This essay rambles a bit, but Edie assures me that it rambled more before she cut it from 16,000-plus words to fewer than 4,000. I have omitted almost all the photos and other graphics that Edie lovingly inserted into the original document. Saving them and inserting them here is more work than I can manage right now without risking repetitive motion injury.
Disclaimer: I don't agree with all of it, but I present it for your consideration.
Desperately Seeking Bernie's Balls
Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have faithfully and dutifully taken up the Democratic Party’s mantra: "You have no choice; you have nowhere to go: it’s either us or the Republicans. T.I.N.A.: 'There Is No Alternative.'”
Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez can head up a third party movement and, in doing so, they can free electoral politics from the two-party stranglehold. But they refuse to do that.
Click here for an amazing video [from Jimmy Dore]. It begins with Bernie Sanders back in the 1990s arguing passionately for a third party movement. Then we hear from the all-new version of Bernie Sanders—the 2018 version of Bernie Sanders—arguing, just as passionately, against a third party movement.
His own words identify him as a sellout.
What Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are saying to those on their left is: “You have no choice; you have nowhere to go except with us.” Which is the same thing Hillary Clinton said to those on her left when she ran for president in 2008 and 2016: “You have no choice; you have nowhere to go except with me.”
As far as the Democratic Party is concerned, Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are safe. They’re in the fold. Wanna hear a joke? Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez claim they’re socialists. Please! That doesn’t pass The Gag Test. Like the Democratic Socialists of America, they use the label of socialism to advance politically. Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the DSA are socialists like my Uncle Dominic wears a bra and poses for Playboy. They’re not about to rock the boat. They’ve been neutered.
Bernie Sanders isn’t a socialist, he isn’t a radical and he isn’t a revolutionary. As Alexander Cockburn, one of the co-founders of Counter Punch, put it:
Bernie Sanders, the hot air factory from Vermont, wouldn’t know a revolution if it stood up and bit him in the ass.
Bernie Sanders says he’s a socialist. But he never questions capitalism. He wants to change capitalism around a bit, make it a “kinder, gentler capitalism,” but he certainly hasn’t called for capitalism to be replaced or fundamentally changed.
War is the lifeblood of capitalism-imperialism; as such, socialism is inseparable from the fight against imperialist wars—and Bernie Sanders isn’t part of that fight.
- supported Bill Clinton’s war in Serbia
- voted twice to overthrow Saddam Hussein.
- supported the 11-year-long economic sanctions against Iraq, sanctions that resulted in the death of over one million people, half of whom were children.
- backed the Libya intervention. (Libya is now a failed state, where people are sold at slave markets and made to perform forced labor.)
- voted for the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), which has been used to justify the unending “war on terrorism” or, as George Orwell put it, “perpetual war for perpetual peace”
- repeatedly declared his support for the Obama administration’s wars of aggression in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria; and defended Obama’s program of drone assassinations
Bernie has voted for every military appropriations bill there is to continue these wars. He doesn’t challenge the military establishment. Indeed he’s been quite welcoming of defense contractors into the state of Vermont because you know, quote, "it provides jobs." If we don’t break the back of the war machine, if we don’t break the imperialist project, than any rhetoric about significant change is smoke in the wind.
I thank President Obama and Vice President Biden for their leadership in pulling us out of that terrible recession.
I really did a double take when I read that. Nobody remotely on the progressive left would suggest that the Obama White House deserves gratitude for its response to the Great Recession. ...
It’s all the other side of the hideous anti-egalitarian New Gilded Age coin that Obama has done so much to mint and re-brand. The question remains: where’s the people’s bailout? The neoliberal rot promises to deliver another epic financial meltdown.
But, hey, guess what everybody, Bernie sends Obama and, for some reason, Joe Biden a great big "Thank You’"for their "leadership in pulling us out of that terrible recession." I suppose his gratitude makes some sense if we take "us" to mean The One Percent.(Emphasis added.)
From an April 2016 article by Jeffrey St. Clair entitled "Bernie Sanders: the candidate who came in from the cold”:
If Sanders could turn 30,000 people out for a pep rally in Washington Square Park, why couldn’t he have had a flash mob demonstration mustering half that many fervent supporters to shut down Goldman Sachs for a day?
If he could lure 20,000 Hipsters to the Rose Garden in Portland, why couldn’t he turn out 10,000 Sandernistas to bolster the picket lines of striking Verizon workers?
If Sanders could draw 15,000 people in Austin, Texas, why couldn’t his movement bring 5,000 people to Huntsville to protest executions at the Texas death house?
If Sanders could draw 18,000 people to a rally in Las Vegas, why couldn’t he just as easily have led them in a protest at nearby Creech Air Force Base, the center of operations for US predator drones? Strike that. Sanders supports Obama’s killer drone program. My bad. But you get the point.
