Newsletter – Building Toward Political Revolution

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This week the massive leak of the Panama Papers gave people a glimpse inside how the extremely wealthy avoid paying taxes and hide their money. The reaction to the leak showed that people are more sophisticated on these issues and also how many understand that information can be manipulated to undermine people and governments who oppose the United States. Panama Papers leak

Of course, we also know this is just one tax evasion firm, and not a major one. This is a small tip of a massive tax evasion iceberg. Estimates are that $7.6 trillion in individual assets are in tax havens, about one-tenth of the global GPD. The use of tax havens has grown 25% from 2009 to 2015.  Gabriel Zucman, author of The Hidden Wealth of Nations: The Scourge of Tax Havens estimates that US citizens have at least $1.2 trillion stashed offshore, costing $200 billion a year worldwide in lost tax revenue and US transnational corporations are underpaying their taxes worldwide by $130 billion. 

The Panama Papers will escalate demands for transformation of the economy as well as of government; continue to increase pressure on capitalism and result in the growth of the people-powered movement for economic justice.

Seeing Through Propaganda

The week started with the release of the results of a yearlong investigation of documents leaked from the Panamanian company Mossack Fonseca by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung. The company functions as a full-service wealth-hider for tax evaders and money launderers. This is not news, people have known about shell companies and tax havens for a long time. What is exciting about the release is getting to see the names of those involved.

Source CNN

Source CNN

The name that was most widely promoted in the Panama Papers leak was Russian President Vladimir Putin, even though his name was nowhere in the documents and connections to him were circumstantial. This immediately raised questions. The US consistently tries to demonize Putin to ensure its global domination.

Robert Parry explained how accusations of corruption are used to take down leaders that are targeted by the US. Organizations such as the so-called National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and US AID are often involved in regime change operations and one of their tools is to fund media outlets that target US opponents, which is then echoed through the commercial western media. This then foments unrest that can be leveraged into supporting a coup.

This is happening right now with the attack on Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and past-president Lula. Mark Weisbrot writes about the US role in the events in Brazil and coups in other Latin American countries. Of course, it is no coincidence that both Brazil and Russia are key players in the new BRICS bank that is challenging the US-controlled International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank. at a time when the integrity of those institutions is being questioned.

 People demonstrate against Iceland‘s Prime Minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson in Reykjavik, Iceland on April 4, 2016 after the Panama Papers revealed his wife owns a tax haven–based company with large claims on the country‘s collapsed banks. (Reuters / Stigtryggur Johannsson)

People demonstrate against Iceland‘s Prime Minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson in Reykjavik, Iceland on April 4, 2016. (Reuters / Stigtryggur Johannsson)

The Panama Papers have sparked major protests in Iceland demanding resignation of Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson for using Mossack Fonseca to handle his wife’s fortune. As protests grew this week, Gunnlaugsson announced his resignation and then backtracked. Icelanders are now calling for a vote of no confidence and new elections. Gunnlaugsson had been spokesperson for the InDefence movement, that fought foreign creditors’ attempts to make Iceland pay out £2.3 billion in compensation when Iceland’s banks collapsed and were nationalized. 

Craig Murray reports that the Panama Paper’s leaker turned to western media which used the information for its political agenda and protected its allies. Many are asking about people in the US who engage in the same behavior. David Dayen writes that creating secret companies to hide wealth is legal in states such as Nevada, Wyoming and Delaware and that it could be stopped easily if there were political will to do so. McClatchy is doing excellent reporting on the creation of tax havens inside the US. We will discuss it in depth on our next episode of Clearing the FOG Radio.

Glenn Greenwald concludes that the Panama Papers and Edward Snowden’s revelations show that widespread misbehavior is legal. It is interesting that the head of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, Gerald Ryle, used the Panama Paper’s leak to criticize Wikileaks and perpetuate the myth that Manning and other leakers were reckless when in fact it is the western media that turns leaks into a tool of the state. We just passed the six year anniversary of the release of the Collateral Murder video which changed the conversation about the US military’s role in Iraq.

Protesting The Neo-Liberal Agenda

If you thing Greed is bad wait till you see capitalismThe Panama Papers leak is one more piece of evidence showing that the global economy is rigged to benefit the 1% at the expense of the 99%. Rana Foroohar writes that this awareness is playing out in the US elections where there is discussion about rigged trade agreements like the TransPacific Partnership (TPP) and the corruption of money in politics. This is personally gratifying to us because during the fight to stop fast track, members of Congress justified their support for fast track with the belief that voters would not consider trade agreements to be an important issue in the elections. They were wrong.

In other countries, this rigged economy is identified as a neo-liberal agenda that drives cuts to public goods and services and privatization of them for profit. Neo-liberals pursue deregulation of industries and finance. There seems to be confusion in the US about this terminology because some identify the term ‘liberal’ with left-wing values. We choose to use the term. The neo-liberal agenda is one of the ideologies that unites the two corporate political parties, the Democrats and Republicans.

