Scheer Intelligence: For Many Young People, Socialism Is As American As Apple Pie

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Above image: By Mr. Fish.

Bernie Sanders may never make it to the White House, but, just when we need them most, socialists like “Bigger than Bernie” co-author Megan Day have picked up his torch.

In the devastating aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, many young Americans who felt betrayed by capitalism were introduced to socialism by Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaigns. Meagan Day, a staff writer for the popular left-wing magazine Jacobin and a member of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), serves as an example of how the Vermont senator radicalized a generation with a platform that called for policies like Medicare for All and tuition-free college. Day credits Sanders with her decision to choose socialism when she felt the time came to “pick a side” in American politics and has since been working to understand how the socialist resurgence the Democratic candidate inspired can grow without him in the White House.

That’s largely why, along with Micah Uetricht, the 31-year-old journalist chose to write “Bigger than Bernie: How We Go from the Sanders Campaign to Democratic Socialism,” a book she discusses with host Robert Scheer on the latest installment of “Scheer Intelligence.”

“Micah and I decided to write this book because we understood that something very significant was happening in the Bernie moment,” Day tells Scheer, “which is that forces were amassing on the left that had great potential, but that there was not really a roadmap for what to do with that potential after the Bernie moment was over.

“Of course it was difficult,” she adds, “because we didn’t actually know what was going to happen [with the 2020 Democratic primaries]. We had to write a book that would actually be relatively useful if Bernie Sanders won or lost.”

Scheer adds a historical context to the discussion on socialism and democratic socialism, noting that after the Great Depression, the terms were used quite a bit by politicians and others before they were demonized during the Cold War. The podcast host remarks on how Sanders’ decision to identify as a democratic socialist is what establishment Democrats and mainstream media most used to vilify him. And yet, unbeknownst to the Vermont senator and his critics, not long after it became clear Sanders would not be the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee, the coronavirus pandemic seemed to prove his ideas were not only sensible, but utterly essential to America’s survival.

“Oddly enough we seem to be at a moment now where,” says Scheer, “quite aside from Bernie Sanders, but because of this incredible collapse of the conceits of American capitalism, and the inability of our medical system in particular–not because of a lack of heroism from medical workers, but the way it’s constructed, the for-profit industry–turned out to be perhaps the least prepared in the world of all of the different systems to deal with this.

“And suddenly Bernie Sanders’ advocacy of Medicare for All, I would think to most people in this country would seem like a no-brainer. So hasn’t the mood radically shifted the objective conditions in your direction?” he asks Day.

“I think so,” responds the “Bigger than Bernie” co-author. “There are new opportunities for organizing, and the half-decade of Bernie Sanders helped put us on better footing to organize toward [his] short-term platform and toward a longer-term vision of a world in which people are not subordinated to profit.

“One phrase that I like to use is that Bernie Sanders lost, but he didn’t fail,” she adds. “Because his goal was not merely to win the presidency. Obviously we would have liked, we would have all liked for him to win the presidency; that would have been extremely useful in terms of building toward our long-term goals. But he didn’t fail, in the sense that he didn’t actually fail to contribute in a meaningful way to building a movement that could actually usher in a political revolution.”

That political revolution, pandemic or not, has already seen considerable gains. Day points to several DSA members and affiliates who are not only running for elected office, but winning seats across the country. The most famous democratic socialist who came out of the Sanders resurgence is of course Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, but, according to Day, beyond the New York representative, there are many others who actually came out directly from DSA. While the left-wing organization has been around for quite some time, the Jacobin writer argues it was “reborn” in 2016 and one its main aims is already materializing.

“What passes for progressive in United States politics is actually pretty far to the right,” says Day. “So DSA’s role is to actually yank politics to the left in the United States. That’s one of its primary purposes. And that means that it is going to always be perceived as too radical. It’s going to be perceived as, you know, extremist or unrealistic. And I think that that’s because people simply aren’t used to having a political bloc that unapologetically demands things like a universal right to shelter, a universal right to a home, right? Or that demands that people have health care because it is a basic human right.”

Listen to the full discussion between Day and Scheer as they discuss the roots of American socialism as well as its promising future in the new material reality being reshaped by the medical and economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and a reinvigorated class struggle against a system that oppresses the majority of Americans, especially those who are Black and brown.

You can also read the transcript of this episode below the credits.


Host: Robert Scheer

Producer: Joshua Scheer

Introduction: Natasha Hakimi Zapata

RS: Hi, this is Robert Scheer with another edition of Scheer Intelligence, where I hasten to say the intelligence comes from my guests. In this case it’s Meagan Day, who has along with Micah Uetricht–I’m sure I’m mangling his name, and you’ll correct me–has written a really interesting book called Bigger than Bernie. And these people both are connected with the Jacobin magazine; for those of you who don’t know much about history, the Jacobin movement, it was a club movement, began in Paris in the revolution in 1789. It was a democratic club, but it was–some people have described it, I picked up one dictionary definition, “the most radical,” and what’d they say, something else provocative–of the French Revolution. And then they were associated with Robespierre, and during the period from 1793-4 they had a reputation of being quite severe in their judgments of other people. We can discuss that.

But it, Jacobin, has emerged as really one of the more interesting publications on the left. And they are absolutely fearless in examining this word that we haven’t used much in our vocabulary, of socialism. And they were given a great audience, in a sense, because of the attacks on Bernie Sanders, who has admitted to being a democratic socialist. So that’s one reason why I wanted to interview you, because I want to know where this movement goes from here. And the title of your book is Bigger than Bernie, and the subtitle is How We Go from the Sanders Campaign to Democratic Socialism. And it’s published by a very good publisher, Verso; it has a long history in England of publishing, New Left Books.

And so let us take this explosive word of socialism. And let me throw it back to your magazine. When people generally talk about democratic socialism, they talk about a less violent notion of it. And they usually think of the social democratic parties of Western Europe; they think of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, for instance. Sometimes they even refer to the Labour Party. So what is the connection between Bernie Sanders’ democratic socialism and the Jacobin movement, going back to the French Revolution?

MD: Well, I should say that, you know, Jacobin was started before my time. And it’s my understanding–I joined the magazine in 2017–that when it was started in 2011, it was actually initially meant to, the name was initially meant to be more of a winking reference to The Black Jacobins. That’s a book written by C. L. R. James, and it’s about the radicals of the Haitian Revolution. So I mean, obviously, people are going to connect it to the French radicals. And I think that that’s intentional as well; my understanding is that it’s supposed to be a somewhat provocative title.

But in any case, the reality is that I joined in 2017 after having joined the Democratic Socialists of America in 2016, which I did because I had been personally activated and radicalized by the presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders. Now, it’s not like I wasn’t paying attention to politics at all prior to Bernie Sanders running, and it’s also not like I didn’t even know what, for example, socialism was. I understood what capitalism was, I understood that there was an alternative that was frequently referred to as socialism, and that it had a long and complicated history, and that it also had potentially a promising future. But what had never happened is that I had never asked myself the question: Are you a socialist? That had never occurred to me, to even ask myself that question. Because as far as I was concerned, I wasn’t primarily a political actor.

And when Bernie Sanders ran for president, starting in 2015, really picking up steam in 2016, the invective and the vitriol was very extreme. And the intensity with which the Democratic Party establishment appeared to want to squash the insurgent energy of a movement that, from what I could tell, was dedicated primarily to decommodifying health insurance and ensuring that we had tuition-free public college, was quite startling. And it caused me to then pose that question to myself. The question being, essentially: Which side are you on? It seemed suddenly that there were sides, and one had to choose a side. And I answered that question by joining the Democratic Socialists of America. I did this along with tens of thousands of other people. DSA had about 5,000 members when Bernie Sanders first announced that he was running for president; by mid to late 2018 it had 50-something thousand members. It’s now up to 60-something thousand members.

We had 10,000 people join DSA between March of this year and right now, which is May of this year, because a similar process occurred. People paid attention to Bernie Sanders’ second presidential campaign. They saw how panicked his, what we might call social democratic short-term agenda made the Democratic Party establishment, made the capitalist class, appeared to make the mainstream media. And they realized that actually there was–well, to put it in terms that Bernie Sanders himself has used, there was a class war happening, and that they ought to choose a side.

So now our ranks are swelling in the Democratic Socialists of America, and readership of Jacobin is growing. You know, I came in as part of the first wave of DSA members in 2016; I started writing for Jacobin in 2017. And now our readership continues to grow, as more and more people start self-identifying as socialists, start being curious about the history of socialism, about theories of social change that align with socialist values and a socialist political vision for the future. And hopefully, there will be more people who will be joining us down the line. Of course, Bernie Sanders won’t be running again, so we’ll have to possibly change up our tactics.

RS: So let me put this in some historical perspective. And you are now 31, so you’re really talking about coming into the Bernie Sanders movement when you were, what, 25, 26?

MD: Yeah, that’s about right.

RS: Yeah. And where did you grow up?

MD: I grew up in San Antonio, Texas.

RS: Ah. And did you go to school there, and so forth?

MD: I mean, no, I went to college at Oberlin College. Yeah. I mean, I don’t–if this is the direction that you’re actually going to push it–and I certainly don’t mind talking about my background, which is a background that is not consistent, I think, with everybody’s in DSA. I grew up in actually a relatively wealthy household, not in a working-class household. My opinion on that is that, you know, from personal experience, I can say that one can actually get quite a crash course, quite an education in stark inequality, in that kind of environment as well. And so I went to Oberlin College, which of course is a liberal arts school; it’s an extremely expensive liberal arts school, but it’s also one with a long history of radical politics and social and political justice. And you know, I got interested in leftism while I was at Oberlin, but as far as I knew, nobody was interested in talking about socialism. And actually, nobody was really interested in talking about class, frankly. So it took until after Occupy Wall Street to really start, those wheels to really start turning in my mind.

