Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

September 25, 2013

Bill de Blasio and the left

Filed under: Counterpunch,New York,parliamentary cretinism,real estate,zionism — louisproyect @ 3:56 pm
Bill de Blasio: talks left, walks right
Counterpunch September 25, 2013
The Big Apple’s Obama?

De Blasio and the Left


On August 16th I wrote an article for my blog titled “A Dossier on Bill de Blasio”  that mentioned in passing his occasional appearance at NY Nicaragua Solidarity steering committee meetings nearly 25 years ago, something I likened to Obama’s overtures to antiwar activists on Chicago’s South Side—an investment that could pay future dividends. As de Blasio escalated up the electoral ramps in New York, he was careful to retain his liberal coloration even though he became an ally of Dov Hikind, a Brooklyn pol who once belonged to Meir Kahane’s terrorist Jewish Defense League.

When Hikind spearheaded a drive to force Brooklyn College to add a speaker reflecting Zionist policies to a meeting on BDS, de Blasio issued the following statement: “The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is inflammatory, dangerous and utterly out of step with the values of New Yorkers. An economic boycott represents a direct threat to the State of Israel–that’s something we need to oppose in all its forms. No one seriously interested in bringing peace, security and tolerance to the Middle East should be taken in by this event.”

Despite his anti-landlord rhetoric, he also endorsed Bruce Ratner’s downtown Brooklyn megaproject that ran roughshod over the local community’s needs. Originally based on a design by superstar architect Frank Gehry, the project so appalled novelist and Brooklynite Jonathan Lethem that he was inspired to write an open letter to Gehry calling the project “a nightmare for Brooklyn, one that, if built, would cause irreparable damage to the quality of our lives.”

There’s lots of excitement among liberals about the prospects of a de Blasio mayoralty. As might have been expected, the Nation Magazine endorsed him in the primary election as “reimagining the city in boldly progressive, egalitarian terms.” Peter Beinart, a New Republic editor who has gained some attention lately for veering slightly from the Zionist consensus, wrote an article for The Daily Beast titled “The Rise of the New New Left” that was even more breathless than the Nation editorial. Alluding to German sociologist Karl Mannheim’s theory of “political generations”, Beinart sees the de Blasio campaign as “an Occupy-inspired challenge to Clintonism.”

Most of Beinart’s article takes up the question of whether de Blasio’s momentum could unleash broader forces that would derail Hillary Clinton’s bid for the Democratic Party presidential nomination in 2016. Perhaps that analysis can only be supported if you ignore the fact that de Blasio was Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager when she ran for senator from New York in 2000. The NY Times reported on October 7, 2000: “At the White House, the president, Mrs. Clinton and her campaign team can often be found in the Map Room or the Family Theater, drilling for her debates, or fine-tuning lines in some speech.” One surmises that Bill de Blasio was there.

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  1. What do you make of the argument that the reason de Blasio supported Atlantic Yards was because Acorn supported it, and he followed their lead? They were wrong and duped of course, but it would put a very different spin on his motivation. The story was ironically dug up by his enemies to smear him: http://nypost.com/2013/09/24/acorn-sowed-seeds-for-de-blasio/

    Comment by Michael Pollak — September 25, 2013 @ 4:22 pm

  2. Good info on deBlasio and right on the money BUT…
    “I for one am anxious to see Bill de Blasio become the next mayor of New York as part of the long, difficult but necessary task of waking Americans up from the deep slumber that allows them to trust capitalist politicians to turn back the ever-increasingly cruel attack on their standard of living.”
    Has Obomba awakened the “progressives” in any such fashion? Now that the Messiah is safely re-elected, PDA (“Progressive Democrats of America”) poodles like Norman Solomon are allowed off their leash to criticize Obama and preserve their cred for the next sellout.

    Maybe LP thinks “the worse the better.”
    But look to Bangladesh to see how much immiseration humankind can endure without effective rebellion.

    Comment by John V. Walsh — September 25, 2013 @ 4:37 pm

  3. Michael, here’s what I make of that argument: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2012/07/bill-de-blasio-tries-to-court-business-mayoral-run.html

    Comment by louisproyect — September 25, 2013 @ 4:44 pm

  4. Re Comment No. 1 — Acorn was not “duped” — Acorn was well-paid to support Atlantic Yards.

    Comment by alan ginsberg — September 25, 2013 @ 4:44 pm

  5. I think your analysis is spot on, Louie. It’s too bad, though. It would be nice to have an old fashioned liberal as mayor once in a while.

    Comment by Kurt Hill — September 25, 2013 @ 8:43 pm

  6. Indeed, it’s sad how much progressives have been fawning over this guy (even if it was nice to see Quinnberg’s mayoral hopes go down in flames).

    Comment by JTG — September 26, 2013 @ 4:51 am

  7. de Blasio=Koch lite.

    Comment by JTG — September 26, 2013 @ 8:27 am

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