This week, a massive movement erupted in Paris, France. Called the Nuit Debout, or ‘Night on Our Feet’, movement, it began when students and workers protested in the Place de la Republique over a law to increase work hours. Despite a ban on protest, millions of people marched throughout the country. The police responded with violence, which has led to greater protests and spread of the movement to other parts of Europe.

Nuit Debout, Night on Our Feet, in Place de la Republique began as a protest a longer work week and has expanded into protesting lack of democratic choice and neo-liberalism.

Nuit Debout, Night on Our Feet, in Place de la Republique began as a protest a longer work week and has expanded into protesting lack of democratic choice and neo-liberalism.

While the Night on Our Feet movement started about a month ago because of the labor law, like all true movements it has taken on a life of its own.  In many ways it looks like the Spanish Indignados and the Occupy movements with its focus on non-hierarchical and direct democracy methods of organization. The movement has broadened to have a strong critique of neo-liberalism and neo-liberal political parties, calling for the creation of alternatives much as the Occupy movement did. And now, the movement has extended to Brussels, Berlin, Barcelona and London.

In the US, one of the front lines of neo-liberal attack is education. On April 13, the second Million Student March will take place across the country. It has been endorsed by the Green Party Youth Caucus because, while Sanders comes close, Jill Stein, the presidential candidate seeking the Green Party nomination, is the only candidate whose platform is consistent with all of the student’s demands. These marches would be an opportunity for students in the US to connect and express solidarity with the Night on Our Feet movement. And students in the US could go even further and reject the neo-liberal model of education by embracing the principles and resistance exemplified by the Zapatistas.

Privatization protestPrivatization of lower education is an area where students, parents and teachers are fighting back. In states, such as New York, parents are choosing to opt-out of testing for their children. On July 8, teachers are coming to Washington, DC for a conference and rally called “Save Our Schools”. They are fighting for “democratically-controlled public schools that serve our communities.” Mitchell Robinson of the Bad Ass Teachers describes the very successful public education model in Finland where, among other things, testing does not start until high school.

Of course, another area of neo-liberal exploitation is of workers. Mike Whitney reveals that over the past ten years intentional policies have led to a dismantling of our employment system.  Forty percent of workers are in alternative work arrangements, known as the ‘Gig Economy’, without benefits or protection. Instead of a recovery, under Obama’s two terms, 578,000 good-paying public sector jobs were lost.Worker rights are human rights

Across the nation, the Fight for 15 movement is starting to win higher minimum wages. Airport workers in nine cities went on strike this week for higher wages and the right to organize. Farm workers, who earn a mere $6 per day, are asking people to boycott Driscoll’s berries until they get a raise and better working conditions. In September, prisoners across the country will strike to shut down prisons in protest of the very low wages they are paid. They are also connecting their struggle to the injustices of the school-to-prison pipeline, police violence and barriers that people face when they are released from prison.

Building Alternatives

In this election season, there is widespread discussion of corruption in politics and the need for new solutions. People are rejecting the status quo and recognizing that anything worth having must be fought for. This is an opportunity for the movements that have been building over the past few decades and that have steadily risen since the Occupy movement took off in 2011 to push for the bold solutions that are needed to address the multiple crises we face.

In a recent article, many thought leaders put forth a list of transformative solutions that come from movements around the world. They write:

“Recent progressive electoral efforts and mass campaigns around the world have revealed a huge reservoir of desire and of creative willingness on the parts of large sectors of populations, and very especially young people, to seek change…. Ultimately attaining worthy new program will entail thinking outside the box, as many emerging struggles around the world have urged, noting that the box is capitalism, patriarchy, racism and authoritarianism. The box is the imposed mental straitjacket of thoughts and practices typical of all too many countries’ political life.”

Revolution begins in the mindThe term ‘Political Revolution’ is being used widely, particularly by supporters of Bernie Sanders, but in fact it has been growing for the last six years. Political revolution occurs when a broad movement of movements becomes activated, reaches consensus on major issues and challenges the status quo. This means a national consensus develops in three areas:

1. People recognize that crises exist – such as the major crises we face with the climate, inequality, racism, environmental destruction, corruption and military aggression.

2. The current political system cannot solve these crises.

3. Transformative political solutions are accepted.

Political revolution cannot be about one person. The Occupy movement recognized that truth and wasn’t focused on a single leader. Movements are full of many leaders who play different and important roles such as providing food, protecting health, facilitating meetings, documenting what is happening, putting forward new solutions and more.

Political revolution requires that we work collectively to achieve transformative change. At the end of the election season, no matter who is elected, it must be the movement that determines the political agenda. Over the last six years the popular social movement has grown and is confronting many issues. The movement has built power and we should not underestimate our ability to set the agenda for the next four years. What actions we take in order to accomplish that must be a topic of discussion within all of our social circles. We look forward to exploring what the political revolution looks like as the year progresses.


