The Progressive Movement and Bernie’s voice

May 23, 2016


Because I was on the road yesterday (5/19/2016), I did not get my New York Times for Thursday. It was enlightening to review the New York Times for Thursday (5/19/16) and Friday (5/20/16), simultaneously. On Thursday, the New York Times page 1 carried a headline: “Sanders willing to harm Clinton in the Home Stretch!” Biased? Of course! Then on Friday, the front page provided a “voters view of the Presidential race” Trump favorable 26%, unfavorable 55% Clinton favorable 31% unfavorable 52%; Sanders favorable 47% unfavorable 33%. That said it all. Then they added whether the candidate is “honest and trust worthy”: Trump 64% no; Clinton 64% no. Significantly, they did not reveal Sanders’ numbers on whether he “honest and trustworthy”. They did not reveal the real question which is do they trust the judgement of these individuals.

The New York Times, Paul Krugman and the general corporate media, support and endorse Hillary. Yet, this is the best they could come up with in terms of a poll they structured. For obvious reasons, they did include an editorial article on Page A23 stating that we should stop paying attention to the polls. As a result of this favorable view of Bernie, one must assess what Sanders has accomplished. Some history first. We have fought the right wing of the Democratic Party since 1968. They sabotaged the McGovern campaign along with Nixon’s illegal attacks. They then blamed McGovern for the loss.

In 1982, they created super delegates to insure that no progressive could win or even speak. They claimed that the super delegate system was to insure winnable candidates. Mondale was crushed and they never missed a step; they ignored the invalidity of their position.  So much for super delegates guaranteeing wins.

The political strategy of the Democratic Elite for the last 30 years has been to marginalize any substantive discussion of worker’s and minorities’ political programs. And they were very successful in marginalizing any discussion of worker’s rights or the minority agenda. When Tom Harkin ran in 1992, he never had a chance. The Democratic Elite combined with the corporate media quickly dispatched his candidacy. At that time, I decided that the nomination process was one of anointing designated candidates and had nothing to do with the voting process. In retrospect, it had little to do with winning.

One must acknowledge that they had a political analysis on which they relied to carry out this kind of activity. That analysis was that any discussion of minority or working class rights and programs would undermine the ability to win elections. The move to the center would require modifying the political program. That had the consequence of determining how candidates were chosen and supported. And, their position was and is the elections are all about money, not people or program.

One example is Al Gore in 2000. He was a good candidate. But Joe Lieberman was and is a snake in the grass. As a result of that decision based upon their political analysis, Bush II was able to steal the election and to start a disastrous path of tax gifts to the rich and endless war. And the Democratic Party elite were nonexistent in opposition.

The anointment process was blocked with Barack Obama’s nomination and election in 2008 and 2012. While it is very complicated, my position is that Barack Obama set the political basis for Bernie’s revolution. He exposed and brought out the deep seated racial and working class hatred in the Republican Party and for that matter the DNC. The great majority of supporters believed he was progressive. While he was not a progressive, he did prove that the voting population is progressive and will support candidates who either appear progressive or actually support a progressive agenda. In other words, it became clear that in order to win elections it was not necessary to deep six the Black and Latino working class voters to win elections.

Perhaps Bernie knew that the time was right for a true progressive or just decided that something had to be done. We cannot determine why Bernie was able to change the political landscape. That is for the historians. I have believed since 1976 that revolutionary work necessarily involved the electoral arena and electoral work must be concentrated in the Democratic Party.

Bernie has proven that theory. All progressives contend that we need a 3rd party but never set out a strategy to achieve that goal. Any study of dialectical historical materialism reveals that development occurs by accelerating contradictions within the social institutions. The last 40 years have proven that analysis. Third parties sitting on the outside and complaining have been worse than useless. In 2000, the Green Party played the spoiler role totally delegitimizing the third party movement. Bernie has built a movement of millions of people that makes third party discussions real for the first time. We now have 2 options available to us. One is to take over the Democratic Party. The other is to eventually set the foundation for a move to an actual third party with power. But first we must take over or destroy the Democratic elite. This is a lesson that progressives must learn and failure to do so will weaken and undermine the progressive movement.

