Monday, April 6, 2015

Will Bernie Sanders Please Shut Up.

Is that so Bernie? What action should we take?
by Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

I am getting tired of Bernie sanders' proclamations all over the Internet particularly Face book.  He is joined in this venture by Elizabeth Warren and Robert Reich.  They are concerned that the ferociousness of the capitalist offensive on workers, the middle class and the poor will lead to further destabilization and at some point major social unrest.  Like the authors on this blog, they are aware that the situation in the US is an extremely volatile one that will explode on to the scene dramatically at some point. The fear is that the capitalist class will not be able to draw a movement arising in response to the austerity in to the Democratic Party where it can be tempered and rendered harmless.

This is the liberal wing of the 1% here.  A section of the US bourgeois doesn't give a damn. This is particularly the case with the right wing in the Republican Party who have every intention of placing the US working class on rations no matter what. This is the same wing that would support bombing Iran, a strategy that would lead to a severe global crisis.  Sanders and others want to return to a more stable environment that doesn't disrupt profit taking. He and others like him represent a more balanced and astute section of the 1% but objective conditions do not allow for such generosity, or at least limit it and is a reflection that the ruling class is also driven by objective conditions beyond their control.

Sanders taps in to this anger telling us things we already know.  Workers (and particularly the already poverty stricken millions) are the victims of the terms of the austerity measures and understand them in the real sense, in the language of shattered dreams, shattered homes, lost jobs and other realities. The problem for these populists is that they offer the same remedies, vote the  Democrats, and stay away from direct action and independent politics.

Warren is a major player in this banker's party as a member of its left wing.  Robert Reich was a major official in a Democratic Administration that brought us NAFTA and threw working class women off welfare, often in to what would have been relatively well paid union jobs.  Bernie Sanders claims to be a socialist but what is his alternative?   What does he suggest we do?  I'll answer my own question: he wants us to vote for the Democrats.  He doesn't so much say this emphatically as both parties are so hated, the union officials at the highest levels have the same strategy and the same problem; it's hard to push the Democratic Party as a way out because this party has also savaged the living standards of US workers over the past period.  The public sector in particular has been a victim of this assault on the heels of the defeat of the once mighty UAW and elimination of decent wages and benefits won over 60 years.  This was made all the easier with the cooperation of the UAW's leadership. Absent the public sector there's few US workers in unions, around 6%.  It's a ticking time bomb this country.

So I wish these three politicians of the 1% would just shut up but they are playing the role in the good cop bad cop game.

On another note, there is no phrase more demonized than "class war".   It is the first shot across the bow whenever a politician makes mention of a national health system or financial regulation or free education, basically anything public that undermines the idea that the market and the private sector is the answer to all things. What sort of communistic venture is it that suggests government regulators should not have left the writing of deep sea drilling regs to the energy industry or that we should have free public education.

Yet we have witnessed an intensification of the class war over the past period. Not simply in the war against wages, benefits and the war against union power in the workplace, nor in the electoral arena where the pro-business union leaders refuse to oppose legislation that hinders profits to any serious extent, but in society in general through increased incarceration and the militarization of the police and state security forces. This militarization intensified after the WTO protests in Seattle in 1999 and is in preparation for the social unrest ahead and the struggles in the workplaces and in the streets of major urban centers as the youth of color continue to fight back against state repression and police brutality.

So the "Class War" moniker is for the 1%'s use only, it is only an issue when we fight back against their intensified war that has helped to drive wages and conditions toward third world levels. They want no opposition to their policies aimed at maintaining profits and capital accumulation for the few.  The US capitalist class functions the same way abroad, no other nation must possess weapons, only US capitalism.

We must not talk of class.  Race, color, gender, and religion, these are the issues that must occupy our minds. They are important issues, and we oppose any discrimination along these lines, but they are also used to avoid the class question completely.   If we think about it, the US bourgeois has just imposed its will on a renegade wing of its class. 

What we have witnessed in response to the religious freedom legislation that opens doors to discriminating against sexual orientation and much more, is the US capitalist class imposing its will on its right wing in particular the ultra-religious movement.  The legislation has been attacked by such giants as WalMart, Apple General Electric, Nike and others and the right has backed off for now.  This is a safe issue for the heads of these corporations like the Republican Jeff Immelt of General Electric, Apple's, Tim Cook or Nike's Phil Knight as it doesn't involve much sacrifice, just the opposite, it could really hurt profits as the organized power of not only the LGBT community but many Americans is being felt as protests and boycotts have forced some states to refuse to do business with those that adopt such legislation or have threatened to do so.

Levi Strauss that owns the Gap has also opposed the laws and sent out the following Tweet: Legalized is bad for biz & bad for humanity. We join @GapInc in speaking out 

 Apples Tim Cook Tweeted: "Discriminatory laws are unquestionably bad for business, but more importantly, they are fundamentally wrong. They must be stopped. At Gap Inc. and Levi Strauss & Co., we are proud to say we are open to business for everyone."

And Wal Mart:

 Now are we expected to give any credibility to WalMart's statement above?  Especially, "..our core basic belief of respect for the individual."  And all these companies abuse workers abroad.  At Apple's suppliers in China, nets were installed to prevent suicides as stressed out workers leading robotic lives were jumping to their deaths.

This hullabaloo around the religious freedom laws has nothing to do with human rights excepting the right of some humans to profit at the expense of others. We never heard from any of these companies or CEO's that they were going to pull out of Wisconsin due to the attacks on workers and our rights there.   There wasn't  a peep from any of them as workers in the auto industry have had their wages cut in half.  And where are all the tweets about the murder of black youth and the conditions that exist in the inner cities as well as the massive poverty in places like West Virginia.  What about out teachers and the public execution system? Naturally, they all support US foreign policy that has murdered millions and destroyed entire countries. 

The silence of the heads of organized labor on these issues is deafening, their role is indeed a criminal one.  It is their role that allows a situation to develop where corporate moguls and the empires that they have built on slave labor and environmental destruction can appear as socially responsible and progressive.  On this issue they are but we must not be fooled, their motives are purely predatory. It is profit that is ruling here.

As long as we understand the motives and class forces at play (and those that are absent) the driving back of the right wing offensive through this attack on the the LGBT community and the gains they have made is a positive thing and very welcome. It is also a product of these brothers and sisters relentless struggle against discrimination that is far from over.  A victory for the proponents of these laws is a threat to all workers.  

As for Bernie Sanders et al, we've heard it all before.

No comments: