Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Sanders Stumping for the Democratic Party Again.

Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

“The issue of oligarchy and wealth and income inequality is the great moral issue of our time, it is the great economic issue of our time and it is the great political issue of our time, yet it gets very little coverage from the corporate media.”
Bernie Sanders

So says Democratic Party ideologue Bernie Sanders. He is hosting a Town Hall meeting on inequality in order to help people understand that we are not in good shape.

If you read his column in last Friday’s Guardian Sanders uses the term “understand” numerous times. Until “we” understand the minimum wage is too low, that drug prices are too high, that corporations write tax polices etc. The “we” he’s referring to is US workers of course. It’s nauseating reading it.  Does Sanders think the average worker doesn’t “understand” these things, isn’t aware of them? Does he think workers have no idea that there is a clique of rich elite people that run society? He must not have read the polls after the 2007 crash. But Bernie is out stumping for the Democratic Party with Elizabeth Warren and Michael Moore as mid-terms are coming up. 

The Title of Sanders’ column is “The corporate media ignores the rise of oligarchy. The rest of us shouldn't.”

 The issue of oligarchy is, “ the great moral issue of our time,” and we’d better not ignore it.  What is oligarchy?  This is my dictionary’s definition: a form of government in which all power is vested in a few persons or in a dominant class or clique; government by the few.

So Sanders opposes a small minority having too much political and economic power I guess, that’s what his oligarchy is.  Hard to oppose that. This is a common term used by radical liberals and radical petit bourgeois thinkers these days, people like Chris Hedges, Elizabeth Warren and their ilk.

Another common term used by the radical liberals and we see more often, is plutocracy. Here is my dictionary’s definition of plutocracy: “The rule or power of wealth or of the wealthy.”  So it’s pretty similar to oligarchy.

So what Sanders focuses on is not the system of production in which we live and labor, but the ruling class of that system.  In a slave system the oligarchy would be the slaveowners, in a feudal system, the feudal aristocracy and their wealth would be in land of course.
Sanders and Warren. For A kinder, Gentler Oligarchy

Terms you will not find in this column from the great socialist of our time is socialism or capitalism, or for that matter, working class. What the fraud Sanders is actually talking about is sharing the wealth more fairly and introducing laws that will assist in that regard. His vehicle for this is the Democratic Party. The working class and mass direct action, the social force and tactics that have brought us the gains we have left is a non starter for Sanders.

What Sanders actually is, is a reformer. He believes capitalism can be made human friendly despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.  Reform is one thing when it is used in order to expose capitalism for the bankrupt system that it is and as part of building a movement to overthrow it and replace it with  democratic socialist society. But that’s not what Sanders is about. He is aware that today, a huge section of the population want not only a new political party but are favorable to socialism, more favorable than he is.  The corporate media doesn't "ignore" the oligarchy, it is their media, or more accurately, the media of the class to which they belong and it represents their class interests. Workers may not be clear as to what can be done about the the rise of the oligarchy as they feel it every minute in every day in the form of cuts in living standards, poverty, lack of social services and the other consequences of their governance, police abuse, racism, sexism, environmental destruction etc. so they certainly can't and don't ignore it.

Besides the examples given, there is another term the capitalist mass media uses to describe the most blatant and brutal aspects of capitalist society and that is “crony capitalism”, but it’s used more to describe competing capitalist regimes as opposed to US capitalism.

Sanders, Warren and these defenders of the capitalist mode of production avoid raising the issue of systems as it is best to ignore the fact that we actually live in one. Capitalism has to be seen as permanent, almost a divine creation and there is no alternative-------bad things happen because there are just greedy people.

The capitalist mass media was not so shy when Stalinism (which certainly was not socialism or communism) collapsed. Communism has been tried they argue, and it failed. They accept there is a system then.

A friend and I were talking about this the other day. About how the mass media and politicians like Sanders and radical liberal writers like Hedges and a few others can be so depressing because they tap in to the anger people have about the world around them and write about the struggles they face but offer no alternative at all. Sanders' column is damn insulting, certainly condescending, lecturing workers about how we must understand this and that. He’s a nasty character. He knows he’s saying what people already understand and is underhandedly sheepdogging folks in to the Democratic Party. The millions of people that don’t vote are not uncaring or apathetic. They realize both parties are against them and both parties serve Sanders’ oligarchs. And it’s unlikely Sanders trickery will convince them otherwise and for their disdain they will be attacked for not following the false prophet. The austerity and cuts US workers and the middle class have faced over past decades have been imposed on us by Democratic and Republican parties alike. Democrats have such political power in California that we have been described as a one party state but are we to assume there's no poverty here? There's certainly lots of prisons.

