[Marxism] Fwd: Socialists and Sanders — a differing view | Green Left Weekly

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Aug 27 08:49:39 MDT 2017

Neither Sanders nor Corbyn are Marxists, and their vision of socialism 
is more akin to 1970s Scandinavian social-democracy than Bolshevik 
Russia. But both have spent decades honourably resisting the onslaught 
of neoliberalism, and the electoral platforms they have espoused are, I 
would claim, broadly similar to the policies that Marxists should put 
forward in the present political conjuncture.

In essence, they have developed what Trotsky would call a “transitional 
program”, making concrete demands that are capable of drawing popular 
support while being clearly distinguished from the bourgeois political 
consensus. If Corbyn’s program is to the left of Sanders’, this is 
chiefly because the political centre of gravity in Britain is markedly 
to the left of the US. A universal public health care system in the US 
is a radical demand that the present capitalist order is incapable of 
fulfilling. In Britain it is a reality, to which even Conservative MPs 
have to give lip service.



Is this a correct appraisal of Transitional Demands? For example, the 
Transitional Program calls for "the expropriation of several key 
branches of industry vital for national existence or of the most 
parasitic group of the bourgeoisie." Was there any group more parasitic 
than the banks that were "too big to fail" in 2007? Among the left, 
there was a call to nationalize the banks but Bernie Sanders only called 
for "breaking up" the big banks. As is the case with much of the Sanders 
campaign, the words had a hollow ring. In fact, he was only urging a cap 
on bank capitalization as if Chase would be any less hostile to working 
class interests if it had assets of $1 trillion rather than its current 
$2.5 trillion"? Here's a good analysis of the difference between 
nationalization and "breaking up" the banks: 

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