Tuesday, July 31, 2018

School Scope: When Political Labels Don’t Quite Fit - Norm in The WAVE

Submitted for print publication August 3, 2018 at www.rockawave.com

School Scope: When Political Labels Don’t Quite Fit
By Norm Scott

I’ve been called a leftist, a socialist, a pro-capitalist, a commie, a liberal, libertarian, a progressive, a Democrat and a general nuisance. About the only label I have not worn is that of a Republican or a right winger. Right now the overall term being used for the left is “progressive” as opposed to more centrist people. But there are so many nuances to these terms which I don’t have room for this week. That de Blasio, not exactly one of my faves, and I would be viewed as fellow “progressives” makes me squeamish.

It is funny, but I often find it easier to talk to people on the right than some of my fellow progressives. Like I don’t think I could have a conversation with the mayor or even Obama that would make me comfortable. But really, what do people mean when they use the term “left” when the NY Times gets that label from the right while being mocked as centrist and a tool of capitalists by many on the left? Confusion reigns.

This column recently has been addressing the various divides in the Democratic Party between so-called progressives and centrists while also using this space to try to sort out the many facets of the “left.”

On the surface, people view liberals as being the left when in fact the anti-capitalist left is as critical of liberals as is the right.

Since socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeated Joe Crowley in the Democratic primary for his congressional seat the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) have been getting a lot of notice. Her victory has gotten enormous nation-wide attention as the shock of someone declaring themselves a socialist and winning is reverberating around the political world. In the 1930s and 40s there were actually people getting elected who were socialists. Then came the Red Scare of the late 40s and 50s and even changes in election rules to more firmly entrench the two-party system which has left so many of us having to hold our noses when we have such limited options. Fundamental political reform is needed.

Take the election for governor. I despise Cuomo who is leading by 30 points over Cynthia Nixon. Do I love her? No, though she is one of the few people running for anything who has been a firm supporter of real education reform, while so many others run for the hills when faced with exposing the scams of education reform. Nixon was one of the few to support Ocasio-Cortez and since she won has also declared herself a member of DSA. DSA/NYC has endorsed her and her running mate for Lt. Governor, Jumaane Williams, city councilman representing East Flatbush, Flatbush, Flatlands, Marine Park and Midwood. Recently he was caught up in a campaign donation snafu where Glenwood Masonry gave him donations exceeding the legal limit. Duhhhh! I’m shocked. I don’t hold that against him since I pretty much expect all politicians to engage in fuzzy fund-raising. From what I’ve seen he lands on the side I favor most of the time. And my friends in his district like him.

Neither of them will beat Cuomo and Nixon’s recent praise for Bloomberg, who ran public housing into the ground and helped set up the homeless crisis while undermining public education, is disconcerting, I’m voting for Nixon/Williams because the higher vote totals they get the better the chance to keep the god-awful Cuomo tacking left, even if it’s phony.

Unknown Zephyr Teachout’s 37% the last time Cuomo ran was a shock, so even if you know you can’t win, so getting a decent opposition vote can be worthwhile.

Norm has so much to say about politics and education (and other stuff) he is going to ask editor Mark Healey for an entire edition of The WAVE to spew his venom. While Mark is mulling this over Norm can be found spewing at https://ednotesonline.blogspot.com.

1 comment:

  1. It is true that many folks on the left on social issues are capitalists. Some of the biggest and richest, BTW. That is not a contradiction here in the US. To a Marxist-type, of course, it is impossible [or at least baffling to behold] to be on the left socially and to be a capitalist.

    Here in the US, we're all (essentially) capitalist in our economic outlook and practice.

    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others who self-identify as Democratic Socialists will be the gifts that keep on giving to the Republicans. In the same manner that a national socialist, despite a thousand nuances and explanations, would be a gift that keeps on giving to the Democrats.


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