden from himself.

Paul Jay

Your group I’m familiar with and you are one of the, I have to say, few groups that is also concerned with foreign policy, war and peace issues. A lot of the progressive side is so focused on domestic issues, they barely pay attention unless a war is actually breaking out somewhere.

 

So where do you rate Biden’s foreign policy appointments, the kind of messaging that’s coming out? Where do you think? Is it another Obama administration, as many as these appointments are, or is there is a possibility for something more than that?

Jeff Cohen

Well, on the economic and environmental side, clearly, and it’s largely popular pressure from below, Team Biden is better than Team Obama. There’s no doubt about that. On foreign policy it’s problematic. I mean, we had some victories. Flournoy is not there as secretary of defense. There was a lot of screaming. Code Pink deserves credit over Mike Morell, an apologist for torture, who is going to be the head of the CIA. And instead, Team Biden chose this diplomat, William Burns.

 

That’s a win. But frankly, the secretary of state is Tony Blinken. He’s been the foreign policy adviser for Biden. He was involved in the Iraq invasion, involved in the Libya meddling. He’s problematic. They’ve nominated Victoria Nuland to be undersecretary. We know about her very damaging role. I mean, she was Cheney’s deputy national security adviser, 2003 to 2005. Then she joins the Obama administration and she’s involved in the shenanigans in Ukraine where the U.S. – we know this from the “fuck the EU” phone call that that was hacked – where Victoria Nuland and the U.S. Ambassador are deciding who should be running Ukraine. So there are some problematic people.

Paul Jay

How do you explain her appointment? She is such a flag for going back to the most hawkish kind of policy. It seems like a very deliberate message, but who do they want to send such a message to?

Jeff Cohen

Well, they want to polarize with Russia and Victoria Nuland for that job couldn’t be better. They want to show they’re tough on Russia. And Trump was too soft on Russia.

 

They also want to polarize with China. And I mean, there’s this fascinating headline in Politico. This is from a few days ago: “White House shifts from Middle East quagmires to a showdown with China” and the subhead, “President Biden’s foreign policy team is reorienting its priorities around rising powers in Asia, hoping to move on from the forever wars of the last two decades.” Now, I think it’s wishful thinking that they’re going to end the forever wars. That’s what at No Honeymoon we’re pushing for, but it’s almost like Orwell’s 1984. That we have to have an enemy. And if you’re going to move away from the Middle East, you have to have an enemy. In 1984, Oceania had the enemy of Eurasia. And then as soon as Eurasia was no longer the enemy, it was replaced by East Asia. But there had to be a foreign enemy for the public to loathe, fear, and hate. And so this Politico headline is brilliant.

 

But yeah, why would they choose Victoria Nuland? I think they want to polarize. It’s great for the military-industrial complex to always have an enemy.

Paul Jay

I also think that it’s sort of a payback to the neocons that supported Biden and opposed Trump.

Jeff Cohen

Could be. I mean, there were a lot of neocon never Trump-ers. I don’t think they delivered any votes. This is what I was saying earlier, that you had all of these ads aimed at Republicans. We know from exit polls how heavily Republicans stuck with Trump. There was a little attrition in some of the suburbs, but what really beat Trump was grassroots activism, people of color activism, getting the vote out, young people holding their nose, even though they were Bernie fanatics, and voting for Biden.

 

So, yeah, it could well be that. I mean, I’ve often wonder what’s in Biden’s head. And not only Biden, some of the smarter, younger people around Biden, they know that the left is seething over some of these appointments and yet they feel the need to do them. I mean, Vilsack on the domestic front, as I say, but Team Biden is better than Team Obama, but Vilsack was a horrible secretary of agriculture under Obama, with big agriculture, with GMOs, and right up until he gets nominated by Biden to be the secretary of agriculture again.

