Is It R.I.P For The Bern Movement Yet? Don’t Blame Him: Blame The Left.

Is it RI.P. for the Bern movement yet?

I certainly hope so; any movement named after an establishment politician is a bogus movement, IMHO. I don’t recall there was any ‘MLK movement’ or a ‘Malcolm X movement’ in the 50s and 60s. Hopefully, we can all go back home from our vacation at the ‘Feel The Bern’  theme park and get back to reality. But will we ever?

You can expect the traditional analysis about why Sanders failed in his ‘revolution’. In this blog I have focused not only on him but on the left itself. The left has itself to blame for their disappointment with Sanders’ revolution. But you will NOT find ONE article where the left takes a look at itself and takes responsibility for this recent ‘revolution’ debacle. They bought into his mystical aura (never tells a lie) and into his ‘moral economy’ or moral ‘revolution’.

UPDATE: The ‘Sanders fooled us‘ parade started as soon as he lost NY. And as I say here, the left doesn’t look at itself: they were ‘fooled’ by Sanders, just as they were by Obama. This Counter Punch article ( April 22, 2016 Bernie Sanders: the Candidate Who Came in From the Cold by Jeffrey St. Clairis) is excellent at its criticism of Sanders. It says what I said in this blog, including that Sanders used his followers when he could have used their energy to put the fear in the oligarchs hearts, like taking the (fictitious) 27k people rally in NY’s Washington Square park to march to Wall Street. Worse:  NOW they come with the true facts about Sanders’ the imperialist hawk. All that I said in this blog is now been ‘uncovered’ by the disappointed and disaffected professional left.

Then there is this article at Politico, again, sucker leftists taken for a ride:

Bernie’s Failed Revolution
How Sanders fell short of changing the Democratic Party.
By Bill Scher April 20, 2016

As I asked in my post about the left’s failure to learn from the Obama ‘movement’, What happens now to all that anger and ‘hope’ the Sandersnistas  burned for him, provoking Trump’s followers at those rallies, even getting physically hurt? Don’t expect Sanders to channel that energy into more effective tasks after he wraps up his campaign.

There are links on this blog to Bernie’s pre-primaries statements about how he is “now” part of the democratic establishment, that he will run as a democrat from now on, and that he would not only not hurt the party, but will also actively protect it. Protect it from what? For one thing, protect it from any efforts at the creation of a third-party. That alone and on itself should be enough cause of mayor disappointment and depression to his berniebots: the locus of the ‘revolution’ was restricted to the democratic party.

And because of that, the ‘feel the bern’ movement is heading towards the same leftist’ graveyard where they buried their Obama Hope and Change movement after he won the elections.

So what went wrong this time?

The answer to that question will be debated by professional political analysts and leftists  for months to come, if not years. I offered for your consideration the points in  the posts about the left and their inability to learn from recent history. Now I add a few more elements.

What is a ‘Movement’?

There are many definitions, but, to me, if there is no coordination of any kind, then it is an anarchy movement. The OWS and the BLM movements reject authority and hierarchical organization, and don’t have any philosophical base. Who benefits from that ‘arrangement’? The oligarchs, the ‘billionaire class’.

The oligarchs have their own organizations with its own philosophical underpinning. They may be internally divided, after all, they too are humans and can’t agree on everything, but the effectiveness of their organization is seen in that they control all the power in our society. They can get together and organize new ‘grassroots’ movements when necessary for them, disrupt the legitimate ones, use the MSM to vilify and discredit leaders and movements…we are in their hands. If it were not true, we would be living in an Eden.

But the new left eschews ‘traditional’ types of organization and pretend to gain power by ‘will power’. The Bern movement functioned like the OWS and BLM movements. Sanders didn’t create any structure to integrate the ideas of his followers. When he goes back home to Vermont after the primaries, he will be pondering on what to do with his post-feel-the-Bern once-in-a-life-time adventure. He probably will focus on his campaign to be re-elected to the Senate. For sure, he keeps the money he raised, of course; it doesn’t go back to help continue the ‘movement’. It goes to the DNC and the democratic party, and to his Senate campaign effort.

