Cui bono? the Sanders debate examined

vs monopoly

Or rather, “to whose benefit?” The key forensic question in legal and police investigation.

— submitted by Jeff Roby
August 17, 2015

Here’s the best-case scenario I envision. Progressives register Democrat (if they haven’t already done so), work hard on the Sanders campaign, and then (should he fall short of winning the Democratic presidential nomination) immediately re-register Green, join the Green Party bringing their social justice politics into the Green Party, and revive it as a serious force in American politics.

But the current exchanges on the left over the Sanders campaign which have currently masqueraded as political dialogue — while clinically fascinating — cause me to despair that this could actually happen. What I see instead is the left attempting to circle their wagons in the face of what they perceive as the “Sanders Menace.” I have no problem conceding that Sanders is indeed a menace, a menace to the strangulation of political dialogue in the American mainstream, and to the Left’s complacent niche on the margins of that mainstream.

Or “remember the Alamo!”

circusThe problem with circling the wagons is that apart from its defensive merits, it turns its camp into an echo chamber that it kills the brain cells and paralyzes the limnbs of those it purports to protect.

let’s face it, folks. The attacks on Sanders are not aimed at the general public. Not even aimed at the 10’s of 1,000’s who have been flocking to Sanders’s public events. No, instead they are an attempt to keep in line the Left’s rank-and-file. Significant numbers of leftists and progressives are already being drawn into the Sanders campaign — with their eyes wide open. After all, anyone to the left of Attila the Hun knows that the Democratic Party is one of the two parties of Wall Street’s billionaires, racists and imperialists. Screeching at them that the Democratic Party is one of the two parties of Wall Street’s billionaires, racists and imperialists is simply not news. Sanders is a U.S. Senator. Who doesn’t know that you don’t get to that office without at least some blood on your hands? People are “voting with their feet” to say that the vistas that Sanders up to them are simply more important.

What would the purists have the masses do? Quit politics? Rise up in one massive outburst of proletarian rage? Well actually, the masses are (or at least a lot of them), answering yes to Sanders’s question, are they “Ready to Start a Political Revolution?” It is true that “revolution” is a very abused term, ranging from the latest brand of toothpaste to the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. That is a dialogue that has yet to happen. That will be a very messy dialogue, raising profound questions about the U.S. in the world arena. Not just what people want, but how they are going to get it.

Sanders is soft on questions of Palestine and imperialism. Liberal. Toughening his position (or rather OUR position) on those matters has to be a necessary part of that dialogue. Racism? He has been arguably soft there. But the fact is that the current dialogue on racism, now breaking into the mainstream, was triggered by his being confronted at one of his own events, and rather than calling in the Secret Service, he listened and responded. Was his response adequate? That has to be another essential part of the national dialogue.

Under our noses …

Is there some other candidate to vote for? Hang on to your hat, yes there is. Her name is Dr. Jill Stein. The left, however, is more interested in its sustaining its attck mode than putting forward a positive message. That is strange enough. But stranger still, even the Green Party gives her short shrift. Stein’s Green New Deal, treats jobs, housing, medical care, education, etc. as basic human rights is quite close to Sanders’s class approach. Stein’s programmatics are somewhat stronger, but Sanders’s approach has the strength of embodying strong measures to be implemented through legislation right now. (Program vs. tactics, you might say.) But even he recognizes that is not enough: “This campaign is not about Bernie Sanders. It’s about a grassroots movement of Americans standing up and saying: ‘Enough is enough.’”

Yet leaders in the Green Party denounce those who would raise economic issues at all, claiming that “race trumps class,” and calling Sanders’s strength on the importance of the issue of income equality as merely “class reductionist.” It goes so far as to denounce raising class issues at all as racist. Members of the Green Party itself are similarly denounced.

HW1873P896B577Cui bono? indeed.

Then there is the matter of “cui bono?” However righteous those Black Lives Matter (BLM) members were who confronted Sanders in Seattle, the beneficiary of that scene was not the Black community, but Hillary Clinton. BLM has responded to this being pointed out by making a botched attempt to disrupt a Clinton event, which ended with them in a very private session with Clinton and then emerging to call Hillary “brilliant.” They have since proclaimed that they are going to make similar disruptions for all the presidential candidates (we’ll see), but in the world of Democratic Party dirty tricks and Gotcha politics, damage has been done, and the upshot is that BLM has been inadvertently used by the Wall Street faction of the Democratic Party on behalf of their anointed one.

Yet the hysteria continues that Sanders is a Democrat (still) And yes, Sanders has sworn to support Hillary should she receive the nomination. And no, I don’t like that. I don’t like many things. But where is the Sanders energy to go at that point? Ideally, the hue and cry should spread far and wide that leftists have to get behind Stein after the primaries.

Let’s be practical here. The left screeches at Sanders’s supporters “Fuck you!” “You are idiots!” Over and over, I might add. In caps with varying numbers of exclamation marks. (In my life, I have learned that this approach is not particularly effective.) They are now turning to wails of despair. “What will it take to make the ‘sheeple’ see the light?” (Suggestion: for a start, stop calling them “sheeple.”) They do not push the merits of Stein to what one might think their target audience is. Nor is BLM supporting ANY presidential candidate, though the BLM members I personally know are in fact supporting Sanders.

Commitment to “small pond” politics

stein arrestedFact is, the Left is profoundly threatened by Sanders, and a cynic might infer that some might deep in their hearts want Hillary to trounce Sanders — and badly. Taking Sanders’s class-based program down with him. A de facto united front between the Left and Hillary Clinton.   They are threatened by Sanders, that they cannot hold onto their members, that Sanders threatens them with an influx of members not beholden to their rigid impotent ways. Concerning Greens actually working for Sanders, Green leader Michael Trudeau on Leftists against the Corporate Duopoly, writes, “[D]o you and he understand why doing these things would help ensure that there will be no Green campaign (and probably no Green Party either) by the time Sanders crashes out?” The primary goal is to keep their “small pond” from being drained.

Indeed, the Old Guard, comfortable in their little Green fiefdoms, is truly threatened. But it’s a big world out there, and if you really want a revolution, don’t be surprised if that revolution rears its head in your own back yard as well. I say this as someone wishing the Green Party well, hoping it becomes a serious third force in American politics.

Independent means REALLY independent.

So we should take a look at how things might shake out. Assuming that Sanders doesn’t make it to November 2016 as a contender, there will be a reckoning. Many of his supporters will fade away in disgust or dismay. Others will hold their noses and vote for Hillary. “Some” will brave the Democratic Party’s great institutional weight to go independent, probably for Stein. Or there could emerge new independent option (4th party?) should the Green Party’s Old Guard batten down the hatches, having burned all their bridges into the American mainstream in their current tantrum.

I admire Sanders. I am working for him in Florida, But my ultimate commitment is to the “some.” It might not be the “many,” but a significant “some” could well turn things around over the long haul.

ferguson02See our Facebook page for what we hope is a lively discussion of the issues raised here.

This entry was posted in St. Petersburg Independents. Bookmark the permalink.