 

He’s taking a million dollars a year for the dairy export lobby. So there’s some of these. But the one that really rankles is Neera Tanden. Neera Tanden is the head of the Center for American Progress. She raised tens of millions of dollars from wealthy individuals linked to Big Tech, Wall Street. She’s a big corporate fundraiser. They raised money from United Arab Emirates. That’s what Neera Tanden is at this corporate liberal think tank, Center for American Progress. But online, she’s known as the biggest Bernie basher with all her Twitter wars with people that are in the Bernie Sanders movement.

 

And they made her director of Office of Management and Budget, which has a huge role in regulatory processes where we’d be pushing on her to regulate – certainly better than the Obama team did – to regulate Big Tech, regulate Wall Street. She’d be in that role. And so that’s another one that rankles.

Paul Jay

Let’s go back to foreign policy, because there are two things that Biden promised that are, to me, glimmers of hope that this administration will be on one score, at least as good as Obama, and on another score, maybe a little better. And that’s, first of all, going back to the Iran agreement if they really do, and two Yemen. Biden pledged to withdraw support for the Saudi war in Yemen. Where are we at on that? What’s it looking like on both of those?

Jeff Cohen

Well, at No Honeymoon, at Roots Action, we’re trying to get Congress, progressive members of Congress to reintroduce the War Powers Resolution, which already passed. And then in 2019, Trump vetoed it out of an allegiance to Saudi Arabia, even greater than the Democratic Party, allegiance to Saudi Arabia. So we know that this thing can pass. And Biden, as you say, has pledged to sign it. It would be historic if the U.S. could end support for military aggression, and it would be historic if Congress could use the War Powers Act and stop something.

 

So that’s a high priority for us. Iran. I sit and watch all of the hearings. And on foreign policy, it’s stunning because all of these nominees have been waved through, including Tony Blinken as secretary of state. Sometimes the Republican senators will ask tough questions. “Will you be tough on China? Will you be tough enough on Iran?” You know, that’s what passes for a hearing on foreign policy. The Democrats have no criticism to make and the Republicans are often critical, aside from Rand Paul, who is a nut, but he was great in interrogating Tony Blinken. When are you going to end these stupid wars?

 

But otherwise, it’s the Republicans being to the right and some of them voted against Blinken and all the Democrats voted for Tony Blinken. Blinken is the guy we should remember that Joe Biden, probably more than any other Democrat, played a key role in ushering in the Iraq invasion in 2003. And Biden was the head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Tony Blinken was the staff director of that committee.

 

And they had hearings in the summer of 2002 that were sham hearings. They refused to put U.N. weapons inspector, that would say they are not a weapons of mass destruction threat. There were peace groups lobbying them. Put on a full hearing. Let’s have a real debate before our country invades Iraq. And Tony Blinken, as the foreign policy aide to Biden was responsible for those sham hearings. So you’re right and you raise something important. A lot of progressive groups don’t talk about foreign policy.

 

Bernie Sanders didn’t talk about foreign policy until Roots Action and other groups were lobbying him in 2016/2015. You’ve got to talk about foreign policy.

Paul Jay

When Sanders and Biden created those working groups, there actually wasn’t a working group on foreign policy.

Jeff Cohen

Exactly. And that’s a problem, a lot of the progressive groups never talk about foreign policy. We do. Code Pink does. World Beyond War does. And we try to get some of the other groups to partner with us. Sometimes they’ll do it, but we have to take the lead and the insanity there is the Bernie Sanders agenda. Or any progressive Democratic agenda cannot go through unless you one, tax the rich, and two, slash the military budget, there’s just not enough money otherwise.

 

So, you know, talking about foreign policy means you’re talking about the other 96% of humanity on the planet that are not U.S. citizens. But it also means if you talk about foreign policy, the endless wars, the 800 bases in so many countries around the world. If you can cut that down, there would be a way to pay for all of the things we want, like canceling student debt, Covid relief, all the economic expansion we need, the Green New Deal, Medicare for All. These are costly things. And most of our discretionary budget goes to the military. Even progressive groups, and Bernie’s gotten better over the years, foreign policy is an afterthought, but that’s where the money goes. And the good news is that Bernie in the Senate and Mark Pocan and others in the House, I think Barbara Lee and AOC were there. They had this bill to cut 10 percent of the military budget.