As for the Bern movement, it will probably die with the primaries.

Any movement to come, for at least the next 10 years, will suffer the same prognosis: death by delusion.

Class identity and Sanders’ ‘0.1% of the billionaire class’

I know, class identity sounds so old fashion and passe. Is breathing passé? Is money passé? Is class divisions passé? Is class struggle passé? Reformed capitalism is ‘the new political black’. That didn’t happen by magic, people. The struggle to reform capitalism is the  by-product of the defeat of the working class by the capitalists, that’s all we were left with: try to reform the system, try to make Wall Street and Monsanto grow a heart.

One of the most appalling characteristics of the OWS movement, made painfully patent during these primaries, is that most of them belief that Wall Street can be reformed, they don’t say how, of course. And Sanders losing the primaries is due in part to that NY Daily News interview where he came across as an ineffective leader incapable of giving a simple draft of how he was going to fix that ‘greedy’ institution.

And the fact that Sanders’ followers are ‘threatening’ to vote for Trump shows the limits of that ‘revolutionary’ class consciousness.

Today, the ‘struggle’ is about reforming WS, about ‘consumer protection’.

The working class has become a ‘consumer class’. For that we can thank Sanders and other  ‘leftist’ politicians. It’s not Elizabeth Warren’s fault or any other elected politician; as far as I know she is not a ‘leftist’, she is part of the establishment with a progressive bent, which is fine; we need people like that in Congress. But I expect more from ‘leftists’: they are supposed to know better.  Instead, we get from them Orwellian language.

Orwellian Language

In my post “Bernie’s Fight Against the Billionaire Class is Bad News For Us” (I know, I’m bad at catchy titles) I discuss the ‘historical’ shrinking of the capitalist class we are fighting against.

The Evolution of the Fight Against the Capitalist Class:From Against All of It to Against 0.1% of It.

From about the beginning of the industrial revolution, the working class have fought against the capitalist class, against all of it. Then, from the middle of the 20th century up to 2010, and as evidence of their loss of political power,  ‘we the people’ was wagging  a battle against  a ‘mere’  10% of that class.

Then, in 2011 came the new wave of leftist progressivism in the form of the OWS movement: their fight was reduced to against a bare 1% of the capitalist class. 

Image result for ows against the 1%

Now comes ‘socialist’ Sanders, who has decided that the youngsters should fight against ONLY the 0.1% of the capitalists, and that said class should be known from now on as the ‘billionaire class’, not the capitalist class. Also, a vote for him is a vote “for yourselves” or for the “working family“, not for the working class.

clas

In other words, the last vestiges of the socialist ideology of class identity (capitalist or working class) is finally gone in the new millennium with Sanders’ new brand of ‘socialism’.

Sanders revisionist formulation of who is the enemy of the working class (only the 0.1% of the billionaires), is not based on ignorance or omission, not even on ‘tactic’ to bring the voters into his ‘movement’.

He has almost exclusively identified as the evil class only a portion of Wall Street, “the greediest” elements in it. He seldom mentions any other elements of the capitalist class: the war mongering armament corporations (he has even used police force to defend them from protesters), the surveillance corps, not the globalist health insurance corporations…Only WS is our enemy, per socialist Sanders. His agenda for reforming WS, shall he become president of the USA, reflects clearly his true class alliance.

It’s not to the one  you think.

Next: I’ll finish this ‘assessment ‘ of what went wrong with Sanders’ revolution, and give a more optimistic assessment of what is to come for the leftist movement.

I recommend this article from the Jacobin, it has excellent (from a professional writer, as opposed to this bloger) info about Sanders’ support of the democratic party.

The Problem with Bernie Sanders
Bernie Sanders’ choice to run as a Democrat means he can’t present a real alternative to Hillary Clinton.

