Caitlin Johnstone: US Progressives Retract Mild Peace Advocacy

The progressive Democrat is a myth. The U.S. has two warmongering oligarchic parties and a tremendous amount of narrative management to keep people plugged in to that fraudulent political paradigm.

U.S. President Joe Biden meeting with Rep. Pramila Jayapal, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, in the Red Room of the White House, October 2021. (White House, Adam Schultz)

By Caitlin Johnstone

Listen to a reading of this article.

The Congressional Progressive Caucus has retracted an extremely mild, toothless letter its members had written to President Joe Biden politely asking him to consider adding a little diplomacy into the mix to help end the conflict in Ukraine. The retraction followed a deluge of public outrage against their slight deviation from the official imperial narrative.

If you actually read the original letter signed by House progressives including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib, Jamaal Bowman and Ro Khanna, you will quickly see that it’s as innocuous and anodyne as any statement could possibly be while still containing words. It opens with effusive praise for Biden’s interventionism in Ukraine and condemns the Russian government unequivocally throughout, offering only the humble suggestion that Biden “pair the military and economic support the United States has provided to Ukraine with a proactive diplomatic push, redoubling efforts to seek a realistic framework for a ceasefire.” Its authors make it abundantly clear that they support making sure such diplomacy is agreeable to Ukraine at every step of the way.

This impotent nothing salad was bizarrely spun by The Washington Post as a call on Biden to “dramatically shift his strategy on the Ukraine war,” despite nothing that could be remotely construed as “dramatic” existing anywhere in the body of the text.

The letter received backlash from warmongers in both parties, including from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. It was personally slammed by Sen. Bernie Sanders, the pope of American progressivism. Trolls and warmongers swarmed the social media notifications of every account which posted the letter in an official capacity, mindlessly bleating the words “appeasement” and “Chamberlain” in unison.

In a statement on the retraction of the letter, Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal says she accepts responsibility for the publication of the offending act of peacemongering while in the same breath blaming its publication on her staff.

“The letter was drafted several months ago, but unfortunately was released by staff without vetting. As Chair of the Caucus, I accept responsibility for this,” Jayapal said.

“Every war ends with diplomacy, and this one will too after Ukrainian victory,” the statement reads, ignoring mainstream reports that U.S. officials quietly believe Ukraine stands no chance at outright victory in this war. “The letter sent yesterday, although restating that basic principle, has been conflated with GOP opposition to support for the Ukrainians’ just defense of their national sovereignty. As such, it is a distraction at this time and we withdraw the letter.”

Empire critics were quick to highlight the obsequious nature of this retraction.

“For progressives, I didn’t think it could get more pathetic than voting for a disastrous proxy war that the US provoked and prolonged, handing billions to arms makers in the process. In retracting their tepid call for diplomacy and blaming staffers for it, they somehow surpassed it,” tweeted Aaron Maté.

“Certainly speaks to the insanely hawkish atmosphere in Washington that pressured the progressive caucus to withdrawal a totally reasonable, responsible and necessary call for diplomacy in a conflict that risks escalating to nuclear armageddon,” tweeted Rania Khalek.

“Imagine being elected to Congress based on promises of challenging ‘the establishment’ or whatever, then being so petrified of anger from bipartisan DC establishment mavens that you can’t even wait 24 hours before meekly retracting the only mild dissent you’ve expressed,” tweeted Glenn Greenwald.

I don’t know what pressures were the ultimate deciding factor in the caucus’ decision to retract its feeble advocacy for a bit more diplomacy, or how much of that pressure was brought to bear behind the scenes by bigger political monsters in the Beltway swamp, but ultimately it doesn’t matter. The important take-home from this lesson, once again, is that progressive Democrats are worse than worthless at opposing the mechanisms of oligarchy and empire.

In fact, if you look at their actions it’s not even really accurate to describe them as “progressive Democrats” as though they are a faction that has meaningful differences from the rest of that party. Aside from the occasional empty sound byte about healthcare or debt forgiveness, they’re not doing anything to advance progressive agendas which make American lives better, and they’re certainly doing nothing to impede the expansion of the U.S. war machine.

The progressive Democrat is a myth, like the good billionaire or the righteous American war. “The Squad” is nothing more than the social media-savvy branch of the Democratic establishment. The United States has two warmongering oligarchic parties, and a tremendous amount of narrative management goes into manipulating, cajoling and coercing Americans into staying psychologically plugged in to that fraudulent political paradigm.