 

And devote that 10 percent, that’s about $74 billion, devote that to health, education, housing, in working-class communities. In other words, it was a pure social justice bill, how could you be against that? Well, in the Senate, half of the Democrats voted for it and half of the Democrats voted with all the Republicans to protect Trump’s military budget. This was last year. In the House and in the Senate, I should say, Schumer and Durbin, the leadership was with Bernie. They wanted 10 percent of the military budget cut. In the House, Pelosi, Hoyer, and Clyburn – the House leadership – they were against the progressive resolution to take 10 percent of the military budget and invest it in the U.S. working class.

Paul Jay

Hang on I hadn’t followed that. Schumer supported Sanders’ position. Boy, he’s really afraid of getting primaried by AOC.

Jeff Cohen

Yeah. Well, I keep hearing primaried by AOC. Something’s gotten into Schumer because the distance between Schumer and Sanders has shrunk. And Schumer is much more progressive than Pelosi today and has been for at least a year, which is a high jump over a low hurdle. But yeah, in the House, the House leadership was against it, and most House Democrats voted with all of the House Republicans to preserve Trump’s budget without cutting a dollar.

 

That’s coming up again. That’s going to be a major fight for No Honeymoon for Rootsaction.org. We hope to get progressive groups that don’t normally do foreign policy to talk about cutting the military budget. If you don’t do that, you can’t pay for a lot of this stuff. Obviously we need a Wall Street transaction tax. That would pay for cancelling all student debt over a period of ten years of a transaction tax. We need a wealth tax. We need to raise the capital gains tax.

 

We need to take back all of these tax cuts to the rich. But we still need to cut the military budget because that’s huge. I mean, if you throw in nukes and the Department of Energy’s nukes, it’s over a trillion dollars every year.

Paul Jay

Now, we’re in a kind of a weird moment where Wall Street has decided that they actually don’t care how big the deficit gets. I was listening on Bloomberg the other day. Somebody from a bank is saying $1.9 trillion that Biden is proposing is actually too small. It should be about double that three, four trillion.

 

We’re at a kind of an odd moment. It’s like Wall Street are born again modern monetary theorists. I mean, they’re only going to be that for a while. The austerity hawks will return someday. But right now, it’s not even about whether there’s money or not money because they don’t seem to have any compunction of just creating trillions of more dollars. So it’s a unique moment that Biden’s in. You have a recognition, at least in words of the existential threat of climate crisis.

 

You’ve got the pandemic which has pushed sections of the working class into poverty that never thought they would be there. Unemployment at rates no one thought would be there. And we’re still nowhere near out of this thing. The vaccination is rolling out so slowly. The economic crisis is going to get deeper. It has freaked out Wall Street. It is somewhat like a 1930s kind of scenario where there is the possibility that enough sections of capital will see the need for a really big stimulus and maybe even get some of the climate.

 

Now, I guess what I’m saying is it’s actually a good time for progressives to be pushing Biden because it’s a freaky moment.

Jeff Cohen

There’s no doubt. I mean, we have this window of opportunity. Part of it is that there are sectors of capital that are not as ferocious as they were during the Clinton and Obama years. And you know running things and putting a clampdown on things. And the left, I should say, is stronger, better-organized, better-network, better- funded than it was in the past. So I love looking at history because think about it. Capitalism, with the financial crisis of 2007-2008 crashed. Obama had a near landslide, he won Indiana, he won North Carolina, they had a real opportunity to do things.