 

Why aren’t we talking about Sanders’ foreign policy more?

 Election 2016
Bernie Sanders’ Troubling History of Supporting US Military Violence Abroad
Why aren’t we talking about Sanders’ foreign policy more?
By Michael Arria / AlterNet
May 13, 2015

In his resignation letter to Sanders, former staffer Jeremy Brecher explained the Clinton administartion’s position at the time. “While it has refused to send ground forces into Kosovo, the U.S. has also opposed and continues to oppose all alternatives that would provide immediate protection for the people of Kosovo by putting non-or partially-NATO forces into Kosovo,” wrote Brecher, “…The refusal of the U.S. to endorse such proposals strongly supports the hypothesis that the goal of U.S. policy is not to save the Kosovars from ongoing destruction.”

Brecher’s note to Sanders closes with a set of rhetorical questions, “Is there a moral limit to the military violence you are willing to participate in or support? Where does that limit lie? And when that limit has been reached, what action will you take? My answers led to my resignation.”

The attack on Kosovo is hardly the extent of Sanders’ hawkishness. While it’s true he voted against the Iraq War, he also voted in favor of authorizing funds for that war and the one in Afghanistan. More recently, he voted in favor of a $1 billion aid package for the coup government Ukraine and supported Israel’s assault on Gaza. At a town hall meeting he admitted that Israel may have “overreacted”, but blamed Hamas for the entire conflict. After a woman asked why he refused to condemn Israel’s actions, he told critics: “Excuse me! Shut up! You don’t have the microphone.”

Brecher’s entire letter to Sanders can be read below. The bombing of Kosovo killed between 489 and 528 civilians.

May 4, 1999

Congressman Bernie Sanders
2202 Rayburn Building
Washington, DC, 20515

Dear Bernie,

This letter explains the matters of conscience that have led me to resign from your staff.

I believe that every individual must have some limit to what acts of military violence they are willing to participate in or support, regardless of either personal welfare or claims that it will lead to a greater good. Any individual who does not possess such a limit is vulnerable to committing or condoning abhorrent acts without even stopping to think about it.

Those who accept the necessity for such a limit do not necessarily agree regarding where it should be drawn. For absolute pacifists, war can never be justified. But even for non-pacifists, the criteria for supporting the use of military violence must be extremely stringent because the consequences are so great. Common sense dictates at least the following as minimal criteria:

The evil to be remedied must be serious.

The genuine purpose of the action must be to avert the evil, not to achieve some other purpose for which the evil serves as a pretext.

Less violent alternatives must be unavailable.

The violence used must have a high probability of in fact halting the evil.

The violence used must be minimized.

Let us evaluate current U.S. military action in Yugoslavia against each of these tests. Evil to be remedied:

We can agree that the evil to be remedied in this case — specifically, the uprooting and massacre of the Kosovo Albanians — is serious enough to justify military violence if such violence can ever be justified. However, the U.S. air war against Yugoslavia fails an ethical test on each of the other four criteria.

Purpose vs. pretext: The facts are incompatible with the hypothesis that U.S. policy is motivated by humanitarian concern for the people of Kosovo:

In the Dayton agreement, the U.S. gave Milosevic a free hand in Kosovo in exchange for a settlement in Bosnia.

The U.S. has consistently opposed sending ground forces into Kosovo, even as the destruction of the Kosovar people escalated. (While I do not personally support such an action, it would, in sharp contrast to current U.S. policy, provide at least some likelihood of halting the attacks on the Kosovo Albanians.)

According to the New York Times (4/18/99), the U.S. began bombing Yugoslavia with no consideration for the possible impact on the Albanian people of Kosovo. This was not for want of warning. On March 5, 1999, Italian Prime Minister Massimo D’Alema met with President Clinton in the Oval Office and warned him that an air attack which failed to subdue Milosevic would result in 300,000 to 400,000 refugees passing into Albania and then to Italy. Nonetheless, “No one planned for the tactic of population expulsion that has been the currency of Balkan wars for more than a century.” (The New York Times, 4/18/99). If the goal of U.S. policy was humanitarian, surely planning for the welfare of these refugees would have been at least a modest concern.