This comes at the same time the defense minister of Romania was forced to resign for saying peace talks were necessary to achieve peace in Ukraine. It just reveals so much about where we are and where we’re headed that the most incendiary and outrageous thing you can say in our society is that we should probably attempt to diplomatically de-escalate hostilities between nuclear superpowers. The fact that the Overton window of acceptable political discourse has already been dragged that far in the direction of warmongering insanity prevents peace from ever having any space to get a word in edgewise.

Caitlin Johnstone’s work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following her on FacebookTwitterSoundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into her tip jar on Ko-fiPatreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy her books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff she publishes is to subscribe to the mailing list at her website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything she publishes.  For more info on who she is, where she stands and what she’s trying to do with her platform, click here. All works are co-authored with her American husband Tim Foley.

This article is from and re-published with permission.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

32 comments for “Caitlin Johnstone: US Progressives Retract Mild Peace Advocacy

  1. LeoSun
    October 29, 2022 at 01:46

    Basically, a parasite cannot live alone, i.e., “Government! Three fourths parasitic and the other fourth Stupid fumbling.”

    – “Oh, Horshaw concluded that man, a social animal, could not avoid government anymore than an individual could escape bondage of his bowels. But simply b/c an evil was inescapable was no reason to term it “good.” He wished that government would wonder off and get lost!” (Stranger in a Strange Land-Robert A. Heinlein)

    In sum, the FIGHT For SOCIALISM is incompatible with SUPPORT for US imperialism; AND, the DSA is NOT a socialist organization.

    “You do not, in fact, have to choose between American and Russian imperialisms,” wrote one anti-war reporter. “The correct choice is to detest and resist both.”

    – “Things will keep getting worse until we find a way to cut through the propaganda brain fog and rise like lions.” Caitlin Johnstone (Months, ago). “Keep it Lit.”

  2. Altruist
    October 27, 2022 at 16:44

    These Progressives and the Democratic Party as a whole are worse than worthless -they are enemies of the country and humanity.

    Chris Hedges said it well in his most recent article:

    “You know we are in trouble when former Donald Trump is the voice of reason.

    ‘We must demand the immediate negotiation of a peaceful end to the war in Ukraine, or we will end up in world war three,’ the former U.S. president said. ‘And there will be nothing left of our planet — all because stupid people didn’t have a clue … They don’t understand what they’re dealing with, the power of nuclear.’ “

  3. LeoSun
    October 27, 2022 at 13:21

    OCTOBER 25, 2022, “B/c of the timing, our message is being conflated, by some, as being equivalent,” to the Republicans “threat to end aid to Ukraine, if, Republicans take over.” CPCC, Pramila Jayapal, D-WA.

    How f/dare HER?!? Conflate. Equate. CCPC JAYAPAL equivocates. In sum, progressive democrats are driven by hate & war. NOT peace. The Party of War, LIVES!!!

    Voila, EXHIBIT A-Z, “Outta the gate, Biden’s-Harris’ Party of WAR, on high f/speed, w/o authorization or pushback, from the duopoly aka Congress, the universe was reminded that “No Neanderthal ever bombed Syria;” BUT, JOEY “PATRIOT ACT” BIDEN did! Joey f/BOMBED Syria!!! Concluding, MARCH, 2021, + “The right wants to blow up the Capitol;” the left “want to blow up the border wall. And they both support Biden blowing up Syria.” The Deception. The Destruction. Death, followed by SILENCE; and, more BOMBS!!!

    WHAT ABOUT, Somalia?!?….…

    FEBRUARY 25, 2022: US Bombed Somalia Amid Russian Invasion of Ukraine. “You do not, in fact, have to choose between American and Russian imperialisms,” wrote one anti-war reporter. “The correct choice is to detest and resist both.”

    – Just before Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his full-scale military assault on Ukraine.
    – The Divided $tates of Corporate America aka “United States” hit Somalia with the latest drone attack in its 15-year war against the impoverished nation.” (2.25.22)

    A coup d’état or have “we, the people,” just been f/scammed?!?

    WHEN did Joey “Dementia Addled, Truth Challenged” Biden; & Kamala “That little Girl” Harris “promise” to risk a nuclear war w/Russia &/or China?

    “Joey Robinette Biden, as a leading Senate voice on foreign policy, as vice president tasked by OhBama with running Ukraine policy; and, NOW as president, is deeply implicated in this long-running operation.”