RS: Right. And I think that’s what’s happened to a lot of people. And by the way, I was saying when I was chatting with you before, when I go to any of these demonstrations–like Occupy here in Los Angeles, or more recently after Trump’s victories, and all these different marches–it seems to me the Democratic Socialists of America have the most interesting, rational, well-thought-out program. And so I’m not, you know, suggesting this is some wild thing to do. It’s just that I’m comparing it to my own youth. I grew up in New York, in the Bronx. And when Bernie Sanders–little bit older than Bernie, but when he grew up in Brooklyn, the word socialism was really a quite conventional group you could belong to. Because most of the labor movement, indeed probably most of the elected officials on the New York City Council, would have considered themselves as socialists of one kind or another. And in fact most of the labor leaders in America had a connection with it. The word socialism only became really negative because of repression of the labor movement, repression of the ideas going, you know, back 100 years, but certainly coming out of the Depression. And it’s relevant now because we may be entering a new depression; we’re certainly in very deep economic trouble. And that’s really what I want to talk about.

Coming out of the Great Depression–I was born in 1936–socialists of one stripe or another, I would say, would define the majority in a place like New York City, certainly among working people. And the democratic socialists, who went on to be the major political parties in Western Europe, probably defined most of what was progressive politics. So oddly enough we seem to be at a moment now where, quite aside from Bernie Sanders, but because of this incredible collapse of the conceits of American capitalism, and the inability of our medical system in particular–not because of a lack of heroism from medical workers, but the way it’s constructed, the for-profit industry–turned out to be perhaps the least prepared in the world of all of the different systems to deal with this. And suddenly Bernie Sanders’ advocacy of Medicare-for-all, I would think to most people in this country would seem like a no-brainer. Now, we’re actually even having a Republican president who, while he doesn’t entertain support of a guaranteed annual income, certainly is willing–and a vast 94% of the elected officials in Congress supported giving everyone on unemployment an extra $600 a week, you know, without blaming them for once for being unemployed.

So the reason I wanted to talk to you, and the reason I found your book, Bigger than Bernie, is that the socialism message, democratic socialism–which Biden and the others tried and the mass media, including MSNBC, tried to hang around Bernie’s neck and strangle him with it and make him irrelevant–it now seems to me the most relevant framework for considering our obligation to people in this society. Everybody needs health care. Anybody gets the virus. I know I’m sounding a little bit like Bernie, but anybody gets the virus, everybody’s in danger. You don’t care whether, you know, what skin color, you don’t care whether–you don’t want them to worry about paying for it. So hasn’t the mood shifted radically the objective conditions in your direction?

MD: I think so. I think the following. Bernie Sanders was not primarily interested in becoming president. Bernie Sanders wanted to become president because he thought that it would be a useful component of having what he calls a political revolution. But he certainly didn’t think that his own victory in clinching the presidency was going to be the, you know, the end of that political revolution. On the contrary, it was going to be the beginning; it was going to be the beginning of the hard stuff, so to speak. So in that sense, even though Bernie Sanders did not win the presidency, I actually think it’s important to ask whether or not his two campaigns–I would consider it in some ways a single campaign, you know, a sort of half-decade of Bernie Sanders–whether that actually contributed to our prospects for having a political revolution without him in the White House.

I think the answer is indisputably yes, because it put socialism back on the map. It put certain platform demands, which we might call social democratic instead of socialist per se, but which do point to a future beyond the one of neoliberal capitalism which we’re currently inhabiting–he put those on the map. They’re extremely popular, you’re right; I mean, Medicare-for-all is favored by a majority of people in the country, and some polls have it being favored by a majority of Republicans, not just Democrats. Because it just seems to make sense. The reason, to my mind, that Joe Biden won is primarily that the mainstream media was extremely aggressive in portraying Bernie Sanders as unelectable against Donald Trump. And the Democratic Party’s voter base is so panicked about Trump that they just kind of swallowed that message, hook line and sinker, and voted for Biden even though they actually preferred, for example, things like Medicare-for-all and tuition-free college and a Green New Deal, which is Bernie’s platform, not Biden’s platform. The exit polls are actually pretty clear on this, it’s pretty startling.

So, yes, the mood is shifting. There are new opportunities for organizing, and Bernie Sanders–the half-decade of Bernie Sanders helped put us on better footing to organize toward that short-term platform and toward a longer-term vision of a world in which people are not subordinated to profit. One phrase that I like to use is that Bernie Sanders lost, but he didn’t fail. Because his goal was not merely to win the presidency. Obviously we would have liked, we would have all liked for him to win the presidency; that would have been extremely useful in terms of building toward our long-term goals. But he didn’t fail, in the sense that he didn’t actually, you know, fail to contribute in a meaningful way to building a movement that could actually usher in a political revolution.

As for the mood around his demands, I will say this, it did seem at the very beginning of the pandemic like people were very quick–people who had been extraordinarily hostile to Bernie Sanders and his program were very quick to suggest implementing short-term or emergency versions of his program, leading me to ask the question, if it’s–you know, if it’s not good enough for coronavirus, why is it good enough for cancer, for example, you know? Speaking of the health care system in particular. Or, you know, if we don’t want people to go without, you know, pay that can tide them over in times of difficulty during coronavirus, then what makes it–is it really morally or intellectually defensible for us to allow people to go without aid when they are cash-strapped when we’re not having a pandemic, right?

So I think those questions are starting to arise, and I think that it might be leading to more popularity for Bernie’s program. But we also have another problem, which is that people also, when they’re experiencing a crisis, it does lead to an agitational energy on the one hand, but it can also lead on the other hand to a desire for security and comfort and a return to, quote unquote, “normalcy.” We know normal wasn’t good enough, we know that our society was deeply unequal prior to the coronavirus pandemic, but I worry that moderates are going to be able to take advantage of this by saying, you know, vote for us and everything will just, quote unquote, “go back to normal.” So we’ll see which one wins out.

RS: Well, let me make a prediction that the moderates–so-called; there’s nothing moderate about wanting the people to be without health care or job security, or a way of paying their rent. They’ve taken a title that is not justified. I mean, yes, the Jacobins in France wanted to, were pretty aggressive getting rid of the royal regime, the king, but there was nothing moderate about the king or the emperor or anybody in the world. So I don’t like the label “moderate”; what I would consider it is basically sellout. And I’m being journalistic in using that, it’s not just judgmental. It’s a strategy on the part of the Democratic Party leadership, that if you can just cozy up to Wall Street and to more enlightened philanthropists, and you know, some of the better Silicon Valley people, and have them fund you on the same level that they used to fund the Republicans, that you can advance a progressive agenda.

And what is so interesting about your use of the word socialism, and Bernie Sanders’ argument, is why hasn’t that worked? We’ve trusted these so-called moderates. And Bernie raises the question, why do we have such a high level of child poverty? Why do we have such a poorly prepared population for any kind of medical–and all the things you point out, even in normal times, even without the virus, people are not getting health care. So I would argue that this moderate label doesn’t work; I would say the label should really be opportunistic. That you can, as the Democrats did under Clinton, give Wall Street what it wants in the way of no restraints on their greed, and reverse all of the sensible things that Franklin Roosevelt endorsed, and that somehow they’ll do the right thing.

But what we see is they didn’t do the right thing. They didn’t do it with the last bailout, and clearly they’re not even doing it now, when they have an opportunity. Even here in Los Angeles, where you have moved, the City Council hasn’t even put a prohibition on evictions or foreclosures–or the state government, for that matter, in this deep blue state. Something that in past times of economic trouble, say going back to the Great Depression, that was a no-brainer. So in terms of your local work with the Democratic Socialists of America, are they raising these issues? And what do these so-called progressive Democrats on the City Council and Board of Supervisors say about evictions, or guaranteeing income, or free medical care in this time of crisis?

MD: Well, I think that you’re pointing to something really critical, which is that what passes for progressive in United States politics is actually pretty far to the right. Considering that it’s responding to the mainstream of the Democratic Party, which itself is quite far to the right, because the mainstream of the Democratic Party is responding to the Republican Party, which itself is very far to the right. So the Republicans are setting the tone for the entire political spectrum, and it’s all been dragged to the right in the United States.

And so what DSA’s role, I think, is, is to actually yank politics to the left in the United States. That’s one of its primary purposes. And that means that it is going to always be perceived as too radical. It’s going to be perceived as, you know, extremist or unrealistic. And I think that that’s because people simply aren’t used to having a political bloc that unapologetically demands things like a universal right to shelter, a universal right to a home, right? Or that demands that people have health care because it is a basic human right. And these are the things that DSA advocates, and a lot of the progressives who are, you know, currently occupying positions of power, and who consider themselves to the left–and they are to the left of the Democratic mainstream–even they are more likely to compromise on these questions. Because they’re simply used to working in an environment where the [Republicans] are setting the tone and the Democrats are responding to it, and they are responding to the mainstream Democrats, right. So it’s important to have DSA as a new political bloc, establishing a new political pull much further to the left. Now, I also want to go back to this question of socialism, democratic socialism, and social democracy. Because it is a complicated question, but I’ll give you a sense of how I see it. Because I think it’s actually, it’s an important aspect of the book that Micah and I wrote, and I think it’s an important aspect of Bernie Sanders’ campaign.

RS: By the way, also tell us about the structure of your book, which is quite interesting. And build into your answer–you can take all the rest of the time if you want, but tell us what’s in the book and why we should read it, as well.

MD: Sure. OK, so when Bernie Sanders first came on the scene, there were people on the socialist left who had been socialists for a long time, who took one look at the guy and said he may call himself a socialist, but that’s not socialism. I mean, look, the guy wants Medicare-for-all–that’s not even the nationalization of all of health care. That’s not even, like, an American equivalent of the NHS. This is just like a reform; it may be an ambitious reform, it may be hard to win, but it’s not socialism per se.

I can certainly understand why people would say that. Typically, what Bernie Sanders is proposing is often referred to as social democracy, which means, you know, a mix of capitalism and socialism with a very, very strong socialistic element. So a very strong labor movement, very strong worker protections, higher wages, strong welfare state, high progressive taxation, and so on. And yes, that is what Bernie Sanders is proposing the United States start to look more like in the near future. And so when people say that’s not socialism, that’s social democracy–I understand where they’re getting that impulse.

At the same time, I think that it’s possible for Bernie Sanders to himself be a socialist, which is to say someone who believes that if you continue to live under capitalism, and allow people to exploit each other through the very structure of the economic system, then you will always have a violation of human rights, a continuous violation of human rights. Capitalism itself is a violation of human rights, because it is predicated on, as Karl Marx would say, the appropriation of surplus labor value from workers. Which is to say, stealing the value that workers create through their work, stealing it as profit, and that’s how people become wealthy. And that is the engine of capitalism. And so we ought to replace capitalism with a system of collective ownership down the line.