Instead of being used as stage props, why hasn’t Sanders put his teeming crowds of eager Sandernistas to work doing the things that real movements do: blocking the sale of a foreclosed house in Baltimore, disrupting a fracking site in rural Pennsylvania, shutting down the entrance to the police torture chamber at Homan Square in Chicago for a day, intervening between San Diego cops and the homeless camp they seek to evict? Why? Because that’s not who Bernie Sanders is and that’s not what his movement is about.
He’s playing both sides of the street.
Guess Who Else Is Talking Out of Both Sides of Their Mouth
Quoting from an article entitled “Ocasio-Cortez, Nancy Pelosi, and the Con of Diversity:”
The opposition to (Nancy) Pelosi is a public relations stunt on the part of the Democratic Party.
Pelosi’s office was recently occupied by activists from the PAC "Justice Democrats."…New York Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez paid a visit to the protest as a show of faux-opposition to Pelosi. Despite the sexy optics of the protest…Ocasio-Cortez said this about Pelosi when speaking to the corporate media at the protest, “One of the things that I admire so much about Leader Pelosi, is that she comes from a place of activism and organizing and she really appreciates civic engagement.”
Nancy Pelosi does indeed come from a place of activism and civic engagement in service of imperialism. In a townhall last year, Pelosi told a young socialist activist that the Democratic Party was capitalist through and through. Pelosi opposes Medicare for All, even though nearly ninety percent of Democrat voters support single-payer healthcare. Pelosi has fought for the militarization of immigration policy and has drawn staunch criticism from immigrant rights groups. And most recently, Pelosi has used her “activist” spirit to call for bipartisanship in the form of tax policy that would effectively strangle in their crib any hopes for Medicare for All or any other progressive demand.”
It certainly “sounds good” for Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Democratic Socialists of America to say they’re socialists. Socialism is on the rise in America, and so they use the moral and economic appeal of socialism to gain popularity. But their actions and alliances tell a different story. Sanders embraces war criminals, like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez embraces Andrew Cuomo; “admires” Nancy Pelosi; and calls John McCain "an unparalleled example of human decency and American service.” As for the Democratic Socialists of America, quoting from an article entitled “The Democratic Socialists of America: Providing a ‘left’ cover for a right-wing Democratic Party:”
The DSA does not represent the emergence of socialism, nor is it even a legitimate expression of a growing radical upsurge. As with the campaign of Bernie Sanders, it is a defensive reaction of the Democratic Party and the ruling class motivated by fear of a genuine movement of the working class. …
The DSA’s version of "socialism" is completely compatible with the defense of the interests of American imperialism around the world. …The DSA are a million miles away from genuine socialist politics. They don’t frighten the bourgeoisie in the slightest.
Hitched to the Democratic Party bandwagon, collaborators like Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez and the Democratic Socialists of America Party, are, in effect, saying to the public: The system allows us to go so far and no further. And so we have to work within the confines of the two-party system, within the confines of “what’s possible.” So be grateful for what we can get you. Hope and Change! Hope and Change! Yeah, yeah that’s it, Hope and Change.
Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez and the Democratic Socialists are apologists for capitalism. Capitalism is not at all popular with the American public, but rather than explain what capitalism is and how capitalism’s “global economy” has adversely affected the lives of millions of people, Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez and the DSA say to the public: Stop! Don’t go any further. We’re the best you can hope for. Don’t go wasting your time working outside the two-party system. We’ve hooked up with the Democratic Party; we’ll help you, we’ll help you.
Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez and the DSA serve the ruling class well; they block the impetus of any radical thoughts or radical actions. They want to create the impression that there’s a left-wing to the Democratic Party--sure there is! a left-wing inside a pro-war, Wall Street-beholden, donor-controlled political party. Dream on!
Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez are afraid that if they tell the truth about capitalism they’ll lose the political capital they’ve amassed within the framework of a thoroughly corrupt political system.
They want to rise within the framework of a thoroughly corrupt political system. Question: What does that make them?
Here’s a thought. Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez can tell the truth. (A revolutionary idea, I know, but there you have it.) They can point out just how corrupt the Democratic Party and the Democratic National Committee are; how Sanders was cheated out of the Democratic Party nomination; how Corporate America has bought off the two major political parties. But they don’t.
They can start a third party, end the two-party duopoly that serves the few at the expense of the many. But they don’t.
Once elected, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wasted no time selling out to the Democratic Party. In the aforementioned video, “Ocasio Cortez is a Progressive Fraud,” Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez, as corporate a Democrat as there is, says of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: “She represents the future of our Party.”
If Ocasio-Cortez was…forget about the fairy that tale she’s a socialist; forget about the macabre joke that she’s a “revolutionary”—if Ocasio-Cortez was simply a principled progressive, once Perez said, “She represents the future of the Party,” she would have responded, “Then why have you and the Corporate Democrats done everything--everything you can!—to muzzle the voice of the progressives inside the Democratic Party?” Here’s just one of many examples.
