[Marxism] Fwd: Bern Rate: the Once and Future Sandernistas

Ralph Johansen mdriscollrj at charter.net
Fri Jun 10 13:41:47 MDT 2016

    Resubmitted with a title that keeps it in its proper file fwiw

    Louis Proyect wrote

    By Jeff St. Clair



    I think it's pointless to dump on Bernie Sanders any more at this
    point. To say that Bernie did not win black and Hispanic votes
    because he voted for Clinton's Crime Bill and "could never connect
    with the most vulnerable voters in the country' , which " alone
    doomed his campaign" is not a very adequate analysis of that issue.

    "Running as an economic revolutionary, Sanders spent most of his
    time in the cozy milieu of college campuses instead of in desolate
    urban landscapes or working-class suburbs. It’s hard to earn the
    trust of poor people when you don’t spend much time in their company."

    That's not at all what I saw. I saw many reports of Sanders rallies
    in black and Hispanic areas of the Los Angeles basin, including east
    and south L.A, and in the Richmond and south Bay Area, Chico and
    blighted northern counties, during his three weeks in California -
    so much so that Hillary had to come back to the state to campaign.

    Glen Ford is far closer to the mark in pointing out that black
    people are a captured demographic; they can't go anywhere, so the
    Democratic machines can again use them and ignore them; he says in
    effect that they will remain loyal to the Democrats until they
    perceive that the white Republican Party is not the overarching
    threat; that if the Republican Party is rendered obsolete or
    fractured in the fracas over Trump, black voters could very quickly
    shed that allegiance; and that they "are the real social democratic
    constituency" (as are Hispanics). They will be absolutely frustrated
    in any event, but that's their stance on presidential elections. Not
    so much the younger blacks anymore, who are coming up front against
    the Democrats, in the #black Lives matter movement, for instance.

    As for the Crime Bill, it's well to remember that Bill Clinton, who
    launched a 20-year long war on America’s blacks and Hispanics, at a
    campaign rally in Philadelphia for his wife angrily told black lives
    matter protesters they are "defending the people who kill the lives
    that matter to you" after facing growing criticism that the 1994
    crime bill he championed while president led to a surge in the
    imprisonment of black people and destroyed black communities; and
    had those who held signs that read "black youth are not super
    predators" quickly removed from the event. And also the footage of
    Hillary Clinton defending the bill in 1994 by calling people in
    gangs "super predators" who should be "brought to heel", which was
    widely circulated during the campaign by activists and the black
    lives matter movement. Not to ignore his role in helping to destroy
    the welfare platform supporting immense numbers of poor children in
    America. Certainly, you can criticize Bernie Sanders for voting for
    the Crime Bill, but implying a false equivalency to the Clintons on
    that ground alone would be a cheap shot.

    St. Clair acknowledges that "Sanders raised more than $212 million,
    a staggering amount, mostly from small online donors. He didn’t
    incur large debts and doesn’t owe any financial obligations to the
    usual Democratic Party loan sharks. He broke the money-dispensing
    monopoly of the DNC and deserves credit for that."

     From the Politico article, I sense that aides wanted Sanders to go
    for the tactical jugular against Clinton, take on Clinton’s email
    server investigation and Bill Clinton’s sex scandals. Sanders was
    right in avoiding personal attacks and running a clean campaign by
    sticking to issues. To that extent, he has served his constituency well.

    St. Clair does not mention in his piece that Bernie was also, very
    significantly, talking about real issues, and that this was greatly
    frustrating to Hillary who wants to move to what Glen Ford describes
    as "a big tent right wing party" by capturing Republicans opposed to
    Trump, allowing her to ignore that part of her base in minority
    communities - to whom she has to spin, equivocate and lie repeatedly
    - whereas the last thing she wants to go on about are their issues.
    Nor does she want to have to defend her corporate constituency
    against Bernie's allegations, or to have to talk any more, from now
    until November, about the corporate campaign kitty, the Clinton
    Foundation or the content of her lucrative speeches to her
    transnational corporate sponsors, whom she and Bill have shared with
    Republicans for all of their political careers. None of that would
    be present if she were just running against her Republican brethren.
    Bill Clinton along with white politicians preponderantly from the
    South co-founded the right wing DLC. He twice ran on platforms
    moving as far to the right as possible to head off Republicans, with
    Hillary at his side, specifically to curtail the rising electoral
    power of black voters in the South and labor. It's the only kind of
    campaign they know how to run, as Glen Ford says of Hillary, "This
    old dog has but one trick." And so, Bernie should just go away, and
    stop interfering with the plan for Clinton's candidacy to unite the
    corporate world around the Clinton dynasty. So that they can
    continue to make the world safe for their really so TNC
    constituents, savagely stomp on dissenters and smooth the path
    globally - by any means necessary.