Now, the question is, how on earth would you get yourself there? How would you get yourself from where we are now, to a system predicated on collective ownership that is egalitarian and democratic and preserves the rights of all individuals to live free and happy lives? You would need to set people into motion in what’s called class struggle. You would need to invite people into a movement that actually fights for reforms. Reforms are actually very important; reforms are not counterpoised to revolution. Reforms are how you get people to join together and develop institutions, and develop skills, and develop confidence to be able to fight for more and more ambitious things down the line.

So, you know, certainly revolutionary socialists of the past have actually understood this perfectly well. This is–if you are familiar with revolutionary socialism, you’ll recognize the name Rosa Luxemburg. She’s often held aloft as the perfect example of a revolutionary socialist. Well, in her essay “Reform and Revolution” she, you know, talks about the perils of reformism, which means simply hoping to stack reforms on top of one another until you have a more bearable society. And she says, no, we’re not going to do that. We do need a total revolution, right? At the same time, why would we abstain from fighting for short-term reforms? That’s a terrible idea; saying, you know, I’m not going to fight for that because that’s not actual, that’s not pure, unfettered socialism. That’s not the kind of socialism I have in my mind, and therefore I’m not going to fight for it–well, you’re just simply abstaining from class struggle in that case.

And so this is my view on what Bernie Sanders has actually done, is he’s given us an agenda of reforms that we can unite people–they’re popular, they’re necessary, they speak to the real needs of the vast majority of people in this country. And they give us an opportunity to unite people in class struggle, which is something that’s so critical if what we actually want to do is build our forces enough that we can actually break through in a revolutionary manner, and actually one day replace capitalism with socialism itself.

So this is why I sort of reject the dichotomy of people being like, well, is he a socialist or is he a social democrat? Or, what does democratic socialism mean? Does it mean, you know, real socialism, or just Scandinavian social democracy? No, I think democratic socialism actually means fighting for socialism, and fighting to preserve democracy and expand democracy through socialism. Democratic socialism, in case people are wondering, actually, is not a term that means halfway to socialism. And it doesn’t mean nicer, gentler socialism. It’s a term that actually just is intended to differentiate our contemporary movement from the 20th century authoritarian socialism of Stalin and Mao.

RS: So tell me, what–I’m trying to inspire people to read your book, and I got it by the way for $2, the e-version, on Verso. I don’t know if that was the bargain rate, pre-pub or whatever, but anybody who wants to read this book, you go to Verso, or I guess you could go to Amazon too, but you can go to Verso, the publisher. You can get the print, hardcover copy, you can get the e-copy or whatever, it’s quite reasonable. But tell us why you wrote the book, you and your partner. And what does it basically state, briefly, and what does it urge you to do?

MD: Right, so Micah and I decided to write this book because we understood that something very significant was happening in the Bernie moment, which is that forces were amassing on the left that had great potential, but that there was not really a roadmap for what to do with that potential after the Bernie moment was over. So Micah and I decided to sit down and write this book, and of course it was difficult, because we didn’t actually know what was going to happen. We had to write a book that would actually be relatively useful if Bernie Sanders won or lost. We sort of assumed he would–I mean, if we had to pick, we would have assumed that he would lose, because you know, he had the forces of the entire capitalist class and political establishment aligned against him. But we tried to leave it open and make it capacious enough to be useful in any scenario, which meant that it actually forced us to really boil it down to what we think are some of the guiding principles for the emergent socialist left in the coming years.

And the main arguments that we make are that the left cannot abandon electoral politics, even though it’s quite difficult; there’s no question about that. And it’s got plenty of pitfalls, too, but you need to engage on that terrain of struggle, because otherwise you’re simply abstaining from what most people think of when they think of politics, and you’re also ceding a very important site of class struggle to the capitalist class itself. You’re vacating it, right? So it’s important for the socialist left to engage in electoral politics, but we have some guidelines for what we think that looks like. We call our theory of how the socialist left should engage in elections “class-struggle elections,” and we have several criteria for what we think that consists of, which we lay out in the book. And we also give some examples of Democratic Socialists of America chapters in particular, because we think that’s probably the most promising site of emergent socialist activity in the United States right now.

RS: And you have people in Congress already, who you–

MD: We do.

RS: –mention in the book, who have managed to get elected. Why don’t you talk a little bit about the role models there?

MD: Well, I think that–well, let me put it this way. DSA when it first–it was reborn in 2016; it’s existed for quite a while, but a totally brand new organization–so you might as well say that DSA in its current iteration started in 2016. And when it did, people would come along who seemed like they had relatively–they had, like, aligned political views, and then DSA would endorse them. And those are the DSA candidates who are currently in Congress, Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. What’s really exciting is that in the intervening years, DSA has actually been able to produce its own political leaders from its own ranks. And those people tend to have even more of a relationship to DSA, even more of a sense of accountability to the organization, and it’s starting to develop a real political identity in the electoral sphere.

So, yes, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, and various other representatives who’ve already been elected are incredible role models. But what’s even more exciting is what’s happening now. For example, in New York City, five DSA members–no, sorry, six DSA members are currently running on a slate. They’re aiming, five of them are trying to go to Albany to the state legislature, and one is trying to go to Congress to join Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. You could look it up, it’s the New York City DSA slate. And a lot of these are homegrown DSA activists who have finally, you know, developed the skills and the confidence and the political vision to be able to run for office. And this is extremely thrilling. And the fact that they’re running on a slate together is a sign of the maturation of the group. So I think that’s really exciting. And we try to, in the book, we try to give examples of successful electoral campaigns.

Now, I want to stop, I want to quickly move on and say, because I don’t want this to get lost, that that is just the beginning of the book. The electoral stuff is an important argument, but that’s not the whole argument of the book. About halfway through the book, we then pivot to building movements outside of elections, which are absolutely critical. We focus on social movements; in particular, we focus on the labor movement, which we think is the most important site for socialists to be investing our energy as we gear up for the post-Bernie moment and try to take advantage of the fact that we have renewed left and renewed working-class energy in this country.

So we have a particular orientation toward the labor movement, which we call the rank-and-file strategy. The idea is to build a layer of radicals, to rebuild a layer of radicals in the rank-and-file of the labor movement. Not just people who work for unions, not just leaders, but people who work, you know, in their workplaces and are trusted by their co-workers because they work among them. That link has been severed. In the middle of the 20th century, radicals were purged from the labor movement; this was a part of the second Red Scare. And the labor movement has never really recovered from that. And so it’s our view that building back in that layer of radicals on the rank-and-file level in the labor movement is absolutely critical to taking advantage of and maximizing the opportunities that we now have at our disposal.

RS: Let me just–we’re going to run out of time, but I just want to point out, it’s quite true that the movement you’re connected with, Democratic Socialists of America, is basically a youth-driven movement, or at least it seems to me that way when I see them at rallies and so forth. But America has a long history of socialism. It’s as American as apple pie, and most of the things that people identify with as being civilized in America–including the end of slavery and segregation, the development of safe working conditions, started of course in other countries, in England and Germany and elsewhere. But the whole idea of not having child labor, of people being able to have a decent living, of getting Social Security, of having some medical coverage–all of these came out of a long history of struggle. And you had people like Michael Harrington, Bayard Rustin, who was so important to the March on Washington in the Civil Rights Movement. You could go down–obviously Debs, who ran for president and was jailed for his ideas at the time of the First World War. And so it’s interesting because you have, you know, even what they used to call Reagan Republicans, you know, working-class people who because of identity politics or jingoism or chauvinism got disoriented. But the reason they had those good jobs in auto and elsewhere, good union jobs, was because the people, like the roofers and others who formed those unions, considered themselves democratic socialist.

So this is not a new invention. It’s not a new idea. And by the way, worldwide, if we bring it back to the pandemic, one reason that Germany, for example, has done better than any other country in Europe in handling the pandemic is that Germany has a strong labor union history. And the Social Democratic Party in Germany, which has held power during many years when they put in these sensible measures, they trace themselves to that tradition. That’s why the National Health System in England now, even the New York Times last week admitted is a great success in this pandemic. So most of what even conservative people in this country, working people, might think is, you know, obviously a good thing–they don’t want to get rid of Social Security, they don’t want to get rid of minimum wage, they don’t want to get rid of all these things–they came out, basically, of a democratic socialist movement in this country.

MD: Yeah, I think that’s a really good point. And that’s one of the reasons that I wanted to trouble the simple dichotomy between on the one hand, you know, real, hardcore, full socialism, and on the other hand some, like, weaker, sort of softer, gentler social democracy. I actually think that it’s not that you can have one or you can have the other. On the contrary, I think that if we look around the world at what we consider to be social democracies, or what are essentially capitalist countries with very strong socialistic elements, the truth of the matter is that most of those were won through class struggle. And the movements that engaged in that struggle were often led by people who identified as socialists, who were part of organized socialist movements, and who were fighting for an actual socialist future.

And so the social democracies that we’ve seen–the successful social democracies, including in Scandinavia, for example, and in Western Europe, that are actually able to withstand this pandemic much, much better than in the United States–they have very strong socialist, working-class political traditions. And I think that with Bernie Sanders, what we saw was the beginning–or I shouldn’t say the beginning, because you’re right, there’s a very long history of American radicalism. But I would say the resurgence of an American class-struggle, social democratic movement–that is, it has, would appear to be somewhat modest social democratic aims, but it’s mobilizing people to fight for those aims in a way that points to something much more ambitious, something far beyond them. Hopefully one day, eventually something that we might be able to actually call socialism. So I hope that people will take the time to pick up the book. We explain these ideas and many more, including what to do about the Democratic Party in the book, what we think we should do, in any case. So yeah, thank you so much for having me on.

RS: Yep. And the book is called–thank you for being here. And the book is called Bigger than Bernie. It’s not a put-down to Bernie, it’s a big celebration. But it makes the point that his great contribution is the very thing he was attacked for by the Democratic Party and the mass media, for the use of the word, or the phrase, “democratic socialism.” I’ve been talking to Meagan Day, who is the co-author of this book. It’s terrific, check it out with Verso, it’s a great British publisher, and you can just go online and check it out and read it. And that’s it for this edition of Scheer Intelligence. Our producer is Joshua Scheer. The producer at KCRW is Christopher Ho. Natasha Hakimi Zapata did the introduction. And with Joshua Scheer’s leadership, we’ll be back next week with another edition of Scheer Intelligence.

