a socialist’s take on the Bern’s ‘progressive’ FP speech at westminster college

(this ‘issue’ is important enough that i’m going to paste in whole swathes of it in hopes that you’ll read it all. i can’t tell you how many folks i respect on many issues lauded the speech from john nichols’ take on it at the nation: “Outlining a vision of an America on the side of peace and justice, the senator shredded Trump’s brutish foreign policies.” OMG.)

‘At site of Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech Sanders declares his allegiance to US imperialism’, Tom Hall wsws.org

“His choice of venue was significant. Sanders gave the speech at the same university where Winston Churchill delivered his famous “Iron Curtain” speech in 1946, which announced the launching of the Cold War. Sanders made several fawning references to Churchill in the course of his remarks and presented Churchill’s Missouri speech as a progressive and democratic manifesto.

“In that speech,” Sanders said, “he defined his strategic concept as quote ‘nothing less than the safety and welfare, the freedom and progress, of all the homes and families of all the men and women in all the lands.’ To give security to these countless homes, he said, ‘they must be shielded from the two giant marauders, war and tyranny.’”

In fact, the speech given by Churchill, a hardened reactionary and defender of the British Empire, played a major role in the development of Cold War anti-communist ideology. Under the guise of opposing the spread of Soviet “tyranny,” the United States carried out innumerable crimes, from the near-genocidal wars in Korea and Vietnam to multiple regime-change operations (Guatemala, Iran, the Congo, Chile), in which the CIA replaced elected governments with savage military dictatorships.

Subversion and violence abroad were accompanied by political repression and intimidation at home in the form of the McCarthy-era crackdown on socialist and left-wing sentiment in the American working class and the persecution of socialist-minded intellectuals.

By choosing this venue and wrapping himself in the mantle of Churchill, Sanders sought to establish, for the benefit of the ruling class, his anti-communist credentials. This was underscored by his full-throated embrace of the McCarthyite anti-Russian campaign being spearheaded today by his colleagues in the Democratic Party. As in the 1940s,’50s and ’60s, the “liberal” Democratic Party establishment and its media allies such as the New York Times are seeking to whip up an anti-Russian hysteria for the dual purpose of preparing for war against nuclear-armed Russia and imposing political censorship within the US, particularly over the Internet, in the name of combating Russian-inspired “fake news.”

In Sanders’ overview of world politics, the chief source of the “rise in authoritarianism and right wing extremism—both domestic and foreign,” is the Russian government. Denouncing “inequality, corruption, oligarchy and authoritarianism,” Sanders pointed not to Washington, but to Moscow, declaring that “kleptocrats, like Putin in Russia, use divisiveness and abuse as a tool for enriching themselves and those loyal to them.”

Sanders endorsed the Democratic Party’s narrative, which lacks any foundation outside of the say-so of American spy agencies, of Russian government interference in the US election. “We saw this anti-democratic effort take place in the 2016 election right here in the United States,” he declared, “where we now know that the Russian government was engaged in a massive effort to undermine one of our greatest strengths: The integrity of our elections, and our faith in our own democracy.”  [snip]

“The sole explicit reference Sanders made to Trump’s fascistic speech last Tuesday at the United Nations was a criticism of Trump’s failure to directly attack Russia for undermining “[t]he integrity of our elections and our faith in our own democracy.” He said nothing about Trump’s genocidal threat to “totally destroy” North Korea.

“[O]ur goal is to not only strengthen American democracy,” Sanders said, “but to work in solidarity with supporters of democracy around the globe, including in Russia. In the struggle of democracy versus authoritarianism, we intend to win.” [Emphasis added]. Given that the US has for years sponsored “color revolutions” against pro-Moscow regimes in the former Soviet Union, this statement can be understood only as a veiled threat to work toward the overthrow of the Putin government.

Sanders promoted the US-orchestrated civil war in Syria, denouncing “Russian and Iranian support for Bashar al-Assad’s slaughter in Syria,” while criticizing the UN for being “too slow or unwilling to act.” At the same time, he bemoaned US support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen, saying it “empowers authoritarian leaders who insist that our support for those rights and values [which the United States is supposedly upholding in Syria] is not serious.” Precisely!

Sanders defended the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran, which was obtained through punishing sanctions aimed at crippling that country’s economy, and called for similar punitive measures in North Korea. This demonstrates that Sanders, despite criticisms of Trump’s recklessness, has no differences with the administration’s strategic goal of bringing to heel or overthrowing the unstable regime in Pyongyang (a fact Sanders already demonstrated in an interview this April when he said Trump was “on the right track” in North Korea). Sanders merely proposes to do this through an economic blockade, which itself amounts to an act of war.” [snip]

“Thus, the Vietnam War was based on a “discredited domino theory” about the spread of communism throughout Southeast Asia. The war in Iraq was “based on a similarly mistaken analysis.”

