Thursday, 05 July 2018

California: How Far Left Can It Go?

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From the print edition of The New American:

A new generation of ultra-left ideologues backed by billionaire tech moguls is challenging the “old guard” Democrats in order to push an even more-extreme Marxist agenda.


California’s Democratic Party is undergoing a generational change that could push it even further to the left than it already is. How is that possible, you ask, without stepping off the Left Coast pier into the ocean? Well, a key sign that they are in the process of doing just that, metaphorically speaking, came this past February when the California Democratic Party’s annual convention refused to endorse veteran Senator Dianne Feinstein for reelection to a fifth term this November. The 85-year-old Feinstein, who has held her Senate seat since 1992, was challenged in the state’s June 5 primary by 51-year-old State Senator Kevin de León, a popular Democratic Party firebrand and Latino activist. (He was the author of the “sanctuary state” measure signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown.) The vote at the convention, 54 percent for de León over 37 percent for Feinstein, was a sharp rebuke of the state’s senior Democrat, even though de León fell short of the 60-percent threshold needed to receive the party’s endorsement. However, her name recognition and $10 million campaign chest proved too much for de León in the June 5 primary, and Feinstein won easily, taking 44.4 percent of the vote, to de León’s 11.8 percent.

But de León will be back for a matchup in November, thanks to California’s open “jungle” primary, which sends the top two vote-getters on to the general election, even if they are from the same party. The Feinstein-de León rematch will be California’s second U.S. Senate race between two “progressive” Democrats. In 2016, then-State Attorney General Kamala Harris defeated U.S. Representative Loretta Sanchez to become the state’s junior senator. De León has the backing of Tom Steyer, the hedge fund billionaire-turned-environmental activist, as well as a rising Latino population that has become increasingly active politically. So even though Feinstein is likely to win in November, she has already moved further to the left to placate the de Leon-Steyer wing of the party.

In the governor’s race to replace term-limited Jerry Brown, Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom came out on top in a crowded primary jungle of 27 candidates. Newsom, who gained national name recognition as the ultra-liberal mayor of San Francisco, will be facing Republican John Cox, a San Diego businessman, in November. Cox, virtually unknown a few months ago, was boosted into second place thanks to anger over the state’s new fuel tax hike, an endorsement from Donald Trump, and a crowded Democratic field. Newsom took 33.9 percent of the primary votes, to Cox’s 25.7 percent. With most of the rest of the vote split among Democrat candidates, it will take a miracle for Cox to win in November.

In addition to holding the governorship, the Democrats control all statewide elective offices (lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, treasurer, controller, and insurance commissioner), as well as both houses of the legislature. They lost a two-thirds supermajority in each house in late 2017 due to recall efforts and resignations over sexual scandals, but they still enjoy an advantage of 26 seats to 13 over Republicans in the State Senate and 53 seats to 25 in the State Assembly. As in the past couple recent elections, the Republican Party is not even fielding candidates for many of the state and congressional offices, essentially conceding them to be permanent Democrat property.

At the federal level, both U.S. Senate seats are held by Democrats: Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris. California’s delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives, the largest of all 50 states, has 53 members, with 39 Democrats (including minority leader Nancy Pelosi) and 14 Republicans (including majority leader Kevin McCarthy). But in their “Blue Wave” effort to retake the House of Representatives, the Democratic National Committee and the state party are targeting eight of those 14 GOP-held seats. Among the targeted congressional districts are four in Orange County, once a solid Republican stronghold. The 48th district is held now by Representative Dana Rohrabacher, who has earned a 78-percent rating on The New American’s Freedom Index. Another targeted district is the 45th, held by Representative Mimi Walters (Freedom Index rating 55 percent). The other two, the 39th and the 49th, are held, respectively, by Representatives Edward Royce (Freedom Index 71 percent) and Darrell Issa (Freedom Index 54 percent), both of whom are retiring.

The other California congressional seats the Democrats hope to flip are the 4th District, occupied by Tom McClintock (Freedom Index 85 percent); the 25th District, held by Steve Knight (Freedom Index 63 percent); the 10th District, held by Jeff Denham (Freedom Index 55 percent); and the 21st District, held by David Valadao (Freedom Index 46 percent).

The Trump presidency has energized a sustained “Blue resistance,” with hardcore demonstrators who relentlessly hound Republican congressmen every single day — at their homes, offices, public appearances, and on social media. A plethora of Democratic candidates, many of them newcomers, have jumped into the congressional races. This enthusiasm, which the Democrats are counting on to bring their voters to the polls, also has a downside for them. In these crowded races with multiple candidates, the Democrats risk knocking each other out. This may turn out to have been the case regarding former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who many expected to take second place behind Newsom in the governor’s race, but who was beaten by Republican upstart John Cox.

Photos at top show U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Sate Sen. Kevin de Leon: AP Images

This article appears in the July 9, 2018, issue of The New American. To download the issue and continue reading this story, or to subscribe, click here.