  • zak1

    Interesting conversation – I think the flip side of this is the question of Corporatism


    – it seems people today who say they support “Socialism” are also using the word to signal an implicit and fundamental critique of corporate power, and the Corporatist extremism of the two major parties (Democratic leadership would rather lose to Trump than nominate the hugely popular Sanders, who fails their Corporate Purity Test)

    Just as protesters are now questioning whether police and prisons should be replacing all other social services – these “Socialists” of various stripes have been questioning whether private profit-driven corporations should be dominating and replacing public administration of our society and its resources

    Like our new “Abolitionists”, today’s “Socialists” are alarmed at a kind of Frankenstein’s monster that has gotten out of control, and are looking for ways to reboot and reframe the conversation, and reassert public power over our institutions.

    The deep divide among the Democrats is over the issue of Corporatism – Biden/ Pelosi are far closer to Trump than to Sanders/ AOC – and Sanders Democrats are far closer to the Green Party than they are to the Corporate Democrats leading their own party.


    The Greens are the only national non-Corporatist party in the US, and they are the Democrats’ largest electoral rival on the left – for this reason alone, they should be getting regular and ongoing coverage on progressive websites, the same way we see the Sanders Democrats being covered.

    Under Robert Scheer, Truthdig stopped virtually all coverage of the Green Party after the 2016 election, as did many other popular progressive sites, such as Democracy Now, Common Dreams, and Alternet.

    Popular Resistance seems much more independent than these other sites, and their independence needs to be protected – if Scheer is now joining them, I for one would like to see him come clean about this – it would be very useful if he could give us an analysis of what’s happening

    why are the Sanders Democrats and high profile progressive media refusing to acknowledge and engage with the Green Party, and third parties in general – what institutional pressures are feeding into this – especially since 2016 – and how should we respond to protect independent political discourse

    – this problem is especially pronounced in popular progressive media, and smacks of corporate influence – it’s alarming that nobody is calling them out for this – third party supporters need to push for an explanation, and for proper media coverage of third parties

  • iowapinko

    Many left/progressive forces coalesced inside the Sanders campaign. The most militant cadre of the U$ labor movement, like the UE; the most radical of the new labor movement, like the NNA and Fight4Fifteen; black liberation; environmental and womens’ orgs came together and supported one another and learned from one another. And built one another up as we recognized connections. The Sanders campaign was a training ground and a good place to network.

    When the DNC convention was cancelled I was concerned that momentum might be dissipated or lost.

    No. The movement is everywhere now, like the multiplying gophers that Elmer Fudd can never seem to eradicate. There is a vitality and determination that has been missing for decades.

    We’re back.

  • V4V

    Sanders is a sheepdog herding votes for the Democratic Party and working to prevent the emergence of a 3rd party to challenge his Democrats. That’s why he prematurely dropped out of the race instead of staying in and pressuring Biden on M4A and progressive policies.
    Anyone falling for his shtick is someone not worth listening to, sorry RS.

  • eight.of.wands

    Ventura has been in discussion with the Greens, but so far they’ve been keeping him at arm’s length….are they too blind / smug / foolish to see that Jesse could EASILY carry the Green Party straight to the White House, on his big honest all American shoulders, slamming both Biden & Trump to the mat like the bums they both are??….right now we have this massive motivated leaderless movement that i’m sorry to point out will require – as ALL movements always do – leadership to reach further levels of achievement….if the Green Party is comfy with its perpetual ineffectiveness and irrelevance nationally, i say go run with that, why let a historic moment interrupt your tea and scones…..but if the Greens are in the least inclined to contemplate saying the words ” ” then my work in this world is complete, and i bless you all ~~

  • V4V

    I heard Ventura in an interview and sounded pretty good and anti-establishment. If the Greens ran with him, they would certainly do better than Howie who seems a little lame.

  • eight.of.wands

    dude, Jesse can TAKE IT ALL!!….just look at what Sanders was able to energize with his halfhearted, namby-pamby disingenuous call for a people’s revolt….Ventura has the charisma and sincerity to mobilize ALL those pent-up yearnings of a clear majority of beaten down decent Americans…..he will MAKE it happen, against 2 of the most worthless, charmless and everythingless presidential candidates in the all time encyclopedia of garbage…..JESSE WILL WIN !!!


  • V4V

    It’s not me you need to convince. I hope Jesse Ventura runs, but I think the Greens are going with Howie.

  • Nylene13

    Capitalism is the problem.
    What is the question?

  • zak1

    I’m very suspicious of Ventura’s role here – apparently, he has a history of announcing or “teasing” plans to run for president and then not doing it – maybe four or five times he’s done this

    In fact – he explicitly said that during this 2020 election he planned to wait till the end before entering – that way the field would be narrower and it would be easier for him – he said this in a YouTube interview with Primo Nutmeg last September – he seemed to think this was a clever strategy, since he repeated this point two or three times during the exchange

    So now Ventura has changed his story, and now says the reason he’s not running is because of family health

    These other Green candidates have been running campaigns all this time, engaging with the Green Party membership – while Ventura hasn’t run any campaign at all (in fact, he just joined the party last month) –

    Ventura often describes himself as “fiscally conservative” – he ran for Governor under the Reform Party – a Corporatist party founded by billionaire Ross Perot (Ventura ran on the Reform ticket, and then dropped out of the party after winning – and then he decided not to run again because he’d lost interest in the job)

    – and in 2016 Ventura told CNBC he was voting for the Libertarian Party’s Corporatist candidate Ron Paul, and Ventura also told CNN he wanted Trump to consider him as a running mate – this is the Green Party savior?

    Howie Hawkins is a founder of the Green Party who co-wrote the Green New Deal and has been campaigning for decades with the Greens – he’s very well known among the party membership

    And now Ventura is complaining because frontrunner and presumptive nominee Howie Hawkins and the anti-Corporatist Green Party won’t just roll over and hand over their nomination to him? Why? Because Ventura is famous? Because he said in an interview that he supports a couple of their ideas? And people are buying into this?

    In 2012, Jill Stein ran against Roseanne Barr. Was that a mistake? Should Jill Stein have surrendered her nomination to Roseanne Barr because Barr was famous? (At least Barr took the trouble to run a campaign)

    With the Democrats and Republicans, a candidate can say whatever they want – Reagan can quote lines from cowboy movies instead of answering a debate question. Clinton can play the saxophone for Arsenio and then lock up more black people than anyone in history. Now Uncle Bernie can turn around and shame his supporters into voting for the author of the Patriot Act. This celebrity personality cult is destroying our politics. People no longer know what their vote will get them.

    The Green Party is based on a platform – any Green who’s elected will support this platform – most other third parties have folded or been co-opted – the Greens have survived as a non-Corporate party because they know how to protect themselves – yes, there is a visibility challenge – but there’s the even greater danger that they’ll be co-opted

    This is the problem with our left media – they never cover third party politics – so people are woefully uninformed – and then when some circus show like this pops up, the public just takes it at face value because the media hasn’t done its job of keeping them in the loop

  • zak1

    In 2016 Jesse Ventura told CNN he wanted Trump to consider him a potential running mate.

    If Ventura had actually run a Green campaign I might look more closely – but he just steps out of the blue and asks them to hand him their nomination? No thank you

    Hawkins seems lame? That’s exactly what people said about Sanders at the beginning – I’ll stick with Hawkins

  • zak1

    This is a nice insight – it’s refreshing to be able to hope for something

  • zak1

    This is a catchy line 🙂

    I like using the phrase “Corporate Capitalism” so it’s clear we’re not talking about mom and pop businesses – these corporations are privatized governments that are running the whole country now – and they’re forcing the rest of us to pay corporate welfare to them while they lecture us about self-sufficiency

    Actually, any time I see the adjective “free” or “market” I replace it with “corporate” – so we have “corporate trade” instead of “free trade”, or “corporate economics” instead of “market economics” – corporations hate real markets – they use governments to insulate themselves – they use words like “free market” as a smokescreen

  • kevinzeese

    Some of the comments below about Jess Ventura and the Green Party are not based on any facts. No one tried to stop Ventura from running. He decided not to because he would have had to give up his job at RT which meant losing health insurance which his family needed.

    The same was true for Chris Hedges who considered running for Congress but for the same reasons he was unable to run. He would lose his platform at RT which reaches hundreds of thousands of people. So, he could not run.

    I support Howie Hawkins because he is solid on all the issues and has been a Green since the founding of the party. He has proven himself over the years. We would have welcomed Ventura into the party because beating him in the nominating process would have lifted Hawkins image. I am not into celebrity politics. People need to earn their political leadership. Ventura wanted to be Trump’s vice president! I don’t think Greens would have supported him when they learned his full record, but no one tried to stop him.

  • Nylene13

    V4V is a sheepdog Republican.

  • Nylene13

    Told ya all.

  • Nylene13

    Good point about ‘free’.

    Free to exploit the Environment and Poor People-that is what Capitalism is.

  • kevinzeese

    See my comment above. Thiis is one of the false statements I was talking about. No Green did anything to stop Ventura from running for the nomination. He decided not to run because he wouild have lost his job at RT if he ran. We would have welcomed him into the race but I do not think he would have won the nomination. Most Greens are not into celebrity candidates especially those with a checkered record like seeking to be Trump’s vice president. But, he is not running because of reasons related to his employment and healthcare, not because any Greens pushed him out.

  • kevinzeese

    Ventura has already announced he is not running because he does not want to give up his job at RT and his health insurance. The Hawkins campaign welcomed into the campaign but he never entered.

    Here is Hawkins on Hill TV Rising. It could the second most views of any segment for last week. Hawkins has now won enough delegates in the primary process to win a first ballot victory at the Green Convention in July.

  • V4V

    Howie Hawkins sounds okay, but I liked Ralph Nader much more. For starters, I see Sanders as a sheepdog and Hawkins is running as a “carrier of Bernie’s legacy.”

