At a recent appearance at an Obama Foundation Town Hall in Berlin, former US president Barack Obama expressed concerns that American progressives are too fixated on purity and too unwilling to work within the existing system to solve problems.
“One of the things I do worry about sometimes among progressives in the United States – maybe it’s true here as well – is a certain kind of rigidity where we say, ‘Uh, I’m sorry, this is how it’s going to be,’ and then we start sometimes creating what’s called a ‘circular firing squad,’ where you start shooting at your allies because one of them has strayed from purity on the issues. And when that happens, typically the overall effort and movement weakens,” Obama said.
Yes, the warmongering oligarch crony is deeply worried that people who aren’t warmongering oligarch cronies are too mean to warmongering oligarch cronies. As the Democratic Party presidential primary heats up we are hearing more and more people voicing deep, solemn concerns that the party’s progressive base doesn’t always obey the dictates of its leadership, and is in fact sometimes quite rude about it. Even Bernie Sanders has issued a stern, much-publicized warning to his followers that he condemns “bullying and harassment of any kind and in any space” toward supporters of his right-wing opponents.
Of course, this grave concern about rank-and-file progressives saying mean things about Joe Biden on the internet ignores the way the so-called “centrist” leadership of the party has been bullying and attacking its left wing for decades. Only through the lens of the most determined mental gymnastics can you look at the way the mainstream establishment dominates public narratives, rigs its own primaries, ignores and undermines dissidents, and bashes everyone who refuses to fall in line while strangling all Americans to death with exploitative neoliberalism, and conclude that it’s the “Bernie bros” who are the bullies.
Obama’s “circular firing squad” comment is the part of this speech that is drawing the most criticism, for understandable reasons, but it was actually part of a much longer and even more noxious appeal to the strategy of making compromises within the system to effect change. He cited his own efforts in the Paris climate accord as an example of what working within the system and making compromises can accomplish,