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Developments in The Authoritarian Left

Developments in The Authoritarian Left

As 2024 lurches onward, I think it's important that we maintain a certain degree of watchfulness toward the Democrats even while we gear up for their eventual demise in November. This is a subject I have always tried to wash my hands of, but it's impossible to leave my stance at "both sides are bad and should go away" when they will not go away, and they will continue wrecking shit. We know that Trump is bad–horrible, in fact–but we can't let one boogeyman permit us to accept another. The Democrats have been saying and doing some truly awful things, and they fully intend to capitalize on our fear of the far-right to let these things be forgotten. So today, let's remind ourselves of some of what the ostensible left is getting up to.

The Ongoing Genocide in Gaza

More than 28,000 people have been killed in Gaza since the start of the so-called war. Developments of late in the massacre include Israeli snipers actively shooting into the Nasser Medical Complex, where at least one staff member was shot while inside the building; a young girl, having been trapped in her family's car with her dead parents after being shot at by the IOF, was found dead along with paramedics who had been sent to rescue her; and, lastly, Israeli forces began a massive bombardment campaign of Rafah–which started conveniently during the Super Bowl. Rafah, a city on the border with Egypt, is temporary home to 1.4 million Palestinians ordered there from throughout Gaza by Israeli forces. They live in horrible conditions with very little aid, and there is nowhere for them to go. 70% of structures in Gaza have been damaged or destroyed, and Gazans have been continually pushed south until there was no further south to flee. Bombardment and ground incursions continue.

The United States is still funding the genocide in Gaza. Calls for a ceasefire from amidst the federal government are few and far between. The Washington Post reports that, as of two weeks ago, Biden's "sharpest rebuke yet" of Netanyahu and his bid to level Gaza was to say that it was "over the top." To say this as clearly as possible: Joe Biden, President of the United States of America, continues to materially support the genocide of Palestinians in Gaza at the hands of Israel. This is not a debate–there is no room for conjecture or counterpoint here. Israel is conducting a genocide, and the US is funding and arming Israel. Therefore, the US is supporting a genocide. This should be reason enough for every US citizen to renounce their support for the Democratic party and Biden. But there's more.

Throttling of Free Speech and the Specter of McCarthyism

In late January, Nancy Pelosi, perhaps sad no one had mentioned her by name in a minute, stated in an interview that she suspected that at least some calls for a ceasefire in Gaza originated from activists planted by Vladimir Putin. She said that such calls played right into his hands. She stated that the funding of such activists was suspect, and that she "want[ed] the FBI to investigate that." That's troubling, yeah? I'm troubled by that. Remember this for in a minute, when I drop more troubling news that's not quite related but close enough.

Of all places, as previously discussed, US college campuses have clamped down on the speech of Palestinian student organizations and protests in favor of a ceasefire. The Florida State University system chancellor, Ray Rodrigues, spoke with Governor DeSantis and deactivated Students for Justice in Palestine chapters across the state. Universities have always been a disappointment when it comes to advocating for free speech, but this an intentional limitation meant to make sure university systems are able to maintain their proper cash flow.

And not that Democrats are responsible for this, but there have been very disturbing developments in Georgia surrounding Cop City. You may recall that a number of protesters were charged under RICO, and a smaller number of them were charged under RICO after having been charged with money-laundering for organizing bail funds for protesters. Georgia legislators have now, in one swoop, expanded charges that require cash bail for release and criminalized (or at least severely limited) the use of bail funds. The bill limits individuals and organizations to three cash bonds a year. Organizations and mutual aid groups that work to provide bail are regularly helping dozens of protesters at a time. This is truly disconcerting.

While it's true that the latter of these news items isn't due to the Dems, taken together this is a really worrying trend against free speech–particularly protest speech, and still more particularly protests critical of Israel. If the legislation in Georgia catches like most awful state legislation does, we'll soon see states across the country make the threat of jail much more potent against activists. Where Nancy Pelosi's red scare hunt may fail, the practical implications of effectively forbidding solidarity-propped bail funds and the increasing antagonism against such mutual aid could have a drastic chilling effect.

Biden and the Border

For months, up until recently, Biden and the Democrats have been trying to pass funding legislation for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. When it became clear that not even aid to Israel was likely to get passed through Congress, Biden dangled what should have been an irresistible carrot in front of Republicans: they would tie the funding legislation with a bill for revamped border security. This border bill is straight from the dreams of the GOP–all it lacks is automated guard towers that double as charter schools. It tightens asylum restrictions, mandates detention for any migrant crossing outside of legal ports of entry pending any claims of asylum, and removes those whose claims are denied.

Perhaps the bill's most eye-catching item is a new emergency power granted to the Department of Homeland Security, allowing them to shut down the border if too many migrants are attempting to cross the border. If the Border Patrol sees, on average, 5,000 migrants per day for a week? The border closes. If 8,500 are seen in a single day? The border closes. The bill, thankfully, has a sort of pressure valve built into it–this emergency closure can only be used 270 days in the first year. That's not so bad, right? It would have just closed the border nearly three-quarters of the year. Definitely not something they would try to max out or anything.

Since Republicans are gonna republican, this bill was recently shot down. In lieu of it, however, Biden's administration is weighing some executive orders to enact some of the dead legislation's powers. (Funnily enough, the war and genocide funding went through on its 0wn.) So despite having gotten what he wanted, Biden is going to mean mug and "get tough" on the border so he can pretend he out-Trumps Trump. Meanwhile, migrants, knowing all this, are still traveling to the United States in hopes of a better life, knowing they will likely be met with razor wire, with vigilantes, with men on horses with whips, living in camps where they can be extorted or kidnapped, exposed to the elements, and ultimately sent back after being exposed to this inhuman process.

Against all this rhetoric around the border, against everything we've seen people face in trying to cross, no one mentions bettering their experience–making the ports more hospitable, more humane. The only possible nod toward making any of this easier is that the deflated border bill would have increased funding for more hires in DHS and Border Patrol–and that's seeing things with some thick rose-colored glasses.

And there you have it. That's the alternative to Trump, of late. An increasingly authoritarian, pro-genocide, anti-immigration party that will throw away your money for a massacre but can't be arsed to you forgive student loans. You can say a lot about how Trump is worse than Biden, and I'll admit he's plenty scary. But when American bombs are being dropped on children who have been starved for months, I'm not too worried about our fear.