  • zak1

    (Sorry if this is a long response – it may get flagged – so many of my comments are flagged – but I hope it’s useful for your site and for Hawkins/Walker campaign, and for readers – I don’t know the best channel for this kind of feedback – thanks for all you folks are doing)


    I agree totally with your comment – I don’t understand why people keep bringing up Ventura – he comes from Ross Perot’s Corporatist Reform Party – he makes overtures to Republicans and Libertarians, and now Greens – as if he’s browsing through a salad buffet (these media comments I mention are all cited and footnoted in his Wiki page)

    In a way, they’re acting as if Howie Hawkins doesn’t even exist – they’re just talking past him, ignoring the counter-arguments and just repeating this guy Ventura’s name

    (I don’t mean the commenters here, necessarily – but I saw this clearly when people tried to crash Hawkins/Walker’s last video chat – it was like some kind of targeted PR trick)


    – I’m concerned tactics like this will escalate the more popular Hawkins becomes – like Sanders, the more people listen to Hawkins and Walker, the more they like them – so I’m expecting to see a lot more of this kind of nasty media jiu-jitsu as the Establishment pushes back


    I think if we had stable, ongoing media coverage of third parties – at least national parties like the Greens and Libertarians – people would have more solid context, and fewer people would be taken in by such bogus tricks


    For instance – people seem to have no concept of ballot access and the way it affects third parties – so they don’t understand what the Green Party has achieved by simply surviving and achieving a national presence – if someone understands this, then they’ll see how difficult it is and what it means to build on what’s there – instead of saying “let’s start a third party” like they’re ordering a pizza – this is why I’m suspicious of this People’s Party and their refusal to engage the Greens


    Also – in this race we aren’t hearing “corporate power” or “Corporatism” brought up much – so we see independents talking about the Greens and Libertarians like they’re interchangeable alternatives just because they aren’t the duopoly – I think so many people now who are flailing around for something different are in fact opposed to the Corporatism of the Establishment – its relation to the idea of corporate power – but if this isn’t clarified, then people will chase after anyone vaguely promising “change” – whether it’s Obama, Trump, Biden, Ron Paul, or Ventura


    This is a huge selling point for Hawkins/Walker and the Greens – the Greens are the only national party that’s non-corporate (this is why they’ll also be the only campaign giving voice to the protests and the strike movement) – this sets Greens apart from the duopoly and the Libertarians, and it brings them closer to the DemExit Sanders voters and also closer to all those disenfranchised working class voters and the other independent casualties of “Neoliberalism” (I think the word “Corporatism” is a clearer rallying cry)


    I think we need to hear this info not just from the Green candidates themselves – we just need neutral, nonpartisan, ongoing institutional analysis covering “the margins” of electoral politics, and these marginalized players – not promoting anyone, but just clarifying what’s going on – if the media coverage is ongoing, then the information will sink in and spread – I hope you consider adding such an “electoral arena” feature to your site


    Some suggestions for Hawkins/Walker – 1) clean up the media outlets (his YouTube channel blurb says he’s still deciding whether or not to run) – 2) after their weekly chats, make new excerpt videos so the content is highlighted, so it can attract viewers – 2a) separate out the clips with their key responses – so people don’t keep asking the same questions over and over – 2b) and also show us these amazing interviewees like Cam Gordon – who for some reason is totally invisible unless you know beforehand which video to access – as if they don’t want us to know about the interview! 3) Also consider inviting more high profile guests to join their chats and attract viewers – 4) if you haven’t already, you may want to hire some kind of web PR specialist who can help find ways for you to go viral, and also help anticipate and counter-act these dirty PR media tactics you’ll be seeing more and more – 5) also get more of your established Greens like Chris Hedges, Ralph Nader, Jill Stein, Cynthia McKinney, Cam Gordon, Ajamu Baraka, you and Margaret Flowers, Margaret Kimberley, Glen Ford, etc to be more vocal and visible in general, speaking AS Greens – so people don’t think the whole party is just your nominee 6) if Angela Walker leaves her job to campaign full-time – she should also start making regular YouTube commentary clips, asserting her own independent presence (both can do this in addition to their chats together – each can also independently seek other guests and interview them – this will showcase their own strengths) – people are starting to see what Hawkins can do, but they haven’t yet seen yet how powerful Walker is onscreen, once she gets going and really opens up – for reference the best examples I’ve seen are her YouTube interviews with Bitter Lake and with Savage Joy – highlight this deep empathy she conveys, show more of her interacting this way, as a counterpoint to Hawkins’ encyclopedic confidence – they complement each other beautifully

  • zak1

    The capital letter headings are intended to make this somewhat long comment easier to scan through

  • zak1

    The people who’ve been supporting Sanders are looking for someone who will take that platform all the way to the finish line – Hawkins is the only remaining campaign that will do that (and much more) all the way to November – so Hawkins is speaking fully to the aspirations of Sanders supporters, without sheepdogging them into any Corporate Democrat tent

    – if Nader were running today he’d make the same argument as Hawkins about carrying Sanders’ fight forward – different groups will respond to different kinds of reasoning – campaigning is like drawing together a mosaic of different parts – a good campaigner also knows how to listen, and speak to different groups on their own terms – Hawkins talks a lot about how organizers must learn to listen and connect with people, not just preach to them

    The Democratic Party is on the verge of splitting in half – there’s a huge contingent of Sanders supporters who will leave the party now because they’re sick of getting shafted by its corporate leadership – this is a huge potential reservoir of potential Green recruits (I like to call them Closet Greens, or Blue-Greens – because what they’re asking for is basically the Green platform) – it’s common sense for Hawkins to point out his similarities to Sanders, as Jill Stein did last time – as a way of offering these electoral refugees a new home with the Greens

    – Democrats and their progressive media are terrified that this will happen – that’s why Sanders Democrats and their media refuse to engage with or mention the Greens unless they’re forced to – they’re afraid their voters will connect the dots

    Another difference between Sanders and Hawkins is – by voting for the Green candidate, you’d be helping to build a lasting independent party – unlike the Sanders Democrats – in their case, if they’re voted out, then there’s nothing left behind but the Democratic Establishment – they’re operating on shifting sands, whereas the Greens are steadily building solid ground –

  • zak1

    To be fair, these are questions people have been asking – the concern about media exposure is reasonable

    In my mind, I think people forget that these criticisms of Hawkins are the same points they were making about Sanders in the beginning, before his campaign caught fire – once more people start hearing from Hawkins and Walker, I think the same thing will happen – especially with these protests in the background

    So the key is for them to push for as much exposure as possible – in general, and ESPECIALLY in media outlets frequented by disgruntled Sanders folks waiting to DemExit – that left media terrain is the real battleground of the moment

  • zak1

    One more point on the topic of media shenanigans – the Australian
    commentator Caitlin Johnstone is brilliant at identifying these kinds of
    psy-ops and calling them out clearly – and she’s also voiced support
    for Howie Hawkins (she predicted many months ago that Hawkins would
    probably wind up as the only candidate worth voting for in this
    election) – so she might be a good person to consult

  • V4V

    You are the one that obviously doesn’t get it because Sanders threw away any leverage he might have had when he agreed to endorse and campaign for the eventual nominee SANS ANY CONDITIONS. Repeat: SANS ANY CONDITIONS!

    Why should Biden feel pressured to give progressives anything when Sanders has implored his supporters to back Biden and that not backing Biden would be “irresponsible”?

  • V4V

    – if Nader were running today he’d make the same argument as Hawkins about carrying Sanders’ fight forward –

    -except that Nader would have an anti-war/anti-imperialist message Sanders lacks

    Sanders’ foreign policy would basically be a continuation of Obama’s by his own admission and Obama was a continuation of Bush.

    there’s a huge contingent of Sanders supporters who will leave the party now because they’re sick of getting shafted by its corporate leadership –

    -last time close to 80% of Sanders supporters voted for Hillary and I believe it will be the same this time for Biden

    Do you have anything to back up your claim a “huge contingent of Sanders supporters who will leave the party” because I sincerely doubt that?

  • V4V

    To be fair, you are a bald-faced liar and a Bernie-bot that is played by sheepdogs every four years like the sap that you are.

  • V4V

    I have well over 30,000 comments all left wing and critical of corporate Democrats and right wingers.

    Nylene13 is a faux leftist Bernie-bot, and Bernie is a tool of the Democratic Party. Those that cannot see that are a waste of time for me. For example those unaware that Sanders would be no better than Obama or even Bush on foreign policy are either lying to themselves or ignorant of Sanders’ record.

    I will wither vote Green or Socialist Equality Party and unlike the Nylene13 tool, I do not vote for Democrats, any of them. I stopped voting for Democrats after 1996 (Bill Clinton).

  • zak1

    It’s sad to see the exchange deteriorating – interestingly, a major goal of Hawkins/Walker’s campaign is to bring together different factions of the left into one movement – that’s one reason they’re running under both the Green and Socialist tickets

    The only way to counter concentrated resources is through numbers, and that is impossible without working actively to build consensus among people who see things very differently, for many reasons

    Nader even said repeatedly that we need to go even further than patching up differences among progressives – and move on to build left/right alliances – that the most important challenge is to build public power in general, to address corporate control over our institutions –

    many others agree that there is already a huge consensus about what people want – but we’re all too fragmented, so our responses end up scrambled and ineffective, and things just get worse

  • V4V

    The SEP (Socialist Equality Party) have a worthy candidate, however, it is true the Greens have far more visibility.

  • zak1

    For me, the idea is about building power to push as much change as possible – this was the logic of supporting Sanders, at least in the primaries, to see how far he would go, and how much noise he could make about these issues

    On the left, the Greens have the most electoral power outside the Democrats, plus they’re authentically non-Corporate – so they seem the most powerful point to build on, relatively speaking

  • V4V

    Ironically, I registered as a Democrat in 2016 to vote for Sanders in the primary in order to throw sand in the Democratic Party Machine’s gears, however, I never planned to vote for the imperialist Sanders in the general election had he been the nominee.

    p.s. In CA

  • zak1

    One or two more media suggestions for Hawkins campaign – he should position the camera higher so he’s not looking down at it – looking down makes him look sleepy – also, Walker needs to fix that echo in her room – spread more fabrics to absorb the sound – though I think she knows this – sound quality is a big deal when people are focusing on your words, and in our shallow media culture, small touches like this can have a big effect on people’s impression of a campaign’s credibility

  • SteelPirate

    Trimming The Poodle

    by Daniel DeLeon

    (Public Domain)

    The growing tendency to confuse Socialism with reform of one sort or another”an attitude assumed, on the part of its unwise friends, to make it “respectable” and palatable to capitalistically trained minds, and by its enemies, on the other hand, to sap it of its essence and run it into the ground”compels the Socialist Labor Party again to draw clear and true the old line of cleavage between Socialism and social quackery, between reform and revolution.

