[Marxism] Fwd: Bernie Sanders is no Eugene Debs | Green Papers [was Re: Jacobin editor urges voting for Clinton in swing states]

Ralph Johansen mdriscollrj at charter.net
Fri Apr 8 13:41:08 MDT 2016


Louis Proyect wrote

By Howie Hawkins.

http://greenpapers.net/bernie-sanders-is-no-eugene-debs/


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I assume that there's good reason why you put this year-old article online, most or all of which we may agree with. What it doesn't speak to is what I raised in previous posts. 

The only responses on the Sanders campaign have been by Mark Lause who agrees but feels that there's no benefit for him in participating because inevitably capital will drown Bernie, and Mark is as he says absolutely certain that it does not point to a solution, and that Sanders will in the end support Clinton (unless Sanders wins, another kettle of fish) and disillusion his constituents; to which I’d ask what are they now, other than disillusioned (Re: [Marxism] Jacobin editor urges voting for Clinton in swing states); but which I don't feel directly took on what I asked; and Louis' refutation of what Bernie and John Foster have implied about Swedish socialism [[pen-l] Fwd: Sanders, Sweden and Socialism], which those of us who are at all in touch should well know (although it had produced a different form of capitalism for a brief, ascendant time) and which though helpful as a reminder is peripheral to the issue. 

If anyone will go back and read what I have written (Re: [Marxism] Jacobin editor urges voting for Clinton in swing states), I’ll extend my remarks: 

We're not in the era of Marx or Engels or Lenin or Debs. Labor then had a large measure of unity – nationally and to some extent internationally, and a program and vision to coalesce around. And capital had not become as sophisticated and as complex and intertwined in its organization as a global force. Nor had it yet produced a period of astounding, generally sustained productivity which had created the illusion of ultimate benefit being extended to all. Which surely in the long term cannot hold but for our time has been formidable. 

The principal criterion that I try to keep in mind is whether a proposed action inures to the benefit or to the detriment of the world's working people. I pose the question in relation to what is taking place now, on the ground, when labor solidarity is at a low ebb, frustrated by division and immobility, and its clout eviscerated - in the only activity, Bernie against the current crop of would-be prolocutors, which in any significant way poses the antagonism between labor and capital so as to obtain a broad hearing, and which is most likely to recall to the working class our common plight, our own strength in numbers, and the ultimate limits of capital. 

All I could ask in response to what I raise here is that it be dealt with it in that spirit. What is the net effect of what Sanders is saying to millions about most of the main issues that we are likely to see as counting in our immediate lives? And as opposed to what more meaningful action? Other than third party efforts which have been shown to be crushed in the present set-up - as, we can expect, will be a campaign conducted within the confines of the two-party circus of American electoral politics, where the only pertinent issue is how to most effectively manage the accumulation of capital through the exploitation of labor. What other than sitting and fuming to no effect over our impotence? 

Of course the electoral process under a capitalist system is designed with the sole interests of capital in mind and is in almost every way a diversionary, counter-productive forum in which to advance the interests of the working class. But it's a forum which like other devices invented by capital can be exploited for other purposes - however limited the wriggle-room afforded. Why is the Sanders campaign in toto vilified by parts of the left and regarded as unworthy of active support, while it lasts as a unique and possibly never-to-be-repeated phenomenon (capital as a metabolic system tends to close all effective avenues to an alternative) - unless it can be shown to be, on balance and with the foregoing in mind, harmful? 





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