Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Socialist Alternative's Article on Sanders

Sanders supported the Zionist slaughter in Gaza
By Sean O'Torain.

I was a leading member of the Committee for a Workers International for 25 years until I was expelled in 1996. Socialist Alternative is affiliated to this International. I continue to read the material of both the CWI and SA. I believe that they both have strengths relative to most other self styled revolutionary left groups. The main strength of the CWI and SA is their struggle to maintain an orientation to and a dialogue with the working class. However in their effort to do this, the CWI and SA have and continue to make opportunist errors. They did this in the Labor Party Advocates when they made unprincipled concessions to the left union bureaucracy. They presently do this in the $15.00 minimum wage campaign where again they make unprincipled concessions to the left, and not even left, trade union bureaucracy.

However, they have sunk to a new low in their work around the campaign of Sanders. Sanders is a leading member of the capitalist Democratic Party. He is not a socialist. He believes in leaving the economy in private capitalist hands and allowing the laws of the market, of capitalism to dictate. His only little squeak of protest is that the billionaires should pay a little more tax.  But it is in foreign policy that Sanders most exposes himself as a capitalist representative and where the CWI and SA, drawn in by the large crowds at Sanders’ rallies, most expose themselves and their opportunism. 

The foreign policy of the US is based on the needs of the US based international corporations. It is based on the US economy's need for oil and its dependence on the Middle East and access to Central Asia. Part of this US foreign policy is its support for  Zionist regimes in Israel. It subsidizes and arms them to the teeth. These regimes, one after another, represent US imperialism's interests in the area. As part of this, Zionism seeks to crush the Palestinian people and their wish and right to have a state of their own. Armed with massive amounts of US supplied weaponry and with its own nuclear weapons, Zionism feels strong enough to slaughter and starve the people of Gaza and the Palestinian people on the West Bank and others who are spread throughout the area in refugee camps. Any decent person has to openly oppose Zionism.  

Sanders does not. He repeatedly claims he makes the "tough calls." How he has, unlike Clinton, voted the right way on the "tough votes." This claim was noticeable in the Democratic Party debate, this claim to make the tough calls and make the tough votes.  However, what was not noticeable was any mention about making the "tough calls" and taking the "tough votes" in relation to Zionism and the oppression of the Palestinian people. He had nothing to say on these tough calls. Not a word.  He was aided and is aided in avoiding these issues in interview after interview by the voices of the US capitalist media. They never ask him about Zionism, about the slaughter in Gaza and of the Palestinian people, they do not do so because Sanders, and they in turn, are on the same side on these issues.  No socialist should support Sanders. 

But back again to the CWI and the SA. Here is what the SA wrote about Sanders in their recent paper.

There were also clear weaknesses in Sanders’ presentation, (at the Democratic Party debate) for example on foreign policy. He correctly stressed his opposition to the Iraq War, unlike Clinton and the leadership of the Democratic Party who willingly went along with Bush’s lies about “weapons of mass destruction”, but he also reiterated his support of the United States’ disastrous military campaign in Afghanistan (now heading into its 15th year) as well as the bombing of Serbia in the 1990s. He tried to present himself as fit to be “commander in chief” by saying that he would be prepared to lead the US to war.

Of course some of the US’ military adventures have been waged under a humanitarian guise. Many ordinary people, for example, understandably want to see the brutal reactionaries of ISIS defeated. But it is precisely the imperialist intervention in Iraq that created the conditions for ISIS’s emergence and Obama’s bombing campaign has been a complete failure even on its own terms. At every point US military power has been used – whatever the rationale presented to the public – to serve the interests of big business not those of ordinary people. We argue that a pro-working class policy at home should be linked to a truly pro-working class policy abroad.

But these weaknesses do not alter the enormously positive effect the Sanders campaign is having in politicizing and radicalizing hundreds of thousands and, potentially, millions of people."

After praising him and the "great contribution" he was making in raising consciousness about socialism, (last I heard he was claiming the cops were an example of socialism, does this include the cop who beat up the young African American woman in her class room in South Carolina.) they had the above to say about his "weaknesses."

It is almost unbelievable to read this. Not one single mention of Sanders’ support for Zionism and the repression of the Palestinian people is included in what the SA thinks are Sander's weaknesses.  Not a single mention.  And not only that, where this article does get the temerity to actually hint at something even the slightest bit critical of Sanders on foreign policy it is just because this foreign policy does not work. 

There must be discontent within Socialist Alternative and the CWI over these concessions that are being made to the Sander's campaign. Hopefully those SA members who find themselves in disagreement with the author of SA’s article on Sanders will come together to form an open principled faction to raise their ideas.. If they do not, the SA will go into another crisis much like it did when it made the concessions to the union leadership in the LPA and as it will do as it seeks to negotiate its way in the present $15.00 minimum wage campaign. This would not be positive.

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