    On Oct. 26, the New York Times contained a letter which said, “The assumption by Socialists of credit for championship of many valuable principles which belong properly to democracy is a usurpation…. But any educated thinker knows that these best parts of the good ideals — not the antirent, anticapital parts, but the humanitarian parts”are all essentially democratic and old.” So Mr. Shailer Mathews, speaking of the attempt of Paris in 1790 to feed its poor, declares, “In fact, the socialistic tendency was marked, and the masses were being supported in large part by their municipality.”

    As for the conception of Socialism implied in the above two excerpts, it is laughable. To use the words of the Times letter, Socialism without the “the antirent, anticapital parts” would be like astronomy with the law of gravity left out, or zoology with evolution left out. It would be an egg with no nutrition, a watch without works, a locomotive minus driving wheels. It would be inconceivable, a mere inextricable contradiction in terms. It would not be Socialism at all, any more than a house without foundation, sidewalls, floors or roof would be a house.

    For it cannot be too strongly insisted that Socialism means but one thing, and that is the abolition of capital in private hands, and the turning over of the industries into the direct control of the workmen employed in them. Anything else is not Socialism, and has no right to sail under that name. Socialism is not the establishment of an eight-hour day, not the abolition of child labor, not the enforcement of the pure food laws, not the putting down of the Night Riders, or the enforcement of the 80-cent gas law. None of these, nor all of them together, are Socialism. They might all be done by the government tomorrow, and still we would not have Socialism. They are merely reforms of the present system, mere patches on the worn-out garment of industrial servitude, and are no more Socialism than the steam from a locomotive is the locomotive. Socialism is the collective ownership of the mechanical equipment of production which would bring in its wake all the other improvements in conditions above mentioned. But they are only the wake”Socialism is the vessel which must cast that wake, Socialism is the locomotive from which these betterments are the trails of steam.

    Therefore, while not opposing any reforms or improvements which may be secured under capitalism, the Socialist Labor Party steadfastly sets its face against taking time away from its main battle, for revolution, in order to carry on the struggle for reform. It refuses to be maneuvered into abandoning its main demand”the tools of production for the producers”in order to fritter away its energies chasing butterflies in the field of immediate demands. It turns a blind eye and an unresponsive lip to the tempting baits so deftly twitched before the noses of the working class to lead them astray into side issues and blind alleys. The one demand of the Socialist Labor Party is Socialism, unadulterated and undiluted”the unconditional surrender by the capitalist class of the machinery of industry.

    And while rejecting the interpretation of socialism which would remove its “antirent and anticapital parts,” the Socialist Labor Party insists that it is the most humanitarian movement on earth. More so than philanthropic ventures, reform societies, and charity associations; it, and it alone, carries within its program the highest humanitarian hopes and possibilities of the race. All the other movements are based on aspiration alone. The the Socialist Labor Party stands out unique as the only one based on the material program which will make the realization of those aspirations an accomplished fact. Socialism alone will supply the basis for any permanent improvement in the condition of mankind.

    As a poodle may have his hair cut long or his hair cut short, as he may be trimmed with pink ribbons or with blue ribbons, yet he remains the same old poodle, so capitalism may be trimmed with factory laws, tenement laws, divorce laws and gambling laws, but it remains the same old capitalism. These “humaniitarian parts” are only trimming the poodle. Socialism, one and inseparable with its “antirent and anticapital parts,” means to get rid of the poodle.

  • Nylene13

    I do not think that V4V is at all interested in bringing people together.

    I think he is interested in dividing Eco-Socialists and stopping anyone truly progressive from being nominated.

  • zak1

    I posted a response that got flagged – I think it’s because I included some links

    Anyway, in a nutshell –

    Hawkins’ campaign is totally anti-imperialist – he wants to cut the Pentagon by 75 percent – take a look at his online platform regarding your concerns

    When Hawkins and Jill Stein invoke Sanders, it isn’t to copy him – what they’re really saying to them is “if you liked Sanders, you’ll like the Greens even more”

    Regarding DemExit – I posted two links

    – one is showing how the DNC is treating Sanders people even worse this time – not even letting them choose their own delegates – it’s a Jimmy Dore YouTube interview titled “Bernie Betrays Grassroots Again” from May 7 – it’s outlined in the first 10 minutes – especially minutes 6-10

    – the other is describing how Our Revolution is starting to split – their huge LA branch has voted to leave the Democrats – the article is by Glen Ford on Black Agenda Report, titled “Leftists Jump Corporate Democratic Ship, Leaving Sanders Behind”, from May 14

    – I also voice concern that Dems may already be trying to neutralize this dissent – the strongest thing dissenters could do right now would be to unite behind the Green ticket, which already has widespread ballot access – however, a group of former Sanders organizers say they want to start another “People’s Party” instead

    – and even though there’s no time for them to run before November, this new leadership is discouraging any talk of working with the Greens this season – this is why I think they aren’t honest, they refuse to even discuss or debate this – I think Hawkins and the Greens should be looking for new ways to grab these voters’ attention right now, quickly, while they’re still deciding –

  • ingamarie

    And you young man have no idea what you are talking about…..what Bernie is advocating is what a majority of Americans need, whether some of them know it or not. It’s doubtful the Democrats can win without acknowledging the large movement behind policies that Saunders advocated……….and much of what they want we already have in Canada….so its not radical.

    Insulting a man who persevered as a lone voice for social democracy, through this last period of right wing open for business rape of the commons suggests your politics isn’t very deep. The tragedy is that you aren’t alone.

  • RickW

    Because the US runs on a two-party system. There is no accommodation for a 3rd. And the average voter “gets confused” when a 3rd party shows up. Bernie is/was “too radical” to actually win the nomination.
    But – we do like to kick them when they are down!

  • Mensch59

    Well written, ingamarie.

  • V4V

    Yes, and because we have a corrupt 2-party system run for the benefit of the ruling class doesn’t mean someone that doesn’t believe it needs to participate. A “choice” between Trump and Biden is a “choice” between rectal cancer and heart disease for me.

    Miraculously, if everyone thought and acted like me, the Democrats and Republicans would be standing in the unemployment line and the nation would be on the road to recovery. I think we know that isn’t going to happen and we know why.

    Bernie is/was “too radical” to actually win the nomination.

    -not true

    It isn’t that Bernie was “too radical” for Democrats, it’s that he was “too radical” for their establishment hacks who then rammed Biden down their throats and being saps they followed suit.

  • V4V

    Sanders will always eventually campaign FOR everything he purports to be AGAINST. That is the definition of being a sheepdog herding votes for the corrupt Democratic Party.

    As far as your condescending “young man” quip, that’s funny because next year I will retire. I have been following politics closely for over two decades so your claim my politics are are shallow rings hollow. I think you’re the shallow one being played in a corrupt game with predetermined outcomes.

  • V4V

    More ad hominems and character assassination from one that fell for Bernie’s shitck which leads you back to brain-dead Biden’s Campaign Headquarters. Last time, Bernie’s shitck lead you back to the Hillary Clinton Campaign Headquarters demonstrating your profound inability to understand how saps are played.

  • V4V

    I believe any comment that contains a link goes into moderation and kevinzeese is the moderator. Yesterday, I posted an innocuous comment containing a link and I don’t see that it ever posted. I think it smart to not use links on this website due to the moderation.

    As far as Sanders supporters leaving Our Revolution™, I am glad many Bernie-bots are starting to wake up, but I doubt it’s anywhere near the majority.

  • Nylene13

    “Biden is far closer to Trump than Sanders”
    “Sanders Democrats are far closer to the Green Party than they are to the corporate Democrats leading their own Party”.

    The Democratic Party Leaders would rather lose to Trump than see Bernie Nominated.


    I don’t think Bernie understood that.

    Or he misjudged the level of corruption of the Democratic Party Leaders.

    Which is why the only option left for us Eco-Socialist/ or Bernie types -is to form a 3rd Party.

  • eight.of.wands

    all of us have been played/fooled into loving Sanders through loving what he says he stands for, which are two totally unrelated things, tragically, in his case….the embodiment of cognitive dissonce, the man TALKS and WALKS in opposite contradiction of himself….it’s madness!!….he founds a political movement, mobilizes said movement beyond every expectation, abandons his movement when he’s told to do so, then sabotages the movement to mollify the very scoundrels he excoriated in the first place….Merriam Webster definition of wtff??!!

    …fortunately i long ago completed my Twelve Steps Bernie program, from most enthralled dedicated motivated invested exhilirated Number 1 supporter, to a despondent but clear eyed orphan of a colossal hoax….Sanders words express Hope and Change!!….the man himself is hopeless….seriously….worthless….a joke, and a really bad one at that, of his own making…

  • V4V

    We share our views on Sanders whom I excoriate on a regular basis. Ironically, someone I greatly admire, Ralph Nader, credits him and his movement. Also, Richard Wolffe, a marxist economist I admire, has some kind words for Sanders as well.

    So, trying to be fair I will say this- Sanders did well promoting progressive policies but failed when he abandoned them and fell in line behind corrupt, neoliberal, warmongering, Wall shill Democrats.

  • RickW

    Gotta admit that we’re actually about 95% in agreement……

  • V4V

    Yes, brother, and my nickname is Ric!

  • Don’t know about that–last I heard barely 3% of Sanders’ supporters have contributed a dime to Status Quo Joe’s campaign. I suspect that the turnout of Sanders’ supporters for Biden come the general election will be substantially lower than the 85% that showed up in gas masks to vote for Clinton in 2016. The Dem primary shenanigans this round were at least as disgusting and repulsive as they were in the last. It’s hard to assess the political moment on the fly, though–but again even so I’d be surprised if even half of Sanders’ supporters showed up for Biden. And I couldn’t really care less if that is in fact what happens.