The Democrats could sweep into power if they ran on a progressive platform—end the wars, Medicare for all, a living wage, a Green economy—but the people who control the Democratic Party (the people Bernie Sanders and AOC want to play ball with) know that if they adopt a progressive platform, their corporate donors will defund their campaigns, “The Donor Gravy Train” will come screeching to a halt.
You may recall the DNC-sponsored “Unity Tour” last year that featured Bernie Sanders and Tom Perez hugging each other, kissing each other’s ass. That was not long after Bernie Sanders campaigned, enthusiastically, for Hillary Clinton. What socialist-revolutionary wouldn’t?
Sanders’ protégé, Ocasio-Cortez, is no Jimmy Stewart/"Ms. Smith Goes Washington” idealist. She has wanted to run for political office for a long, time and now that “Socialist Cortez,” formerly a Ted Kennedy intern, has parlayed her faux-socialism into a seat in Congress, she has her hand out. She wants…she wants to be a player in the Democratic Party. And the Democratic Party is more than willing to pay her for services rendered.
The Democratic Party: “Where movements go to die.”
From: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders
To: The People Who Voted For Them
Hey, thanks for electing us. It’s nice being in Congress. Oh, about our being socialists…well …you understand how the game works, don’t you? By the way, don’t expect us to rock the boat; after all, we’re not socialists. Besides, Nancy and Chuck gave us really nice seats on the boat. We voted for both of them: Bernie voted for Chuck Schumer for Senate Minority Leader, and AOC voted for Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House.
Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez and the Democratic Socialists of America are more than willing to make accommodations with an American political system that is moving closer and closer to full-blown fascism. From an article entitled, “The 14 characteristics of fascism:”
Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes. Britt found 14 defining characteristics common to each.
From a November 2016 article entitled, “From ‘political revolution’ to collaboration: Sanders and Warren pledge to work with Trump:”
The Democratic Party and the media blithely act as if nothing unusual is taking place. They are seeking to normalize a government the likes of which has never been seen in American history.
And it didn’t start with Trump. Noam Chomsky: ”If the Nuremberg laws were applied, then every post-war American president would have been hanged.”
The Democratic Party wants the American public to think that all that needs to happen is for Trump to be defeated, for the bogeyman to go away and everything will be fine, everything will get back to normal—normal, meaning: "Business as usual.” Resist Trump but don’t resist capitalism, don’t resist imperialism. That’s not the kind of “Resistance” the Democratic Party has in mind.
How’s this for normal? Here’s a video of Joe Biden presenting George Bush “The Liberty Medal” on Veteran’s Day 2018. While Biden is speaking, we hear someone in the audience, way in the back, yelling up at the stage. No, it isn’t someone from media, asking Joe Biden where he gets the nerve to give George Bush an award on Veteran’s Day. No, it’s the wife of a soldier killed in Iraq, protesting, yelling out to Biden her anguish and her rage; the people around her telling her to be quiet; the police closing in to take her away.
You want normal? How’s about that heartwarming photograph of Michelle Obama hugging the man her husband should have prosecuted as a war criminal? [dbc sez: I'm not including the photo here, cuz it's pretty barfy.] Oh, I forgot, her husband is a war criminal, too.
Russia! Russia! Russia!
McCarthyism 2.0 has the ruling class working overtime, channeling the anger and frustration of the general population away from a break with the two-party system, away from a break with capitalism and safely into the flock of the Republican-Democratic duopoly; with good shepherds like Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez and the Democratic Socialists of America doing all they can to help.
From an October 2017 article entitled "How Team Hillary played the press for fools on Russia:"
Within 24 hours of her (Hillary Clinton’s) concession speech, [campaign chair John Podesta and manager Robby Mook] assembled her communications team at the Brooklyn headquarters to engineer the case that the election wasn’t entirely on the up-and-up. For a couple of hours, with Shake Shack containers littering the room, they went over the script they would pitch to the press and the public. Already, Russian hacking was the centerpiece of the argument.
The plan ... was to push journalists to cover how "Russian hacking was the major unreported story of the campaign," and it succeeded to a fare-thee-well. After the election, coverage of the Russian ‘collusion’ story was relentless, and it helped pressure investigations and hearings on Capitol Hill and even the naming of a special counsel, which in turn has triggered virtually nonstop coverage.
A new Media Research Center study finds that, since the inauguration, major TV news networks have devoted an astonishing 1,000 minutes out of a total 5,015 minutes of Trump administration coverage discussing speculation that the Trump campaign may have colluded with Moscow in hacking Clinton campaign emails, "which means the Russia story alone has comprised almost one-fifth of all Trump news this year." In contrast, they so far have devoted just 20 seconds to the more substantive scandal of Hillary and her husband possibly trading US uranium rights for Russian cash.
We’re now the party of fiscal responsibility in America. We’re the party of law enforcement in America; we don’t vilify the Federal Bureau of Investigation every single day. We’re the party of family values. We don’t … take kids from their parents at the border. We’re the party of patriotism in America that wants to defend this country against our foreign adversaries.