"We can elect the best person in the world to be president, but that person will get swallowed up unless there is an unprecedented level of activism at the grassroots level." —Sen. Bernie Sanders
One of the most cogent, honest, incisive, and easy to follow analyses (and diagnoses of American Democracy sick, and running a high fever) in a long time.
This is a particularly apt point:
"The modern presidency emerged from the long tenure of FDR and the challenges of the Great Depression and WWII. Its foundation was set in the twin pillars of endless economic growth (defined as rising GDP – producing more today than yesterday, more tomorrow than today) and the promotion of national security (expanding security via the projection of American power against all “enemies,” whether the former Soviet Union or ISIS). These twin goals were bipartisan, a product of a shared consensus that is simply not sustainable in an era of climate change and the decline of American empire. This now-unsustainable consensus was beholden to corporate definitions of the ends of U.S. military and economic power. "
Big business salutations to mammon coupled with Mars’ ruled homage to war are the twin pillars that are indeed sinking the American ship of fate. And a course correction is of course possible. To those that argue for the status quo, human nature is immutable and invariably war-prone, and capitalism is the only system capable of attaining global domination… at cost to all vital ecosystems. These assessments only use the present as basis for projecting all future potentials. It’s a blind, self-serving and self-limiting argument (and paradigm).
Probably one of the best analyses have read to date. The biggest hurdle a populist president would confront is the entrenched system that has operated for the past 200 years, invariably favoring a group of individuals who will do everything in their power to maintain the status quo. Real revolution would mean the American people deciding they want something different and making it happen–it cannot be a top-down shift. I am waiting to see if it happens .
The first known structuralist was the Greek crook Procrustes.
“He kept a house by the side of the road where he offered hospitality to passing strangers, who were invited in for a pleasant meal and a night’s rest in his very special bed. Procrustes described it as having the unique property that its length exactly matched whomsoever lay down upon it. What Procrustes didn’t volunteer was the method by which this “one-size-fits-all” was achieved, namely as soon as the guest lay down Procrustes went to work upon him, stretching him on the rack if he was too short for the bed and chopping off his legs if he was too long.”
Theseus turned the tables on Procrustes and gave him some of his own medicine. Can Bernie help turn the tables on the structure of power, or is the neoliberal, neocon agenda so ensconced as to be a reality beyond politics as we know it, a bed for all? The authors paint a pretty gloomy picture. And so it goes.
“that his criticisms of corporate American and rising levels of inequality can’t fly”
Last said about Occupy before they sent the head crackers after them.
This is an awesome analysis by Grover and Peschek; insightful and understandable. Bernie is a prescient leader and it’s questionable that American voters are capable of grasping his invaluable contributions.
Good followup commentary, Siouxrose. Your steady leadership contributed in this forum for as long as CD has offered a Comments section is appreciated.
Best piece I’ve read today. Best wishes.
Excellent analysis. Although I am absolutely certain Mr Sanders would be shot by a lone crazy gunman long before he became such a problem. And that only if the appropriate adjustments to the voting machines were to somehow fail.
Mr Sanders’ life is in no danger.
Mr Sanders has already agreed to commit political suicide for the DNC. He has already agreed to support the Megathatcher, the moment it wins the nomination. There will be no Sanders Third Party run; he has admitted this. He shall not call out the Neocon Beast With Three Names; he shall not support Jill Stein.
Sanders very candidacy is smoke and mirrors, fishfood for the rubes.
Lets reel ourselves in.
Since its 1985 formation the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) has turned the Democratic Party into a billion dollar (annual revenue) business. It is however, a very vulnerable billion dollar business, depending on Wall Street and global corporations for 95% of its revenue. The party bosses are responsible for the survival of the business by making sure that only corporate money magnets are nominated. Like Bill Clinton, Kerry, and Obama in past elections, Hitlery Megathatcher is the corporate money magnet the Party bosses have selected for 2016.
If the Party bosses let Sanders, O’Malley, Warren or any other candidate who seriously questions the oligarchy get anywhere near the nomination, 95% of the Democratic Party’s revenue disappears.
Billion dollar businesses don’t voluntarily forego 95% of their revenue. If Sanders runs for president in November 2016, it WILL NOT BE ON THE DEMOCRATIC TICKET.
Electronic Direct Democracy could help President Bernie get things done. Continuous, safely encrypted online referendums would make rapid decisions (without yet excluding our primitive and corruptible voting systems) and give the people the ability make the laws in a decentralized way.