  • I’ve never heard of the Trump VP business–but can you imagine the turmoil if it had happened? Ventura wouldn’t have lasted five days without being forced out–Trump is far too valuable a tool for the coorporatist-neocon-fascist Right of the Republican Party–and you can’t have two whale-sized egos in the same room and not expect a big brouhaha.

    If it is true, then perhaps Ventura simply–and simplistically–saw Trump as someone who would take on the political status quo–saw Trump as anti-war–proven false by now, though Trump is mostly a sabre-rattler like Reagan–and pro-working-class–again proven false as anyone who’s paid attention to what Trump has actually done for Big Money over the last three years.

    What you say about RT and healthcare is accurate, and that’s according to Ventura himself. He was interviewed recently on the Primo Nutmeg podcast–which I recommend to all Lefties–and tells the full story of that, and of his involvement with the Reform Party and Perot many years ago. And–ahem–Jesse is not the only one around here who’s kept dubious company in the past, is he? Even Mike Gravel flirted with the Libertarian Party just prior to the 2008 election, as I recall (or was it 2004?), seeking the Libertarian nomination as an anti-war candidate, though otherwise he’s a pretty poor fit there.

    And why not celebrity candidates? Why not a Susan Sarandon/Daryl Hannah ticket? Both intelligent, articulate women, both militant Lefty feminists and fighting liberals, as well as, um, hotties of my younger days. I’m just letting my imagination run, sure–but the point is that “celebrity” noteriety–and importantly celebrity ego–may be what it takes to get the public’s attention, in our dumbed-down, post-literate American culture, where I think it is surely a fool’s errand to try to get by proclaiming Marxist theory and a well-defined socialist agenda, even if it’s sensible and rational Marxist theory and a genuinely pragmatic socialistic agenda like the economic Keynesianism of the New Deal.

  • eight.of.wands

    i would love to be fair but i somehow always seem to devolve into boorishness, saying what shouldn’t be spoken but needs to get said to those who might glean from hearing what they didn’t wish to hear from a guy bereft of social grace strolling in thru the exit door…

    However (to quote Prof. Irwin Corey) for my part, before i eulogize anyone or anything with kind words, i wanna make absolutely sure they’re gone first, even if i have to help dig the hole….no sense eulogizing what might still unwelcomely come back to life!…look at recently revivified George W, parading around with his twisted smile and high fives, all because that bastard wasn’t properly interred the first time, for incalculable crimes against humanity….i woulda used a damn road grader to tamp down the mass grave of his and Cheney’s administration, but unbeknownst co-conspirator Obama exhorted us to “look forward, not backward”….fine….let’s all look forward to saying some nice polite things about Barack, but not until the funereal barge of his massively undeserved reputation as an honest principled human being is in full flames, staring at sea bottom where it belongs…

  • Calgacus

    Do you think Sanders sheepdogged more votes into the Democratic Party than into Socialism?

    Do you think that Sanders prevented the emergence of 3rd parties more than he aided their emergence?

    Of course we disagree on these things. I think it is pretty clear that Sanders herded far more into socialism than anything else, like the Dems, and that he was following almost the only path to build a Left party, while doing nothing to hinder third parties.

    I think you think the falsity of my claims go without saying. But just wish that in general people would not presume so much, put everything into the assumptions. Would realize that such “goes without saying things” are what should be discussed, are the heart of the matter.

  • Calgacus

    Endorse/support “Sans any conditions” was the condition that he and all the other candidates were presented with. Either accept it, or no running as a Dem. Period. He had no leverage to throw away.

    So SANS ANY CONDITIONS doesn’t deserve bolding or exclamations points, but a yawn. It’s a complete nothingburger that is not worth mentioning. There is nothing there to get. It’s like saying he didn’t denounce his Amerikkkan citizenship to run for President.

  • Calgacus

    I often disagree with him, agree far more often with you. But that isn’t the case.

  • Mensch59

    I’m skeptical about most of the stuff Amerikkkans takes for granted about their political processes, esp regarding American democracy and American politicians.

    Take voting for example. The easiest way to divide people is through political theater. People don’t want to face the reality that voting is playing a role in that theater. It literally doesn’t matter who is elected. Why? “There is something being concocted in the dens of power, far beyond the public eye, and it doesn’t bode well for the future of this country. Anytime you have an entire nation so mesmerized by political theater and public spectacle that they are oblivious to all else, you’d better beware.” – John W. Whitehead

    The idea is that the people have power. Do we? Not really. When a cabal of financiers (e.g. central bankers) controls the money supply (which conveniently is the only legal tender – a monopoly), then that cabal can create recessions, economic bubbles, redistribution of purchasing power, etc. That means that the cabal basically controls the wealth of the nation. The elected representatives don’t control the wealth. So what do elected officials actually DO? They manage the people via group psychology. They manipulate us.
    See the video produced by the Academy of Ideas “Edward Bernays and Group Psychology: Manipulating the Masses”

    Why voluntarily participate in this manipulation?

  • V4V

    The simpleton Sanders supporters actually thought the corrupt Democrats would allow Sanders to be the nominee so they spent hours campaigning, phone banking, donating and getting played like violins… Were/are you a Sanders supporter?

    If so, the Nothing Burger™ is the one you ate. My point is valid- those claiming Sanders has/ever had leverage on anything are the ones eating double Nothing Burgers™ .

  • V4V

    Of course we disagree on these things. I think it is pretty clear that Sanders herded far more into socialism than anything else


    Define what you claim is the socialism Sanders promoted, please.

  • Calgacus

    Were/are you a Sanders supporter?
    ? Of course I was. We’ve talked many times before.

    “Those claiming Sanders has/ever had leverage on anything are the ones eating double Nothing Burgers™”

    That’s abandoning your position and taking over my point! You were the one claiming Sanders “had leverage on anything” – when you said “Sanders threw away any leverage he might have had”.

    You can’t throw away what you don’t have.

    The US Democratic Party is not so much more corrupt than it was in the 20s and 30s, when it “allowed” Al Smith and then much better, Franklin Roosevelt.

    The problem is all or nothing thinking. Either all agency is located in Sanders or other insurgents. Or all in the corrupt party. Nothing on heaven or earth is like that. Above all in politics. It’s always a struggle between two acting forces. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. That’s the Simpleton viewpoint – and also the Correct View.

    The Left’s overwhelming urge for Final Answers, the Perfect Strategy, the Correct Position – caused by terror of Making a Mistake or saying Something Wrong or worst of all, thinking and behaving like a Simpleton.. Why, that fear is a terrible affliction that makes the Left shamefully lose again and again, often in overwhelmingly superior positions.

  • V4V

    No problem, keep your simplistic “Hopey Dopey™” Bernie ______________ (fill in the blank with a fresh new Democratic Sparkle Pony for 2024 because Bernie will have expired his best by date) will save us feel-good malarkey that the Democratic Party will miraculously allow the cure to the problems they helped create.

    You folks are a complete waste of my time seeing as you get played time and time again and never learn anything. The only thing you learn is to double-down on your mistakes. Your mistake is to believe that those that created the problems will be bringing you the cure. You were wrong in 2016 and you were wrong in 2020 but here you are lecturing those of us that correctly called in 2016 & 2020.

    Across the abyss of race and class, the people are staring at the rulers and their shills, and growing a deep hatred of the system – deeper than hatred of Trump, who is too incompetent to cause, or defend against, a double catastrophe of the systemic kind. Bernie Sanders has proven, dramatically and beyond doubt, that there is no balm for such a disaster in the Democratic Party, which is a partner with the Republicans in the austerity regime that set the stage for the double-whammy. When the coronavirus was making an inarguable case for a national health care system, Sanders chose to surrender to the “nothing’s gonna change” man. The Democrats – all of them – are simply rich men’s toys, and of no use whatsoever in a fight.

  • V4V

    I don’t think Bernie understood that. Or he misjudged the level of corruption of the Democratic Party Leaders.

    -yes, in order to defend Sanders if became necessary to present him as a dumba**

    No surprise, and if Sanders is a dumba**, what does that make you?

  • Southern

    How would you know if V was a young man or not ?

  • Calgacus

    How was I “played”? What was I wrong about? Though I “lectured” you many times 🙂 – claiming that I was wrong and called 2016 or 2020 wrong – shows you didn’t understand what I was saying then and you don’t now.

    You don’t like it when people misread your words – but can’t you see you are doing it to me? I recommend you or anyone precisely and completely quote if you want to avoid this kind of problem.

    Your mistake is to believe that those that created the problems will be bringing you the cure.
    And where did I say anything like that? Of course I don’t believe that absurdity.

    What I expected to happen and said probably would happen – happened. Too bad. But that is no argument that supporting Sanders and his strategy was a bad idea.

    I really don’t think I was played or that anyone can make a reasonable argument I was. Gloomy doomy defeatism is self-defeating. It “plays” itself. It is an enormous asset to the ruling class.

    Respectfully, I don’t think you understand the game, if you think that 2016 and 2020 show what you say. It is the great achievement of the Bad Guys to convince so many on the Left that rigidity, sectarianism, defeatism and holier-than-thouness are the hallmarks of committed socialism.

    No matter, it really, really looks to me like they are losing. Most of the Left, particularly older people may not understand how fragile the plutocracy’s hold on power is. And how Bernie, for all his faults, helped weaken it. But the plutocrats do. And growing numbers of younger people do too.

  • Calgacus

    Basically everything Sanders promoted was classical, mainstream socialist policies, and it is too late for me to write an essay on the meaning of socialism. Though such an essay would be very useful to many socialist party members (and leaders). 🙂 Nobody’s perfect, but Sanders propagandized for socialism more successfully than anyone else in many decades.

    101 year old Theodor Bergmann, veteran of the pre WWII German Communist Party could tell that Sanders was a real socialist – one too be emulated even! Too bad that many well meaning socialists don’t understand their own history, don’t understand the game as well as he did. So they get played, time and again.

    One major way that Bergmann understood even as a kid – was that socialism = social democracy = communism. People who obsessively differentiate them – and lecture us simpletons about imaginary distinctions – are the one being played by the fascists, not simpletons like me and Theodor. (or Alvin & Simon :0-) )

  • V4V

    Your “socialist” Sanders is busy urging his followers to support a capitalist warmonger and Wall Street shill..