    MARCH, 2022, “In fact, we started our assistance to Ukraine before this war began.” Joey “the Political Corpse” Biden

    No doubt about it, the hollow weenies aka The Party of War, the Grim Reaper, his Crypt Keeper, Democrats, Republicans; and POTUS’ base, the Democrat Socialists of America aka sycophants, have played the central role in preparing a NATO war against Russia for over more than a decade. “The FIGHT For SOCIALISM is incompatible with SUPPORT for US imperialism; AND, the DSA is NOT a socialist organization.” Bernie, the Independent, Hot-Air Factory, from Vermont” Sanders “is no more an apostle of peace than he is a representative of the working class.”

    Ukraine is the Pawn. Russia rocks the Queen. Et tu, Biden-Harris?

    About the “Overton window,” the spectrum of ideas on public policy and social issues considered acceptable by the general public at a given time. “I suppose the Overton window is shifting, but slowly.” Best practice, Shut the Front Door!!! Rage is the appropriate attitude toward this machine.

    – “The progressive Democrat is a myth, like the good billionaire or the righteous American war.”
    – “The Squad” is nothing more than the social media-savvy branch of the Democratic establishment.”
    – “The United States has two warmongering oligarchic parties, and a tremendous amount of narrative management goes into manipulating, cajoling and coercing Americans into staying psychologically plugged in to that fraudulent political paradigm.” Caitlin Johnstone 10.26.22

    “Things will keep getting worse until we find a way to cut through the propaganda brain fog and rise like lions.” Caitlin Johnstone (Months, ago). “Keep it Lit!”

  4. Jeff Harrison
    October 27, 2022 at 12:47

    We are well and truly screwed. I can only hope that the world’s financial system collapses before they/we are able to send off the big ones to each other.

  5. October 27, 2022 at 12:38

    Such cowardice.

  6. Robert Nothhouse
    October 27, 2022 at 10:27

    They call themselves leaders…They could not lead water downhill. I hope I’m at ground zero when they start dropping the big ones, because we are screwed as a nation and a world…Except for the super rich and powerful, of course; they have their bunkers already built and stocked.

  7. Vera Gottlieb
    October 27, 2022 at 09:39

    Oh, yeah…but keep telling the world how America is all about ‘democracy’ and ‘human rights’. America: the cancer of our world.

  8. Packard
    October 27, 2022 at 09:12

    When America’s woke progressives and old Republican establishment neocons work together on foreign policy, the entire world trembles at what will come next.

    Without anyone in all of congress or the White House bothering to articulate a single vital American strategic interest at stake in all of Eastern Europe, we seem inexplicably destined for a nuclear WW III confrontation with Russia. Killing Russians in their own front yard by using American made weapons and targeting technologies is not exactly a recipe for world peace. Everyone got that?

    Lest we forget, the very same deep state Nimrods, ne’er do wells, and nitwits (see: US State Department, CIA, Pentagon, DIA, NSA, and FBI) who gave us 20 years of utter failure in Afghanistan are now preparing us for yet another meaningless foreign military adventure over once again, God knows what. Billions of dollars for faraway and useless Ukraine, but not a lousy dime for a border wall. D*MN!

    [File under: Fed up enough yet? VOTE!]

  9. Tony
    October 27, 2022 at 08:58

    The original letter gave a brief glimmer of hope that the war could be brought to an end and progress made on a safer world. Such hopes have now been so cruelly snatched from us.

    But if we saw a glimmer of hope from that letter, others obviously felt a deep shudder of anxiety. They clearly feared the prospect that diplomacy could bring the war to an end. The warmongers clearly saw the need to act rapidly in order to block such an unwelcome development.

    We must all now re-double our efforts to ensure that their fears turn out to be well-founded.

  10. Peter Loeb
    October 27, 2022 at 07:39

    The progressives are not worthless and are not a myth. They are just not “progressive” in any sense of
    the word. As some have pointed out, the needs of defense contractors for “a market” for their lethal
    products is the driving force behind the move eastward. That has been the case for many years. After
    all, one can’t sell advanced weaponry if there is no conflict. And the lobby for defense is powerful and

    Of course, the original statement was “pathetic”. It would have been preferable to say nothing at all.

    Like all lawmakers, the so-called “progressives” deliver for their districts. That is how the system has
    been set up. (We can thank FDR for all the perks that lobby has made use of including the political
    distribution of manufacturers ,contract plus deals and so forth.