The reason these terms that have to do with individuals or a class or group of people are used by the US capitalist media as opposed to what system they govern or what their class role is within that system, is that it places them in a bind. I will share here some edited comments about this from another author on this blog (Sean) who I was discussing this with yesterday:

Whenever I hear the various US capitalist media mouthpieces yammer on about Putin assassinating people, some other assassinations come to mind like Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Fred Hampton, and their own when it suited them, John F Kennedy the Minnesota Senator Wellstone.  There is also the hundreds of thousands abroad that US imperialism has massacred to keep its power. And the youth it massacres in the streets on a daily basis and that fill US jails. US imperialism and all its mouthpieces all refer to Putin and his buddies as Oligarchs or Plutocrats. Why this phraseology? When Stalinism collapsed US imperialism helped by the Roman Catholic hierarchy organized to have capitalism replace it. That is what now exists in Russia and the countries of the former Soviet Union. In other words US imperialism got what it wanted. The restoration of capitalism. Of course, such a reactionary step backward was accompanied by the most vicious capitalist class, former KGB thugs like Putin and his fellow capitalists. Gorbachev ushered in an era that took the collective wealth of the Soviet workers and gave it to the Stalinist clique that governed.

US capitalism rose to power through genocide of the Native People, slavery and civil war. Putin's capitalists are mild compared to the US capitalists. But to refer to them as capitalists would be to admit that they are the same. Putin and his class colleagues represent Russian capitalism-----Russian imperialism. Trump, the Bushes and the Clintons and the rest represent US capitalism.

We must reject Sanders, the radical liberals and the US mass media terminology for capitalists and refuse to call Putin and his bunch oligarchs or plutocrats. Call them what they are-----capitalists. They are capitalist just as the US ruling class is capitalist and the squabbles between them is just fighting over who can get the greatest share of the spoils.


Cameron said...

I agree with much of you say pushing that capitalism is the enemy, identifying capitalist production as the center of class exploitation and struggle, and your clarification of the differences between reform and revolution. What isn't clear to me from your piece is how you see U.S. revolutionaries fulfilling their duty to oppose U.S. imperialism. We are currently witnessing a serious buildup toward capitalist world war fueled by U.S imperialism's drive to maintain world domination. Its regime change policy in Syria has been challenged by Russia, a rising capitalist power. What position do you think a U.S. revolutionary socialist should take regarding what is happening in Syria given that such a war between the U.S. and Russia can be seen as a major threat to the global working class and its ability to organize revolutionary change from capitalist relations of production. Unfortunately the revolutionary left does not seem to have taken up this question.

Richard Mellor said...

I think Cameron that a revolutionary's or any anti-capitalist's duty and whether it can be fulfilled or not has a lot to do with resources. Take those of us around this blog. Our resources, our ability to influence events is extremely limited, almost non existent one might say although that is changing for us as our blog, weekly discussions and think tank is growing and hopefully becoming more a think and do tank as well.

So one's duty at times is limited to explaining events and figuring out what are the likely developments ahead; our blog is our most important resource at this point. It will take an organization of millions of people to overthrow capitalism and build a new society and we see the role of revolutionary socialists at this point to help that movement grow. Within this movement we see our role as helping build a healthy, non-sectarian current, a revolutionary leadership. We want to participate in building a new left culture. We do not believe that the powerful working class movement necessary to challenge capitalism will emerge out of any or all of the self styled revolutionary groups that exist today. As for Syria and similar situations, there are some instances where we can take no side where the working class is either decimated, weakened, or unable to repel the enemy. We can only confirm that only the working class can resolve these crises.It will take a movement of the working class throughout the Middle East and beyond to end the proxy wars fought between the imperialist powers on Syrian soil.I am out of space here but thanks for your question and we do have more documents and articles on the blog and in our possession that reflect our views. If you are interested in joining our discussion you can contact us by e mail at we_know_whats_up@yahoo.com and we can talk about that.