Note: Ford had penned his ‘Sanders Supporters Need to Split or Get Off the Pot’ before Clinton’s six surrogates had steamrolled Bernie’s four at the platform committee meeting at which single-payer healthcare, carbon tax, $15 minimum wage, opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal, a tax on carbon emissions, and a fracking ban were all shot down by the pro-Clinton arm of the group, as were James Zogby’s call to end Israel’s illegal settlements and military occupation of the Palestinian territories, and so on, but he’d predicted it, of course. Guess she told you, eh, Bern? But then, she’d already told you that she’d never asked Obama for anything before supporting him in the end, so: pfffft. (He just happened to make her his SOS in the old ‘keep your enemies closer’ sort of way, see.) It was good for him that they ended up being birds of a feather, no?.
The June ‘People’s Summit’ in Chicago was denounced by true leftists as a sham summit to squeeze Bernistas into Clinton’s camp in order to defeat that loud-mouth R hairdo they consider even worse than Clinton™**. This is the list of speakers including: Van Jones revolutionary? … Patrick Martin at wsws.org waxed (ahem) eloquently about them, as well as which issues were missing from the scene: war, militarism, and foreign policy (for obvious reasons). It would be a tough gig to name the most craven and clueless quotes (Mis ‘This changes nothing’ Klein? Juan Gonzales?), but then it’s pretty much true for all the interviews Paul Jay did from Chicago for TRRN. Most were vacillating weasel statements were not unlike Valley Gurl founder of ‘People for Bernie’ Charles Lechner: Jay trying to pin him down on anything was like tryin’ to pin jello to a wall.
This says a hella lot about how ‘people-oriented’ the summit was: the organizers rejected a request from Jill Stein to speak. Yep, a Dem Gate-Keeper rally, although Bruce Dixon at BAR said that the word Democrat was nowhere to be seen, and that the Celebrity Brand Names at the front of the room were oh, so worried about getting Bernie’s lists. Ford reminds readers that Sanders has never deigned to respond to Stein’s offer to share the ticket with him, in November. Good; I’d hate to see them on a ticket together myself, especially with him on the top spot.
But I digress. What I wanted to do is test out a few of Ford’s contentions on you to see if they hold water (to me, they don’t, hence this diary). I do understand his reasoning that there needs to be a strong progressive party challenge to the duopoly, but he mentions ‘democratic socialism’, which is essentially reform capitalism, which may be an easier sale who knows? But tags for War, Militarism…don’t yield any answers. Here’s Glen:
“Many of the 3,000 summit-goers swear up and down they will never vote for Clinton. However, the main organizers hail from leftish organizations such as the Democratic Socialists of America that have always folded into the Democratic Party on Election Day. *Kai Newkirk (see below), director of Democracy Spring, schooled activists in “non-violent discipline” to prepare them to run gauntlets of police at the convention site and surrounding streets. But, to the extent that these energies are expended on pressuring the Democratic National Committee to make platform promises that Hillary Clinton cannot possibly keep, they will end up punching air. They need a new party.” [snip]
“Sanders’ remarkable campaign allowed this “progressive” constituency – mainly the white ranks, and youth of all ethnicities – to see themselves as a potentially independent social force, as numerically significant as the white nationalists that gave Donald Trump his victory on the other side of the duopoly. [snip]
At least half of Americans that vote for the Democratic Party in national elections are social democrats whose politics are incompatible with the Democratic Leadership Council corporatists who have turned the party into, as Paul Street puts it, “objectively, the truer and more fully explicit ruling class party in the country.” [snip]
“The Sandernistas – now minus their commandante – can either slither into Hillary’s big corporate tent, or get down to the hard work of building an opposition, social democratic party that reflects the politics of around 40 percent of the U.S. public. This includes the vast majority of Blacks, although older African Americans, especially in the South, will be the last major component of the Democratic “base” to leave the party.”
“Most ‘progressives’ don’t know what fascism looks like in the 21st century.”
As of May 31, Bernie Sanders raised $132 million in small, individual contributions, which made up 60 percent of his total fundraising. With one-twentieth of Sanders’ small donors ($6.6 million) and the active participation of the same proportion of his 12 million voters (600,000), a new, social democratic party would be off to a good start, and could be made self-sustaining for steady growth. The new social democrats, if they are wise, would dedicate much of their capital to organizing in Black America, the most left-leaning and, historically, politically volatile constituency in the nation, whose youth are in a state of divorce from the machinations of a Black Misleadership Class that is almost entirely Democrat.