    Time to move on… Sanders isn’t going to be the nominee and he’d be a fool to run a 3rd time.

    Sanders is a has-been… time to find another Hopey-Dopey *socialist” Democrat that DOESN’T promote workers controlling the means of production. Time for a new Sparkle Pony distraction to keep you tethered to the right wing, capitalist, pro-war Democrstic Party.

    Go on, do as your “socialist” Sanders says to do- GO VOTE FOR BRAIN-DEAD BIDEN like a good, little follower of Bernie. Sanders & Wall Street will appreciate your vote for his “good friend” Joe.

  • V4V

    Find a new “socialist” in a capitalist party to promote because Sanders is history.

    What Sanders has shown is how futile it is to attempt to reform the Democratic Party.

    I understand that you don’t understand this and likely never will.

    Good luck to “socialists” in a capitalist, pro-war party, and good luck with the cognitive dissonance.

  • zak1

    I think Bernie had a good idea of what he was up against – which is why I admire his courage in even campaigning in the first place

    I’m sure in 2016 he didn’t expect to be so successful – I think he was aware of the corporate media policing the boundaries of acceptable thinking – it seems to me his first goal in campaigning as a Dem was to use this insider status to use their game against them – to end up on that stage with Hillary and the others and draw their corporate cameras to him so he could smuggle a wide range of “taboo” ideas into the national discourse

    In this respect he was spectacularly successful – the whole national conversation has changed because he found a way past its gatekeepers

    Nader in 2000 was far more famous than Sanders, yet the media largely blocked him out – and for the next two decades they pretended nobody was interested in such thinking – Sanders managed to explode that lie – people have been starving for this

    – and I think if media had covered Nader as thoroughly and consistently as they covered Sanders, then Nader could have won the election – I’d say the same about Jill Stein and Howie Hawkins, etc

    At the same time, we’ve found Sanders clearly has his limits as a progressive leader – clearly, the party machinery has been his opponent all along – but, beyond that, his own total surrender and reversal both times has confused and shocked many of his supporters

    – clearly, the DNC has some kind of power over him – whether he’s always been part of their game, or whether he’s been threatened with something, or whether by now he’s simply too dependent on them – the point is, I think we’ve reached the limits of what can be expected of him

    He can continue to speak out on these issues, and to put forth bills until maybe some can finally make it through – but, whatever else he does, and however we read his motives, I think his greatest achievement will remain tearing down that media wall and fully exposing what the public really wants – and hopefully, others will be able to build on this

  • zak1

    I see that my comment that I mentioned has now been cleared

    I completely agree that this website should monitor its security closely this way – I will try to be more careful on my end, to make their lives a bit easier lol

  • Nylene13

    Good points zak1.
    I don’t know what happened with Bernie. Only Bernie really knows.

    But when I think about the Dem. National Convention, and Bernie appearing onstage to endorse Hillary, with a deep gash/ bruise on his cheek, I have a hard time believing that was just from an ‘innocent’ fall.

    Quite the coincidence.

    I also do not believe the last primary.

    Funny how Bernie won here in Nevada, and then started losing other states.

    Too Funny….

    It does not matter what we the people do, if the elections are rigged.

  • zak1

    Wow – I didn’t know about that business with the gash/bruise … !!

    If they’d just left Bernie’s campaign alone to run its course, he would have won the primary and the election – probably in 2016, and certainly in 2020

    Maybe the DNC wanted to have its cake and eat it – I bet they like the way his words attract so many, but then this is something that they then need to manage to make sure that in the end it’s their sponsors who are satisfied

    If the DNC is the problem, then I wonder what would have happened if Sanders ally Keith Ellison had won its leadership instead of Clintonite Tom Perez? Maybe that was the real election – and now Bloomberg has his hooks deep in the party machinery

    Your point about the elections – I think the public has absorbed this lesson – which is one big reason why everyone’s in the streets now

  • Calgacus

    What Sanders has shown is how futile it is to attempt to reform the Democratic Party.
    You may be right about that. But was that what Sanders did? Was that what I praised him for doing?

    If you understood the game being played better, you might not put words in my mouth that I never uttered.

    Surely, the numbers Sanders sheepdogged into socialism is far, far more than those into voting for dreary Democratic candidates. Isn’t that important?

  • Nylene13

    And then after Bernie spoke, endorsing Hillary, the way he then sat in the audience and held his little granddaughter so close, as if he was thinking….”now you are safe”.

    Kind of reminds me of when Jackie Kennedy stood in her bloody dress, next to Johnson being sworn in as President, standing in her dress covered with her dead husbands blood, as if to make a statement to we the people -that she could not say aloud.

    Maybe I am just being dramatic. Maybe.

    Yes, people are in the streets now.

  • zak1

    You might want to check out this YouTube video from 2014, where Ralph Nader gives Howie Hawkins a glowing endorsement, and calls third parties our nation’s “pioneers … the ones who say it like it is … the conscience of our political system”

    I won’t post the link, but the title is:

    “Ralph Nader, running for office, Give them a rumble from the people – Howie Hawkins Green Party”

  • V4V

    The PTB are very happy to have Sanders deliver his “socialist” happy talk as long as Joe Brain-dead Biden is the candidate, NONE of Sanders’ policies are enacted, and Sanders sheepdogs as many votes as he can for the Democrats. The Democrats are happy to have a sheepdog like Sanders that campaigns for their lying, Russia-obsessed, corporate-friendly warmongers and asks for NOTHING in return. Talk about being a wussy. SANDERS DEMANDS NOTHING IN ORDER TO SECURE HIS SUPPORT.

    Sanders is like a floormat for Democrats who can take him 100% for granted. He demands absolutely NOTHING in exchange for sheepdogging. Well, let me take that back- what Sanders gets is NO PRIMARY OPPONENT and he gets to chair a committee tasked with improving public relations for the Democratic Party he ostensibly doesn’t belong to.

    Unlike you, I have NO RESPECT for someone who campaigns FOR everything he purports to be AGAINST. I have ZERO respect for Sanders. He doesn’t walk his talk. That his cult of personality cannot see this is truly fascinating to me.

  • V4V

    What I started doing is quoting articles without providing a link. If someone asks for a link, I will provide it.

  • zak1

    Nader is a legend – he’s done more for this country and the well-being of its people than all these duopoly candidates combined – and these are concrete achievements that are now widespread policies – not just exciting bills that then sit on the table for twenty years

    I’ve always thought Nader represents the real mainstream center of popular thinking in the US – across the political spectrum

    If our landscape weren’t so Orwellian, Nader would have been instantly elected president in 2000 or earlier

  • V4V

    Ralph Nader is a legend, no doubt, and he’s hated by Democrats who wrongly blame him for George W. Bush.

    Nader’s activism has been directly credited with the passage of several landmark pieces of American consumer protection legislation including the Clean Water Act, the Freedom of Information Act, the Consumer Product Safety Act, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the Whistleblower Protection Act, and the National …

    I am sure Sanders has had his hand in some good legislation, however, he himself has only authored and made law three pieces of legislation:

    2 renamed post offices
    1 increased benefits for the veterans his party loves to send off to war

  • Calgacus

    I will vote according to my own conscience, not yours nor Sanders. I’ve never told anyone how to vote. I recommend that as a liberating posture.

    time to find another Hopey-Dopey “socialist” Democrat that DOESN’T promote workers controlling the means of production.

    Of course Sanders does. That is what the (Green) New Deal, guaranteed employment would do. That’s what it always does in capitalist economies – makes them not capitalist, slowly but very surely.

    Or don’t you know that “behind the right to work stands the power over capital” ?!!

    And further, that “behind the power over capital, the appropriation of the means of production, their subjection to the associated working class, and therefore the abolition of wage labor, of capital, and of their mutual relations.”

  • V4V

    I never tell anyone whom to vote for either. What I am saying is that it’s time for a new Sparkle Pony because Sanders best by date has expired.

    I did find this:

    Sanders’ proposal for worker ownership is a new iteration of a plans put forward decades ago by Swedish trade union economist Rudolf Meidner, who envisioned a gradual socialization of industry by requiring owners to dedicate a percentage of yearly profits into union-owned “wage-earner funds” that would be used to buy shares in the company. Over time, the employees’ funds would buy up more and more of the company until eventually workers controlled a majority stake or even everything. The plan, though pursued by the Social Democratic Party, was never fully realized in Sweden.

    That surprised me seeing as I have never heard him talk about workers having control. It’s actually not a bad idea, but how workable that would be is another matter. At least you backed up your claims- well done!

  • Calgacus

    it’s time for a new Sparkle Pony because Sanders best by date has expired.

    You’re right. I have a tendency to play chicken with those dates on my food – and have suffered because of it. 🙂

    Thanks, Sanders backing the Meidner Plan is an even better argument for me.
    We often differ but I very often learn a lot arguing with you.

  • V4V

    Thanks! I learned from you as well. Thanks for your civil discourse! And as much as I hate to admit it- Ralph Nader credits Sanders with promoting socialism, and I have a lot of admiration for Ralph Nader.

  • Mensch59

    Sparkle ponies are for chumps. The unrealized hope was always for a movement, not a candidate. If you don’t give a crap about the development of a socialist movement — because hope is for dopes and because the work is too hard and because the capitalists & the statists have won the war & everything else is post-war reconstruction — then that’s F.I.N.E.

  • V4V

    You are a classy debater because you didn’t get ugly and just continued to argue your points. Good job.

  • bccarver

    ubi is your dream come true, free money, no need to support your community , just give me more. You socialists are a plague on the planet and should be eliminated NOW.
    Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day, minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.

    – George Orwell

  • bccarver

    a display of your ignorance and gullibility. Sanders is a bill clinton clone.

  • bccarver

    jessie ventura HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHa you brain dead simpleton.

  • V4V

    Your logical fallacy is ad hominem. Look it up.

  • bccarver

    a wrestling megalomaniac politician, trump with muscles.

  • bccarver

    wow you are still pushing the victim card,. But you need to be in the capitalist system to benefit from it. You cannot expect those that work and contribute their entire lives to the system are sick and tired of supporting leeches like you and all the tyee c..ts