Democratic choices made by all the people will take the heat off President Bernie. The Wall Street oligarchy that can easily attack one representative will have a much harder time attacking millions of people. Big Money can kill one or two propositions by manufacturing bad publicity, but they can’t make enough bad publicity to kill thousands of propositions on a continuous basis.
One of my first propositions would be to re-establish the Fairness Doctrine that Reagan killed.
Appreciate your perspective. We need to challenge the assessment that “human nature is immutable and invariably war-prone” to one in which we can see that our “war-proneness” (or greed for that matter) is actually a distortion of the human spirit and not immutable or invariable at all - the dawning realization of which is part of the equation that makes it possible for someone like Saunders to win to begin with. This challenge to collective perception helps motivate more of the grass roots to support and empower his agenda (in the streets, if needed), should he be elected.
An excellent piece of writing and intriguing argument added to this discussion.
The election of Bernie Sanders will be the start of a chess match where the corporate elite burn the midnight oil trying to neutralize his policies and checkmate him. It will take a concerted effort by all of us to thwart their every move and achieve the change we desperately need. Lech Walesa may have led the charge in Poland years ago against the Communist state, but it took the Solidarity movement to gain democracy for the people…
Do not wait … Make it so.
Perhaps. If so, the majority who Bernie brings from boycott fake elections land will then write in a resounding victory for None of the Above.
My research into the future has often found concepts like names to be tough to nail down, even so, it appears that Speaker Boehner will the be interim caretaker president until the people get it together for a new election.
Temporary caretaker president Boehner will immediately attack Iran, but, if Iran can hold out, will soon change his mind. Why? The people of central north America invent a new seven branch democracy, without a commander in chief. Things get hazy after that, it appears as if fun will replace wealth as the main career goal.
We would absolutely need to counter a capital strike with a labor strike, if by capital you mean the 1%. That would even be justified if it were corporations (people) and CEO’s & hedge fund managers who were found to be pulling the strings or contributing to such a capital strike. I suspect, however, that it won’t be that clear cut, as many folks who have their life savings & investments in 401K’s would be wise to consider converting any of their higher risk investment vehicles to fixed interest funds for a while around the election, should it look like we’d win. This will appear as a capital strike, yet is something even I would consider to protect what I’ve saved up over my life, rather than see it disappear via a lower number printed on some back page of a newspaper!
Usually, the VP goes on to run for president, and VP Joe Biden will be launching his campaign later in summer. Any Dem pol can then challenge him for the nomination, and the primaries will determine which one goes on to run for president in 2016. The winner of the 2016 presidential election will become the president-elect until sworn in as president.
This said, we don’t know where Sen. Sanders actually stands on the most critical issues, and I’m not sure that he does, either. The most urgent US issue is the least discussed – our poverty crisis. (The US went from #1 in overall quality of life when Reagan was first elected, launching the campaign against the poor, down to #43 by the time Obama was elected.) Sen. Sanders, once a powerful advocate for the poor, jumped on the Middle Class Only bandwagon. Now he includes the “working poor,” ignoring the jobless masses. (The US shipped out a huge number of jobs since the 1980s, ended actual welfare in the 1990s, creating a poverty crisis.)
What is Sen. Sanders’ response to our growing poverty crisis? To call for job creation? We’ve been doing that for over 30 years now. Our middle class continue to demand, “No crumbs for the poor!” Sen. Sanders used to address the reality that it’s impossible to save (much less, to rebuild) the middle class without shoring up the poor, as our own history shows.
Why a large labor walkout can’t work today: Workers can’t take that risk. The US shipped out a huge number of jobs since the 1980s, ended actual welfare in the 1990s, thereby creating a huge surplus of job-ready people who are absolutely desperate for any job at any wage. The dirty little secret is that this generation successfully stripped workers/themselves of any actual power. How much of the population has life savings and investments today? The definition of “middle class” itself was fairly recently revised downward, reflecting a lower income level.
Obama had the whole fracking world behind him to make changes for the common good, and he betrayed us.
If Sanders is elected (and i will work for that), we’ll have to “hope” that he is true to his words. If the markets go into a spin, so be it! It’s about time we stop cowering every time the “masters of the universe” threaten us with collapsing markets, marshall law. It’s about time we gently show them the door. They are NOT the government and a strong leader can start the process of extrication.