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Protesting American Privilege at Home and Abroad


#1

Protesting American Privilege at Home and Abroad

Peter Bloom

Even as Sanders "path to victory" increasingly narrows, the passion for his candidacy grows in intensity. Recent victories in Indiana and Oregon reflect the continuing desire for a progressive alternative to Clinton and Centrist Democrats. It also reveals a hardening divide in the Party and beyond between those who want real "revolution" and those who are content with "reform."


#2

For Bernie:


#3

Peter Bloom's analysis is good... except that it doesn't entertain the possibility that those Sanders' supporters were plants and using violence in order to damage Sanders.

And C.D. editors, how about getting this one right:

"It is too once again draw a clear line of whose safety and wellbeing is important and whose is not."

It's not a typo, since the misuse of the term "too" was also shown here:

"It is too engage in sporadic violent acts or to accept the "hidden violence" of the status quo."

(In the following statement the word should be "too" rather than "to." Unbelievable!)

"And all to commonly the progressive ends of these tactics are betrayed by their deplorable means."


#4

Not since Bobby Kennedy in '68 has there been such sustained energy for a presidential candidate among the youth of the country. This is both inspiring and troubling.
It is inspiring to see that "the way things are is unacceptable" has finally found someone who agrees with its basic premise and has with determination made that case all over the country.
It is troubling because the Democratic party establishment so far has shown that it has learned little from the likes of LBJ, Richard Daley, Hubert "dump the hump" Humphrey, and the rest.
Instead of seeking reconciliation, the likes of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Rahm Emanuel, and of course Boss Hillary and her pretend-Democrat husband Bill are doubling down on those youthful and energetic Sanders supporters.
Such conduct back in '68 led to the likes of Nixon, Reagan, and the Bush crime family over the past 40 plus years.
Today, "The Donald" looks poised to take the White House instead if things keep going on their present course.
The Hillaryites in the media have dogged Sanders to say that he will support the nominee of the Democratic convention. I don't ever remember anyone asking a similar question of Hillary. Maybe it is past time to have that conversation.


#5

Indeed.


#6

I get the point and the US certainly has been guilty of too much violence in the world but it would be a mistake to completely omit that Sanders voted for attacks on Serbia, for the First Gulf war, for the Afghanistan war, and for funding the Iraq War. He has also promised to continue the drone strikes and the bombing in Syria and Iraq in the fight against ISIS. Bernie Sanders is by no means a pacifist although he evaded being drafted for the Vietnam War by claiming to be a conscientious objector (it remains unclear how he qualified for that status). It should be clear that both Clinton and Sanders are certainly willing to use military force if necessary. None of us can be sure how they would handle a foreign policy crisis until it happened. It would seem that both Sanders and Clinton have some responsibility for the use of US military force in the past and as a senator Sanders still plays a role.


#8

I really cant agree that Sanders rallies are violent. I was at the south Bronx rally in St. Marys park and it was the most peaceful rally I have ever experienced. If violence were to erupt it would be in the Bronx. Therefore, I have to agree with Sioux it may be provocateurs being planted by Clintons people.


#9

Why does anyone not ever talk about organizing a new political party?** The urgent need to do so is staring us right in the face. I propose a long-overdue Labor Party like we almost succeeded in forming until Bush/Sept 11 somehow steered all sorts of growing leftist movements directly into oblivion.

The Labor Party's web site, like a ghost - last updated with a 2012 post-mortem article that links to a dead blog is here:

http://www.thelaborparty.org/

If we can start to revive the Labor party, it is not going to win this election, or the election after that or the election after that - it is a long term project. But long-term projects seem to be something the US left is inexplicably incapable of doing. A movement will organize, build visibility then, just when the fight needs to be stepped up - go home, and never be seen again! It has happened again and again - Vietnam and the New Left, Seattle and Global Economic Justice; Indymedia, the World Social Forum, The Iraq/Afghanistan peace movement, various anarchist formations, Occupy - all of them have come, built up hope - then gone the way of the "pet rock".

This has got to change! We need a durable organization that is entirely self-sustaining and self-growing-chapters and meetings in every city and absolutely does not rely on the cult of any charismatic individuals. It also needs to eschew Facebook and Twitter and develop its own social network and media for communication. A revival and update of Indymedia might be a good place to start. Z Magazine/Znet has developed such an alternative social network, but it sits virtually unused.

Something has got to change. But before we can change the world, we have to change the US left itself into something that can actually organize and stick to the work of organizing from generation-to generation, for as long as it takes.


**Not the Green Party. The Greens have too strong an association with the white affluent liberal-left, and there is no example internationally of a green party getting more than a few parliamentary seats anywhere.


#20

Interesting. Supporters of the most violent of all presidential candidates - she who cackled like a witch at the violent murder of a foreign head of state - deplored the “violence” of those who wanted an end to electoral cheating. There’s no cure for shamelessness.


#21

Yes, but Green Parties in Europe are not very leftist. They have real socialist-left parties for that.

I was hoping for some remarks on the main part of my comment - particularly ideas on why the US left seems to be incapable of organizing durable leftist political movements like practically every other country in the world does - and what to do about it.


#22

This is the irony that seems completely lost on CNN and MSNBC and the like. They call out Sanders supporters on violence because of a single raised chair in a convention where democracy and peoples rights are being hammered into submission. But no mention of the violence in supporting a war monger who laughs gleefully at the mob torture and murder of a former head of State. No mention of the violence of people who support a candidate whose policies in Honduras led directly to the murder of a beautiful and passionate woman indigenous activist and then members of her family.


#23

Haven't you noticed the neo-con democrats approach - give the gays whatever they want while we pander to the corporations and the war machine.


