Sanders Drops Out, Old Guard Keeps Death Grip On Power

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Above photo: Biden for President, via AP.

Unsurprising. There was always a stark contradiction between Bernie’s call to a political revolution and his steady promise to support the eventual nominee at the Democratic convention.

The new crew of young socialists who were inspired by the Sanders campaign must now learn their own lessons on their own timeline. Some will be willing recruits to the paid apparatus of the Democratic Party. Some will take Bernie’s advice to vote for Biden. Some will refuse and finally split to an independent socialist movement.

In a week in which the death toll of the new coronavirus pandemic is still rising in this country, the actual fractures and failures of the existing medical and political system are also brutally exposed.

Biden is barely able to read partisan talking points from cue cards in his socially distanced home studio, but remains explicitly committed to opposing single payer improved medical provision for all. In this way, he continues the retrograde managerial politics of Obama, of the Clintons, and indeed of all the old guard still holding a death grip on power in the Democratic Party.

If Biden wins the White House, it is just absurd to hope that “centrist” Democrats in power will be committed to the basic elements of social democracy. We already have the evidence of the recent bipartisan bill that guarantees immense bailouts to big business, but gives only bare life support to workers and small businesses. Even the provision that there would be an oversight committee over the required public funds proved to be a contractual phantom, which Trump has already dismissed in the next news cycle. The Republican and Democratic parties keep each other in the truly big business of the corporate state.

If Trump wins the White House, the Democratic Party career pols and apparatchiks will blame Sanders and his supporters, and no doubt the Green Party and any independent socialists as well. Again. As if we needed more lessons that the devout mission of “centrist” Democrats is to denounce even a mild reform of their party in the direction of social democracy. They always tell social democrats: “You have nowhere else to go.” Then they lose their minds when social democrats, and indeed frank socialists, get up and go.

Pragmatism? What does that word really mean in politics now? The “progressives” who merely vote by rote, and have done so for decades with the comfortable fatalism guaranteed by professional incomes, are the people least likely to reckon with the exploded fictions of the previous century.

Class conscious popular resistance against the corporate state will continue to evolve, and in this larger movement democratic socialists also belong. Even under the conditions of a pandemic, essential workers have waged a series of wildcat strikes. That means strikes not only against company bosses, but also against the more conservative and managerial union leaders. No one can predict the exact strength and course of labor militancy once workers return to workplaces in greater numbers. We do know that general strikes have punctuated the history of class struggles in this country and around the world.