[Marxism] Mike Alewitz on Bernie Sanders
mtomas3 at hotmail.com
Sun Feb 7 12:40:34 MST 2016
"But that Sanders poses as a socialist and projects a sort of crude and erratic class divide -- in the context of the US Presidential Game Show : that has to be very significant. That has to be a plus because, despite what ever his preferences, Sanders unleashes and inspires forces that may later find him,and his party allegiance, wanting. What happens 'if'/when he backs Clinton? Where does that momentum and frustration go? It won't default to a bunch of wannabe 'we-told-you-so' outfits who did not go through the Sanders experience with them. It will instead be demoralised. And the promise fades because the 'real' socialists could not harness it."
I would say, Dave, that your points are really an argument that would give many leftists in the U.S. a justification to support Sanders, much like a similar argument made it palatable for otherwise skeptical people of color--and some leftists--to support Obama in 2008 (and only less so in 2012). I believe that what is remarkable about this "up-ante'd" posing of a "socialist" running for a capitalist party is NOT that it "unleashes and inspires forces that may later find him . . . wanting" (THAT is the trap), but the reason behind this event; namely that the economic crisis created by the capitalists and the political bankruptcy of their TWIN parties has resulted in growing disaffection with capitalism and openness (openly so) to ideas that are both truly socialist and the phony "socialism" propounded by Sanders and, now, some of those "wannabe" outfits trying to ride the coattails of this "Sanders experience".
It is indeed remarkable that there are more people looking to socialist ideas. But that yearning for socialist ideas is an argument actually to BE socialist, to Explain socialism for what it truly IS and for veritable socialists engage larger numbers of interested youth and the oppressed that "crude and erratic class divide" by showing WHERE that divide actually is, between the interests of the working and oppressed masses and that of the liberal wing of the ruling classes on the one hand and, as well, against the pessimism and frustration emanating from the disaffected privileged and reactionary elements among the classes that represent the fascist alternative.
Now is the time to be clear ("patiently explain") about the lessons and devastating results inherent in what has up to now only been an esoteric notion (for the masses) of "lesser-evil politics". Now is the time to present truly anti-capitalist, "socialist", or independent-of-the-capitalist-parties alternative to the Twin Pillars of Continued War, Repression, Environmental Devastation, and Economic Disaster that are the Democratic and Republican Parties. Supporting a (supposed) radical to "build a people's movement" within the capitalist parties is exactly the wrong thing to do and does nothing to "unleash and inspire" social forces that have already become inspired and already at least partially unleashed by their/our own reaction to the ongoing capitalist drive toward barbarism. It is not Sanders that unleashing or inspiring anything, but only reflecting the very real potential for actually building a "people's movement" and "political revolution" against the capitalist parties and their failed policies. Indeed, the liberal capitalists may not have seen the potential for drawing the masses back into their lesser-evil trap, but it is plainly clear that supporting that attraction is likely a great opportunity for creating that very "demoralisation" that would come of the Sanders campaign and--to be very clear--even his potential victory if it comes to that!
A Sanders presidency would do the same for all the working masses that the Obama victory did for the Black and Brown communities, a descendant spiral into continued and acquiescent misery at the hands of our murderous rulers with a "socialist" at the helm. Rather than building momentum for change we would see more economic devastation, more suppression of democratic rights, and continued war and militarization of communities with effect that even "radicals" would be giving such outcomes their tacit endorsement at worst or weakened credibility in trying to counter it at best. The masses may actually learn from such an experience, but they will be doing so with an even more moribund "revolutionary" current flailing away in the wake of the demoralising "flood" that entrapped the "socialists" to bring Sanders to power. And, such an outcome would be the result of a "victory" and not the more likely "defeat" of the Sanders campaign to run capitalism for the capitalists.
Revolutionaries must be MORE than Marxists today, We Must Be Intransigent Defenders of the "FAITH"; Faith in the masses to learn from the experience of lesser evilism, faith in the ever-growing realisation that it is THEY/WE who must put destiny on OUR shoulders and not yet another snake-oil salesman masquerading as "socialist" messiah. And revolutionaries must renew our faith in the masses, especially the true working class--all those Black, Brown, Women, and Youth--struggling to work, live, not die at the hands of a failed healthcare system, and not be made ignorant by a failed system of education that seeks to falsify our intelligence. We actual socialists can make a difference, right now. We must pass the test of our own faith, our own true belief that a capitalist representative is a capitalist representative is a capitalist representative regardless his purported and phony marker as "socialist".
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