    St. Clair says "the Sanders campaign fed them one illusory scenario
    after another". I got all the emails that the Sanders campaign sent.
    I did not sense that I was being fed "one illusory scenario after
    another". The campaign information was hopeful but quite consistent
    in acknowledging the long shot that the campaign became after the
    east coast "Super Tuesday". St, Clair continues, "In the end, he
    lost [in California] by more than 400,000 votes, a humiliating
    margin that can’t be written off to voter suppression or hacked
    machines." I followed the polls on the California primary. It's my
    home state, although I live up in the poorer northern rural tier of
    counties, which came in solidly for Bernie to the end. Bernie's poll
    numbers, in California as in so many other places rose consistently,
    from being double digits down to a neck and neck race well within
    the margin of error at the end. And contrary to what St. Clair says
    and aside from other ways in which the election was rigged, there's
    no denying the effect of the way the primaries were staggered, with
    the southern US polls coming first, where Clinton ran best, giving
    her initial momentum; the discouraging fact that the California
    primary, with the most delegates, occurred at the end of the
    campaign; California independent voters being prevented from getting
    the proper ballots, as Greg Palast
    the AP announcement before the California polls had even opened that
    Hillary had locked up the nomination - all of which had a markedly
    dampening effect on voters' inclination to get up and go to their
    voting precincts, which had a whole lot to do with the disparity in
    the final results in California.

    And why wouldn't Sanders be dumbfounded by the success of his
    campaign? He has repeatedly said so. No one expected much of
    anything at the outset, but he found that he had caught the crest of
    a wave of disaffection against the establishment especially on the
    part of young voters, who were registering to vote in massive
    numbers, many for the first time, and specifically to vote for him.
    That he had problems, as his campaign reaped funds and supporters
    and had to rapidly expand, with recruiting trusted staff from the
    cynical ranks of available professionals, and that he now has
    problems with how to follow up on what he has perpetrated, is not
    surprising at all. And in how he has built on the potential he found
    shows that Sanders is a savvier politician than almost anyone has
    given him credit for - as the Politico article acknowledges.

    Also from the Politico article, I sense that aides wanted him to go
    for the jugular against Clinton, take on Clinton’s email server
    investigation and Bill Clinton’s sex scandals. Sanders was right in
    avoiding personal attacks and running a clean campaign by sticking
    to issues that mattered to people. To that extent he certainly
    served his constituency well. The Democratic establishment of course
    want his now-massive email list, and a lot rides on their getting
    it. It is certain that, with Obama calling him in, the pressure to
    do so is heavy. Sanders has to choose whether to endorse Hillary or
    just campaign hard against Trump without signing up to do much for
    her directly. And assuming the decision is his to make, what kind of
    long-term organization to build out of his email list.

    Glen Ford rightly said yesterday that the moment of truth has come
    for Sanders. He must act according to the logic of the “movement”
    that he claims to lead, or bow to the logic of the duopoly political
    system. “If Sanders folds before Philadelphia – as early as this
    week, if the White House has its way – then history will treat him
    as a saboteur of the 'movement' that he claimed to lead.” But the
    important thing to keep in mind, of course, is not Bernie (as he has
    repeatedly reminded us), but the resurgence going forward, and its
    possible effects, here in the heartland of capitalism, on what
    appears to be the increasingly flailing system.

    My step-daughter announced yesterday that she and friends up here in
    Humboldt and Del Norte counties are going to Philadelphia to join
    the Sandernista rallies in July - with absolutely no prompting from
    their old socialist relative and friend, who's been quiet about his
    biases. The only advice I would offer is to be aware of the
    importance in any movement of knowing your reliable allies and above
    all your enemies, their capabilities and their vulnerabilities; in
    their actions, to choose those factions with an effective focus on
    specific and relevant issues having direct impact on people's life
    chances, unlike so many movements in the past; to recognize the
    limitations of identity issues; and to prepare to be clobbered by
    the media and to know what to do when confronted by the highly
    sophisticated, repressive police presence that they'll encounter.

    St. Clair says in conclusion, "Your move, Sandernistas." So where is
    St. Clair, if not identifying as a Sandernista for whom it's "your
    move"? I look for him to publish more penetrating stuff than what I
    read here. 

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