Bernie Sanders Info Wanted

XTROT666 at AOL.COM XTROT666 at AOL.COM
Sat Mar 4 03:03:31 MST 1995


Andy writes:
>Seriously, Don, I don't disagree with you at all.  My argument isn't about
the inclusiveness of the party, rather it's about what we have to do to make
the party a reality.  Waiting for Wimpy et al to do it for us, well I'm
sorry but it just ain't going to happen.<
   You're point is well taken (as well as the others you make in your
rejoinder to my reply). It occurs to me that I may have stomped a bit too
hard on your original statement. If so, accept a comradely appology.
   It seemed as though there was mixing of two different strains. On the one
hand, the support for struggles by the disenfranchised (workers, immigrants,
blacks, etc...), and on the other, the attempt to form a third party along
social democratic lines. While I'm more sympathatic with the former, the
latter seemed to me to be NECESSARILLY a top-down undertaking. My
(unsolicited) advice was, If you want to form such a party, you don't need to
organize alien hotel workers to do so.
  Your desire to have a mass base for such a party is reasonable and
admirable. I tend to think that a SDP would inevitably (bad word, I know)
become a reformist wing of capital, and turn the screws on the workers. Given
this, the words MASS WORKING CLASS BASE and SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY don't
seem to go together, accept in as much as an explosion of the former tends to
open the political space for the latter (is this where you're going?).
   No doubt a mass base would make the SDP a better means of gaining some
much-needed reforms (relief). We then arrive at the very simplistic formulae:
SDP+Massbase is better than SDP without mass base and with charismatic
leadership. But without being historically deterministic, isn't the former
generally not a feature of periods like this one, with a full frontal assault
on wages, benefits and democratic rights? And if the latter (SDP top down) is
the best we can do to shake up the two party system and carve out a sliver of
political space (however squalid), wouldn't it be better to do so?
    I don't know, as forming a SDP has never been part of my serious
thoughts, having walked around for half my political life with a copy of the
Transitional Program stuck up my ass (very uncomfortable). I'm not nearly as
cocky as I once was.
   You want to tear down the building brick by brick and use the bricks to
build something new. This is what we all want. But I'm saying (perhaps only
out of cynicism) that we don't have a permit and they have barbed wire and
dogs, so why not throw some rocks through the windows (SDP being a very small
rock) and see what happens.
   In the meantime, maybe the workers will come up with a more viable
solution.
   I know this is not much of a program, but its two o'clock in the morning.
Good night.                             Don


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