|Sanders speaks to the “higher consciousness community”|
Afscme Local 444, retired
There was not much talk of socialism from Bernie Sanders at the Sister Giant conference on February 2nd. The conference is the second of its kind and was billed as “Creating a Politics of Love,” by spirituality author Marianne Williamson, who admits that she doesn’t know what to do in these times. Williamson has written two best sellers, “A Return to Love” and “The Age of Miracles.”
All the liberals that were ecstatic at Sanders’ “coming out” as a socialist even claiming to be socialists themselves, are in a state of shock. Some are now looking for a savior in Keith Ellison, the Congressman from Minnesota; the desperate search for a savior from a party of Wall Street continues. Other supporters of Sanders who genuinely thought he was a man of substance, that he would actually do something, left for the Trump camp-----about a third of Sanders supporters voted for Trump according to reports.
So the socialist mantle that was barely present during his campaign, has been shed altogether as Sanders begins to sound more like a spiritual leader now. “Say Hell No to Tyranny,” and “Rise Up” were phrases banded around at the conference that Williamson says is intended to appeal to the “higher consciousness community”. Were Sri Chimnoy or Bhagwan Shree Rajneeshweren alive today perhaps they’d have joined Bernie on the podium.
Sanders revels in making public statements about issues that are foremost on people’s mind, already a part of mass consciousness. It is designed to make people feel better, validation is an important first step in helping one feel better about themselves as we no longer feel alienated, alone, as if our thoughts are not in tune with objective reality. It’s especially important coming from an authority figure as long as the next step is conscious, thought out action.
Sanders pointed out that Donald Trump's views of the world are not held by the majority of Americans imploring his audience not to “forget that” and that Trump’s victory, “….was a gross political failure of the Democratic Party.” Well he is responsible for that as well as a Democrat surely.
Sanders admits he doesn’t know what to do either, “If you think that you don’t have the answers, trust me, you are not alone,” he said. But he did encourage people to think about it and come up with something “despair is not an option.”, he told them.
For some, to criticize their beloved Bernie is sacrilege, hope is eternal, without hope they die. But it is those who are angry at Sanders who are honest enough to face reality who opened up to their mistake. Sanders is being disingenuous (what educated people call liars) when he claims he does not know what to do. He knew what he was doing all along. He ran for the office of President of the US as a candidate of the party of Wall Street and the big bourgeois. When this party’s right wing leadership denied him, he endorsed their candidate, Hillary Clinton, a war hawk and eventual favorite of the majority of the US ruling class determined to keep the degenerate and unstable Trump out of the driver’s seat. He told his audience here that he is afraid Trump might start a war. And Clinton wouldn't?
The economic and political crisis that US capitalism finds itself in produced different results as disdain for both parties proved fatal. Thousands refused to vote for the hated Clinton and Trump was seen as an outsider not connected to the graft and corruption in the US body politic. The black voter turnout traditionally safe for the Democrats as the African American population has nowhere else to go when it comes to election time, fell by more than 11% compared to 2012 and some two million black votes that Obama received never materialized for Clinton. Many white workers who supported Obama against Romney switched to Trump in 2016.
When we throw in the undemocratic Electoral College, Clinton’s fate was sealed. The crisis is intensified in that the candidate favored by the majority of the big bourgeois in the US lost. Sometimes things don’t always go their way in a bourgeois democracy and this time as in Gore's case, their system worked against them.
Sanders likes to have his cake and eat it too. He claims he is an independent but is in reality a Democrat without the card. By tapping in to the anger that exists beneath the surface of US society he built a following that could have made some differences had he offered a real alternative as some thought he might. Sure he told them on occasion that he would support the Democratic candidate whoever it was but he whipped people in to a frenzy with his rhetoric, fed the hope and distaste for the status quo and directed it in to the Democratic Party, the graveyard of all social movements.
As a so-called socialist Sanders would know that the party matters. When Trump suggested that he might not abide by the election result if he lost, this terrified the ruling class as it threatened to undermine the legitimacy of their system of class rule, of the “peaceful transfer of power”. Of course, it’s a transfer of power from one section of the capitalist class to another. There is no transfer of the ownership of the means of production, of class rule. The same class rules, holds the levers of society in its hands, decides what is produced, how and when.
If Trump decided to reject the legitimacy of bourgeois democracy why can’t we? The capitalist class prefers to rule in this way but if need be, military dictatorship is always an option. This is what scared them.
It’s hard to say exactly what will happen next. Trump is barely in to his tenure and is already embroiled in controversy and conflict with foreign allies and foes alike as well as his own party and judiciary. The bizarre implied threat to Mexico that the US military would be used to curb Mexico sending “bad hombres” in to the US, in other words, an invasion, would be a catastrophe. Los Angeles alone would erupt as would numerous cities and communities throughout the US with large Latino populations.
His Muslim ban has sparked protests around the world with some 40,000 demonstrating in London yesterday. Muslim dominated nations that support it are predominantly US stooges in the Middle East like the UAE whose capital is Dubai. Dubai is a playground for the wealthy and a horror scene for workers and women. A woman was imprisoned there for getting herself raped. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, the Crown Prince is worth about $20 billion and the tiny nation is renowned for horrific abuse of workers from poor countries that are imported to do all the work. This video gives an idea of what it is like for these workers:
In my opinion, there is no way that the serious bourgeois in the US are not talking discreetly among themselves trying to figure out what to do. Trump and his entourage of nationalists, white supremacists, neo-fascists and others are bad for business. Capitalism hates uncertainty, despises obstacles to profit making. For the tech billionaires, capitalist globalization has been good and the vast majority of them are concerned. And for companies like Caterpillar and Boeing, global sales are crucial to them as a huge percentage of their profits are generated abroad.
It is not only workers that fear the future under the Trump administration, thousands of wealthy people including Peter Thiel, the Paypal founder who backed Trump, are seeking citizenship in other countries, New Zealand being a favorite. The New Zealand government has come under some criticism for “secretly” granting citizenship to Thiel in exchange for donations and investments after the recent earthquake. In January, 13,000 Americans “inquired about nationality in New Zealand” reports the Financial Times (2-4-17)
The resistance to Trump and his policies has been very powerful and positive. His election has deepened the economic and political crisis further. As we have pointed out, the complete absence from the scene of the heads of organized labor, on the one hand saying nothing of any substance as they praise and ingratiate themselves on the other, is basically supporting him no matter which way one looks at it.
As Sean O’Torain wrote on this blog on Feb 1st, “Maybe trump will just stampede on until a mass movement of the working class stops him or a major catastrophe does.”
As for Sanders, he created the cause of his own demise by betraying those that looked to him for real change. Hopefully he’ll just ride off in to the sunset.