Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Yes It's True. I Wish Bernie Sanders Would Just Bugger Off.


By Richard Mellor

Afscme Local 444, retired




A friend of mine was quite upset on hearing me say that I wish Bernie Sanders would just go away. I can understand that to a degree and there’s no doubt Sanders played a role in raising the concept or just the word socialism in US political life.


It’s clear to anyone that lives in the US or follows US politics, that the disgust with the two capitalist parties, the Republicans and the Democrats, has been increasing exponentially each election cycle. The trade union hierarchy has given hundreds of billions of dollars of their members’ hard-earned dues money to the Democratic Party over the years and we have some of the weakest workers rights in the industrial democracies. In California where I live, the Democrats have so much power it's almost a one party state. In addition, they have provided resources in the form of precinct walkers, phone banks and so on.


The trade union hierarchy does this despite having the resources to provide a genuine working class political alternative to these two Wall Street relics, because their greatest fear is the tremendous potential power that their14 million members represent; just one or two major unions could bring the US economy to a halt. Having the same world view as the captains of industry and seeing the trade unions as employment agencies with them as the CEO’s, when capitalism enters a crisis they move immediately to bail it out---at their own members’ expense of course.


They are aware of the anger and desire for change that lies beneath the surface in US society, the mood that Sanders tapped in to and then channeled in to the Democratic Party where such movements are laid to rest.  What is so disgusting about Sanders as far as I am concerned is that he betrayed people, especially young people.


This was still evident in a recent interview he gave to a British journalist. Sanders repeated all the rhetoric about the horrors of capitalism and has clearly been pretty much alone in putting forward a class oriented (less of the identity politics) program. But his position hasn’t changed one iota as he recommended a vote for the warmonger Biden, the former Senator from DuPont. It is the same as positions liberals, both genuine types and horrible left saviors of the working class, have put forward over the past period. The Republican is so bad we must vote for the lesser of two evils. This is a thoroughly defeatist and demoralizing position. How can only having the choice of two evils not be demoralizing.


When I pointed this out to my friend, his defense, of his position and Sanders’, was he had no choice.  Firstly, this is not true. He had a movement that could easily have played a different role in the 2016 election breaking from the Democrats and standing independent candidates on a class oriented program. Health care, education, housing, pay and benefits, jobs instead of incarceration, the unorganized, these are all strongly supported issues among workers, especially young workers. Who knows what the so-called “squad” might of done had Sanders took the lead instead of playing the same old game supporting the Democratic Party machine which he’s always done.


This would have galvanized millions and regardless of immediate victory, a vibrant growing movement from below in any situation places pressure at the top and brings more gains as opposed to sitting down with the power trying to make deals.


At very least Sanders could say and could have told his interviewer that it’s his personal position that Biden is the only choice given the alternative (least evil and usual excuse) but stress that we need a political party of our own based on workers organizations and our communities fighting for our needs not the needs of the investors and the “billionaire class” as he calls them.


But he can’t even say that as the fear of a conscious and active working class movement is so great; better not to give them any ideas. The idea is to convince us we cannot change anything. This is why we get almost no coverage in the US mass media of the French workers struggles or the mass. Strikes taking place in Britain. Why there are always these imaginary fears and countries we are supposed to fear on a daily basis, China, Russia, Iran, N. Korea Iraq, Venezuela, different ones at different times. If racism sexism, right wing extremism were as strong and ingrained in the US working class that we are led to believe in the capitalist mass media, they wouldn’t be so cautious.


This is why I just wish Sanders would go away. I’m sick of him.

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