  • Jon

    I cringe every time I see the word “neo (new) liberalism. It is the name the ruling class have given themselves! I beg you to get out of that box. I moan when see your statement: “There seems to be confusion in the US about this terminology because some identify the term ‘liberal’ with left-wing values. We choose to use the term. The neo-liberal agenda is one of the ideologies that unites the two corporate political parties, the Democrats and Republicans.” Talk about putting lipstick on a pig! Yes, I concur that they are united–in neo FEUDALISM where the all encompassing control exists that parallels that of the original feudal system of counts, barons, lords, princes and kings. Just as we reject the perspective of their media calling it the “corporate media, we must also reject their pet name for themselves! Jump out of that box, please! Jon

  • Ghost

    You don’t ever hear in the media that ‪#‎BernieOrBust‬ is building an American political revolutionary movement. Pledge-takers are revolutionaries; the Sanders supporters who say they would vote for Clinton in Nov. if she’s the nominee are sheep being led to the neo-liberal slaughter.

    Have you taken the Bernie or bust pledge?

  • Al

    Bernie is a democrat. He’s running as a democrat for the democratic party. I just don’t get how people who rail against the duopoly can support Sanders when he’s part of that duopoly. I saw where some Occupy group was supporting Bernie. I think a lot of people are confused. A democrat is a democrat is a democrat. As the article states, the current political system can’t solve the problem, it has to come outside that system. Bernie Sanders is nothing more than another shiny object waved at the sheeple to keep them at bay.

  • Aquifer

    That’s not a “revolution”, that’s a personality cult … “keep the DP in control, just give us a ‘kinder, gentler’ Dem” …

  • Aquifer

    ” …the box is capitalism, patriarchy, racism and authoritarianism. The box
    is the imposed mental straitjacket of thoughts and practices typical of
    all too many countries’ political life.”

    I suggest you add the D/R “duopoly” as part of that “mental straitjacket of thoughts and practices typical of
    all too many …”

  • Ghost

    You could not possibly be more wrong. You don’t know what “bust” means, and you don’t understand that Revolt Against Plutocracy is NOT the campaign. We are building a list of revolutionaries.

  • Ghost

    Try harder. How many times in American history has a revolution like the political revolution Sanders is leading within the structures of an establishment Party? ZERO. You throw you’re vote away, we’re building a revolutionary army of democracy commandos.

  • DHFabian

    Listen to what Americans are actually saying. The rich don’t want anything to trickle down to the middle class, and the middle class don’t want anything to trickle down to the poor. Both believe they are entitled to everything they have. Maintain the same socioeconomic agenda and demand different results? It won’t work.

    Americans chose a ruthless deregulated system that has profoundly benefited corporate and financial interests while reducing our poor to mere “surplus population,” undeserving of the most basic human rights (per the UDHR) of food and shelter. We believe that only those who are of current use to employers/the economy deserve to survive. We’ve been winnowing out that those can’t compete, as well as our excess stock of workers. Rather bluntly stated, but this is the way it is. We are hard-wired to think in these terms. We stand in solidarity with workers, as long as they are still employed.

    So, if we had a revolution, we would fight whom? We’re rich vs. middle/working class vs. poor.

  • DHFabian

    Because realistically, we will end up with a D or an R. As a candidate, Obama often stressed that the only way we could see change would be to figure out what we want, organize, get to our feet, and DEMAND it from Congress. Almost did that, too, with Occupy, only to see that we don’t agree. Before we even had time to catch our breath, Occupy was redefined (by Dem pols, lib media, some participants themselves) as a “movement of middle class workers” alone. The rest of us finally walked away.

  • DHFabian

    “Neoliberal” is a term that’s been around for a while, basically focused on laissez-faire economics. An example would be our welfare “reform,” and the deregulation of corporate and financial powers. It’s definitely a confusing term.

  • Jon

    Nothing “liberal” about those if we mean by “liberal” the policies and legislation in the administration of FDR, the quintessential liberal(pushed hard by those far to his left! I stand by my comment! time to flush that term among academics as sugar-coating the monstrosity of empire! Language matters! Jon

  • Jon

    The common foe is the1% (in general–with a few exceptions). “Something’s happening here, but what it is “ain’t exactly clear.”

  • Aquifer

    Mounting a write-in campaign for an individual who, i am quite sure, if he doesn’t win the nomination, will discourage in no uncertain terms – (he has said, quite clearly, he doesn’t want to be a “spoiler” for the DP, and a write in would take votes way from the DP) is rather indicative of a fixation on the candidate. If he means it when he says “it’s not about me!” and were serious about a “political revolution” he would back the GP candidate, in any case … my suggestion stands …

    I know quite well what “bust” means …

  • Aquifer

    Hmm, somehow i don’t remember Occupy “demanding” anything in particular of Congress – and why should Congress pay any attention when Occupy wasn’t threatening to replace them with non-corp reps …

  • Aquifer

    Oh, i dunno – how many times – let’s see, as often as the DP comes up with a new wunderkind that “changes everything!” – last time it was O …

    And just what is your “army of democracy commandos” going to be doing …

  • Its Obvious

    Hmm, the 1%er is a misnomer. The richest 62 people in the world own as much as the bottom 50% of the entire world’s population. Its not even remotely close to 1%, it is actually more like the top .0000001% that controls the wealth. Most doctors, accountants and lawyers are at the bottom of the top1%. I don’t see them as the issue when they aren’t the wealthy but upper middle class and certainly don’t control things. Its the richest of the rich that control things and in a revolution, will more than likely be funding both sides of it to hedge their bets. They aren’t dumb.

