Perhaps we should have seen it coming. She did, after all, hint at it herself. “I actually think I have a lot of common ground with many libertarian viewpoints in [the Republican] party,” Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) explained back in 2019. A couple of months before that, she was teaming up with Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX). Yes, we should have known; the writing was on the wall. Head over to her online store, and it’s T-shirts, hats, and coffee mugs – oh my! AOC, our socialist sweetheart, has been corrupted by capitalism.
Rob the Poor, Become Rich?
Imagine you have a pie – but it isn’t just yours; you have to share it with nine other people. If you want to be fair, and let everyone get an equal amount of pie, you must be satisfied with a mere tenth. Is it tempting to take a larger slice? Sure – but would you have your fellow man (or woman or nonbinary third-gender unicorn – no discrimination here!) go hungry? Of course not – you have a heart.
Congratulations: That’s what makes you a socialist. But that greed exists in each of us, and taking a second slice has long been the siren song of capitalism. Don’t worry, you won’t hurt anyone. Those who didn’t take the initiative to grab a piece of pie on their own before you finished yours, well, that just means they didn’t want it bad enough. Lazy bums can blame no one else for that empty, rumbling tummy.
Few have championed the cause like Ocasio-Cortez, an inspiring symbol of how socialism really can work when it’s applied correctly. “Capitalism is an ideology of capital – the most important thing is the concentration of capital and to seek and maximize profit,” Ocasio-Cortez said in 2019. “So to me capitalism is irredeemable,” she concluded. Almost a year later, she succinctly summarized a sacred truth: “No one ever makes a billion dollars,” she warned. “You take a billion dollars.” Billionaires make their money “off the backs” of the poor – undocumented people, black and brown people being paid below a living wage, single mothers, the list goes on. If you have a little, the rich will find a way to take it from you, eventually.
AOC Is Sus!
But, alas, the allure of capitalism was too much. We missed the early signs: collaboration with Cruz, self-identifying as a libertarian in passing. By the end of 2020, the corruption had fully taken hold, and it was clear: AOC is sus. Using a simple, free-market approach, Ocasio-Cortez crowdsourced funds to help those suffering during the pandemic. That’s right: She didn’t try to raise taxes to give these people the money they’re entitled to simply for breathing; she resorted to – oh, I can barely bring myself to utter the word – charity. She allowed others to pay – without threat of persecution, mind you – to watch her play Among Us, a popular game in which a group of players prepares an imaginary spaceship for an expedition into the great unknown. Sadly, in the game, one player is an imposter bent on killing everyone, and it’s up to the other crewmates to figure out who is sus(picious) and vote the imposter off the ship. Back in the real world, it’s AOC who’s sus – she must be the imposter, as she’s clearly no socialist anymore, if, indeed, she ever truly was.
Shop AOC …
Ocasio-Cortez is back to the fundraising game again, but this time she’s doing it for herself. See how quickly capitalism can corrupt? Since the beginning of the year, she has invested more than $1.4 million of her campaign funding in an online political merchandise store. Want social justice? Just shop AOC! A T-shirt that reads “TAX THE RICH” will set you back $27, as will a pride tee. But that sweet “Social Economic & Racial Justice” hoodie is a whopping $65. Whom is she marketing to, the 1%? You can rock the “Abolish ICE” hat for $28 or “Drink Water” and “Don’t Be Racist” socks for a smooth $15. Like social welfare programs with your java? Drink your morning brew out of a “Green New Deal” coffee mug for $27.
Ocasio-Cortez raised $200,000 for charity in her December livestream to help those affected by the pandemic, but she has raked in about $6.9 million for her campaign. How far she has come from her grassroots victory in 2018 and her renter’s woes. She spent a measly $194,000 of other people’s money on that campaign – what might she achieve with millions? We may never know, but one thing is clear now that she’s playing in the big leagues: Ocasio-Cortez wasn’t practicing “real socialism” after all – and now the capitalists have yet another phony they can point to and say, “We told you so.”
Read more from James Fite.