#24

Okay, with the understanding that all politicians are ego-driven and lust for power over others, let me clarify what both John and Bobby Kennedy were at their best. They were forward looking and championed a positive vision of aspiration to their supporters. In that way Bernie has also taken up the mantle of forward looking visionary that has not been accepted by any presidential candidate since their deaths.
The "it's my turn" entitlement mantra of Hillary Clinton (remember how Bill used to say during his presidential campaigns that when someone voted for him they were "getting two"?) is well documented.
And that mantra is just as true of the Bush family's youngest son "JEB!" (and all his millionaire contributing patrons) having the gall to think that he should be seriously considered as presidential material.
And Alas! It was also true of the Jack and Bobby Kennedy in their quests for elective office. At least Jack and Bobby had some constructive vision of substance to inspire people to support them rather than the, "Hey, looka me!" narcissism that inspires so many candidates today.
Whether you like or loathe Bernie, there is no mistaking the substance of his vision for the country--that's what makes the political pros (and their hired sycophants in the news media) grind their teeth.


#25

LBJ's civil rights accomplishments as well as his "War on Poverty" were lifted directly from JFK's proposals in those areas. (See Theodore Sorenson's book "Kennedy" for more specifics on the details of the Kennedy proposals)
LBJ never helped the Kennedy's the way he helped himself in getting those measures passed. Lyndon was an accomplished self-promoter who loathed the Kennedy brothers and wanted the presidency and whatever adulation came from it for himself.
All of that being said, there never would have been a JFK without Lyndon working the South (where Kennedy knew nobody!) and there never would have been an LBJ as president without JFK's ideas as well as his tragic demise.


#28

Key update: There was no violence by Bernie supporters at the NV state convention: no chairs thrown, no physical assaults, no altercations - just a great many justly-angry people venting verbally. Understandably, they weren't happy about watching our democracy ripped to shreds in front of their eyes. The claims of "violence" spread far and wide by the mainstream media were based on a report by Jon Ralston that has proved to be false - verifiably so, as the conference was filmed extensively: http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/05/18/the-faux-fracas-in-nevada-how-a-reporters-pack-of-lies-ran-riot-in-the-fact-averse-media/

The media immediately picked up these claims, without attempting to get any independent verification, and ran with them, as it is clearly their agenda to marginalize Bernie. So Bernie supporters not only had to endure the Stalinist conduct of NV state Dem officials, but they were then unjustly accused of hooliganism by virtually every major news outlet. There is not a chance in hell that any ardent Bernie supporter will vote for HIllary now - and I have also vowed that I will never vote for any Dem who has endorsed her. And I have been a registered Dem for 44 years.


#29

Thank-you for your comments. But you have not explained why modern-day movements (since the mid 1990s) on the left all seem to self-dismantle just as they start to gain visibility and need to redouble their efforts. The whole post-Seattle global economic justice movement - gone. Occupy - gone. The Labor Party - Gone. The Socialist Party USA - way down from even the small membership in the 1990 - early 00's. Several perfectly healthy organizations in my own city simply up and folded. The formerly radical, now bourgeois, Thomas Merton Center refused to help out with or even endorse a trip to the AIPAC protest action in March - leaving it to a handful of third-internationalist (Leninist) nuts to organize a few vans to DC.


#30

A revolution for whom, and for what? Liberal media continue to "stand in solidarity" with the middle class, ignoring the consequences of our deregulated capitalism (i.e., our poverty crisis). Since the 1990s, they have implicitly preached that our deregulated corporate state is so successful that everyone is able to work, there are jobs for all, therefore no need for poverty relief. What people seem to be saying is that they want to keep the same agenda but see different results, benefiting the middle class alone. Revolution?


#31

It takes a movement. You need to figure out what, and for whom, the movement is about. Who are "We the People," and what do they want?

Think back. Occupy began as an extraordinary people's movement that could have changed the course we're on. Before we even had time to catch our breath, it was redefined -- by Dem pols, liberal media, then a number of participants themselves -- as a middle class movement. The rest of us -- the poor, and those who get why unrelieved poverty is sinking the country -- finally walked away. We see the occasional protest, but no movement, because we've been so deeply divided and subdivided by class and race.


#32

I don't know. The majority of poor in the US are white, and they're still not getting that whole white privilege thing.


#33

Some background for our other readers:

The Socialist Party USA (SPUSA) was founded in 1973 as a split from the Socialist Party of America, which had been renamed Social Democrats, USA a year before.

The Socialist Party USA's program and philosophies are in stark contrast to most other socialist organizations in the U.S. Three of the primary differences are as follows:

  • They are a multi-tendency party,

  • They oppose all forms of centralization, and

  • They believe in a multi-party political system.

In short, the program of the Socialist Party USA is more closely aligned to a socialist society under anarchism (libertarian socialism) than under Marxist socialism.

While socialism has a relatively small number of supporters/members in the U.S., anarchism has even less. As an anarchist, most people think I am something more evil than the devil. Sadly, they don't have any idea of what anarchism is all about.

Sorry, I know this doesn't answer your question of "why" leftist organizations have a dwindled base or membership in the last couple of decades.

I don't think we can underestimate the toll and influence that the policies under neo-liberalism have had on people. Since most working class people are struggling to just "make ends meet", they don't have the energy or time to devote to political and economic revolutionary change.

Additionally, the masses have been so "dumbed-down" through the neo-liberal education system in the U.S. in which the primary purpose of education is to develop compliant, submissive and obedient slaves to the masters of capitalism ... the ruling class. The educational system does not allow teachers to encourage and help self-development of one of the most important attributes a student needs to succeed beyond servitude: critical thinking.