  • Patrick_Walker

    I’m surprised Ghost didn’t say it, but the Bernie or Bust pledge includes the option of voting Green alongside writing in Bernie. As a co-creator of the pledge, I was the one who insisted on adding that option (the one I prefer)–and the leadership agreed with no trouble at all. The Bernie or Bust pledge is NOT a personality cult: it’s a smart attempt to transfer supporters’ strong liking for Bernie into the type of revolutionary movement Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers favor. The SMART thing–which Jill Stein herself seems to be doing–is to give Bernie due credit for continuing the movement started by Occupy, Fight for 15, Black Lives Matter, and others and giving it a HUGE shot in the arm. Bernie’s position as a politician limits him as a revolutionary, but he’s done enormous good work for revolution by giving it the excitement of a viable presidential candidacy. Bernie or Bust is simply trying to run with that; I really think Popular Resistance should join hands with us and tell its supporters to take the Bernie or Bust pledge–with the intent to vote GREEN.

  • Patrick_Walker

    I’m a PRAGMATIC leftist. What I mean by that is that I’m a GENUINE leftist (unlike HRC, who calls herself “pragmatic” ad nauseam)–but one deeply interested in gaining political power. Genuine leftists have to be astute about political psychology. The fact is, Bernie has got tens of millions of Americans–especially energetic young ones–interested in leftist policies and politics. The LAST thing we want is to alienate them by bashing or belittling Bernie; we should be using the resentment HRC and Democrats are creating by bashing Bernie and his supporters to RADICALIZE them more. The Bernie or Bust pledge is astute psychologically: it SUPPORTS Bernie for the nomination while luring his supporters in a more revolutionary direction than he’s willing or able to take. If all leftists saw this, we’d have a much bigger ARMY of revolutionaries.

  • Patrick_Walker

    See my comment above. If leftists are smart, we WON’T treat Bernie as another shiny object; we’ll speak well of him and express gratitude for his candidacy, but point out that Bernie himself has said that this is bigger than just him and that we need a political revolution. In effect, Bernie’s OUR system insider to undermine it with his message; we can’t expect him personally to be anything more than an insider. But his supporters are the GOLD we should be mining–and we don’t do that by bashing Bernie. We praise them for backing him and offer ourselves (and Jill Stein) as Plan B for carrying on “Bernie’s” revolution if (as is likely) he loses the nomination.

  • Aquifer

    So if Sanders gets the nomination – folks should vote him and not Green?

  • Patrick_Walker

    Yes, because he’s a VAST upgrade over any one else electable. He’s the ONLY electable candidate with a sane anti-fracking climate policy, for starters. That DOESN’T mean we won’t need to push a Sanders administration further left (even by civil disobedience), but Bernie’s so good on the key issues of corruption, economic inequality, and climate that I think it’s CRAZY not to vote for him in November if he’s nominated. But if he’s NOT nominated, I think we should vote Green and help make the Green Party viable.

  • Aquifer

    You do realize 1) that, if he doesn’t get the nomination,Sanders would be royally pissed at a write-in campaign which would take votes away from the Dem nominee that he will be supporting “as he always has”, even when there is a candidate, like Stein, or Nader, who was much closer to his purported positions, 2) that if he does get it, you would be supporting, once again, the LOTE, in terms of there being, what most progs are saying, a better candidate, Stein, on the ballot. with regard to many issues, including the ones Sanders is “so good at”, not to mention FP … That is not a “revolution” but simply the latest restatement of accession to the TINA to the duopoly meme that has kept us screwing ourselves for decades now …

    And what of Dr. Flowers campaign? As you must know, Sanders, whatever his outcome re the primaries, will be supporting all Dem nominees against Green ones wherever they are … does your advice of Dem over Green translate across the board? On what basis?

    Applaud the fact that discussion of many issues has entered the realm of vocal political discourse – but do not confuse the one who has been allowed a bullhorn to shout them with one who would actually actively, “without fear or favor”, pursue them in office …

    This “electable candidate” nonsense is just that – we decide who is “electable” by – electing them. Not so long ago nobody, most probably Sanders himself, thought an “indep. socialist” was “electable” – but folks decided to support him anyway – it was that choice by so many that, voila, made him “electable”. The same thing could be done for someone like Stein or Flowers, if we decided to focus on supporting the best candidate, instead of checking the polls or bowing to the dictates of the MSM, and too much of the, frankly, IMO, chicken prog media –

