Burlington Vermont is cold in late November. Huge mounds of recently cleared snow attest to the coming of winter, which in this part of the world, just below the Canadian border and far from the warming influence of the oceans, is long, dark and absolutely freezing.
I was recently reminded by watching an interview with David Harvey (by Chris Hedges) that Bill Clinton ran and defeated (the late) George H.W. Bush by promising free universal healthcare. That’s how long (at least) politicians have been promising a health care system that they had no intention of delivering. The things that Sanders is talking about: free education, free healthcare etc are easily obtainable if we drastically cut military spending but nearly impossible if we don’t. Since militarism is central US capitalism, it’s hard to see this happening short of a social revolution. In fact, ruling classes worldwide are going in the opposite direction - authoritarianism, some new form of fascism. Since Bernie rarely addresses the elephant in the room - the military budget - isn’t he just promising things he can’t and doesn’t intend to deliver? Since Bill Clinton, the Democrats have adopted the strategy of “talking left but walking right.” Don’t forget how Sanders rolled over for HRC in 2016. Without Sanders and a few “progressives” the Democratic Party would have no legitimacy at all (and doesn’t deserve any).
Don’t forget Sanders lionizing war criminal George H.W. Bush, so-called Democratic Socialists like A.O.C. lionizing war criminal John McCain. When they do this they are signalling to elites that they will play by the “rules.” This “new political movement” is a diversion and a dead end. We need a mass movement that is independent of the duopoly, and any offshoots of the duopoly.
A cause? Climate change, health care, justice for Palestinians, helping to promote young progressives … that seems like plenty enough of a cause right there!
Sanders has a tough challenge if he wants to reorient the Democratic Party to working class voters. I can’t imagine how he can pull that off. The Democratic Party seems pretty closely tied in with minorities and highly educated whites. For the Democrats to be closely tied in with the working class there would take a great increase in the size of labor unions. Without labor unions Democrats have little connection to working class people. It is unions that used to be the core of the Democratic Party but they are diminished in size and can no longer play that role. I think Sanders is leading a movement going nowhere because it will remain too small if the working class is going to be at the center. And robots are rapidly replacing these type of workers so why does Sanders see this as promising? It doesn’t seem to add up.
The “infinite game” in both the economic and political sense are about to crash into the finite game of an overheated planet. If you like gambling, I advise putting your money on the finite limits to how high the temperatures can rise before all systems fail. Because in 50 years, capitalism and elections won’t save you–nothing will.
HI Tom_Larsen: yes the losing of endless wars is completely stupid. But when armies go overseas, that does happen. The military is eating up everything in Americas, like schools, , healthcare. So here’s my theory : ) And it goes back to why England lost ) because they had won so many they thought they were invincible-----but America was different-----just like Vietnam and all the wars after that have been.
I imagine the British lost the revolution because the English soldiers were tried of being away from home for so long and having citizens show them how much they were disliked.
I think the same thing happened to American soldiers in Vietnam Many American soldiers probably wondered what America was doing there anyway. To American boys who grew up on WW 2 movies, war probably seemed like an adventure----but then they found out what war was really about— as in nightmare-. Plus in Vietnam the people spoke a different language and had such different ways of living. I suppose the soldiers wondered what they were doing there and just wanted go homei In WW 2 it seemed like the whole country went to war , but in Vietnam, the people that often had to go- went because they didn’t have a college deferment…and that is really social class unfairness.
So America won the Revolution and won in WW 2, as Europe was in smithereens, and who else could be the top dog? But when the nations caught up, starting in the 1970s, America lost ground because past history is never a predictor of a sure win. And if American military people actually read history they would know that, because we seem to be in the Depression from the 1920s again-----Bernie does have a lot of good FDR type programs------so maybe progressives will rise again—and FDR couldn’t do everything, just as Bernie can’t either------then maybe history does sort of repeat itself—because look at Wisconsin and here come those La Follette ideas again. : )
We from the left would all like to see the military budget slashed down to defense size. But is not the only place to acquire funds. First we can retrieve the trillion plus dollars given to rich. Now that we know they exist and where they live we can TAKE a trillion instead. The will still be filthy rich, especially if the tax is a temporary one. I don’t think it should be temporary and if so, maybe less harsh.
Money is not the only problem, but it killed the programs of LBJ’s Great Society too (the cost of America’s war in Vietnam). You can’t have an empire abroad (that’s what the military budget is all about - empire) and democracy at home. Without truncating the power of the Deep State and the Big Banks, none of what Bernie proposes will go anywhere. He’s knows that too.
Do you think he has retroactive in mind? Bring the military home first and the money comes along for the ride.
Sanders made peace a long time ago with ruling class. He brought the F-35 (manufacturing) to his state. This is why he is so weak on foreign policy. Sanders is a sheepdog for the Democratic Party, he represents a marketing strategy to bring progressives back within the fold. He’s a fraud. (If he ran an an independent or the candidate of a third party I wouldn’t say that.)
Sounds like there aren’t many out there that would satisfy your political needs.
This is not about “purity” but rather not being deceived. My needs are likely not that different from yours (or millions of other people), like them I want genuine progressive change, I won’t be satisfied with a marketing program instead. That’s what Obama gave us, and that’s the real reason Trump won, because too many people could see that the Democrats were offering us more of the same NOTHING.
To refer to a liberal and progressive lefty fighting for the causes I thought we All were after, it’s awfully cheap to refer to Bernie as a fraud. That would be the equivalent of pounding on your pinky so you could claim your hand is crippled. It’s mostly a lie, with an ounce of perceived truth.
Actually I think Sanders is jumping out ahead of the other potential candidates. He has expanded his platform from the issues he articulated all too well the last time, and has added an international dimension to his candidacy, above what you will likely hear from other candidates. He may have raised the bar for these other candidates to reach for, something I think they weren’t counting on.
Great, if he wins the primary, another vote for Trump.
He really never stopped campaigning. He’s also hired new staff, including from Harry Reid’s office. I’ve commented before he made multiple mistakes last campaign and he’s trying to correct them early. In multiple ways, he’s the front runner in the way Clinton was, visiting states early, establishing ties, and, well, meeting with the DNC (including about debates) and putting his own people in important spots.
Sounds like you might agree with better LEFT than RIGHT when the dust settles.
Absolutely. I generally have been staying away from 2020 commentary—we have plenty of time—but Sanders is clearly getting an early start. I noted last night he won’t be up against HRC this time though and it’s quite possible, if someone like Sherrod Brown gets in, he could have some progressive competition—a good thing I think.
Infinite mindset- that’s exactly what we need to be reminded to have. Vote at every election. Never get comfortable or complacent. Always be on the defensive. A steady non-stop push is the only way to get the ball rolling and to keep it rolling.
There will always be people who will find reasons that Bernie may not be sufficiently progressive enough. It would be nice if those people didn’t feel the need to constantly berate the point however. That being said, there is one thing that I believe is actually MORE important than one’s level of ‘progressiveness’. That thing is ‘ETHICS’. There is not one single person currently serving in the House or Senate that has near the same level of ethics as Mr. Sanders.
I am absolutely proud to stand and say that I know with certainty that if Bernie says something, he means it. I also feel absolutely certain that he actually gives a damn about others. I can’t say that about the majority of elected leaders in D.C.
I want someone to take the lead who cares for the people he/she serves and can be trusted to say nothing but the truth when speaking.
With Bernie we have decades of his political experience to look through to find that evidence of ethics and empathy.
If ethics and empathy is not more important than a single issue, then I fear that we human beings can never elect a good leader.