By Richard Mellor
AFSCME Local 444, retired
Member Green Party
AFSCME Local 444, retired
Member Green Party
I’m not so sure that everyone is “feeling the Bern” these days as the Bernie Sanders campaign begins to show its true colors. As a result, some of the Sandernistas will vote for one of the two most unpopular candidates in US presidential history, Hillary Cinton or Donald Trump.
But as the political revolution that Sanders himself admitted is nothing more than a get out the vote (for the Democratic Party) campaign reveals itself to be more like a Tracy Chapman revolution, there are a lot of angry and disappointed Sandernistas out there. They have every right to be angry; they have been betrayed. I am speaking here more to the young people drawn to Sanders’ reformist program rather than those desperate liberals who latch themselves on to any Democratic candidate that satiates their desperate thirst for something different, no matter how small or insignificant.
I just listened to Warren Gunnels interviewed on the Real News Channel. Gunnels is Sanders’ policy advisor and I’ll tell you folks, it wasn’t pretty. Gunnels talked of the “significant” victories that the Sanders camp made at the Democratic Party platform committee meeting in St Louis on June 24th.
Victories didn’t include an opposition to the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal (TPP) as the Democrats supported that. Neither was the ban on fracking approved. Promoting single payer health care was rejected as well as the $15 wage linked to inflation.
The Tracy Chapman revolution moves forward though as what was agreed to was “clear language” on the break up of the financial institutions “so we don’t have another 2008” says Gunnels. I’ll let the reader on to a little secret----we will have another 2008. Apparently there was agreement on language to abolish the death penalty and language to remove conflict of interest in the Federal Reserve. What this means is that Jamie Dimon, a billionaire and CEO of JP Morgan who took home $20 million in 2014 will not be able to sit on the board. I should advise the reader that of all the workers I have talked to about the present economic situation and what matters to them most, not one of them said Jamie Dimon being able to be a Federal Reserve board member came up.
Sanders’ policy advisor was very vague at one point saying that, “there were a number of other very important achievements that we made to rebuild America creating millions of jobs and rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure.” All this will be paid for by closing tax loopholes restricting corporations form moving production abroad and exploiting workers in Vietnam and other low waged economies. If history is anything to go by, all the tax reform and 1986 was the mother of all tax reforms, will not prevent the corporations from ripping people off and seeking out the lowest source of labor power with the least impediments to profit taking . Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party even if Lenin led it will not do that.
The next step says Gunnels is to move on the Orlando where the platform will be tinkered with a little more. Sanders goal he says, is to, “make sure that the Democratic Platform is the most progressive in the history of the Democratic Party.”
Sanders goal is to take “amendments” to the party platform committee in Orlando to “make it clear” that we need a $15 an hour federal minimum wage in the year 2016 no less because, “No one who works forty hours a week should be living in poverty.”
Sanders folks are heading in to the platform committee meeting in Orlando to make it clear that to make it clear that and to make it clear. Perhaps the most important aspect of the Sanders political revolution as opposed to Tracy Chapman’s revolution is the revolutionary statement that, “We need to make it clear (again with the clear) that the Democratic party stands on the side of working people environmentalists, and human rights advocates in rejecting the TPP.”
I have included the interview above and it is clear that all we are witnessing is a spat between two camps in a party that cannot and will not represent the interests of working people, the poor and the specially oppressed and disenfranchised groups in the US. Sanders man here is obviously winging it, he knows nothing of any substance for working people will come out of this process. Some time ago I wrote a piece on this blog about the Sanders campaign and titled it “Will Bernie sanders Please Shut Up.” I thought about that and decided I was too hard on him. But I wasn’t. I am sick of listening to him. He’s a fraud. He has been dishonest with the millions of genuine people, especially the youth, who, for the right reasons, supported his campaign.
The liberals will be let down again although some of them will be happy that they got a phrase or two in to the party platform, some of them will return to the Green party that is their safe haven in times of need. They are fairly secure economically compared to most workers and have more options and social connections, so that will do for them. Those youth and working class people who thought Sanders was actually different from other populist demagogues we have seen before in the Democratic camp and are looking for a way to continue to fight, the Green Party is the best option.
The GPUSA has just adopted an anti-capitalist amendment that I think will be supported by the membership at its convention in August. Jill Stein, the party’s presumptive presidential candidate has a program that is far better than Sanders’ or the Democratic Party an hopefully she will abandon the idea of appealing to Sanders to join the Greens or even be her running mate. That would be a disaster.
The Greens, as we have pointed out on this blog in the past is neither a workers nor a capitalist party and Sanders supporters sickened by this betrayal should join it, vote for Stein, and most importantly campaign and work within this party to make it a workers party, orienting it as well to the mass organizations of the working class, the unions, and to build it in to a genuine democratic socialist and eco-socialist alternative to the two parties of Wall Street.