    Hedges has come out in support of Stein, a stand based on principles – it is strange that we applaud Sanders for his “principles” while failing to act on what we claim to be our own – maybe that’s the problem – we fall for a candidate’s, and our own, rhetoric re principles while failing to act according to them … Choices made in the name of political “pragmatism” has been the death of our politics for far too long already …

    PS – i intend to vote Green anyway, Sanders or no …

  • Aquifer

    Sorry – disagree, it is not Sanders who “has got tens of millions of Americans–especially energetic young ones–interested in leftist policies and politics.” – They were already there and have been steadily growing in numbers – Sanders just came along and used the stage supplied him by the DP to make sure “lefties” put their eggs in the DP’s basket, instead of tossing them at the DP from the arm of an indy challenger… luring them in a less revolutionary direction .. If he were luring them in a more revolutionary direction he would be pointing them toward a party like the Greens …

    You really can’t get around that ….

  • Aquifer

    ” …we can’t expect him personally to be anything more than an insider..”

    And if he gets the nomination, will that mean he is no longer an “insider”? So why should we vote vote an “insider”, when there is an honest outsider who is a much better candidate …

    His supporters – hmmm, is it him, Sanders, they are supporting, or the policy issues he purports to support? If the former. we get back to that “cult” idea – if the latter, then the obvious choice is Stein …

    Offer ourselves? for carrying on “Bernie’s” revolution? Whose revolution? Isn’t it supposed to be the other way around? I think you are making my point re the cult of Sanders … i saw the same thing with O …

  • Patrick_Walker

    Sanders is electable because he ran an insider campaign in the Democratic Party; he would have failed abysmally as an independent or a Green. I’m NOT saying that’s right; I’m simply saying that acknowledging the OVERWHELMING obstacles to third parties is a matter of leftist pragmatism–which is why Kshama Sawant is so smart to support Bernie’s DEMOCRATIC presidential run. She realizes her own success in Seattle (like Bernie’s success in Vermont) is based on a uniquely progressive local public and WON’T fly nationally. As to Congressional races, I recommend supporting pro-Bernie Democrats (if any are available); otherwise, we should vote GREEN to help make the party viable. POWER is what should matter for progressives.

  • Patrick_Walker

    If you think Bernie’s ANYTHING like the sellout Obama, you clearly have no grasp on political realities. By calling Bernie an “insider,” I do NOT mean he’s sold out like Democrats. What I mean is that he, unlike most leftists, has SUCCEEDED in gaining substantial political power. Until leftists get MORE insiders, lone rangers like Bernie have an uphill struggle. I think it’s CRUCIAL to embrace what they give us–and politically IDIOTIC to treat them as sellouts.

  • Jon

    Patrick, I appreciate your viewpoint very much (both posts above) giving credit where credit is due. I am rooting for BOTH Bernie and Jill. If he doesn’t make it, what a team they would make as Greens, if we can convince him to choose allegiance to the political REVEL-ution instead of the Demagogues. Bernie is indeed a VAST improvement over the standard ruling class fare.
    Also, did you see the interview Jill did with Jesse Ventura? He is another potent force absolutely disgusted with both major parties. What about Jesse for Sec. of Defense? He is opposed to the foreign wars of aggression too.

  • Jon

    Bernie, if he does not win the nomination, should be confronted by activists, en masse, saying “Bernie, you have to choose one side or the other–either it is fold in with the totally corrupted Dems or continue the political revolution you advocate with us who will not follow you into the Dems like Kucinich and Obama who talked a talk of radical change but did not walk it.” Imaging thousands of people beseeching him to break ranks, at last with the ruling class! What would he do? We don’t know yet.

  • Jon

    I am a Green since 1989, but we do have to recognize the heavily weighted scale against us. If Bernie had run independent as Nader did when NOT running as a Green, he would have to spend most of his energy, time and money merely to get on the ballot! Patrick has made a good point that Bernie had been able to reach millions that we Greens have not been able to do so far, with a message that is at least 75% ours.

  • Jon

    Granted, but for purposes of communication, it (using 1%) gets the point across perfectly, as Occupy did.

  • DHFabian

    Revolution for what? Put it this way: Where do our “surplus population” fit in — those who can’t work, and those for whom no jobs are available? We’re in the midst of a class war, middle class vs. the poor, that has taken a hell of a toll. What should we do with those who can’t provide for themselves? Another decade of calls for job creation?

  • DHFabian

    I don’t see the logic. If Sanders doesn’t win the nomination, we should throw our support to neoliberal Clinton? Just keep leaning to the right, folks. Screw your own convictions and opinions, and stand in solidarity with the right wing. Right.

  • DHFabian

    We’ve been on the verge of revolting since the 1980s. I won’t hold my breath.

  • DHFabian

    How would you reconcile a call for radical change with the realities of our class war? The proverbial masses are deeply divided, pitted against each other. We have a very real poverty crisis — a whole lot of people who have no means of providing for themselves, while our middle class demand that not a crumb trickle down. Do you really expect that the poor will “stand in solidarity” to protect the advantages of the better off? This isn’t happy talk, but it’s reality.