And now is the time to assess the amazing accomplishments of Bernie’s strategy. He started on April 30, 2015 with an informal announcement of his candidacy and a formal announcement on May 26, 2015. I know I sent my first check on June 1, 2015. At that time, he had no campaign organization, no money, no name recognition, and he had never run for President. Arrayed against him was the entire Democratic Party structure, the corporate media, and the presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton with a political organization that has been honed, developed and monied for 30 years.

At the time, the Clinton’s had amassed $200 million dollars. That money came from large corporations and foreign countries. They had developed super pacs and courted the super-rich. They had funds from the finance industry, big pharma, private prison industry, fossil fuel industry and apparently, every major corporation foreign and domestic. They even had received money from foreign countries. The Clinton campaign bank appeared then and appears now to have endless assets. That money controlled and confined the Clinton program.

The strategy for dismissing Bernie was set. It had been used to marginalized every progressive candidate in the past from Jessie Jackson to Dennis Kucinich, et al. First, every institution would ignore the candidacy as irrelevant to the big issues of the day. That was only possible because of the complete control of the corporate media by the ruling class.

The strategy to ignore his candidacy never abated and continues to this date. It is a powerful weapon but they have lost. This time the strategy did not work. Money came pouring in to Bernie’s campaign. His rallies were unprecedented reaching numbers never seen in the past by any candidate. The polls established Bernie’s program was more popular than Hillary’s program. Hillary’s rallies if you call them such were anemic at best. Only the protection of the corporate media concealed the evident bankruptcy of her appeal. More importantly, Bernie proved that his program is more “electable” than the move to the right required by the DNC/DLC. Polls and the enthusiasm of Bernie’s supporters has exposed the mendacity of the DNC/DLC’s position that refuses to support working class and racial justice programs. In fact, the DNC/DLC’s position is that those programs must be abandoned to win elections. Only the corporate media’s dishonest support of the Congressional Black Caucus and other compromised Black leaders allowed Hillary to manipulate the Black vote.

The betrayal of the Black leadership of their working class consistencies was never discussed by the corporate media. Even though the super Tuesday in the South gave Hillary a lead, the corporate media refused to discuss the fact that she would not be able to take any of those states in the general election. In addition, the corporate media never once discussed the contradiction between the Black leadership’s position of supporting Hillary and their abandonment of their past programmatic struggles.

Even that dishonorable manipulation by the corporate media, the DNC/DLC, the Black leadership and the Clinton organization failed. People under 45 understood that this time we say enough is enough.

For the first time, the corporate media and the DNC/DLC have been forced to discuss the issues that affect working people. In that discussion, they consistently lose the debate. Hillary has been exposed as a puppet of the super-rich and super pacs. She now accepts much of Bernie’s program but does not appear genuine. That is why Bernie must stay in the race. In addition, the fact that she is a war hawke looks to Henry Kissinger and Jack Keane for leadership was never discussed by the corporate media except in favorable terms. The New York Times carried an article about her war hawke position on April 24, 2016 after the New York primary. This reveals and exposes through Bernie’s campaign the sophistication of the corporate media. The answer to any criticism is that we did report it. It is the fog of facts that hides the absence of a free speech media. One must conclude that New York Times waited until after the New York primary to publish the article and did so to protect Hillary.

Bernie’s campaign has exposed the DLC as puppets of the super-rich. He has exposed to mendacity and dissimulation of Hillary’s program. He has made identity politics, absent class analysis, as vacuous and self-serving. He has exposed the corporate media as biased, unfair and protective of the super-rich. He has revealed the powerful, progressive constituency within the entire working class. In other words, he has given a voice to progressives.

For the past 40 years, the progressives have fought without a voice. At every level our positions have been marginalized; our demonstrations ignored; our analysis silenced. Even now, the corporate media is moving to provide support for anyone who is willing to fractionate (if I can use that term) the progressive movement. The New York Times, May 23, 2016 carried an article designed to undermine Bernie’s leadership without attacking the movement head on. Bernie’s leadership is key and we must support him and the movement he has helped to create.

Bernie’s campaign is a call to action for all progressives who have fought in spite of these limitations by the absence of any effectiveness. We now can act with consequence. Supporting Bernie’s fight to the end will in fact alter history whatever the result.

Yours in Struggle,



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