Friday, September 11, 2015

Bernie Sanders: The need to listen carefully.

Needed: A way for these youth and workers to fight when the break with Sanders comes.

by Sean O'Torain

Bernie Sanders is getting huge turnouts at his rallies and now challenging and in some places passing Hilary Clinton in the polls. This is because he continually talks about the billionaire class and the need to make society more equal. This shows the powerful mood in the majority of the working class and youth for some sort of change in society. Many young people and not so young people are looking to Sanders. For this reason it is important to listen carefully to what he says and what he does not say.

A new economic crisis such as that of 2008 lies ahead. It is impossible to say when but it will come.  This time the crisis will most likely be worse. The 2008 crisis did not turn into an all out collapse because the capitalist looters and criminals were bailed out by their political parties and politicians. This new economic collapse will not be so easily dealt with. For two reasons. One is the coming crisis will be much worse as all the problems that led to the 2008 crisis have remained and in fact gotten worse. And on top of that the majority of working people see how the rich criminal elite who caused the 2008 crisis got bailed out and because of this it will be much harder to get the political support to bail them out again. Sanders' talk of making the billionaire class pay their fair share of taxes does not address in any way the coming economic crisis. Everybody knows that inequality is getting worse, everybody knows the rich get off with paying practically no taxes. This is not news. The question is what is to be done to end capitalism which is the root of the problem. On this Sanders has nothing to say.

But it is not only on the economic issues that you have to listen carefully to what Sanders says and what he does not say. In a recent interview he was asked about the refugee crisis in the Middle East and Europe. US imperialism was originally only going to take in 1,500 refugees. After being shamed, it has increased this to 10,000 over a period. Germany in comparison is to take in 800,000. The contribution of US imperialism which is the the main cause of the crisis is cruel and pathetic.

Sanders was asked how many refugees the US should take in. He refused to give a number! Asked again by his interviewer he refused again to give a number. On this, the most cruel of humanitarian catastrophes, and he refused to give an number. This was pathetic. But more than that. His lack of an answer is rooted in his policies concerning the Middle East and US imperialism in general.

Instead of giving a number what did he do? He went into a rant about how Europe should do more and then the gave a long list of Middle Eastern countries that should all also do more. Of course they should. But there was one glaring omission in his answer. He never mentioned Israel which is of course the militarily most powerful country in the Middle east. He obviously does not think they should do more to help the refugee crisis. This was deliberate and conscious. Sanders is a Zionist. Sanders supports the racist apartheid Zionist regime. He is uncritical of that regime driving the Palestinians off their lands and making hundreds of thousands of them refugees. Think of Gaza. Think of the refugee camps filled with Palestinians who were driven there by Zionist policies and terror. On this Sanders has nothing to say. He supports Zionism and US imperialism.

The authors of this Blog do not support Sanders. We understand why many people do but we ask all to look at the realities. Sanders is running as the candidate for nomination of the capitalist Democratic party. He would be a prisoner of that Party if he were to win that nomination and if he were to be elected. Instead of supporting Sanders we campaign for the building of a workers party in the US. However, because the trade union leaders with their pro capitalist ideas remain locked for the time being in the embrace of the capitalist Democratic Party there will be no Labor or workers' party built in the immediate future, certainly before the 2016 elections. However that does not mean that steps cannot be taken in that direction. Some of the present forces around Sanders can be mobilized into motion to help build a workers party if the correct tactics are used.

The most important  development as far as the movement around Sanders is concerned will come when he either supports the Democratic party nominee, most likely still Clinton, or when he himself wins the nomination and refuses to take on capitalism. The most likely development will be that Sanders will not win the nomination and will then throw his support behind the Democratic Party nominee. But either of these developments will lead to a major break in the situation. Meaning that tens and tens of thousands of Sanders supporters will be thrown into confusion and or be looking for some other way to pursue their struggle. In this situation unless something that looks reasonable and serious exists there will be the risk that many of these former Sanders supporters will drift temporarily out of political struggle. This would be a setback, a big lost opportunity. So the authors of this Blog offer this alternative.

We have joined and advocate that others also join the Green Party and support Jill Stein as the presidential  candidate of that party. But we do not leave it there. We also advocate that the Green Party should become an open democratic socialist party. None of the problems that the Green Party considers core issues, climate change, poverty, unemployment, low wages, war, racism, sexism, and so on can be solved under capitalism. We also advocate that the Green Party seek to evolve into a mass workers party. That is build locals and put down its roots in the workplaces, the rank and file of the unions, the communities, the schools and the colleges. Only the united and mobilized working class can end capitalism and solve the problems of society which the Green Party sees as demanding solutions.

These mass forces around Sanders must not be left with nowhere to go when the break in the situation comes. They must be held together and guided in the direction of helping to build a mass workers party and to fight for democratic socialism. To this end we advocate joining the Green party and advocate that it become a democratic socialist party and a workers party. For those people in the Green Party who say they are going to register as a Democrat to vote for Sanders and then return to the Green Party fold when he loses - two things. One what happens if he wins? What would these people do then? Support Sanders the Democratic Party candidate? Or do a 180 degree turn and after supporting him for the nomination then refuse to support him for the Presidential election. This is not serious politics.  This is by far too clever and slippery a tactic. It postpones and weakens the priority task which is to build the Green Party, to raise its banner as high as it can and as fast as it can so it can be seen as an alternative path of struggle by the greatest number of Sanders people when they get demoralized with Sanders.

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