Bernie Sanders Info Wanted
XTROT666 at aol.com
XTROT666 at aol.com
Wed Mar 1 12:49:59 MST 1995
I won't touch the Bernie-Sanders-as-shoe-shine-boy-of-the-ruling-class thesis
(though his vote on the crime bill was inexcusable), but I would like to
suggest that the strategy of his group is naive bordering on the idiotic.
I'm not trying to be super-marxist; but if left-wing social democracy is
your deal, then go for it. Form a social democratic party along the lines of
the Canadian NDP. Put out a program attacking welfare for the rich, etc....
Hold a convention, run someone for office (like Bernie).
There are plenty of social democrats in this country. The greens, NOW,
Ralph Nader's group, some of the less-corrupt unions, Hollywood
types--they're everywhere. It could be done in a year. And you'd get your
ass kicked in every election--but so what? Run until you snag a mayoral
election or get a defection from the congressional black caucas, then
celebrate. You might at least open up political discourse in the US to the
level of Canada or Europe (a vast improvement). You'd certainly scare the
bejesus out of the two parties if you started accumulating votes, and
watching the Sunday morning pundits get hot under the collar would be a
pleasure (if not a political gain).
And the above would be infinitely better than prattling on about
grass-roots activism in Burlington while Bernie votes on the crime bill and
tries to make friends in the Democratic Party.
I'm so sick of hearing how great things are in Burlington! Newt Gingrich's
great grandson will be president and we'll still be hearing legends about the
day Bernie stood firm against asbestos! The problem I have with social
democrats in the US is that they don't even have the guts to be social
democrats. Its like DSA sucking at the tit of Bill Clinton.
Every 48 hours or so, someone decides we need a new political party in the
US. Fine--at this point I'm up for anything. But everyone on the left is so
damn sure of their program (or lack thereof) that the concept of being part
of the whole, rather than the vangard, eludes them. Some union folks want a
LABOR party. Enviromentalists want a GREEN party. Feminists want a FEMINIST
party. For christ's sake can't these people shut up and put aside their
back-slapping, back-stabbing self-righteousness long enough to get together
for a weekend?
Social democracy is, by its very nature, a reformist, top-down,
undertaking. I am extremely cynical about its ultimate value. But the people
in Burlington haven't accomplished one thing that couldn't just have easily
been accomplished by a Democrat from the congressional black causus. As the
ad says, if you're going to do it, JUST DO IT. Form your party! Prepare to
lose. Provide a clearing house for activists.
In challenging the two-party system of electoral politics, at least you
would be shaking things up a bit, for there is most certainly a
social-democratic stratum in American that is untapped. You might encourage a
bit of activism. And in the long run you may show the limits of what can be
accomplished by pulling a lever every four years. Right now you're not even
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