Sunday, April 24, 2016

Sanders' Blames the poor for not voting for Democrats.

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By Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

I have had numerous arguments with middle class liberals who love to blame workers and the poor for the extremely low voter turnout in the US, one of the lowest in the world. This “blame the victim” argument stems from an elitist view of the world and their place in it.  The poor non-voter doesn’t have a college degree, they earn below $50,000 a year, they are apathetic and don’t care about the world around them.

The liberals voted for Obama, for Clinton, for Dukakis, for Mondale, for Carter who began the deregulation craze that Reagan continued with gusto, no matter. They are now ecstatic over Bernie Sanders and have spent the last year explaining to the rest of us that he’s the best thing since sliced bread because he says he’s a “Democratic Socialist . This is not 1965, this term does not scare as many people especially the middle class youth and he is at best an FDR Democrat.

I understand why some working class people and youth look to Sanders, he is giving voice to much of what is on people’s minds in America, education, poverty housing etc. He is no fool and has tapped in to the anger beneath the surface of society. His mild comments with regard to the Palestinians (more accurately Israeli war crimes in Gaza) are in response to a growing support for the Palestinian cause including a rift between American Jews on the issue.

But for staunch supporters of the Democrats------one of the world’s most important and influential big business parties---- many workers and the poor drawing the conclusion that neither party will significantly change their economic conditions, if at all, doesn’t enter their it.  How can it? For them, they have a party if only everyone would vote for it and their financial situation is relatively secure by comparison, not to mention their social connections. They can hold their noses and vote for Bernie and the Democrats, or Hillary the warmonger which any of us with any sense knew was to be the end result. It’s called the “lesser of two evils” approach which guarantees no alternative will be built.

Bernie Sanders expressed this view of US politics yesterdayon NBC’s Meet the Press. Clinton was winning he said “ because poor people don't vote,” “I mean, that's just a fact” Sanders said, “That's a sad reality of American society.”

Sanders has been very clear that his “Political Revolution”, a slogan picked up and used by some socialist groups, means increasing voter turnout, for Democrats of course.  “If we can significantly increase voter turnout so that low-income people and working people and young people participated in the political process, if we got a voter turnout of 75 percent, this country would be radically transformed,”, he continued.

“Poverty is a death sentence,,” Sanders adds. Yes it is.  The crisis in the inner cities, the turning of West Virginia in to a failed (US) state, a basket case as some have called it, is proof of this. So is Flint, so is the homicide rate among black folks and the declining life expectancy and suicide rate among whites (due to drugs and alcoholism) due to poverty. Instead blacks are blamed for their predicament, whites for theirs, young people for theirs and so on. The suicide rate among veterans is a national catastrophe. But it can’t be the system can it?  Does not dirty water kill Goldfish? Can healthy plants grow in polluted soil?

We have had Democratic mayors in cities and governors of States; black ones, Latino ones, White/European ones, women.  The Democratic Party held both houses and the presidency under Carter and under Bill Clinton, and Hillary Clinton, like Margaret Thatcher, will teach us that these people defend their class interests first.

In the 2014 election, Sanders said, “80 percent of poor people did not vote.” But Sanders doesn’t blame this on the fact that both parties have savaged workers and the poor over decades. He can’t attack his party.  Like many liberals they attack poor people that do vote for conservative candidates or issues (and the working poor is a huge constituency) but when one feels they must vote and accept that they are going to be poor no matter which party is in power, moral issues and identity politics take center stage.

Both parties are hated and people have learned through experience that neither of them represents their economic wellbeing. Yet, like the trade union leaders who also blame their members for their lack of participation in the electoral process (as well as meetings) Sanders urges them to vote for Hillary and the very party that has participated in the not so gradual decline in living standards over the last 50 years. When they don’t, it’s their fault.

Jill Stein and the Green Party

Myself and others on this blog have explained in previous commentaries that we support voting for Jill Stein if she is chosen by her party as the party’s candidate for president. There are numerous posts about this issue under the “Sanders” or “US Elections” label or simply do a search. I should add that I do not believe simple electoral activity will halt the present capitalist offensive.

In brief, it is my opinion that the Green Party is not a capitalist party and is not a party based on the working class at this point. But for the millions who have been drawn in to the Sanders campaign for the right reasons and want to participate, it is an alternative to the two parties of Wall Street that people can join, campaign in and help to determine its policies and direction. Both the party platform and Jill Stein’s is better than Sanders or the Democrats. We explain our position here. 

One problem I have found with the Green Party is that it has in a sense been infiltrated by Democrats. A friend in the Mid-West told me that many Greens left the party to vote for Obama. That has been proven a waste of time yet the same process has occurred with Sanders. Around the country, Green Party members are involved in the Sanders campaign. Drawn in to the party by every left Democrat that they hope, (a false hope and in this sense the “poor” that Sanders attacks is ahead of them) can save the country from further disaster so they hop back and forth from the Greens to the Democrats and back again.

This is not taking the Green Party seriously (a party that has a much better environmental platform than the Democrats) and it cannot be built in this way. In small towns across the US, Green Party members are active in the Sanders movement.  Instead of campaigning for the Democrats these people should be building the Green Party, raising it’s banner as we have said on this blog, offering it as an alternative and getting involved in issues on the ground---direct action struggles as Greens around housing, police brutality, poverty etc.  The Green party on the other hand should have a constitution and the necessary by-laws to prevent such activity. A political party is not a social club, anyone should not be able to do whatever they want and support whichever party they want and still be in the Greens. This should be clear from the beginning and people join recognizing certain conditions have to be met. Another author on this blog commented on this here.

It is also a mistake for Jill Stein or the Greens to appeal to Sanders given his politics. The Greens do not need Sanders.

"It's possible" Hillary would make the better presdient
This blog has consistently explained that given the crisis in the Republican Party, taken over by right wing Christian Zionists, the big bourgeois, the dominant section of the ruling class in this country, may well support Hillary Clinton as she is their best option. She is ruthless, experienced, and will not hesitate to slaughter any resistance to US imperialism’s foreign ventures.  The misogynists among them will hold their noses and vote for her and it appears from the media today that the right wing Charles Koch is indicating that he could support her as well. Koch knows where his best interests lie. The 1% are class conscious, they knew Obama was their best bet and they will back Hillary Clinton if they have to.

Bernie and Charles Koch calling on the workers of the US to vote for Hillary Clinton. Not so strange bedfellows as they are both pro-market supporters, they just differ in the degree of control capital has over labor and Bernie believes in capitalism with a friendly face.

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