Independent Black politics will also bloom in sync with the weakening of the duopoly, specifically, the fracturing of the Democratic Party, which is hegemonic in Black America and a full partner with the Republicans in the maintenance of the Mass Black Incarceration State.
The struggle is not against political candidates of the moment, or one or the other of the corporate parties. It is against the corporate duopoly, itself – the two faces of the capitalist ruling class.”
Small beer it is, but this link that purports to show, line by line, that many of those small contributions were made by people multiple times. It pales beside the width and breadth and resultant ‘favors’ of Clinton’s contributors, of course.
But seriously; can this be so? “At least half of Americans that vote for the Democratic Party in national elections are social democrats”? Or this? “…building an opposition, social democratic party that reflects the politics of around 40 percent of the U.S. public.”
What can he mean? Which candidates were ‘social democrats? Yeah, during this primary season, millions voted or caucused for the Bern; but if he’s even remotely correct, then social democrats may be more tame than I’d guessed. Now his figures may come to pass in some future, depending on increasing neoliberal ‘austerity’ immiseration of everyday people, the Worker Rumbles around the planet, the effects of corporate grabs on O’s crap trade deals (if people can point the Fickle Finger of Blame at the (ahem) right kleptocratic actors.
But when the Big Unions are all captive to the Dems even to the point of endorsing Clinton, it’s impossible for me to see how working people will flock to a new Social Democratic party, unless there are more break-aways as with the Longshoremen who wised up. How ironic is it that the ‘Fight 4 Fifteen’ SEIU endorsed…Her Highness? Never mind Trumka and friends…
Kshama Sawant wants to build a new party as well, but also wants the Bern to run for the general election as an Independent.
Shouldn’t we be asking the folks at the People’s Summit and Ford’s posited members of a new Social Democrat these questions Jeffrey St. Clair had posed in April?
“If Sanders could turn 30,000 people out for a pep rally in Washington Square Park, why couldn’t he have had a flash mob demonstration mustering half that many fervent supporters to shut down Goldman Sachs for a day? If he could lure 20,000 Hipsters to the Rose Garden in Portland, why couldn’t he turn out 10,000 Sandernistas to bolster the picket lines of striking Verizon workers? If Sanders could draw 15,000 people in Austin, Texas, why couldn’t his movement bring 5,000 people to Huntsville to protest executions at the Texas death house? If Sanders could draw 18,000 people to a rally in Las Vegas, why couldn’t he just as easily have lead them in a protest at nearby Creech Air Force Base, the center of operations for US predator drones? Strike that. Sanders supports Obama’s killer drone program. My bad. But you get the point. Instead of being used as stage props, why hasn’t Sanders put his teaming crowds of eager Sandernistas to work doing the things that real movements do: blocking the sale of a foreclosed house in Baltimore, disrupting a fracking site in rural Pennsylvania, shutting down the entrance to the police torture chamber at Homan Square in Chicago for a day, intervening between San Diego cops and the homeless camp they seek to evict? Why? Because that’s not who Bernie Sanders is and that’s not what his movement is about. He’s willing to rock the neoliberal boat, but not sink it.”
Democratic Socialists USA doesn’t yield much by way of the tags military war or militarism, which is one of the interrelated Triple Evils poisoning our society: poverty, racism, and militarism MLK railed against so often.
Why not the Greens you’d mentioned, Glen Ford? Stein is far closer to an actual socialist than the others.
Establish a foreign policy based on diplomacy, international law, and human rights. End the wars and drone attacks, cut military spending by at least 50% and close the 700+ foreign military bases that are turning our republic into a bankrupt empire. Stop U.S. support and arms sales to human rights abusers, and lead on global nuclear disarmament.
Well, never mind; we have no idea what arc of electoral time you’re considering, nor do some of believe any longer that voting matters in such a rigged system. Ahead of a leftist ‘revolution’ must come King’s ‘true revolution of values’ in which we all have one other’s backs, and have shared power. (The recent Republican revolution seems to be fraying.)
*Kai Newkirk having been the official organizer of ‘Democracy Spring’ silliness; he and his heroes and funders exposed. Englers (‘media attention’, ‘empathy not solidarity’)>Erica Chenowith>Gene Sharp> billionaire investment banker Peter Ackerman. ‘You Call This an Uprising?’, by Ray Valentine at orchestratedpulse.com
*‘Noam Chomsky, John Halle and a Confederacy of Lampreys: a Note on Lesser Evil Voting’ by Jeffrey St. Clair
As you consider Fanon’s harsh words, and just trade ‘Europe’ for ‘Amerika’, ‘NATO’, AFRICOM.