During a news conference on Saturday, Democratic Socialists of America member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez refused to rule out endorsing former military and CIA agents who are running for Congress alongside Ocasio-Cortez in the Democratic Party.
Ocasio-Cortez was elevated as a national political figure in June after beating incumbent Joe Crowley in the Democratic primary race for New York’s 14th Congressional seat. When a WSWS reporter asked her if she would back candidates from the military and intelligence agencies, she attempted to deflect the question.
“I think it all depends on the individual candidate,” Ocasio-Cortez replied. “I don’t think that a person’s life experience in one way or another necessarily precludes them from running for office. I think what is important… is a candidate’s given story. And, for me I’m very outspoken about being an anti-war candidate... I don’t think that a person should be discounted because they were a bartender or on the front lines.”
When this reporter pressed the question asking about Democratic Congressional candidate Max Rose, who is running in the same city as Ocasio-Cortez on a platform that emphasizes his experience as a soldier in Afghanistan, she continued to evade, claiming, “I don’t know a ton about his background, but I do know… What we try to do is focus on issues. What I see my responsibility as is building a consensus on single payer healthcare, on a peace economy... that’s really what we focus most on. I can’t provide opinions on all 200 candidates running.”
The response was a calculated evasion aimed at maintaining a left cover while avoiding stating her opposition to any of the Democratic Party candidates. In fact, Ocasio-Cortez has stated on multiple occasions that she supports a vote for all Democratic Party candidates in the 2018 elections.
Following the New York gubernatorial primaries, where incumbent Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo beat the DSA-endorsed candidate, Cynthia Nixon, Ocasio-Cortez declared that she would support Cuomo in the general election, despite his record as a stooge of Wall Street who has overseen massive budget cuts. She told CNN that she “looks forward” to “rallying behind all Democratic nominees, including the governor, to make sure that he wins in November.”
Minutes before the news conference, Ocasio-Cortez told a rally of her supporters, “There are a lot of folks that are in swing districts that are a little scared to say things like ‘Black Lives Matter,’ they are a little scared to say things like ‘abolish ICE,’ they are a little scared to say things like ‘we need single payer healthcare in this country,’ and that’s fine.” That is, it is perfectly acceptable to support Democrats indistinguishable from their Republican counterparts as long as the Democratic Party makes room for figures like Ocasio-Cortez in other parts of the country.
Despite her claims to be an “anti-war candidate,” during her run in the Democratic primary she made virtually no reference to foreign policy. She has also remained silent on the Democrats’ provocative anti-Russia campaign, only nodding along with Bernie Sanders at a rally after her victory as he denounced supposed Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Ocasio-Cortez’s real attitude toward the Democrats’ pro-war positions was expressed in her reaction to the death of Republican John McCain, which became an occasion for the entire political establishment to heap praise on one of the chief warmongers in the US Senate.
“John McCain’s legacy represents an unparalleled example of human decency and American service,” Ocasio-Cortez declared. “As an intern, I learned a lot about the power of humanity in government through his deep friendship with Sen. Kennedy. He meant so much, to so many. My prayers are with his family.”
Based on this statement, Ocasio-Cortez would evidently conclude that McCain’s “given story” drawn from his “life experience” would allow her to support him if he had had the opportunity to run as a Democrat in the elections.
Since her primary victory, Ocasio-Cortez has worked to establish her credentials as a conventional Democrat with a mildly “left” twist. She moved to distance herself from any association with socialism, disavowed a tweet criticizing Israeli’s massacre of Palestinians, voiced her support for “border security,” and hailed McCain.
In July, Ocasio-Cortez also stumped for one of the Democratic Congressional candidates drawn directly from the military and intelligence agencies. She traveled to Kansas alongside Senator Bernie Sanders to show support for James Thompson, an Army veteran, who pledges to “Fight for America” and calls on his supporters to “Join the Thompson Army.”
As the WSWS has analyzed, the Democrats are running 30 candidates who come from military-intelligence agency backgrounds. If the Democrats win control of the House, these candidates would hold the balance of power. It is not only the candidates drawn from intelligence and military backgrounds who are running on a pro-war platform. The Democratic Party as a whole has centered its opposition to Trump on the claim that he is too soft on Russia, demanding, in the words of one of the CIA Democrats, “an uncompromising victory over Russia and its tyrannical regime.”
Despite the friendly takeover of the Democratic Party by the military and intelligence agencies, most media outlets and pseudo-left groups, such as the DSA, have remained completely silent on the issue.
The politics of Ocasio-Cortez and the DSA are not in conflict with the politics of the CIA Democrats. They are, rather, complementary. In the end, there is hardly a hair’s breadth of difference between the two.