  11. J Anthony
    October 27, 2022 at 06:54

    This is likely the nail-in-the-coffin for the (D) party, as I will never vote (D) again in any national election, no matter what, and let them join their (R) counterparts’ devolution as little more than a worthless elitist faction of capital and corporate interests, above all else. Why should anyone vote for them? At the expense of everyone and everything else, they prioritize this insane conflict and refuse to consider options, while on the domestic front every problem under the sun is put on the back-burner. It’s beyond-obscene, it is contemptible, delusional, maniacal even. Worse, I know many voters in the US will still tout brand (D) as the lesser-of-two-evils and vote accordingly, under the rubric that “our democracy is at stake” (in reality our democracy is already dead, particularly at the national level). Bring on the rightwing neofascism of the Trump-damaged brand (R), let’s just get it over with, the sooner the better. In 10 years, if we’re still here and still have some semblance of a functioning society, may a glorious phoenix rise from the ashes of these regressive plutocratic puppets. And may we be rejoicing in the deaths of the puppeteers.

  12. BB
    October 27, 2022 at 05:39

    Thank you Caitlin! Only people like you keep my faith in America alive.

  13. Burt
    October 27, 2022 at 00:00

    These same faux progressives seem to be blind to the probability of some of those same weapons they’re so eager to ship to azov battalion and the like ending up in the hands of domestic white supremacist groups, some of which have been to Ukraine and trained with azov battalion.

    • SPQR70AD
      October 27, 2022 at 19:55

      that would be the only good thing to come out of the war

  14. Older&Wiser
    October 26, 2022 at 23:44

    Excellent article Caitlin. The U.S. bears full responsibility for provoking and fueling this war. This started long before the Maidan coup in 2014. The expansion of NATO to include countries formerly within the Russian sphere of influence began in the very early nineties despite promises by various American officials including former Secretary of State, James Baker that this would not happen. The U.S. has been completely taken over by a cabal consisting of corporations, Wall Street, Oligarchs, Intelligence agencies and a motely assortment of ignorant neocons. This Cabal has been responsible for 30 years of regime change wars and economic sanctions levied against any country that did not bend the knee to America’s wishes. Ukraine is now on par with the actions the U.S. took against Assad in Syria where hundreds of thousands of Syrians have died. The U.S. has subverted all attempts to bring an end to the conflict from the Minsk accords to sending BoJo to ensure that President Zelensky did not attempt to negotiate with the Russians. Now they have escalated the rhetoric to include the idea of winning a nuclear exchange with Russia. Complete insanity rules in Washington, D.C.

  15. firstpersoninfinite
    October 26, 2022 at 23:27

    What an excellent recap of the correct, human responses to the grotesque possibility of humanity’s demise at its own hands. You would have thought the fake progressives now choking on the word hoard unleashed by their obsequious argument had accidentally farted in front of King Louis XIV. They have proven themselves quite glad to eat cake along with their retraction. Of course, if they hadn’t retracted quickly they would be branded as “extremists,” i.e. someone who doesn’t respect the opinions of the influencers pole-dancing behind the hit songs played continuously in honor of the Empire. Isn’t it pretty obvious that this casino is closing down and everyone’s just cashing in their chips before the end? The proxy war in Ukraine is the V2 rocket of capitalism’s demise. If your whole nation is dependent upon weapon sales to all of democracy’s natural enemies for its economy, what chance does peace have to flourish?

  16. robert Sinuhe
    October 26, 2022 at 23:12

    Truly disgraceful behavior! What’s this about vetting a statement?

  17. Coltraine
    October 26, 2022 at 22:17

    Now all can see that the emperor has no progressive clothes. Neither does Congressional Progressive Caucus have a backbone or moral compass. The point of the declaration that you are a progressive is to separate yourself and your caucus as being something other than just a neo-liberal, neo-con Democrat. Please, in the future do not insult our intelligence by calling yourself a Progressive Caucus, because you are not, and no real progressive should ever vote for you again based on such a lie. Change your name to the Congressional Rump Caucus (CRC).

  18. Hegesias Cyrene
    October 26, 2022 at 22:09

    Great picture. Biden is thinking, “Who is this woman?”

  19. Rudy Haugeneder
    October 26, 2022 at 21:32

    America has changed. Rather than pretend to be in favor of peace, it has become and declared itself to be the exact opposite.

  20. Willow
    October 26, 2022 at 21:26

    The fly on the wall can reveal the more important back story. But since google translate doesn’t have that app, we need a brave journalist to uncover Who, What, Where, When, Why applied the pressure for such an abrupt about face.

  21. Linda Edwards
    October 26, 2022 at 20:38

    Make Love

    Not War

  22. CNfan
    October 26, 2022 at 20:20

    None of them want to take a chance on being RFK’d.