Even now the attention paid to humanitarian aid to the Kosovo refugees is totally inadequate, and is trivial compared to the billions being spent to bomb Yugoslavia. According to the Washington Post (4/30/99), the spokeswoman for the U.N. refugee agency in Macedonia says, “We are on the brink of catastrophe.” Surely a genuine humanitarian concern for the Kosovars would be evidenced in massive emergency airlifts and a few billion dollars right now devoted to aiding the refugees.

While it has refused to send ground forces into Kosovo, the U.S. has also opposed and continues to oppose all alternatives that would provide immediate protection for the people of Kosovo by putting non-or partially-NATO forces into Kosovo. Such proposals have been made by Russia, by Milosevic himself, and by the delegations of the U.S. Congress and the Russian Duma who met recently with yourself as a participant. The refusal of the U.S. to endorse such proposals strongly supports the hypothesis that the goal of U.S. policy is not to save the Kosovars from ongoing destruction.

Less violent alternatives: On 4/27/99 I presented you with a memo laying out an alternative approach to current Administration policy. It stated, “The overriding objective of U.S. policy in Kosovo — and of people of good will — must be to halt the destruction of the Albanian people of Kosovo. . . The immediate goal of U.S. policy should be a ceasefire which halts Serb attacks on Kosovo Albanians in exchange for a halt in NATO bombing.” It stated that to achieve this objective, the United States should “propose an immediate ceasefire, to continue as long as Serb attacks on Kosovo Albanians cease. . . Initiate an immediate bombing pause. . . Convene the U.N. Security Council to propose action under U.N. auspices to extend and maintain the ceasefire. . . Assemble a peacekeeping force under U.N. authority to protect safe havens for those threatened with ethnic cleansing.” On 5/3/99 you endorsed a very similar peace plan proposed by delegations from the US Congress and the Russian Duma. You stated that “The goal now is to move as quickly as possible toward a ceasefire and toward negotiations.” In short, there is a less violent alternative to the present U.S. air war against Yugoslavia.

High probability of halting the evil: Current U.S. policy has virtually no probability of halting the displacement and killing of the Kosovo Albanians. As William Safire put it, “The war to make Kosovo safe for Kosovars is a war without an entrance strategy. By its unwillingness to enter Serbian territory to stop the killing at the start, NATO conceded defeat. The bombing is simply intended to coerce the Serbian leader to give up at the negotiating table all he has won on the killing field. He won’t.” (the New York Times, 5/3/99) The massive bombing of Yugoslavia is not a means of protecting the Kosovars but an alternative to doing so.

Minimizing the consequences of violence. “Collateral damage” is inevitable in bombing attacks on military targets. It must be weighed in any moral evaluation of bombing. But in this case we are seeing not just collateral damage but the deliberate selection of civilian targets, including residential neighborhoods, auto factories, broadcasting stations, and hydro-electric power plants. The New York Times characterized the latter as “The attack on what clearly appeared to be a civilian target.” (5/3/99) If these are acceptable targets, are there any targets that are unacceptable?

The House Resolution (S Con Res 21) of 4/29/99 which “authorizes the president of the United States to conduct military air operations and missile strikes in cooperation with the United States’ NATO allies against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia” supports not only the current air war but also its unlimited escalation. It thereby authorizes the commission of war crimes, even of genocide. Indeed, the very day after that vote, the Pentagon announced that it would begin “area bombing,” which the Washington Post (4/30/99) characterized as “dropping unguided weapons from B-52 bombers in an imprecise technique that resulted in large-scale civilian casualties in World War II and the Vietnam War.”

