(Hi Hills, corporate interests callin, u there? xxx)
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced on Sunday that she is indeed running for President, after almost three years of intense speculation and growing grassroots support. It’s unclear whether any other possible contender will come close to the level of anticipation and support she has received. Very unclear indeed, given that Hillary’s probable Democratic opponents are the likes of Lincoln Chafee and Jim Webb. Never heard of them? Join the club. It’s easy to wonder why the Democrats would even bother holding a convention next July, because for all intents and purposes, she’s the nominee.
Putting aside the deranged cries of “Benghazi Benghazi!!” and sexist pseudo-scandals, Clinton’s history of racist, imperialist white feminism, bloodthirsty warmongering, and shady corporate handshakes should make progressives everywhere recoil in horror. Yet she is readily being embraced by the left as the best person for the job. If this is the best we have to offer, progressivism in the U.S. may die a silent, painful death.
This blogpost is an attempt to urge the left to reject Clinton in favour of a candidate who does not engage in the sort of exploitative, anti-liberty, war-profiteering that she has built her career upon.
Relations with special interests.
Clinton does have a reputation for making occasional Warrenesque statements on banks and Wall St., having called for reform and an end to unjustified corporate subsidies in the past. But as Politico points out, Wall St. doesn’t seem particularly worried by her occasional populist rhetoric, even in the rare instances where she doesn’t backtrack or “clarify” her anti-business statements into oblivion.
Donation data gathered by Open Secrets is also pretty revealing about who wants to see Clinton in the White House. Of the top 10 donors throughout her Congressional career, five are some of the largest, most powerful, and most exploitative investment firms in America. Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Lehman Brothers – anybody who experienced hardship during the financial crash will no doubt be familiar with these firms. In all, people representing these investment firms have given Hillary over $3 million in campaign contributions since 2002.
Not only that, but Clinton’s time as an executive on WalMart’s board is also very revealing about where her loyalties lie. As Kevin Young and Diana C. Sierra Becerra point out, Clinton remained silent in board meetings where WalMart hot-shots waged war against their own workers. This tacit complicity in breaking unions apart would do her great favours in 2013, when WalMart heir Alice Walton donated the maximum possible amount to the “Ready for Hillary” PAC.
Indifference towards individual liberties.
Clinton may be a friend to Wall St., but she’s no friend to individual liberty. Like Obama, Hillary supports indiscriminate NSA mass surveillance with little regulation, paving the way for further invasions of privacy for the purposes of ‘counter-terrorism’. Similarly, she has made no public intention of closing down Guantanamo Bay, and has never made a single statement critical of unconstitutional “black sites” operating in places like Chicago. Being a “will she won’t she” candidate has allowed Hillary to avoid pretty much all of the contentious issues facing American society, only speaking up when the mood seems ripe and when the chance of backlash is minimal.
Clinton is by no means responsible for her husband’s actions during his stint in the White House, but when ole Bill decided to create a viciously racist anti-crime bill, Hills was more than happy to push it through Congress. Bill’s $30 billion proposal greatly expanded the use of the death penalty, created dozens of new federal capital crimes, and mandated life imprisonment for people who’ve been convicted of three crimes or more [The New Jim Crow, pg 56]. As expected, the bill disproportionately targeted people of colour.
Admittedly Clinton did denounce the CIA’s use of torture during the Bush years, despite willingly assisting the President in curtailing civil liberties in other areas. Clinton flat-out condemned the vital work of WikiLeaks in exposing government tyranny, accused Edward Snowden of aiding terrorists, and voted for the hideous PATRIOT Act of 2001, only calling for its cessation in 2005 because it didn’t give enough money to her state of New York. The moral issue of gutting civil liberties across the whole U.S. was not something Clinton found troublesome – the only problem she had with it was that she didn’t profit enough from it.
Bloodthirstiness and warmongering.
Also like Obama, Clinton is a noted war hawk. During the Bush era, she voted for the Iraq War (apologizing only a decade later), supported the Afghanistan War every step of the way, and refused to rule out military action against Iran. During her time in the State Department years later, Clinton perpetuated her hawkishness by calling for a residual military force to terrorize Afghanistan after the war, supporting the arming of “moderate” Syrian rebels, endorsing air-strikes against the Assad regime, supporting military intervention in Libya, defending Israel’s fifth invasion of Lebanon, and criticizing attempts to negotiate with Iran over its non-existent nuclear weapons programme.
Indeed, Clinton once stated that as President she would “totally obliterate” Iran, civilians and all, if it ever attacked Israel.
Crucially, during her time as Secretary of State Clinton assisted the White House in expanding its deadly drone strike programme, the United States’ most potent terrorist weapon that has killed thousands of innocent civilians across the Middle East and provided various terrorist groups with the means to rally people to their cause. In a similar vein, Clinton has also aligned herself and the country at large to many counter-revolutionary dictatorships across the Gulf and Middle East. To quote Kevin Young and Diana C. Sierra Becerra once more, “Maybe the women and girls of these countries, including those whose lives have been destroyed by US bombs, can take comfort in knowing that a ‘feminist’ helped craft US policy”.
Clinton is never far from the smell of war, having consistently and unashamedly (with the exception of a single decades-later apology) supported military intervention and aggressive containment across the Middle East, usually under the propagandistic guise of protecting American interests, that oft-cited line for oppressing and subjugating civilians across the region.
Apologism for Israeli war crimes.
And that’s not even to mention her vociferous support of Israeli apartheid. In a most impressive feat, Clinton is actually further to the right of Obama, himself a staunch supporter of the status quo in occupied Palestine. Back when the IDF was massacring civilians as part of Operation Protective Edge, Clinton told The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg that Israel “did what it has to do“. The deaths of over 500 Palestinian children is, for Clinton, a proportionate response to Hamas’ rockets. Worst of all, in the same interview Clinton blamed Hamas for the civilian deaths and accused the world of being anti-Semitic and disproportionately critical towards Israel.
As one would expect from an apartheidist, as Secretary of State Clinton also dismissed the cessation of settlement building as a precondition for peace, and denounced the PA’s attempt to get a UN recognition of statehood.
In a nutshell.
Clinton’s occasional support for LGBT rights, which came to fruition not out of a deep moral evolution, but because of the gay rights bandwagon rolling into town, is not enough to excuse her wide-reaching flaws where both foreign and domestic policy are concerned. Clinton has supported and committed various acts of terror against civilians at home and abroad, and embracing gay marriage is not and should not be the sole litmus test for a progressive candidate.
As an impassioned democrat with a small “D”, and one who believes in actual free votes, arguments to the tune of “she’s our only hope” or “she’s better than the Republicans” simply won’t do. Clinton will not stop further bloodshed in Palestine. Clinton will not reign in Wall Street. Clinton will not release civil liberties from the government’s vice-like grip.
Essentially the only choice Americans will have in 2016 is between a slightly more warmongering version of Obama, or whatever the Republican swamp spits out. Choosing the lesser of two evils out of perceived necessity is an affront to democracy, how ever necessary it may be.