Progressives have been trying in earnest to make the Democratic Party move to the left and adopt their agenda since Senator Bernie Sanders started running for president in 2015. Like the many who have tried before them, they have failed. We speak with Nick Brana, the former national political outreach director for the Sanders campaign and a co-founder of Our Revolution who was on the inside of that effort, about what happened when they tried, where the party is now and what he sees as a path forward to build political power on the left.
The American body politic is in a deep malaise with the current administration. But Trump is the symptom, not the disease, which is the neoliberal rule. The conditions that allowed the ascendency of Trump were the result of the neoliberal policies of Obama/Bush and of their predecessors. Trump does not so much represent a break or reversal of Obama era policies. Rather, we are suffering a continuation and intensification of those policies as the body politic lurches to the right.
If the 13.2 million votes received by self-styled “democratic socialist” Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic presidential primaries accomplished nothing else positive, it put the questions of socialism and independent working-class politics up for public discussion. I have been critical of Sanders’s socialism because his policy platform was New Deal liberalism, not socialism. More importantly, by entering the Democratic Party, Sanders broke with the socialist principle of independent working-class political action.1 He became the “sheepdog” herding progressives, who had the option of voting for the Green ticket of Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka in the general election, back into a party run by the billionaire class he professes to oppose.
By Medea Benjamin for CODE PINK. NNU’s RoseAnn DeMoro looked directly at the Draft Bernie people in the audience of the Peoples Summit and grinned. “We’re going to take a few questions but I want to thank all the Draft Bernie people here,” she said. Then came the zinger. “I’m with you,” she added, as she turned around to look at Bernie and his wife. Then she pivoted back to the audience, “Nurses, are we with them?” As they roared their approval, DeMoro turned to Sanders again. “I always say: ‘heroes aren’t made, they’re cornered.” I don’t think most people in the audience realized the potential significance of the DeMoro’s endorsement. Her union has about 150,000 members and spent about $1 million on the Sanders campaign. It’s one of only six national unions that backed Bernie Sanders for president. Under DeMoro’s leadership, the nurses have become heavyweights in the progressive world, championing everything from universal single payer healthcare to a Wall Street tax to pay for free college education. Just imagine if DeMoro could get her whole union to back a new party, and leverage that to get other unions and progressive institutions on board.
By Howie Hawkins for Counterpunch. Bernie Sanders is on his way to an endorsement of Hillary Clinton, the candidate of War, Wall Street, and Wal-Mart. Sanders ran as a New Deal Democrat, but he will soon be campaigning for a plain old corporate New Democrat. To keep his troops engaged through this transition, Sanders will stage a few rules and platform fights at the convention. But rule changes are irrelevant to the real party power structure of candidate organizations and their corporate investors. Any platform planks won will be irrelevant as well. No corporate Democrat will feel bound by them. Faced with that demoralizing prospect, some Sanders supporters are recycling failed old strategies in an attempt to salvage Sanders’ “political revolution” without opposing the Democratic Party.