“Revolution in Stages”

California’s “Blue Wall” was not built overnight; it has been the labor of dec­ades. Rudi Dutschke, the Marxist leader of the 1960s German student movement, coined the phrase “the long march through the institutions” to indicate that Marxist-communist-socialist activists must adopt a long-term strategy of patient, gradual infiltration and co-option of all important institutions. Dutschke was a disciple of Italian communist theorist Antonio Gramsci, and his “long march” strategy is pure Gramsciism. Another Gramsci disciple (and friend of Dutschke) was German-American sociologist-political theorist Herbert Marcuse, who worked for the OSS-CIA before launching an influential academic career that included prestigious professorships at Harvard, Columbia, and Brandeis, and ended at the University of California San Diego. Marcuse, known as “the father of the New Left,” was a key figure who inspired many of the 1960s student radicals to move from first protesting the Vietnam War and joining the counterculture, to joining the more radical and violent Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), and then to adopting the “long march” Gramsci path, which involved boring into the institutions of the American capitalist society — politics, education, business, media — and capturing them to transform American society along socialist lines. Another of their comrades in this effort was Sidney Okun Lens, who coined the similar Gramscian term of “revolution in stages.” Lens (1912-1986), a member of the Communist League of America and editor of The Progressive, was an important transition figure from the Old Left communists of the 1930s-1950s to the New Left of the 1960s and beyond. In his autobiography, Unrepentant Radical (1980), Lens described “a revolution in stages” around issues that would “mobilize large numbers of Americans,” issues such as “government-sponsored jobs,” welfare, environmental concerns,  “public ownership” of banks and industries, etc. “These steps do not constitute a socialist program per se, but they are part of a socialist program, and they can be made acceptable to many millions of people.”

The Gramsci-Dutschke-Marcuse-Lens gradualist program was put into practice in California on a massive scale, as thousands of ’60s radicals transitioned from rioting and picketing institutions to infiltrating them and, eventually, running them. Hundreds of organizations, such as Tom Hayden’s Santa Monica-based Campaign for Economic Democracy and the San Francisco-based Foundation for National Progress (publisher of the radical Mother Jones magazine), funded by Hollywood glitterati and the big tax-exempt foundations (Ford, Rockefeller, Soros, MacArthur), seized on issues that could be used to advance “the revolution” stage by stage. A prime example of a 1960s radical who has carried out this Gramscian agenda in California is “elder statesman” John Burton, who stepped down in 2017 as chairman of the California Democratic Party. He became a member of the California State Assembly in 1965, serving until 1974, whereupon he was elected to the U.S. Congress for five terms, before returning to the State Assembly from 1988 to 1996. It was Burton, acting as outgoing party chairman at the California Democratic convention in 2017, who infamously (and on camera) delivered a profanity-laced, anti-Trump rant, and then led the assembled Democrats in flipping Trump the middle finger and chanting “F*** Donald Trump.” Elected Democratic officials onstage with Burton, including Representative Nancy Pelosi and Senator Kamala Harris, laughed and clapped, and some even joined in the vile antics.

The Revolution’s Ground Troops

The revolution that has turned the once-golden state into a blue sinkhole of socialist corruption is the handiwork of a broad coalition of radical interest groups: militant unions, environmentalists, LGBT activists, feminists, racial activists, social-justice activists, and welfare-rights activists, combined with shock troops composed of open members of various communist and socialist parties, such as the Revolutionary Communist Party, By Any Means Necessary, Workers World Party, Democratic Socialists of America, and the Communist Party USA.

Without a doubt, one of the biggest players in driving California leftward over the past few decades has been the California Teachers Association (CTA), one of the state’s most militant and well-funded unions. It is far and away the biggest lobby and spends the most on political elections. From January 1, 2000 to June 30, 2013, the CTA spent a jaw-dropping $290,614,400 on lobbying and political campaigns. Nobody else came close. The CTA’s massive cash infusions were nearly six times the amount contributed by the California Chamber of Commerce ($51,291,230.65) over the same period. Immediately below the CTA, in second place, is another union, the California State Council of Service Employees (the state affiliate of the Service Employees International Union), which threw in $136,791,567.37 during the same period. Also among the top lobbies/donors is California School Employees Association/AFL-CIO (CSEA), which boasts it is “the largest classified school employees labor union in the United States.” The CSEA chipped in $49,347,917.60 over the same period. These teacher and school employee unions, including the California Federation of Teachers, provide a large army of activist foot soldiers for political campaigns, as well. But perhaps their most important role in “the long march through the institutions” and the “revolution in stages” is in brainwashing millions of students. Yes, we did say “brainwashing”; and so did Governor “Moonbeam” Jerry Brown. During his whirlwind, jet-setting tour through Europe last year preaching the gospel of global warming, Brown declared: “We need a total, I might say, brainwashing. We need to wash our brains out and see a very different kind of world.” Two years earlier, in Paris, Governor Brown told delegates to the United Nations conference on Climate Change to “never underestimate the coercive power of the central state in the service of good.” “You can be sure California is going to keep innovating, keep regulating, shall I say, keep taxing,” the celebrity governor told the receptive audience. Brainwashing. Coercion. Regulation. Taxation. That’s how the former “Golden State” is being destroyed.

Photo: AP Images

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