  • Ghost

    For democracy. We make that very clear on our website.

  • Ghost

    Obama was a neo-liberal; Sanders is not.

  • Ghost

    He’s an outsider using an establishment party as his best show at winning his bid.

  • kevinzeese

    Jill Stein has reached out to the Sanders Campaign to see if there was any synergy and has never gotten a response. So, Stein and Sanders sounds very unlikely. Sanders has made it clear he will campaign for Hillary Clinton anyway, so that is where we are headed in the Democratic Party.

    I never understood the concept of writing in Sanders. Most states do not even count write-in votes; and many states require signatures to be collected in order to have a write-in campaign – something I am sure will not happen. So writing in Sanders is writing in a vote that will just evaporate and no one will know about it.

    Voting for Stein helps build an alternative to the corrupt Democratic Party. And, in all but about 7 states we already know where the Electoral College vote is going so people are free to vote however they like without fear of the Republicans. If Stein got even 5% it would be a big warning to the Democrats that they better adopt some of the movements issues are they risk losing elections. That seems like the only effective way to use your vote in our mirage democracy.

  • Aquifer

    No, my position is and always has been, to vote Green no matter who the D/R nominees are ..

  • Aquifer

    “Leftist pragmatism” – my point precisely, it is “leftist pragmatism” that has stuck us with the duopoly for decades ..

    And those “obstacles” are not “overwhelming” – any more than the obstacles to electing an “indy socialist” – unless of course you are willing to concede that he is neither – but a Dem that is pretty good at prog rhetoric, as O was. If he, with his positions, his “record” that is so widely touted, and prog cache would have “failed miserably” what does that say about how deep his supporters commitment goes to “lefty” principles – or to any “political revolution” worth its salt?

    Stein, on a shoestring budget, was able to get on enough state ballots to get enough EC votes covering over 80% pf the population in ’12 – think what she could do with a fraction of the money given to Sanders … For folks who are serious about any “political revolution” worth more than the price of a bumper sticker – Stein, Flowers, and the like should be Plan A, not Plan B …

    And please explain how an “indy socialist” would “fly nationally” where a GP candidate wouldn’t …

    As for “pro-Sanders Dems” – they will be “pro whoever wins the DP nomination”, as will Sanders – you know that as well as I – it will be party over principle, as it has been for Sanders – the only operative “pragmatic” consideration for them will be how not to piss off a party machine they have tied their political fortunes to – time and again we have seen that ….

    I don’t know what Sawant “realizes” – but does she honestly think Sanders would support her over a Dem if the choice were put to him?

    The GP is “viable” – it just needs the level of support that Sanders has gotten – and that, as Stein would say, “is in our hands”

  • Aquifer

    It does not surprise me that Sanders hasn’t responded – the DP has done its damnedest to make sure 3rd parties are nothing they need contend, nor work, with .. Sanders, for the last 20 years or so, has done nothing to advance, indeed has hindered, the advancement of lefty politics outside the DP – he has “settled” for the rather, IMO, pitiful limits the DP has allowed – mostly rhetorical ..

    To my way of thinking, this “write-in” “movement” is not about advancing lefty politics but an attempt to “force” the DP to pick Sanders as its candidate – if advancing “lefty” politics is really what is wanted – it makes a hell of a lot more sense to vote for a 3rd lefty actually on the ballot …

    I agree, the duopoly needs to be made to see 3rd parties as a real “threat” to its hegemony … but that will not happen, IMO, until 3rd parties themselves take politics seriously enough to bill themselves as Plan A …

  • Aquifer

    Sanders could have run as Green …

    Yup, Sanders has, in many ways co-opted the Green platform – he threw his hat in the ring after Stein –

    Sanders has been able to “reach millions” to convince them to stick with the DP – that’s why he was allowed to run as a Dem ..

  • Aquifer

    I think it is you who have no grasp of political realities – Sanders tied his political cart a long time ago to the DP donkey – and, as Ivins would say, ya gotta dance with the one that brung ya …

    You and i have, perhaps, a slightly different idea of “sell out” …

    The Dems have “given us” nothing but a kick in the pants …

    Let me ask – did you support O either time?

  • Aquifer

    Did you support O either time?

  • Jon

    That’s one side to the matter, Aquifer, and you have a valid point. On the other, suppose that Bernie (who has been an independent, not a Dem, for decades) refuses after all to support HRC and joins us Greens, recognizing the congruence oh his stands with us. Not out of the realm of possibility. We need to adhere to Jill’s wise direction, commending him for going as far as he has but saying (especially on foreign policy) there’s more to this road!