  23. Wendy LaRiviere
    October 26, 2022 at 18:42

    Aaron Mate’s quoted comment plus the photo of President Biden meeting with Congress member Jayapal in the Red Room at the White House says it all. The so-called Progressive Caucus has disgraced itself forever by withdrawing its mild letter calling for diplomacy in the Ukrainian War. I am mortified for them.

  24. Mirrorgazers
    October 26, 2022 at 18:27

    “The progressive Democrat is a myth.”

    The greater myth from inception has been that “The United States of America” exists, and the facilitator “We the people hold these truths to be self-evident.”

  25. robert e williamson jr
    October 26, 2022 at 18:09

    Unfortunately, Caitlin your last sentence referring to the Overton window speaks volumes about how far the ruling class authoritarians are openly willing to venture to apply pressure to those who would question the governments actions.

    Hopefully progressives get the message they have been sent and re-evaluate there own positions with regard to the democratic party.

    I genuinely regret more individuals claiming allegiance to the democratic party haven’t understood how terribly perverted , by the actions of it’s neocon members, the democratic party has become.

    Thanks CN

  26. Sam F
    October 26, 2022 at 17:29

    Yes, the “progressive caucus” achieves nothing and refuses to defend a defensible contrary viewpoint.
    If sincere they would have presented the evidence of the many years of military provocation of Russia.
    They are “limited hang-out” scammers intending only to prevent defections, as Caitlin observes.

  27. nwwoods
    October 26, 2022 at 17:18

    America is fascist. America stole Hawaii. America stole a massive chunk of Mexico. America nuclear bombed a civilian population with no necessary military utility. America commuted an unprovoked cyber attack on another country’s infrastructure.
    America secretly develops bioweapons in contravention of international treaties.
    America deployed infected insects against the Chinese and agent orange against the Vietnamese. American CIA kidnapped foreign orphans and fed them radioactivity-infused food to observe if/how they would sicken and/or die.
    America violates or abrogates all of its own international commitments, treaties or agreements and international law itself.
    America hates democracy.
    America hates sovereignty.
    America hates freedom.
    Come in..say it with me. America is fascist and it always has been.

  28. JonnyJames
    October 26, 2022 at 16:50

    Exactly. These so-called progressive Democrats are just bait-and-switch BS artists for the DNC. As Bill Clinton once snickered when he “angered his base”: “what are they gonna do? vote Republican?’ The joke is on us.

    The political compass (dot org) puts both D and R parties in the far upper right quadrant. That means that based on policy, not the blah blah, they are both far-right, ultra authoritarian. This has become quite obvious, but the world’s most sophisticated and pervasive system of misinformation has many believing the US is #1 democracy and all that rot

    As Jimmy Carter said after the Citizens United case : “The US is an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery”. (Rolling Stone, July 31, 2015. George Carlin said basically the same thing many years before that, in his usual colorful language.

    The sooner folks accept the truth, we can then move on to improve the dire situation. So far, most are in (willful?) denial.

  29. October 26, 2022 at 16:36

    Good one Caitlin. That is certainly scary; and now the news is that the GOP is going to win in 2 weeks, so we won’t have to wonder any more if we have a democracy. It’s 10 to 1 that we don’t. I’m interested to see how our media will explain that and what our idiot government leaders (Joe, Nancy, Chuck Blinkin, Nuland,etc. – you know who you are) will propose going forward.

  30. IJ Scambling
    October 26, 2022 at 16:22

    Good comments; right on.

    “Every war ends with diplomacy, and this one will too after Ukrainian victory,” Jayapal said.

    This statement is incoherent. Wars end with conditions, not diplomacy “after victory.”

    This is noise, not clarity. More disguise, more guile. The statement was political in its first phase, as well as with its “apology.”

    But we are also told ordinaries are restless with this war, along with a lot of other matters suggesting “the country is moving in the wrong direction.” I suspect a lot of fatigue and indifference is included as response to the “narrative management.”

    • MirrorGazers
      October 28, 2022 at 09:36

      “Wars end with conditions, not diplomacy “after victory.”

      Victory is an illusion hence transcendence is the purpose of some whose opponent’s purpose is linear restriction to a status quo, ergo by attempting to facilitate a linearly modified time to exist – hence the unsuccessful attempts at “narrative management” on most of the rest of the world, despite the efforts of the lady presently in Africa, who forgot the salt on Independence Square in February 2014.

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