 

Many progressives that had worked for Obama to defeat Clinton sort of went into deep sleep. And Obama dithered and he vacillated and he hesitated. He was so intent on getting a few Republican senators to join him that he whittled down his own stimulus. That, as you say, mainstream economists were saying even back then in 2009, you need a stimulus of this amount. And Obama was just negotiating downward before he was even at the negotiating table because of his need for bipartisanship or to appear bipartisan.

Paul Jay

This is where I think it is a different moment here. I mean, I don’t think it was just he had some emotional need for bipartisanship. Wall Street wanted to use the Republicans and bipartisanship to slow down, restrict, any progressive instinct the Obama administration might have. And I don’t think they had much progressive instinct. But we’re in this different moment now where Wall Street actually is very pro stimulus.

Jeff Cohen

Yeah, I’m not arguing with you that Wall Street may be in a different place, but let’s not forget that Obama, there were 60 Democrats in the Senate. You know, Obama had a massive majority in the House. So if he wanted to be Franklin Roosevelt and fight the economic royalists, he could have done a lot.

Paul Jay

And he didn’t want to.

Jeff Cohen

Of course not. He appointed. You know, you and I have discussed this in the past. He appointed all these Wall Streeters to run his economic team. We know that. I love history. I mean, when we think about the failures of progressives in 2009 that they weren’t loud enough. And, you know, we’re getting pushback from liberals. Give Biden a chance. He’s only been in there a week, 10 days.

 

What are you guys doing? We worked so hard to defeat Trump. I mean, we’re learning from history. The left can’t go to sleep. Progressive activism cannot stop. I think of the 30s. I think of the two times in our history when there was really legislative transformation forward for the U.S. public and the working class. In the 1930s, in the 1960s. In the 1930s, Roosevelt was not elected on a progressive platform. But during the first two years of Roosevelt, there was a general strike in San Francisco led by the longshore workers, a general strike in Minneapolis led by the Teamsters.

 

By the end of his first term, Roosevelt’s, workers are seizing factories. Sit-down strikes doesn’t really capture the militancy that socialists and labor movements were in the streets raising hell and that certainly propelled the New Deal from below. And you could jump forward to the 1960s, which was the other period of real step forward for the public. Civil rights bill, Voting Rights Act, Great Society, War on Poverty. And I think back at how the Kennedys tried to manage King, Martin Luther King, and SNCC, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

 

And it was always, you’re going too fast. You’ve got to give us more time. And we know from the surveillance the FBI did of King, that hell no, we’re not going to put off the March on Washington. They had an attitude that we’re organizing from below. We’re not going to make strategy with you guys in the White House. Certainly the workers in the 30s didn’t do that. But the problem we have in Washington today is you have a lot of leaders of the labor movement, leaders of the big environmental groups, leaders of the civil rights groups.

 

Their leadership sort of is a revolving door inside the Democratic Party and then out again. And these left of center pressure groups are very different than right-wing pressure groups. They sort of they seem to be happy if they can get a meeting at the White House.

Paul Jay

I used to meet with labor leaders. I got to know a few of them. They would be so excited to have tea with a staff member in the White House. They’d come back all excited.

Jeff Cohen

And that’s where some of the Beltway left is. Now Roots Action and No Honeymoon.org we don’t give a damn. No one’s going to hire me or Norman Solomon in the White House. We don’t want access. We want action. So we see ourselves as trying to do what the working class and socialist movements in the 30s did, what the civil rights movements in the 60s did. They didn’t make peace with the White House. They pushed the White House. And that’s the mentality we’re trying to instill in progressive activists.

Paul Jay

We’re in a real critical moment now. I think the whole Biden administration, whether they’re going to really accomplish anything, is going to be settled in these next few weeks. Personally, I think, number one, the Department of Justice has to charge Trump and others in Congress with sedition and treason. What they did was a criminal offense. It’s not just about some impeachment. Number two, they have to govern as if the Republican Party doesn’t practically exist.