  • Aquifer

    Jon, to my way of thinking the time for Sanders to be confronted en masse by folks saying “Bernie, you have to choose one side or the other …” was before he decided to run as a Dem – once he did that he made his choice clear … but he had already chosen to “fold in with the totally corrupted” DP decades ago…
    As far as K is concerned, i have a slightly different take – I use to be a Dem, supported K in his 2 time bid for the nomination – true, he supported the Dem when he didn’t get it (but so will Sanders), but i didn’t “follow him then” – i went for Nader, though most of my fellow K supporters did the LOTE thing, as will, i predict most of Sanders or they will stay home …

    But K was, IMO, a hell of a lot more “prog” than S, and was hounded for it, first kicked out of the Pres debates, then had a well funded Dem challenge to his own Congress seat, and finally was “redistricted” out of that seat – and if you think that was “in spite of D objections”, think again … What finally turned the light on for me was, after the AF1 “ride” – he not only came out in support of the ACA, that he had previously critiqued, but lobbied his fellow “progs” and voted for it, (as did Sanders, that other “champion” of SP) a bill that was intended to nip the growing support for SP in the bud … When asked why he did the 180, he said “for party and Pres.” And then I realized there was no point in electing “prog” Dems, because when push comes to shove, it will be party over principle …

    Do you think the lessons of what happened to K were/are lost on Sanders?

    I think we do know what would happen …

  • Aquifer

    As far as i can see Sanders has been an IINO for decades – for all intents and purposes he has been a Dem – the Dems have considered him one – O supported him in his bid for Senate and he has supported every Dem nominee even against challenges from folks like Nader and Stein …

    This “indy” claim makes him a perfect Trojan horse for the DP – with enough “prog” cache to keep progs, burnt by the last overt Dem “prog”, O, coming back to the party, but with a record that makes it clear to the DP PTB that he has no intention of rocking their boat …

    As far as “commending him his wise direction” – whether in or out of office, he won’t take us as far in that direction as we need to go, lickety split – if you have a 90 foot chasm, that keeps growing, a 40 foot bridge may be twice as good as a 20 foot one, and may in fact be “ever so much longer than anything we’ve seen before” coming from the duopoly, but at the end of it we still fall into the pit – if you don’t start off right from the get-go with a proposal for at least a 90 foot bridge, you are, shall we say, left hanging …

  • Jon

    Aquifer, you are probably right, but I am leaving the mental door open. He MAY feel enough pressure from his now energized base to break ranks, especially if they tell him in no uncertain terms. There is a different mood in the country than then. Further, Bernie is in his 70s unlike Kucinich when he ran, and Bernie could retire comfortably, not worrying abut a further career in the DC cesspool. I really appreciate this on-line dialogue!

  • Aquifer

    I guess I would rather place my time, energy, money, and vote with someone i am pretty damn sure i can count on – for whom principle is more important than “pragmatics” ….

    It’s funny, i live in NY, and have been watching Sanders and Clinton commercials – but, shame on Bernie, one of his ads says he is the ONLY candidate who would “ban fracking” – what happened to “truth in advertising” … tch, tch, tch – another reason we need to get 3rd parties in the debates 🙂

  • Patrick_Walker

    Though a co-creator of the #BernieOrBust pledge, I’ve always had mixed feelings about the write-in idea. The reason I was persuaded to embrace it is that I thought Bernie might be willing to do what Ralph Nader suggested and put a HEAVY policy price tag on throwing his support to Clinton. I thought the write-in threat would improve his bargaining position. In a recent interview with Cenk Uygur, he at least hinted there might be a price tag. But if Bernie (assuming he loses) DOESN’T demand strenuous policy concessions, I’m all for organizing his supporters to vote for Jill Stein, as I intend to do myself. The question is how we can wean loyalists to Bernie to political revolution rather than to Bernie himself. Perhaps the most important question to be asking now.

  • Patrick_Walker

    A P.S.: I actually think the BEST solution, if Bernie’s not nominated, is Dave Lindorff’s suggestion that Bernie run for president as a Green. NO problem getting Greens on state ballots in that case–INSTANT viability for the Green Party. However, even though Bernie seems surprised by the level of success he’s had (which SHOULD affect his political calculations), I doubt he’ll take this risk.

  • Patrick_Walker

    The GP is not YET viable–precisely because it’s still incapable of rallying the support Bernie was capable of getting as an incumbent U.S. Senator who decided to run in a duopoly party. Those two things gave Bernie enormous funding and message-spreading advantages (even in the face of considerable MSM bias against him). In fact, Bernie’s running as a Democrat is precisely why he got so many people excited; here for once was a progressive free of corporate influence running in a major, electable party–INSTANT viability.

    I also strongly suspect that if the #BernieOrBust pledge had been a Bernie or Green pledge, it would not have done as well. I actually felt safe to add the Green option (my actual preference) to the pledge only after it had gained considerable numbers of Bernie loyalists. Bernie simply has a much stronger “brand” than the Green Party–and how to transfer allegiance from his brand to the Green brand is a REAL problem. If enough Bernie supporters were willing to beg him to run as a Green (should he lose the Dem nomination), we’d have an instant solution. But I suspect the number of supporters urging that would have to be OVERWHELMING to overcome Bernie’s own resistance. But Revolt Against Plutocracy and I might be willing to give this a shot, if Greens themselves agreed.

