Does America Need a Left? An Introduction
If America had a viable Left, we wouldn’t be witnessing the systematic dismantling of the advances of the New Deal, which sought to protect the poor, the working class, and the middle class from the worst consequences of the capitalist marketplace.
Ever since the decline of the social movements that surged up in the 1960s and early 1970s, America’s ruling elites have been engaged in an overt class war against the middle and working class of American society. Those elites have used the threat of moving their investments overseas to disempower the labor movement, scare voters into accepting reduced taxes on corporations and the rich, and curtail environmental protections. They have done so in the name of preserving jobs, even as manufacturing jobs have declined and workers have increasingly been forced into lower-income service sector jobs or into unemployment. Meanwhile, the two-party political system has increasingly been dominated by the wealthy, so that the Democratic Party of the second decade of the twenty-first century often embraces the economic agenda of Wall Street and the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans (a recent example being the budget deal of December 2013 that cuts off unemployment benefits for over a million people and reduces food subsidies and other supports for the poor, including many who are working but underpaid).