 

The filibuster rule has to be changed. They have to use budget reconciliation. I’ve been saying in some of these interviews, I’ve been doing if Biden’s administration, if Biden himself is not accused by the Republicans of being an autocrat, the way FDR was accused of being an autocrat, then it means Biden is not living up to this moment whatsoever. And not that I’m so hopefully he will, but I agree with you, with the pressure, maybe.

 

But right now is such a critical moment because I can actually see this impeachment thing in the Senate being another dead end, as it was previously.

Jeff Cohen

Yeah, I’m not optimistic about the Justice Department going after Republicans, you know, first edition. But on that second point, I believe that’s where the game is. Are they going to do what Obama did and fish around for a couple Republicans and water down what the working class needs by half to get a Republican or two votes? Or are you going to use budget reconciliation, which Bernie’s the head of the chair of the Senate Budget Committee?

 

Are you going to use budget reconciliation, which gives you an expedited timeline and you only need 50 votes? Schumer, to his credit, has been moving in that direction. If you watch as much cable news as me, they’re running video of Schumer in 2009 saying, no, we’re going to be working with the Republicans, we’re going to forge bipartisan. And today, Schumer saying something very different. The issue is, will Biden listen to Bernie?

 

Will Biden listen to Schumer? Will Biden listen to the grassroots? And if he does, through budget reconciliation, working-class people could get these benefits in their lives such that even Trump voters will say, wow, the Democrats delivered. I mean, there’s a reason that Roosevelt was elected and re-elected and re-elected is because they delivered for working-class people of all colors. And if Biden can deliver by using budget reconciliation, remember that in 2001 and 2003, Bush cut taxes on the rich by using budget reconciliation. It wasn’t bipartisanship. In 2017, Trump gives his tax giveaways to the rich through budget reconciliation, and every interview that Bernie gives, because he’s now chairman Bernie, and he gets on mainstream TV a lot now, he’s pointing that out that. We’re not going to listen to Republicans demanding unity and bipartisanship and reach across the aisle when it was the same Republicans who used budget reconciliation measures in order to give all these tax breaks to the rich in two different eras in modern U.S. history.

Paul Jay

I do want to just correct you excuse me for using that language about Chuck Schumer. I don’t think he’s a born again progressive. I think going back to there’s this weird, interesting moment on Wall Street right now where – because I listen to Bloomberg Radio–

Jeff Cohen

I’m not saying…

Paul Jay

Yeah I know. I’m teasing you.

Jeff Cohen

Right. I’m saying even, even Schumer.

Paul Jay

Well I think it’s more interesting than that in the sense that Schumer represents a whole section of Wall Street, as does this guy who’s the head of the Council of Economic Advisors. What’s his name again? Brian Deese. He’s a Blackrock guy, you know, which is the biggest asset management company in the world. They’re in the mood for this kind of stimulus now. And I actually saw another Bloomberg interview where a Wall Street guy was saying we don’t mind that the Democrats control the Senate. In fact, it wouldn’t be bad if they had more control, because right now you need more cohesive government to roll out these stimulus plans. And I think Schumer is a good representative of where that section of capital is.

Jeff Cohen

Yeah, I think you’re right. Believe me, I have a lot of trust in Bernie, who, you know, I’ve known since his first term in Congress. I don’t have any faith in Schumer, but it’s fascinating what Schumer has been doing lately, which is placing himself shoulder to shoulder with Bernie and think about this other issue that’s very big for NoHoneymoon.org is canceling student debt, federally held student debt. Schumer is working with Warren and keeps demanding, and he tweeted a few days ago, they want Biden to cancel up to $50,000 per person of those persons that hold federal student debt.

 

That can be done by executive order because there already is the legislation, the Higher Education Act of 1965, and Schumer is pushing for it. That would be an incredible stimulus that the Republicans couldn’t shrink if you canceled student debt. So there’s some fascinating things happening. But our single message in NoHoneymoon.org #nohoneymoon Roots Action is this is the time to put our pedal to the metal. This is not the time to ease off.

