Episode 92 – Propaganda and the Vortex of Centrism with Esha Krishnaswamy

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Esha Krishnaswamy, host of the historic.ly podcast, joins Steve to talk about the frustrating political miasma of centrism. 

Centrism. So vapid and insubstantial, how does one grab ahold? It’s a wispy dandelion head (aptly named the capitulum) – one slight *poof* and it’s gone. But we’re not fooled. As soon as the left gets behind a popular policy or candidate, the center reveals itself to be a mighty, unstoppable force in the service of the ruling class. In today’s world, the US centrist home turf is the Democratic Party. 

Esha’s jam is history and throughout the episode she calls on instances from the past, from John Locke’s justification of inherited land wealth to E. Belfort Bax on liberalism and socialism in 1890. Through the lens of historical materialism, events can be progressive or reactionary, depending on the conditions of their time. She likes reading Lenin because “he’s hilarious and insults everyone.” If he were around now he would be “the worst Twitter troll ever.”  She compares the DNC to Russia’s Constitutional Democrats and reads Lenin’s 1906 description, summed up nicely with:  

They want to ransom themselves from the revolution. They long for a deal with the old authorities. They are afraid of independent revolutionary activity by the people. The more this party develops its public political activities, the more marked it becomes in its inconsistency and instability. 

Steve and Esha talk about the failure of electoral politics. In the US we’ve seen Bernie-like suppression of progressive candidates like Eugene V Debs, Henry Wallace, and Jesse Jackson. Whatever our democratic achievements, they were not won at the ballot box, but through political organizing and strikes. Esha points out that class awareness existed in the US up until the 1970s or 80s, when somehow it vanished. In Venezuela and Bolivia, radical change occurred through elections, but only with the groundswell of massive popular movements. 

Esha sums up her indictment of centrists: “Their entire grift is to convince you that if they had the power, they’d totally do it,” but their hands are tied because they have no power – “which is always a lie.” 

Esha Krishnaswamy is the host of the historic.ly  podcast. She is a lawyer, writer, and media critic, whose focus is on history, foreign policy, and Modern Monetary Theory. 

@eshaLegal and @historic_ly on Twitter 

historicly.substack.com

Esha Krishnaswamy, host of the historic.ly podcast, joins Steve to talk about the frustrating political miasma of centrism. 

Centrism. So vapid and insubstantial, how does one grab ahold? It’s a wispy dandelion head (aptly named the capitulum) – one slight *poof* and it’s gone. But we’re not fooled. As soon as the left gets behind a popular policy or candidate, the center reveals itself to be a mighty, unstoppable force in the service of the ruling class. In today’s world, the US centrist home turf is the Democratic Party. 

Esha’s jam is history and throughout the episode she calls on instances from the past, from John Locke’s justification of inherited land wealth to E. Belfort Bax on liberalism and socialism in 1890. Through the lens of historical materialism, events can be progressive or reactionary, depending on the conditions of their time. She likes reading Lenin because “he’s hilarious and insults everyone.” If he were around now he would be “the worst Twitter troll ever.”  She compares the DNC to Russia’s Constitutional Democrats and reads Lenin’s 1906 description, summed up nicely with:  

They want to ransom themselves from the revolution. They long for a deal with the old authorities. They are afraid of independent revolutionary activity by the people. The more this party develops its public political activities, the more marked it becomes in its inconsistency and instability. 

Steve and Esha talk about the failure of electoral politics. In the US we’ve seen Bernie-like suppression of progressive candidates like Eugene V Debs, Henry Wallace, and Jesse Jackson. Whatever our democratic achievements, they were not won at the ballot box, but through political organizing and strikes. Esha points out that class awareness existed in the US up until the 1970s or 80s, when somehow it vanished. In Venezuela and Bolivia, radical change occurred through elections, but only with the groundswell of massive popular movements. 

Esha sums up her indictment of centrists: “Their entire grift is to convince you that if they had the power, they’d totally do it,” but their hands are tied because they have no power – “which is always a lie.” 

Esha Krishnaswamy is the host of the historic.ly  podcast. She is a lawyer, writer, and media critic, whose focus is on history, foreign policy, and Modern Monetary Theory. 

@eshaLegal and @historic_ly on Twitter 

historicly.substack.com

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