Sanders’ speech exposes, once again, the fraud of his election campaign claim to be a “socialist.” In any event, the word “socialism” was conveniently absent from his Missouri speech. The term “democracy,” used primarily in reference to the promotion of “democracy” against nations and regimes targeted for destruction by the United States, was used 21 times.

Sanders is a longstanding supporter of American imperialism, a fact he has sought to conceal by avoiding discussion of foreign policy as much as possible. He endorsed the NATO war in the Balkans in the 1990s and voted for the Authorization for Use of Military Force resolution in 2001, which was used as the basis for the invasion of Afghanistan and has since been cited as the legal basis for military attacks, drone assassinations, torture and other crimes overseas, as well as the use of military commissions, indefinite detention without trial, mass domestic surveillance and other police state measures within the US.

In 2015, when asked whether counterterrorism under a Sanders administration would include Special Forces and drone strikes, Sanders replied, “Well, all of that and more.”

(okay; i ended up copying most of it, but the rest is here.)  ;-)  Now the Bern didn’t mention Israel’s aid to the attempted putsch in Syria, did he?  At least Tom Hall didn’t mention it, although Bibi wouldn’t like him defending the Iran nuclear deal…  Solomonesque?  Who can say?  I couldn’t possibly offer an opinion, but you might.  (h/t Francis Urquart)

Here’s his hour and a half speech at TRNN.  (in comments it was reported that the Bern starts at about 20 min.)

‘Don’t forget to vote’

16 responses to “a socialist’s take on the Bern’s ‘progressive’ FP speech at westminster college

  1. sanders hearts the DOD

    Sanders found him a little niche, that became bigger b/c of HRC’s awfulness, carved himself a political persona w/his high fructose hydrogenated denuded wonder bread “socialism” that sounds good to libs in VT. a total party hack, as demonstrated by his refusal to even acknowledge that HRC & co stole the Mule Ass Party nomination from him. yeah, his belief in “democracy” is real impressive. like peeing in people’s faces while convincing many of them that it’s really wine. He made a financial & political calculation not to the rock the DNC/DLC boat, but this is the man who will lead the charge of the US fat brigades against the bankers, corps, etc., etc.?

    • ‘wonder bread socialism’, ha. yeah, during the ‘debate’ (joint press appearance) he’d been oh-so-lauded for saying ‘yanno, i’m sick of hearing about yer emails!’. but this rubbish ain’t just ‘socialist except syria’ as so many like jacobin, etc., it’s a whole ‘nother level of imperialistic belief in russia, dprk, vietnam apologia, yada, yada.

      pepe escobar says that trump has created his own new axis of evil: venezuela, iran, dprk. “Syria under Assad is a sort of mini-evil, and so is Cuba. Crucially, Ukraine and the South China Sea only got a fleeting mention from Trump, with no blunt accusations against Russia and China. That may reflect at least some degree of realpolitik; without “RC” – the Russia-China strategic partnership at the heart of the BRICS bloc and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) – there’s no possible solution to the Korean Peninsula stand-off.”

      has sanders weighed in on VZ and cuba, yanno, actual socialist nations?

  2. …Hi wd

    …Indeed was / is notable choice of locale for Feel The Burn to showcase what he stands / sits for politically and just how much of a go along / get along sorta/kinda ” independent ” ( wink wink ) USSenator Vermont sent / sends to WashDC.

    …Westminster lucked out being in Harry Truman’s home state and thus got moved to the top of Winston Churchill’s places to give his post WW2 Anti-Russia / Russian Iron Curtain Fable Tell speech. In the way of a hunch I suspect The Burn’s political handlers and some DLC carnival barkers chose to have The Burn speak at Westminster just to dredge up some more hoary vintage early Cold War Red Scare / Anti-Russia / Russians name and place associations(s) to bundle around Dumbshit D’s ongoing Putin Did It!! D Freak Show.
    …Golly imagine that.

