Friday, January 10, 2020

Sanders and Presidential Speculations

Despite respect for Sanders personal integrity,  this blog and the World Socialist Party of the United States has, nevertheless, been very critical of his politics and have not been swept along by the pro-Bernie hype. We have been a rare voice of dissent but we are not alone in our skepticism. 

This article, Gary Olsen, on the Dissident Voice website,  makes some important observations on the Bernie Sanders campaign. 

"...Is Bernie Sanders a socialist? Not today, by any criteria of which I’m aware.... In Washington he’s been almost indistinguishable from mainstream Democrats although adding some important progressive amendments to Democratic bills. Until very recently, he held mostly hawkish views on foreign policy..."

"...Sanders’s vision for the United States resembles the so-called Nordic model of a free market capitalist economic system cum extensive social benefits, sometimes called “compassionate capitalism.” However, this comparison ignores the critical roles played in those countries by strong, radical unions, popular movements and left parties. Nor does it acknowledge the recent adoption of neoliberal policies and the rise of the far-right in the Nordic region..."

"...while the term “left populist” is problematic it’s probably a fair moniker for Sanders. Whatever the case, by running for president as a Democrat he’s linked himself to our two-party capitalist duopoly..."

"...Sanders’ neo-New Deal program would at best serve to save capitalists from themselves, not unlike what FDR attempted in the 1930s..."

We do, however, part ways with Olsen when he says,  "...We know the Democratic Party is a cul-de-sac, but patronizing postures toward those who disagree with us only evidences self-appointed vanguardism and off-putting good purpose is served by disparaging and hence alienating left populist youth and workers..."

We cannot subscribe to the view that we should lay aside principles and refrain from criticism. Of course, we need to couch our language sympathetically and accept that many sincerely believe Sanders can deliver well-being and security to the people. But the system is much more than just one person. 

Once again we can agree with Olsen when he points out that "... if a miracle occurs and Sanders obtains the nomination and wins the general election, another option looms. Given the Deep State forces aligned against him, President-elect Sanders’s agenda will be stillborn and he’ll be a lame duck the moment he takes the oath of office..."

If constitutional wrangling results in the prospect"...major street actions involving massive civil disobedience..." then protests without direction and without understanding, will require to acquire socialist consciousness to make any real meaningful changes. 

We are reminded of Howard Zinn and his reflection on political power. “What matters most is not who is sitting in the White House, but "who is sitting in" -- and who is marching outside the White House, pushing for change.”

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