Thursday, May 26, 2016

Democratic Party Warfare Heats Up

James Zogby and Cornel West

By Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

The crisis in the Democratic Party is intensifying as two of Bernie Sanders’ five supporters appointed to the committee that drafts the party platform, Cornel West and James Zogby say they will introduce proposals condemning the Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank. The occupation of the West Bank is considered illegal by most countries in the world and Israel’s ability to maintain it is made possible through US backing.

In April, a Pew Research Center Survey found that “Forty percent of liberals sympathized more with Palestinians, the most since 2001, while 33 percent sympathized more with Israel.”, according to the New York Times.  Sanders’ two appointees are concessions the party power made to the Senator in the hope that he can back off his supporters who have not gone away and do not appear to be doing so at this point in time. Hillary Clinton has six appointees and the party chairperson four. There is no doubt that Sanders himself is surprised by the level and intensity of support he has gotten by  tapping in to the anger and frustration that exists in US society after years of austerity, predatory wars and declining living standards. This is all taking place amid an increased surveillance state.

Cornel West and James Zogby, “…denounced Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and said they believed that rank-and-file Democrats no longer hewed to the party’s staunch support of the Israeli government. They said they would try to get their views incorporated into the platform, the party’s statement of core beliefs, at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July.” The New York Times says.

It was also reported today that Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump have agreed to, or are considering a one on one debate.  If Sanders wins California, which cannot be ruled out, this will strengthen his hand at the Democratic National Convention in July as will a thrashing of Trump in a debate if one were to materialize.

Those of us who have been around for any length of time have lived through many promises made via the Democratic Party and its platform committee.  NAFTA comes to mind and as Bruce Dixon of the Black Agenda Report points out and I am compelled to quote him at length here:

“Take the Democratic party platform of 1992, the year Bill Clinton was elected. It promised targeted jobs programs to reduce inner city unemployment, the building of affordable housing, funding of urban mass transit, measures to begin weaning the economy off fossil fuels. It promised a peace dividend, the investment of some of the former Cold War military budget into the civilian economy to create jobs and opportunities. It pledged new environmental protections and committed Democrats to rolling back carbon dioxide emissions to 1990 levels by 2000. Every bit of this was garbage. On the other hand, the one percent were promised the end of welfare, so that millions would be thrown out onto the low wage labor market, and NAFTA. Those were among the promises that were kept.”

This is not to downplay the importance of the movement around Sanders. There is a seething anger beneath the surface of US society that at some point will burst through the surface with a vengeance and as I have written on this blog in the past, even if Sanders were to make it to the White House, he would be Obama in a different form.

Nevertheless, the Democratic National Convention will most likely be the most contentious in my lifetime here in the United States, I imagine it will be more like a union meeting.

What will happen we cannot say for sure.  Will there be a left split from the party? I do not think Sanders will support that and if it happens without him it will be an inconsequential event most likely.  As I wrote earlier this week there will be those that will become demoralized as Bernie’s Political Revolution is revealed not to be a revolution at all. Sanders admitted as much, that it is a get out the vote revolution and the recipient of that vote is the Democratic Party.  Many will join the Greens and as I write this I am reminded that Sanders has not taken up this issue of only the two Wall Street Parties getting media time. The Greens and other party’s are shut out of the public discourse.

Sanders believes the Democratic Party can be reformed but as we have pointed out on this blog in the past it cannot, it cannot represent the interests of the millions of workers in the US who have sunk below the poverty line or near it, those people who cannot raise $2000 in cash for an emergency, those who have lost their homes.

What we do know for sure is that we are living in interesting times.

No comments: