Dissing Progressives, DNC Platform Backs Fracking, TPP, and Israeli Occupation

By Lauren McCauley, staff writer | ( Commondreams.org ) | – –

Appointees by Clinton and Wasserman Schulz resoundingly reject numerous proposals put forth by Sanders surrogates.

Despite its claims to want to unify voters ahead of November’s election, the Democratic party appears to be pushing for an agenda that critics say ignores basic progressive policies, “staying true” to their Corporate donors above all else.

During a 9-hour meeting in St. Louis, Missouri on Friday, members of the DNC’s platform drafting committee voted down a number of measures proposed by Bernie Sanders surrogates that would have come out against the contentious Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), fracking, and the Israeli occupation of Palestine. At the same time, proposals to support a carbon tax, Single Payer healthcare, and a $15 minimum wage tied to inflation were also disregarded.

In a statement, Sanders said he was “disappointed and dismayed” that representatives of Hillary Clinton and DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schulz rejected the proposal on trade put forth by Sanders appointee Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), despite the fact that the presumed nominee has herself come out against the 12-nation deal.

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“Inexplicable” was how Sanders described the move, adding: “It is hard for me to understand why Secretary Clinton’s delegates won’t stand behind Secretary Clinton’s positions in the party’s platform.”

The panel also rejected amendments suggested by 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben, another Sanders pick, that would have imposed a carbon tax, declared a national moratorium on fracking as well as new fossil fuel drilling leases on federal lands and waters.

“This is not a political problem of the sort that we are used to dealing with,” McKibben stated during the marathon debate. “Most political problems yield well to the formula that we’ve kept adopting on thing after thing—compromise, we’ll go halfway, we’ll get part of this done. That’s because most political problems are really between different groups of people. They’re between industry and environmentalists. That is not the case here.”

“Former U.S. Representative Howard Berman, American Federation of State, County, and Muncipal Employees executive assistant to the president, Paul Booth, former White House Energy and Climate Change Policy director Carol Browner, Ohio State Representative Alicia Reece, former State Department official Wendy Sherman, and Center for American Progress President Neera Tanden all raised their hands to prevent a moratorium from becoming a part of the platform,” noted Shadowproof‘s Kevin Gosztola.

According to Gosztola’s reporting on the exchange, Dr. Cornel West lambasted the aforementioned panel members, particularly Browner, for “endorsing reform incrementalism” in the face of an urgent planetary crisis.

“When you’re on the edge of the abyss or when you’re on that stove, to use the language of Malcolm X, you don’t use the language of incrementalism. It hurts, and the species is hurting,” West said.

Other progressive policies were adopted piecemeal, such as the $15 minimum wage, which the committee accepted but without the amendment put forth by Ellison that would have indexed the wage to inflation.

The panel did vote unanimously to back a proposal to abolish the death penalty and adopted language calling for breaking up too-big-to-fail banks and enacting a modern-day Glass-Steagall Act—measures that Sanders said he was “pleased” about.

According to AP, the final discussion “centered on the Israel-Palestinian conflict.”

“The committee defeated an amendment by Sanders supporter James Zogby that would have called for providing Palestinians with ‘an end to occupation and illegal settlements’ and urged an international effort to rebuild Gaza,” AP reports, measures which Zogby said Sanders helped craft.

Instead, AP reports, the adopted draft “advocates working toward a ‘two-state solution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict’ that guarantees Israel’s security with recognized borders ‘and provides the Palestinians with independence, sovereignty, and dignity.'”

Citing these “moral failures” of the platform draft, West abstained during the final vote to send the document to review by the full Platform Committee next month in Orlando, Florida.

“If we can’t say a word about TPP, if we can’t talk about Medicare-for-All explicitly, if they greatest prophetic voice dealing with pending ecologically catastrophe can hardly win a vote, and if we can’t even acknowledge occupation… it seems there is no way in good conscience I can say, ‘Take it to the next stage,'” West declared before the assembly.

“I wasn’t raised like that,” he said. “I have to abstain. I have no other moral option, it would be a violation of my own limited sense of moral integrity and spiritual conscience,” adding, “That’s how I roll.”

Via Commondreams.org

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License


Related video added by Juan Cole:

The Electronic Intifada: ” Highlights: Democratic Platform Committee debate on Middle East”

15 Responses

  1. “Betraying Progressives….” An interesting headline in the original CommonDreams blogpost. Dr. Cole thoughtfully brings the rhetoric down a few degrees with “Dissing” and not “Betraying”. Even more accurate would be “Ignoring”. But really, what could be expected?
    The “official” Democratic Party leadership is thoroughly corrupt.
    IMHO, it would be best if the Bernie 5 simply refused to attend DNC Platform meetings, met on their own and released a People’s Democratic Party Platform.

  2. More evidence that Hillary Clinton is the best Republican in the 2016 election. Assume Wasserman Schulz will be the VP selection.

  3. I have gone back and forth on Cornel West a bit, over the years, yet “good on him” is what I have to say for this one.