It was your vote in support of this resolution that precipitated my decision that my conscience required me to resign from your staff. I have tried to ask myself questions that I believe each of us must ask ourselves:

Is there a moral limit to the military violence you are willing to participate in or support? Where does that limit lie? And when that limit has been reached, what action will you take?

My answers led to my resignation.

Sincerely yours,

Jeremy Brecher

Sanders ‘Moral’ Revolution: The NY Daily News Interview

Sanders followers have assumed an attitude that they are the only ones with a moral agenda, they are the moral leaders in this election, and Hillary Clinton’s followers are either ignorant people or as immoral as “she is”. You can read and hear that attitude of moral superiority in the MSM comment sections and in online blogs, and hear them at YouTube.

You can NEVER win an argument with people whose claim is that they are morally superior than the others. This conceit in politics (and in religious fanatics) is the base over which tyrants and fascist stand. It could in part explain why Sanders followers find so much affinity with Trump, to the point of considering voting for him, not just out of spite, but because they actually think that Trump is a ‘different type’ of revolutionary.

But Sanders too is framing his campaign as a “moral” campaign; e.g., he argues about the “immorality” of the 0.1%er. The problem with morality in politics (a place where morality is not the main concern, power is) is that you then have to be consistent with what you defend as moral: because “moral” is in the eye of the beholder.

Here I discuss Sanders responses to the NY Daily News interview.

Not only you will not find any substance in Sanders political ‘revolution’, you will not find a steady moral support for his ‘revolution’: it’s all about “trades and income”. Missing from his description of his revolution is the compassion for women and Blacks. We have seen what he thinks of Trump’s attack on women last week: he said the right thing to do is to ignore it. And here, Sanders again refers to Blacks victims of police violence  as “ranting mentally ill” people.

In this post I point at some of those inconsistent “moral” arguments, and at how Sanders’ lack of understanding of the problems he is proposing to “fix” is immoral in itself.

I’m not a professional writer or blogger, so I will just put my observations in bullet type format.

  1. Sanders said that it is immoral that Wall Street “are trying to avoid paying their fair share of taxes”.
  • Sanders himself has refused to disclose his taxes. He is right: when someone hides his taxes, it usually is because they are not paying their fair share of taxes. One has to conclude that Sanders refusal to show his tax papers indicates that he is not paying his fair share of taxes, that he is lying about his income. That would make him ‘immoral’, wouldn’t it?

2. The moral argument that big corporations leave the American workers for cheaper labor worldwide: “The only thing that matters is that I can make a little bit more money. That the dollar is all that is almighty. And I think that is the moral fabric.”

  • But what about the greed of businessmen whose profit comes from manufacturing guns and war armaments? Sanders unleashed the police on progressives, when he was mayor, to protect those greedy CEOs who were manufacturing weapons of mass destruction. Where is the moral argument there? That it is OK to be greedy and manufacture weapons of mass destruction if you are doing it at home and giving your people a “decent salary”?
  • Is a war-based economy something we should pursue as something moral only because it creates jobs? Shouldn’t we be against a “progress” based on killing other human beings in poor nations?
  • Sanders says that he has not considered the “unintended consequences” of breaking the banks. “So I can’t say, if you’re saying that we’re going to break up the banks, will it have a negative consequence on some people? I suspect that it will. Will it have a positive impact on the economy in general? Yes, I think it will.

3. How does Sanders defines ‘morality’?

  • “To me, what moral is, I’ve got to be concerned about you. You’ve got to be concerned about my wife.” I’ll leave you to make sense of that one.

4. How does Sanders defines the moral aspect of his revolution? For an answer, he refers you to the   Pope; ask him. Sanders can’t explain his ‘revolution’ except by referring you to either  wiki to read about New Zealand’s economy or to the Pope:

  • “I believe that we can and should move to what Pope Francis calls a moral economy.”

5. What about the immorality of corporate globalism? Sanders is a globalist, so he can’t see anything immoral with it. It only needs to be tweaked. He only cares that it is “unfair” to workers, not to women, but to workers in general.