    …As DT whup assed Hill/Bill’ s bid to move back into 1600 PA. Ave. during 2016 the Dumbshit D’s who led / lead all the other Dumbshit D’s needed to hide and conceal lots of bad political baggage or worse done during KillerObama’s years as POTUS plus try to peddle Hillarious Hillary’s WH run amok WH quest so Putin/Russia were made The Evil Other and that premise is still being pumped and dumped here in 2017 aplenty tho few / no facts or truths seem to exist to support any of it. Needless to say The Burn is pretty much just another so called ” independent ” who serves with benefits as a useful political distraction and misdirection for WashDC Dumbshit D Party ” Leadership ” . The Burn evidently serves and functions much like TelAviv’s man from Connecticut Joseph Liebermann did as a USSenator. Golly gee imagine that.

    …Well The Burn is still carrying water for the current regime of slick sell Dumbshit D Losers in WashDC. A bunch of all time losers who would rather blame Putin and Russia for The Clinton Debacle, numerous B.Obama WH and DOJ Bait/Switch gambits and other serial ongoing fails of the WashDC D’s which reach back to Give E’m Hell Harry Truman’s badly bungled / mishandled post WW2 acts and choices regarding politics and policies for how USian Empire would pick up where British Empire left off. Lots and lots of humans died due to Harry T.’s Acts / Choices for/with/from Russia, China, Korea, Iran and Vietnam to name just a few expedient short list.

    …It was not Russia that lowered the so called Iron Curtain despite what W.C. claimed at Westminster —that was much more the doing / not doing of USian Empire and it’s now post 1945 vassal status minions in Western Europe. But who cares about all that oldy moldy Cold War history here in 2017? Russia since 1990 is no longer Red tho one can easily surmise USian Empire,CIA and more than a few Pentagon militarists and war profiteers would rather Russia was still totally Red. Damn Russians went and screwed it all up for USian Empire which then had to create Endless War On Terrorism to fill in for no longer The ScaryBogeyMan War on Communism. Dammit.

    …The Burn has been / is pro TelAviv Palestinian killing and taking of Palestinian history and lands. The Burn is pro Anglo-Zionist / USian Empire Militarism, WarCrimes and WarMaking and plainly supported Obama’s wanton killing and murder 2009- 2016 politics and policies.

    …It should be seen that The Burn as POTUS would have been just more and continued Clinton/Bush/Obama. And quite likely BurnCare just more same same continued / repackaged ObamaAHIPNoCare.

    … Or as Hillary would / did put it ” What difference does it make? ”

    …Not one spit worth.


    • hey, arrow, g’ mornin’. now don’t forget that the dems gave away moar billions to the military than herr Tee even asked for, because: russia. and nato and the us military are ginnin’ up moar war games, because: russia and dprk. the administration has zero interest in actually making a treaty, right? dawd’s blood, i just remembered miz nkki haley’s declarations again. ptui.

      i did just see a piece at common dreams lauding the bern’s ‘progressive’ speech, and apparently he severely downgraded threats by isis, perhaps due to the fact that those fundie muslim groups were also create by US FP debacles? but in comments below, someone gave a list of links, and this is one: ‘Why Bernie Sanders is an Imperialist Pig’, Glen Ford at BAR, june 2017 Please don’t mince words, glen!

      “Bernie Sanders is a highly valued Democrat, the party’s Outreach Director and therefore, as Paul Street writes , “the imperialist and sheep-dogging fake-socialist Democratic Party company man that some of us on the ‘hard radical’ Left said he was.” Sanders is a warmonger, not merely by association, but by virtue of his own positions. He favors more sanctions against Russia, in addition to the sanctions levied against Moscow in 2014 and 2016 for its measured response to the U.S-backed fascist coup against a democratically elected government in Ukraine. Rather than surrender to U.S. bullying, Russia came to the military aid of the sovereign and internationally recognized government of Syria in 2015, upsetting the U.S. game plan for an Islamic jihadist victory.

      Back in April of this year, on NBC’s Meet The Press, Sanders purposely mimicked The Godfather when asked what he would do to force the Russians “to the table” in Syria:

      “I think you may want to make them an offer they can’t refuse. And that means tightening the screws on them, dealing with sanctions, telling them that we need their help, they have got to come to the table and not maintain this horrific dictator.”

      Of course, it is the United States that has sabotaged every international agreement to rein in its jihadist mercenaries in Syria. [snip] The U.S. does need a social democratic party, but it must be anti-war, otherwise it commits a fraud on social democracy. The United States is the imperial superpower, the main military aggressor on the planet. Its rulers must be deprived of the political ability to spend trillions on war, and to kill millions, or they will always use the “necessity” of war to enforce austerity. The “left” domestic project will fail.

      so as to burn care, did you read my earlier post on kavanagh’s take on trojan horse’? i’m afraid he’s exactly right, although i did read some hints and clues as to his mooting the hyde amendment (eventually), and conyers’ not, at least yet.some always lovely to see you, my friend. it’s raining here, speaking of lovely!