  • Patrick_Walker

    It’s fair to say they were already there, but without any viable political outlet for their aspirations. Bernie gave them a readily accessible one. Greens WOULD be a viable option, if Bernie’s young supporters could be persuaded to do the hard work of building that option. It’s still a hard job of persuasion, but I think Bernie’s candidacy has potentially warmed up for that task better than anything else could have done. The question is how Greens successfully wean them from Bernie. Just bashing Bernie and his young supporters is clearly an epic fail.

  • Patrick_Walker

    NO! Noam Chomsky and Naomi Klein persuaded me early that Obama was a fraud. I have some credibility in saying that Bernie–because he doesn’t have Obama’s oligarch donors and patrons–is really different. Chomsky and Klein also think so.

  • Patrick_Walker

    One thing I’m NOT is a fan of today’s Democratic Party. My ONLY agenda is to gain power for progressives. Sometimes that may involve voting Democrat; more frequently it does not. If everyone shared my attitude, either Dems would reform or Greens would become viable.

  • Aquifer

    The GP is quite viable – all it needs is more nourishment to take off … If running as a Dem gets folks excited, we are in more trouble than i thought … Sorry, running as a Dem and being free of corporate influence are mutually exclusive … when you come to the prom with the devil, as Ivins would say, ya gotta dance with the one that brung ya …

    Part of what makes the GP “incapable of rallying support”, to the extent it is, is the insistence that 3rd parties “can’t win”, and one can only get anywhere by succumbing to the TINA to the duopoly meme – as you seem to express here – it is a self fulfilling prophecy and one used to great effect both to discourage supporters and to convince a lot of good independent folks who may wish to run and would make good reps that their only course is to shake hands with the tar baby – heaven bless those, like Stein and Flowers, who, while realizing the enormous difficulties in the way, choose the more honest and less self-compromising route of independence .. we choose not to reward them with our support to our detriment …

    Indeed, Sanders didn’t get to be an “incumbent Sen” by running against the duopoly – he has been an IINO for some time, Obama supported his Senate run – do you honestly think the DP PTB would have allowed him to use the DP machine – for that is the “advantage” of running as a Dem you speak of – if they weren’t pretty damn sure he was, for all intents and purposes, one of them, the button on his lapel notwithstanding … seriously?

    In any case, as you mention one of his advantages was being an incumbent Sen – regardless of how he got there, would not that advantage have rolled over into a run as an indy? Without the DP machine, would not his supporters have “gotten his message out” as well?

    It is interesting that you say a “Bernie or Green” pledge would not have done as well – and it was only “safe” to add Green after a lot of “Bernie loyalists” had signed it – so those folks are loyal to Bernie and not a “political revolution” that would be, in fact, better advanced by supporting Greens?

  • Aquifer

    You say “It’s fair to say they were already there,” but then you say “if Bernie’s young supporters could be persuaded to do the hard work of building that (GP)option” – so Sander’s “political revolution” doesn’t require “hard work”, it just requires getting Sanders in office? If Sanders supporters aren’t into “hard work”, then it seems to me this “political revolution” is a tempest in a teacup. If, on the other hand they are ready to roll up their sleeves for the long haul, then my argument is that work is much better done “building that option” than putting another D in office …

    His supporters would need to be “wean(ed)” from Bernie? As if he is the “mother’s milk” of the “movement”? You are again suggesting that his followers are more dedicated to him than to the “movement” he professes to espouse – And if they need to be “weaned”, to what extent do you expect him to facilitate that process – he has had plenty of opportunity over the years to “wean” them from dependence on the DP, to cut the apron strings, and has shown no desire to do so, in fact the opposite ..

    I am not “bashing” young folks – they are the future and always have been – I have a great deal of respect for them and am constantly apologizing to them for the screw ups we old folks made that produced the messes we are leaving them – and a big one of those screw-ups was our failure to break off from the duopoly and invigorate an independent politics – i am exhorting them to not make the same mistakes we did, and, apparently, are in the process of making again …

    As for “bashing” Bernie – if pointing out a few “inconvenient truths” is “bashing” then we have an additional problem, don’t we?

  • sorgfelt

    Instant Runoff Voting would solve all of this. I don’t understand why this is not heavily campaigned for by all third parties. We could choose 1st, 2nd and 3rd choices, and not worry that voting for our favorite candidate would count as a vote for the worst possible candidate.

  • Aquifer

    Well we don’t have IRV now and don’t think we will have it in the foreseeable future ….

    Our vote for our favorite candidate doesn’t “count” as a vote for the worst possible candidate – it is only termed that by those who wish to maintain the duopoly in power .. it is a vote, or should be, for the one we think is the best, nothing more, nothing less – it is only the “politics” of fear by many and the self interest by some, that charges folks who fail to vote for the LOTE, with “helping” the GOTE …

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  • Aquifer

    Granted, Sanders may not be a clone of O in all particulars, but he serves the same function as the DP and his guise as an “indy” gives him “street cred” with progs …