    • “I’m not anti-trade. We live in a global economy, we need trade.

6. So, then, how do we make globalism more moral, more “fair”? The implication is that globalism is here to stay, no need to question it in itself. Let’s just make it “fair”, as if you can negotiate with the oligarchs to drop you some crumbs. So, how Sanders define “fair” in a globalist world?

  • So you have to have standards. And what fair trade means to say that it is fair. It is roughly equivalent to the wages and environmental standards in the United States.”
  • Sanders proposes, in the interview, that while it is true that his trade positions are the same as Trump’s, what separates both of them is that definition of “fair trade”. I’m sure you can see the many questions his definition of fair trade raises. There’s no morals there, just give them a better salary. The rest stays the same.

About the “too big to fail”: His ignorance about the problem and the solutions is appalling

  1. We bailed out Wall Street because the banks are too big to fail, correct?”  The “we” is correct because HE did bailed them out. The immoral part of this is that: a) he did bail them out and b) denies he did it. SEE HERE.
  2. Sanders’ revolution against Wall Street is based on a so-called moral ground, he knows not how WS functions nor how he is going to change them into  ‘moral entities’: Daily News: But do you think that the Fed, now, has that authority?Sanders: Well, I don’t know if the Fed has it.
  3. He acknowledges that the president has no power to make any changes or determinations about breaking the big banks. But he, as president will make the revolution, some how.
  4. He is not assuring or promising that the “too big to fail” will be broken in his administration. He is saying that he would EMPOWER the Fed Res to determine if  and only if those in the list qualify as “too big to fail”. But we saw he knows nothing about the Fed, and if you leave it to the Feds to decide who is too big, you will see no changes.
  5. He would let the banks decide if and how they would ‘re-structure’ themselves. Now, that’s revolutionary.
  6. He acknowledges that he has not considered what to do when the SCOTUS kills his plan. Sanders: It’s something I have not studied, honestly, the legal implications of that.
  7. He acknowledges that he doesn’t know what the “unintended consequences” of his ‘revolution’ will be, but he knows the economy in general will get better…by magic.
  8. He trashed Hillary because she is not bold enough, bc she believes in “incremental changes”, but he wants to do it fast, not planning, not caring for ‘unintended consequences’…
  9. The revolution done with “voter turn out”. He is not supporting any candidates for Congress or the Senate, but he says if he wins, dems win automatically in Congress.

About Palestinians

  1. Palestinians: “Israel has a right to exist in peace and security without having to face terrorist attacks…” no right to self-defense for Palestinians and no right to access to the  International Court either…and don’t ask him why!! Daily News: Why not? Sanders: Why not? Daily News: Why not, why it…Sanders: Look, why don’t I support a million things in the world? I’m just telling you that I happen to believe..

About drones and torture

  • He likes drones.
  • Torture..yes: Sanders: And try to get as much information out of him. If the question leads us to Guantanamo…Sanders: Actually I haven’t thought about it a whole lot. The best location where that individual would be safely secured in a way that we can get information out of him.
  • The morals of war: there’s none in his discussion. He didn’t say a word about stopping these wars. He is against the death penalty, but OK with killing in the battle field with drones; he implied it is a convenience because you don’t have to deal with issues of death penalty and legal rights at home when you arrest a ‘terrorist’.

About Blacks:

  •  Sanders: Such as do what many other countries are doing. Look, you’ve got somebody who’s clearly mentally ill outside, right? Ranting and raving, and maybe they have a knife in their hands. Are there ways to deal with that issue other than shooting that person?
  • He thinks that ALL victims killed by cops are “ranting mentally ill, maybe with a knife in their hands”.

Other post relevant to this discussion:

https://crazyusaelections.wordpress.com/2016/02/20/sanders-at-brookings-institution/

https://crazyusaelections.wordpress.com/2016/03/31/bernie-or-bust-immoral-argument/