  3. C’mon. The man’s a DEM FRAU’D !

    • lol. don’t hold back, bruce. but come to think of it, i’d emailed you to let us know how you and yours were doing post hurrycane. you never mentioned it on the boards, ya great idjit! and i forgot to wag my finger at you when last i answered a comment of yours, dang me!

  4. Thank You wendy e. I have been deliberately avoiding this speech having been permanently inoculated against Sanders by his undying affection for Hillary. And incidentally, similar feelings about John Nichols, though that began so far back during the Moyers years I can’t remember what started it. He talked a good game, but…as with so many.

    I am also just now struck that there is no substance to any of the anti-Russian rhetoric, none. Who would be persuaded by it? Very puzzling. It’s as if all the politicians are caught in one of those giant gravity waves caused by two supernova stars colliding whilst the rest of us.mere.mortals are.like the happy doggie on naked capitalism getting himself hugged by sheep – loved that antidote this morning.

    Best wishes to all. We got rain!

    • welcome, juliania, and whooosh, i sure didn’t watch it. i had looked at the john nichols drivel, then a couple at common dreams, ay yi yi. are people that hungry for any sort of lesser obomba/trump foreign misadventures that they eagerly lap up drivel? but yes, those who still believe, or maybe simply pretend/need to believe all that rubbish about russian interference confound me w/ their continued reification of what’s simply not so.

      on slow-brain edit: b at moa deconstructed the reification of the bullshit meme even further.

      i was goofin’ around with a diary on amerikan imperialism using ‘visual agnosia w/ underlying psychopathy’ as evidence of the same baloney last week. not sure the commentariat bought it, but oh, well, eh? glad you’re gettin’ rain, too. beautiful rain! the gardens froze this week, but we got everything in just ahead of it. last of the flowers are in seven vases, and boy, will i miss fresh flowers…

  5. After teh 2004 triple-Whammy in 6 weeks here on Volk County, (Charley/Frances/Jeanne); “monster storm” Irma was just another recent direct hit (we know how to batten hatches). Perhaps best characterized by my old college hippie friend Joe Hand of his idealized girlfriend; “Irma Ballzalot”; this time cock-punching FL head-on (even though our local Norcrosses “WRONG, AGAIN”, predicted it skirting the penisular west coast). NOPE! Right over the top of Eagle Lake; at night, AGAIN, 0f CURSE!

    • eeep; i know i can decode this if i spit over my left shoulder, then turn around clockwise three times… okay, done. mmmm. so irma dinnae ballzalot you, and you didn’t have surges and massive power outages? or…you did? well, anyhoo, here you are, and i hope there wasn’t much hell for people to pay.

      been discussing #puertorico at another venue. fuck donald trump and the flying monkey he rode in on. as someone noted, now if there were a military base there…ports, airports would be open, fixed, power restored, emergency supplies brought in…


  6. Reporting first, 0ur PRE$$TITUTE$ said teh poor millionaires in Naples suffered grievous property damage; later adding their “first” concern eas for Floriduhn lives. But, friends in the Keys homes were flooded completely 0ut ! EEagle Lake power mercifully for us was only down for a day, thanks to prepared TECO (Tampa Electric).

    • and the millionaires likely had good insurance; the rabble in the keys: none. well, so it goes under capitalism. wow, cuba survived quite well, wonder why? i just read a 1% puerto ricans corruption tale; i’ll stick it on the puerto rican thread.

      good on teco. ;-)

  7. Bernie Sanders is now 76 (born 1941) and will be 79 in 2020. One should ask not what this speech says about Bernie Sanders (who is unlikely to be the Democratic candidate or even a Democratic candidate in 2020) but what it says about the Democratic Party of which Sanders is still the most popular nominal “leader” despite Clinton’s attempt to get back in public life.

    First of all, it is interesting that Sanders is old enough to think about the symbolic echo of 70 years ago and re-raise it as an expected bookend. And then not be bold enough to deliver what is needed. The limited horizon on the edge of Congress is my suspect instead of insufficient ideology of which the wounds of McCarthyism have made Sanders shy for over 50 years. And Michael Harrington before him. Not taking the socialist line is hardly a defect in running with Democratic allies. Of course, this is an old point of mine.

    Far worse is how unimaginative a vision of the future of foreign policy and international relations Sanders outlined and how tied to the past decade instead of the future decade post-Trump. The optimistic scenario for the next three years is more suspended animation. The optimistic vision is an alternative to Trumpism and neoconservative neoliberalism (that is a thing).

