Knock Down The House. A British Conservative’s view on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Socialism
Knock Down the House is a very good documentary on Netflix which tracks the progress of four Progressive women, the Socialist strand of the Democrats, when they challenged their incumbent Democrat opponents during the Primaries in 2018. This strand of the Democrats are the supporters of Bernie Sanders and Socialism. The women candidates for Congress were Alexandria Orcasio-Cortez (New York), Cori Bush (Missouri), Paula Swearengin (West Virginia) and Amy Vilela (Nevada). The documentary shows how they struggle to challenge the well-oiled machinery of established Democrats who were supported by corporations, Wall Street, real estate etc.
Cortez (AOC for short) was the only one of the four who won her seat unexpectedly, ousting the established Congressman, Joe Crowley. AOC has been in the media limelight since her election for being controversial, even by Democrat standards. AOC is seen as part of ‘The Squad’ which consists of four Progressive Democrat ‘rebels’, AOC, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley. The Democrat House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi had been in conflict with the Squad. I see AOC as a rising star within the ‘new’ Democrats and her Socialist views is a reflection of a growing body on the left who espouse Socialist and Marxist views, and have been turbocharged by Black Lives Matter to bring down the Capitalist system as well as defunding the police. The documentary showed that the four contenders were against corporations, pharmaceutical companies etc., basically the Capitalist system. They are for abortion rights. Hence, as a Conservative I would not see eye to eye with AOC and her fellow comrades which is why polite yet robust debate is necessary instead of the verbal abuse that the Republican Representative Ted Yoho vomited out on the steps of Capitol Hill when he called AOC a ‘f**cking bitch.’ His almost-apology key failed to turn on the ignition and AOC was right to call him out on the House floor.
I agree with AOC on two things that she and her colleagues mentioned.
Firstly, universal healthcare is a human right. When fellow Conservatives in the US condemn free healthcare as ‘socialised medicine’ I cannot agree with this and I am glad that Conservatives in the UK support the National Health Service (NHS) that is free at the point of delivery, paid for by taxes. The NHS was created by the Labour government in 1948 and both Labour and Conservatives have built it. The NHS is part of our national pride and is not seen as socialised medicine. The NHS is not a utopia that Michael Moore presented in his documentary, ‘Sicko.’ There are problems within the NHS which is catering for a growing, ageing population. Hence the use of some of private sector principles and even ‘public-private partnership’ (coined by the New Labour government under Tony Blair two decades ago) is the way forward to ensure delivery of quality of service to patients. Major problems still exist and all parties need to work together to ensure it doesn’t collapse. Whatever political party we belong to in the UK, ALL of them believe in universal healthcare. So, I’m with AOC on that one. Free healthcare is as ‘socialised’ as free education. There is no such thing as socialised education.
Secondly, in the documentary she said the following to her campaigners, “This is not just about Democrats Vs Republicans, in fact it’s so far away from that. It’s not left or right, it’s up and down.”
Why do I agree with AOC on this? Because this is exactly what Ronald Reagan said in 1964 in the ‘A Time for Choosing’ speech when he campaigned for Barry Goldwater. He said,
“The trouble with our liberal friends is not that that they are ignorant, it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so. And this idea that government is beholden to the people, that it has no other source of power except the sovereign people, is still the newest and the most unique idea in all the long history of man’s relation to man. This is the issue of this election. Whether we believe in our capacity for self government or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves. I told increasingly we have to choose between a left or right well I’d like to suggest there is no such thing as a left or right, there’s only an up or down. Man’s old age dream, the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order or down to the Ant heap of totalitarianism and regardless of their sincerity their humanitarian motives those who would trade our freedom for security have embarked on this downward course.”
President Reagan’s words ring true today more than ever as I witness a shift towards Socialism/Marxism in the American left. If AOC took her phrase from Reagan’s speech in 1964, that’s a good thing. When I read Hillary Clinton’s book, ‘It Takes Village’, there was something odd about her philosophy. Her views were surprisingly Conservative in many ways, I could not work out why. One of my Democrat friends in the US, who campaigned for Bill Clinton in 1992, cleared up my confusion. She said that Hillary’s father was a Republican. That made sense….Conservative principles filtered through to the left. That’s a good thing. When the UK left’s Labour Party politicians heavily criticised the Conservative policies on selective schools, only for some of them to send their own children to these schools, that’s a good thing. As the ex-Conservative Prime Minister, John Major, once said in response to Labour’s adoption of some Conservative principles and policies, “it’s good to give.”
I want to see more ‘giving’ and I want to see more debate and discourse between competing philosophies rather than the polarisation of conversation which is endemic in the US. Knock Down the House is a good documentary and AOC is a rising star. It is worth a watch. Ronald Reagan’s speech in 1964 is also worth watching. The link is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXBswFfh6AY
Finally, I am looking forward to the book by the black Conservative activist, Candace Owens. It is entitled, ‘Blackout’. Owens would be the Republican equivalent of AOC and I hope she does enter public office soon.