Saturday, June 15, 2024

Powerful endorsement for Jamaal Bowman from Naomi Klein in Daily News Op Ed

I just contributed another $100 to Bowman as a way to ward off the millions Aipac is tossing into this campaign. AIPAC money is openly racist, being used to remove non-white progressives from Congress. They even tossed in money to defeat that black policeman who was a hero on Jan. 6 for no other reason than he was black (he had no record on Israel or any really controversial issue.)

There is so much over the top dishonesty in the ads. Bowman's vote against the Biden bills joined others who were promised the bills wouldn't be split. Yet they were. (I won't go into the ugly details over Biden admin broken promises.)

I will admit I would like to have seen Bowman, as probably the only public school reality-based educator in Congress spend more time focusing on education issues and their root causes. More clarity on the chain of testing- closing schools - promotion of charters. Use his bully pulpit in the anti ed deform cause.

Naomi Klein brings it all together. 


America needs brave leaders like Jamaal Bowman
By NAOMI KLEIN    June 9, 2024 at 5:00 a.m.


Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., listens to fellow speakers before President Joe Biden speaks 
on the debt limit during an event at SUNY Westchester Community College, May 10, 2023, in Valhalla, N.Y.

When I first met Jamaal Bowman in 2019, he was a longshot challenger running against a 30-year incumbent in Congress. At the time, the Green New Deal was considered a scary, lefty idea, and I was struck by how unapologetically this Bronx middle school principal laid out the case for both its sweeping vision and its real-world pragmatism.

Bowman had a rare gift for connecting the dots between the right to a habitable planet for all children and the right of local kids to have safe drinking water flowing in their school’s fountains.

Voters elected Bowman in a landslide in 2020 to fight for this vision. And by working together with the millions of people who have taken democracy into their own hands in the years since the shock of the 2016 election, leaders like Bowman have made the Green New Deal mainstream.

Not just as an idea, but as law . Pushing through the largest ever investment in climate and clean energy infrastructure through the Inflation Reduction Act, which, however imperfect, has opened the door for further visionary policy to become reality. Bowman then played a key role in helping pass that kind of policy with his support for New York’s, hailed as the first state-level Green New Deal program.

Bold and effective policies pose a threat to entrenched economic interests, which is why Bowman is facing a fierce primary challenge. By any measure, George Latimer is the type of corporate-backed politician that progressives have sought to replace ever since Democrats failed to defeat Trump’s pseudo-populism in 2016.

Latimer is heavily by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a rightwing lobby group tightly aligned with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as with Donald Trump (the vast majority of AIPAC’s top donors to these Democratic primary challengers are Republican supporting billionaires).

Yet Latimer knows better than to attack the Green New Deal directly. He  “Green New Deal style” projects. And while his reality-bending slogan, “results not rhetoric,” tries to pit vision and victory against each other, his own messaging betrays the truth. If Jamaal Bowman’s visionary message is such an obstacle to concrete victories, why is George Latimer mimicking it?

Last fall, shortly after the introduction of the congressional resolution for a ceasefire in Gaza, I met Congressman Bowman again, as part of a delegation of Jewish anti-war organizers. While representatives in much safer seats still feared speaking out against Netanyahu’s U.S.-backed bloodshed, Bowman did not hesitate to lead once again, knowing full well that AIPAC would likely launch the most expensive congressional primary ever against him in retaliation.

Again, the public quickly joined Bowman.  of Americans, Democrats, and of American Jews now support a ceasefire.  in Bowman’s Bronx and Westchester district, do too.

History tells us that this is the power of bold leadership. From visionary civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King and Ella Baker, to courageous union leaders like Shawn Fain today, it is this coupling of vision with on the ground strategy that bends the arc of history towards justice.

It is worth remembering that in 2020, Joe Biden’s MAGA-beating message was not “Build Back the Same” but, thanks to progressive pressure, to “Build Back Better.” To the extent that any of his promises made it through the blockade erected by Joe Manchin and other so-called moderates, it was thanks to combined the work of mass movements who demanded more, and political leaders like Bowman, who channeled the people’s voice into the halls of power.

That power is what the far right most fears. That’s why they fund attack ads attempting to cast Bowman’s strategy on climate and infrastructure as ineffective by simply omitting that strategy has yielded.

Procrastination is not pragmatic, not when it comes to climate, or when it comes to peace. Without brave leadership that acknowledges the need for change, those suffering will turn to whoever does offer visionary answers. The far right. “Make America Great Again” is a hellish vision. But it is a vision. And when we cede vision to the far right, the far right seizes power.

So, we must stand for brave political leadership that can, has, and will turn a shared moral vision into concrete victory. The kind of vision so powerful, the far right will spend $20 million in a single primary election to kick it out of Washington.

Klein is an associate professor of climate justice at the University of British Columbia and bestselling author of “Doppelganger: A Trip into the Mirror World.”



Julie W. said...

Thanks for this. Footnote: I’m in a Mondaire district, and when his campaign called for money (interrupting my nap, which I value as much as Norm does his rice pudding), I told them I was pretty furious about Mondaire’s new endorsement of Lawler, Mondaire’s GOP adversary that we HAVE to get rid of in northern Westchester. We have to work hard to keep the progressive movement in the mix. $$ yes, but I just bought a new “Feel the Bern” tee-shirt to replace the worn-out one I’ve been wearing a few years. And 5 other messaging tee-shirts of various kinds to jump-start citizen interaction on every checkout line I’m on til Nov. 6th.

Bronx ATR said...

I used to feel somewhat favorably towards Jamal Bowman, but I don’t anymore. I’ve watched him in action and I’ve listened to him. There’s a couple of things that should be mentioned. Firstly, his claims of racism against Lattimer. I believe those claims are totally unfounded and ironic, as I have also heard him say things that strongly indicate his own racism. Additionally, saying that he’s for public school education while coming from a charter school is contradictory, at best. He also had that questionable episode where he pulled a fire alarm and claimed ignorance - that might’ve been truthful had it not been for his own experience as a principal, teacher and dean. I do not support him. I believe George Latimer is a better choice. We should look at the character of the candidate over skin color - I find many of my friends and acquaintances (mostly White) are apt to vote for the Black or Hispanic regardless of their aptitude for the job and this often seems like a reflex action - and I understand that because there’s been such systemic racism in this country. Always a great blog, Norm

ed notes online said...

I think you have it wrong on some issues. Bowman did not create a charter school. It was public. He joined us in the anti testing movement which took guts for a principal. He lined up totally with the people fighting the ed deform.
On racism - I have heard Lattimer tropes like claiming Bowman only won because black people were sent ballots -- fundamental Trumpism.
Also the main money coming is from Republicans who want every progressive voice -- almost all people of color -- out of congresss. See Summmer Lee in Pittsburg who fought AIPAC off. AIPAC is the dangerous right wing group taking over the Dem party with loads of money. I have problems with Bowman but we can't let AIPAC knock off one of the few voices that offer a progressive program.