    Alternative policy is what’s needed; Sanders need not be the person that bring it to popularity, but he had that opportunity and fell flat.

    But Sanders has to do something that no socialist in America yet has to do–get re-elected by the voters of his state. And Sanders has a few folks gunning to replace him in 2018; we’ll see who actually shows up to compete.

    I suspect that Sanders has become successful enough that he started listening to other people’s advice.

    If I gave a Fulton MO speech it would be about the need to completely redo the US national security institutions put into place in response to that political movement that started with the GOP Congressional victory in 1946 and got locked up with Reynolds v. US in 1954 in spite of the end of McCarthy’s inquisition. And it would call for a better idea than wasting $800 billion every year playing global whack-a-mole. Or creating a warrior culture that comes back and savages the home front, perpetuates the homeland, and never returns civil society.

    I really don’t think that fluffing Putin deals with the domestic crisis we have in the US no matter how much the Clintonistas and deep state have made Putin a scapegoat. The enemy of an enemy rarely is a friend even for temporary tactics. And the latent idea that Putin and company are crypto-socialists seems to me to be dangerous for multiple nations.

    That said, Putin’s Russia is more open to infrastructure (in the sense of available to everybody) than anything being proposed in the US. And to the extent that it ties in with China’s One-Belt-One-Road initiative, it will generate global wealth in peacetime and targets in wartime. That puts the public interest behind peace, commerce, and continuing prosperity instead of perpetuating “tough times to create tough people.”

    • excellent, and thank you, most especially for what you’d have said in your hypothetical speech at westminster, and your ‘fluffing putin deals with’ paragraph. one quibble: the bern isn’t a socialist; he’s a democratic socialist, which is really a reform capitalist, no? but okay, millions are jazzed that the term isn’t as toxic as it wa ten years ago. ;-)

      i suppose you’re right that the speech says more about the D party than the bern himself, and maybe this was some sort of group effort, but i’d have to think that one through for a while, trying to remember how this speech deviated from past deeds and speeches. someone under the trnn interview claimed, for instance that he’s ‘always called out likud for their treatment of palestinians!’ if so, i don’t remember, although iirc he did make a big deal abut not going to bibi’s visit to the joint session of congress.

      ‘re-elected in his home state’. that sure does remind me of his grand equivocations about his support for lockheed martin’s f-35 in vermont. but yes, they were gonna be built somewhere!” and he’s also said that amerika should have the most powerful military on the planet.

      as a side note, i got myself into a stupid conversation about the ‘russian facebook ads’ (i offered b at moa as a deconstructions) at a lame liberal site; now i’ve been invited to show up and ‘take my lumps’, lol. sigh. guess i will.

      • Michael Harrington is as close to a “branded” “socialist” as one could get to get the elite’s attention in 1962. “The Other America” created quite a public sensation. Bern is as close to a “branded” “socialist” as one could get in elected office at the time he won office, especially in Congress and the Senate. And he only succeeded by being from a small state in which he can win through retail campaigning. A pattern that he repeated in 2016 in his run for President.

        Without a massive change in political culture, which BTW could happen abruptly at any time, you are not going to see strong running socialists. That cultural change has to do with the equivalency of liberal=socialist=Socialist=Communist=Totalitarian Communist (a la Nixon and McCarthy) with FDR as their historical progenitor. That little oft-repeated lie was a much a Cold War staple as the Southern Lost Cause, which is how the Confederate flag gets conflated with fighting (Paul-Robeson-style) Totalitarian Communism. Didn’t you notice all those hammers and sickles in Show Boat? That Hollywood movie industry subversion?

        That kind of Paul Revere-ism still makes writers and media people money. It’s strange but look around at the mansions. Another branch of the horror entertainment industry–getting paid for providing the fear.

        • ‘retail’ made me laugh; guess supporting the f-35s in vermont was plenty ‘retail’ yeah, i know that’s not what you’d meant.

          i do get that until more folks globally wake up to the meaning of capitalism stealing their labor and lives, no actual socialist will get elected, esp in amerika. my main point was (again) that the bern is NOT a socialist, and if i get the drift, a true leftist socialist would not mutter a ‘kinder, gentler. imperial FP” or something as did the bern. that’s all.

          as for harrington, i only remembered him vaguely, but whooosh, according to the wiki he was also by way of a liberation theologist, even tho he gave up the church for atheism later. sounds like an estimable human being.

          recent headline: the DLC (oh, fiddlesticks: was it the DNC?) won’t support the bern. well, duh.

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