    Cornel is correct, if Hillary’s chosen reps all vote pretty much straight corporate line on fracking and TPP (I _know_ they won’t bend on Israel/Palestine), they won’t even bother to try to find a glimmer of hopeful wording for all of us grass-roots who’ve been pushing this stuff (and more!) for years, that is truly a poor development that reduces my enthusiasm for Hillary.

    And I am one of the few people around, I guess, who tends to like her as a person most of the time.

    • Hillary supported TPP until the current campaign when she has pretended in her very lawyerly parsing way to have doubts about it “as written”. If all her surrogates support TPP, that means she supports TPP as well, her two faced deceitful pretense to the contrary notwithstanding.

  4. It seems that Hillary, like Trump, does not want to appeal to electors. The USA already has the lowest voting turnout of developed countries, but here, what choice is there between the “big two”? Let alone the future of us all on planet earth!!

    “Israel’s security with recognized borders” would be a miracle, since the “borders” keep expanding.
    ” Palestinians with independence, sovereignty, and dignity.” would also be a miracle, with hugely armed and unwilling -to -compromise Israel right next door and all around the “Palestinian State”.

  5. They are doing everything they can to turn off the progressive independents and thus offer the presidency to the Donald

  6. I guess that’s the final nail in the coffin for me. I’m going to write in Bernie Sanders for president come Nov. If enough of us do it, that T P Barnum wannabe Trump will win. After a disastrous 4 years (I’m counting on Dems and independents to blunt the worst of Trump) maybe the country will elect someone like Sanders. kind of like Carter after Nixon or Obama after Bush. If Clinton is elected I’ll guarantee you nothing will change. More wars, more Wall St., big Pharm.,ect.
    You name it, big everything. The only thing Clinton will respond to is a threat from Sanders to run a third party challenge. Then watch those bastards change their tune

    • If Sanders tried to run third party at this point, he would do so poorly the Clintonites would just laugh. Whereas if umpteen million SanderVoters all wrote Sanders in on the Democratic line of the ballot (or whatever method exists), it “might” deny Clinton enough votes so as to get Trump elected. If that happened, the System could not pretend the SanderVoters did not exist.

      The most effective vote against Clinton would be a vote for Trump. But Trump has problems of its own and I can’t see many SanderVoters voting for Trump. Clinton would have to be so obviously screamingly worse than Trump that the average SanderVoter would become terrified of a President Clinton in order for Trump to get any SanderVoter votes.

  7. Now is a fantastic time for a third or third and fourth parties to enter the elections. Time to jolt and bolt both parties

    • This is already occurring.

      The Libertarian Party presidential nominee, Gary Johnson, a former state governor, has been polling at between 5% and 12% – in prior U.S. presidential elections the Libertarian nominee has been lucky to come anywhere near !5 of the nationwide vote. Political experts have opined that disgust with the GOP have been a factor in these unusually high polling numbers and, further, the perception that Johnson is a credible candidate.

      The U.S. Green Party has long had a commitment to including on its national platform to “serious reconsideration of the establishment of a single state from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River” for both Arabs and Jews.

      The U.S. Green Party has been registering at between 2% to 5% in presidential polling this cycle.

      These two minor parties are expected to make unprecedented gains in votes received in the 2016 presidential election this November over previous elections.

  8. I wish someone would have educated Mr. West on how voting works in a parliamentary system. His “abstention” was meaningless by definition. When voting in a committee or subcommittee, an abstention means “not voting”, and does not mean “voting no.” So if there are 18 people and 10 vote yes and 8 abstain, the vote passes “unanimously” with no “no” votes registered for the record. Only a “no” vote makes a record of opposition to the measure. Therefore West’s abstention actually says as a practical matter, “I can live with whatever the others want to do. I don’t disagree with the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ sides.” It is a member’s “duty” to vote yes or no, and not to abstain, but since the rules can’t force a person to vote yes or no, abstentions are always allowed as indicating “present but not voting.” Here Cornel West refused to live up to his duty and vote “no.” How sad that even a University Professor has not been taught the meaning of voting within the parliamentary systems that we have in the U.S.A.

  9. There is nothing surprising here, despite the click-baiting headline of progressives being “dissed” . The Berners got much of what they wanted including: death penalty abolition, a $15 minimum wage, calls for breaking up too-big-to-fail banks, and the “modern-day Glass-Steagall Act”.

    They didn’t get some things that directly contradict Obama administration policies such as: opposition to the TPP, dumping the new and hard fought Affordable Car Act in favor of single-payer, and an absolute moratorium on fracking. The last one is especially unrealistic as only nuke-centric France has such a complete ban in place.

    It’s disappointing not to see a carbon tax. That’s good public policy and might not be a big electoral liability – especially if offset by reductions in other taxes. It’s also disappointing not to see a more balanced approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but that’s nothing new. On both of these, the GOP perspective is worse.

    Running a big tent party means having to make some compromises that don’t leave everybody happy, including me. Mature people in a democracy understand that they can’t get everything they want. However, if far left purists can only inhabit a world of absolutes and doctrinaire purity, then so be it. Self-righteous blowhards like Cornell West can stay home, or write in Bernie, or vote Green, or vote Trump or whatever the heck they want to do. The choice between the two candidates with any chance to win is so stark that the stray votes of a few dead-enders is unlikely to make the difference.

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