U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made national headlines for what the media is calling “slamming moderates” and “railing against” capitalism. Ocasio-Cortez spoke at the technology, art, and film festival, South by Southwest, on Saturday where she was quoted saying that “capitalism is irredeemable.” As a red anti-capitalist women’s organization located in Austin, we could not ignore the splash this charlatan has made in the media here in our own front yard at a festival that is a major engine of gentrification.
Ocasio-Cortez is a Democratic U.S. representative who, in the tradition of pseudo-left opportunism, calls herself a “democratic socialist.” She attempts to capture the hearts and minds of the working people who are truly fed up with the ruling class’ dirty dealings and abuse. Much like Trump, she touches upon the economic and social insecurities of the working people. While seeming to shoot straight from the hip, she proposes cryptic solutions that all lead back down the same old tired road we all have been traveling on for so long.
We would like to analyze the substance of her speech that has so much of the bourgeois media in a dither. At one point she states, “When we talk about ideas like democratic socialism, it means putting democracy and society first, instead of capital first; it doesn’t mean that the actual concept of capitalistic society should be abolished.”
Out of one side of her mouth, she argues for a socialist system that puts people before profit while out of the other side she tells the toiling and fed up masses that capitalism should not be abandoned. It is unconscionable that one can marry the “concept” or practice of capitalism and socialism with one another as they are irreconcilable with one another. Socialism is only achieved by smashing the capitalist state and building a thoroughly worker-run state with new institutions and a radically different form of government. This new state will suppress the exploiting classes in the interest of eventually doing away with class society and the state itself toward the goal of communism. It is thoroughly internationalist and anti-imperialist. Capitalism is the system of private ownership of the few with the social production of the many. It is fundamentally exploitative in order for private profit to be accumulated. At home and abroad it must deprive the working class of political power and autonomy by means of low-intensity ideological warfare and outright war on the workers, by enslaving, brutalizing, and terrorizing the working class into submission. This is the only way capitalism can exist. These two modes of production and rule can not peacefully coexist with one another. When you get past the populist buzzwords and posturing to take a deeper look at the “democractic-socialist” positions, it becomes acutely apparent that what they want it is not democratic nor socialist in essence.
The political position of Social-Democracy is to continue capitalism as a mode of production while seizing largest corporations from their private owners; using bureaucracy to corporatize the state. Therefore, rather than the ruling class using the state as an apparatus of their rule, the state itself becomes the dominant faction of the ruling class, and the workers remain oppressed and exploited. The corporate state is then free to unabashedly accrue victims for profit with no illusions of checks and balances, let alone democracy. With all of their talk about free healthcare, free education, etc. what they are asking the working class to do is trust that once they become our new CEOs, they will “share the profits” of their devious exploits. In reality, only a privileged sect of workers will benefit at the expense of the majority of the workers, creating a labor aristocracy. What Ocasio-Cortez and the Social Democrats argue for is not socialism at all, it is social-fascism.
The most dangerous characteristic of Casio-Cortez is her ability to parrot the very real needs of the desperate worker and redirect their righteous anger and revolutionary energy into an even more caustic incarnation of capitalism. Like a true bourgeois politician, she won her seat with a classic bait and switch. She campaigned on a platform of abolishing ICE, but when it was time to cast her vote, she, along with over 200 other Democrats, voted to continue the funding for the immigration enforcement agencies including ICE and Border Patrol.
Often invoking identity politics and charisma, she makes desperate attempts to appeal to the worker as a fresh new face of change. There is no doubt Ocasio-Cortez will be seen by some as a progressive, strong woman. We know that real revolutionary women face harsh repression and criminalization. While we working women were locked in battle with cops and organized fascists to march on International Working Women’s Day, Ocasio-Cortez was prancing around in high heels wining and dining with the bourgeoisie of Austin.
As a partisan organization which seeks to immerse itself in class struggle for the liberation and vindication of working women, we must always present an honest and sober analysis of the working class condition and the path to revolution. We do not blur the lines between capitalism, social fascism, and socialism. We firmly oppose the bastardization and perversion of the fundamental philosophy, history, and principles of socialism. Social democratic types and other varieties of opportunists charge us with idealism and naivete—as they simply refuse to speak of a world without capitalism. But it is they who suffer from delusions of grandeur as they make the foolhardy assertion that socialism can exist devoid of its most essential parts. It’s like a mechanic trying to convince you that your car can run without an engine. It’s utterly ridiculous.
The working class craves liberation from class society but we will not achieve it unless we make a clean break with opportunisms like Social Democracy. Ocasio-Cortez and those like her have no place in the worker’s struggle and they should be greeted with nothing but utter disgust and hostility by working people.