 

Oh, he’s only had two weeks. No, that’s the wrong approach. We know from history that stimulus that Obama did was too small. Economists said it was too small. The economy didn’t jump back to the way it would have if there was a real full stimulus and Democrats got punished for it in the 2010 election. Either Biden will deliver and as you say, the next few weeks are the most important. Either Biden will deliver. And if you deliver something in a few weeks, over the next months or year, people will feel what you’ve done, cancelling student debt, raising the minimum wage, a real stimulus, putting people to work with green jobs.

 

If you do these things in the first term, the Democrats will gain in 2022 instead of what’s happened with the last two Democratic presidents who vacillated, hesitated, and corporatized, which is the right-wing came storming back.

Paul Jay

I think as the stimulus package gets more detail and we know more about it, the big fights going to be, is it really going to create some ongoing support for working families, not just one- time payments? Because, as I say, the financial sector – to a large extent – is all for a big stimulus. So the size of it is less in dispute. But the devil is going to be in the detail because what the Republicans, I think, are really afraid of when it comes to the stimulus, because it’s not the size, it’s not the deficit.

 

Nobody cares right now about the deficit. There’s zero fear of inflation. What they Republicans are concerned about is they don’t want workers to get used to weekly checks, especially if those weekly checks are for more money than they were getting when they were working. It’s about the disciplining of the working class.

Jeff Cohen

No doubt that and I mean at NoHoneymoon we’re going to be pushing this proposal from Ilhan Omar. It’s already got 50 co-sponsors in the House, for checks every month until the pandemic’s over. And believe me with the variants this pandemic is not over and will not be over soon. Bernie Sanders has got a plan for Medicare for All, you know, guaranteed health care during the pandemic. That’s a good step toward Medicare for All.

 

The good news, and I’ve been in the left since I was a teenager a few years ago. We never had these kinds of allies in the Senate or the House. We didn’t have open socialists in the Senate, in the House, we didn’t have people pushing who saw themselves allied with social movements like AOC does, Bernie Sanders does, Rasheeda Tlaib does, Ilhan Omar, Cori Bush newly elected from St. Louis, Jamal Bowman, recently elected from Bronx, Yonkers.

 

The social movements are stronger than they’ve been in a few decades. And we have some real allies who want to see the resources of our wealthy society for the first time since decades and decades ago, that the resources go to the working-class, the middle-class, and the poor, and not to the top one percent. So, I’m optimistic about where we are. Unfortunately, a lot of this is on the shoulders of Joe Biden, who, you know, talks to the corporate donor class.

 

He wants to make friends with Republicans. And on the other hand, he’s getting a good push from people on the left. We cannot back off. Bill Fletcher Jr., who I know you’re familiar with, was a senior staffer at the AFL-CIO, a lifelong labor and racial justice activist. He said when Obama and Biden were elected there are people on the left that said they’re going to face so much harassment from the right wing, we should ease off.

 

And Fletcher says that’s the worst thing anyone could have ever done then and especially now. So, I mean, we’ve learned from history the job of progressive grassroots is to raise hell, make demands, demand the full policies that will actually address the needs of the planet and the needs of the U.S. working class, both. Working class of all colors. And we make the demands, we keep making the demands. Thankfully, we have representatives in the House and Senate who are ready to push some bills like cutting the military, and a monthly check during the period of the pandemic.

 

So we have a good alignment of forces, but this is the time for progressive activists to get active. I encourage your viewers to go to NoHoneymoon.org and volunteer. We’ve got thousands of volunteers who understand you can’t let Biden be Biden. You have to save Biden from his corporate or bipartisan instincts.

Paul Jay

All right. Thanks very much for joining us, Jeff. Thank you. And thank you for joining us on theAnalysis.news, and please don’t forget the donate button at the top of the webpage.

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