Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Sanders Tells HIs Supporters Not to Vote for Stein

By Richard Mellor
AFSCME Local 444, retired

So Bernie Sanders is telling his supporters and former supporters “not” to vote for Jill Stein. We have the age-old scenario in place now, “Anyone but Trump”.  I remember how the liberals reacted when Reagan won his first term.  We were on the brink of a world war. Reagan would instigate a conflict between the US and the Soviet Union that would end it for all of us. What a deal the capitalist class has. There is only mass media coverage of their two parties and if one doesn’t work, the other is all there is.

Those who took the Bernie bait and ran with it, uncritically parroting his phrase, “political revolution” at the top of their lungs, have a lot to answer for. Many of these were those same seasoned liberals who predicted World War III in 1980. There was a major war at home of course. Democrat Carter had begun deregulation of the airlines and had used Taft Hartley against the miners in 1978 and Reagan opened a decade long war against organized labor with his smashing of PATCO and the firing of 11,000 air traffic controllers, banning them from working in the industry for life. The stifling bureaucracy atop organized labor under the leadership of the moribund Lane Kirkland did nothing,  giving the bosses’ the green light to step up the war against labor.  Despite heroic rank and file sacrifice, strike after strike was defeated due primarily to the AFL-CIO leadership’s non-response.

Along with the liberals, desperate for a savior that could return things to the good old days of the post World War II upswing, there have been thousands upon thousands of workers and youth who genuinely believed in Sanders. Many of them had no experience with previous left populist figures in the Democratic Party like Jackson in 1984 and 88. These genuine supporters had illusions in Sanders and illusions strengthened by the liberals who, despite Sanders admitting that his “political revolution” was nothing more than a voter registration drive, repeated his slogan ad nauseum.

But many on the left, particularly some of the established socialist organizations played a similar role as they salivated at the thought of intervening in the Sanders campaign and leaving it with more members than they went in with. Some in insignificant sects called for them to join their particular "revolutionary" group as if people move from no political activity to revolutionary conclusions without first trying to reform the system, activity that finds organizational expression in a mass reformist party not a revolutionary one. Others simply called for a workers party or the need to build an alternative, but this approach was not a viable one either given what was developing.

As the campaign grew in strength it became more difficult to determine the actual line. Socialist Alternative, the group from which I was expelled was consistent in only one thing, strengthening illusions in Sanders. It was difficult at times to determine what their actual position was. But what is clear is that leading members of Socialist Alternative in Chicago and Toronto said that if Sanders were to win the nomination they (Socialist Alternative) would support him. This is unheard of in such circles, support for a Democratic candidate, a candidate in a major capitalist party especially a presidential one.

I received a comment from a friend on a listserve. The comment is from a member of Socialist Alternative, a leading figure in it. He writes:

“And another from a SAlt member "For all the ultralefts who had the condescending position that supporting Sanders would 'sow illusions in the Democrats' because you thought working class people are so mindless they would just bow before their leader Bernie when he shepherded them into the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign, here is my evidence that you were dead fuckin wrong (link to video of Bernie being booed/heckled by his supporters) Workers have the capacity for independent, consistent political thought, it seems. Wow, who knew?"

I assume the numerous young people I saw crying at the DNC when Sanders revealed his true self never had illusions in him. Their tears were tears of joy as their true feelings were vindicated I suppose. No matter, the name of the game is never to admit your mistakes and weave a web of lies and half truths. The SA has a perspective document on line from their recent convention and, as always, how right they’ve been. How can you admit your mistakes when you never make any.

So, in a round about way the Socialist Alternative arrives at the Green party door after the illusionary bubble was popped last night. They are correct of course to call for a vote for the Green Party and Stein in November but the way they have arrived will in time cause a another serious crisis inside the group as it failed to prepare the Sanders supporters that joined it for what would actually happen. Sanders’ betrayal will lead many to drop out of political life in disgust, at least temporarily but there will be others looking for somewhere to go and we on this blog have said the Greens is it.

A major difference is that we said it from the beginning. We have been very supportive and sympathetic to Sanders’ supporters but we have been honest with them rather than strengthening any illusions they held that he was actually going to lead something concrete. We never supported him from the beginning and not only argued that they should vote for the Green Party but join it, build it, work to make it a genuine party of working class people, trade unionists, environmentalists and a socialist party. It was the only viable answer to those who we anticipated would want to fight on, want to participate in the electoral process as well. We have not wavered in our arguments that the Democratic Party, as a major party of global capitalism is not a way forward for workers and the middle class and nor was Sanders  We said from the beginning that Sanders would support Hillary Clinton.

This is what we wrote a year ago. Alternative to Sanders and the Democratic Party

No comments: