bernie the bastard

At People’s Summit Sanders backs Demagog anti-Russian warmongering
Jerry White, WSWS, Jun 12 2017

The “People’s Summit” in Chicago, organized by the Bernie Sanders wing of the Demagog Party, concluded on Sunday. The event was sponsored by the National Nurses United (NNU) and other unions that had backed Sanders’ bid for the Demagog presidential nomination last year, along with several liberal and pseudo-left organizations aligned with the Demagogs. The event was a political fraud from beginning to end. The basic thread running through all of the workshops and demagogic speeches was the fiction that the Demagog Party, a party of Wall Street and the CIA, can be transformed into a “people’s party.” In remarks on Saturday night, Sanders claimed that his campaign, which came to an ignominious end with his groveling endorsement of Hillary Clinton, had pushed the Demagog Party to the left and forced it to adopt “the most progressive platform in history.” This fantasy flies in the face of reality. Since Trump’s election, the Demagogs have moved further to the right, attacking the billionaire president not for his savage austerity proposals or attacks on immigrants and democratic rights but for his supposed “softness” toward Russia.
Sanders lent his support to the neo-McCarthyite campaign of the Demagogs and the military-intelligence apparatus, which sees Russia as the chief obstacle to Pindo imperialism’s drive for regime change in Syria and Iran. Sanders said:

I find it strange we have a president who is more comfortable with autocrats and authoritarians than leaders of democratic nations! Why is he enamored with Putin, a man who has suppressed democracy and destabilized democracies around the world, including our own?

Consistent with his presidential campaign and his post-election efforts to shore up the Demagog Party, Sanders made no mention of the Demagogs’ record of militarism or the danger of a military confrontation with Russia. Instead, he continued to advance the duplicitous line that it is possible to wage a struggle against the economic and political domination of Pindostan’s “billionaire class” while backing that same class’s imperialist foreign policy. In an hour-long speech that never mentioned the words war, capitalism or socialism, Sanders suggested that a fundamental transformation of society would be possible if young people decided to run for state and local office as “progressive Demagogs.” This, he said, was “the real revolution” that his campaign had engendered. According to Sanders, the popular support for his election campaign had forced not only the Demagogs, but significant sections of the Thugs also, to adopt “progressive” ideas. He said:

We have won the battle of ideas, and will continue to win the battle of ideas. We have in recent years made enormous progress advancing the progressive agenda. Sometimes, what we all do is we look at today and think: “Well, that’s kind of the way it always was.” That’s not the case. Ideas that just a few years ago seemed radical and unattainable are now widely supported, and in fact some of them are being implemented as we speak.

As evidence of this political sea-change, Sanders pointed to various city and state boxtops of the Demagogic persuasion who have given rhetorical support for mild reform measures such as minimum wage hikes and broader state-funded health coverage. He also pointed to the election of “progressive Demagogs” in New York, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and elsewhere. He invoked last week’s election in Britain and proclaimed:

The movement for economic, social, racial and environmental justice is growing worldwide. Jeremy Corbyn gained 29 seats not by moving to the right or becoming more conciliatory, but by standing up to the ruling class of Britain.

Far from standing up to the ruling class, however, Corbyn, like Sanders, has sought to contain social opposition within the confines of a capitalist political party, in this case the Labour Party. Sanders pointed to the immense level of social discontent in Pindostan, claiming:

While the last eight years did get better under Obama, millions were left behind. Workers who had decent factory jobs were told: “Sorry, we’re moving to China.” Half of older Pindosis have nothing in the bank. Millions have no health insurance or have high deductibles. Working families are in pain and they are worried about their kids. All over, people are furious. They are asking: “Does anybody hear my pain? Does anybody give a damn about me and my family?”

Sanders and the rest of the organizers of the People’s Summit are concerned that the Demagog Party will not be able to play its traditional role of channeling, containing and suppressing opposition, preventing a mass working-class movement against capitalism. Sanders asked:

How was it possible that the most unpopular candidate was able to become president? He did not win the election, the Demagogs lost the election. The current model and the current strategy of the Demagog Party is an absolute failure. The Demagog Party needs fundamental change. What it needs is to open up its doors to working people and young people and older people who are prepared to fight for social and economic justice. The Demagog Party must understand what side it is on, and that cannot be the side of Wall Street, or the fossil fuel industry, or the drug companies.

Sanders is by no means the first political snake-oil salesman to peddle the lie that the Demagog Party ever was or ever could be anything other than a party of the capitalist ruling class. He is, however, one of the more practiced of this breed, having been at it for decades, during which time he has used his façade of “socialism” and “independence” to provide the Demagogs with a much-needed left cover. He has spent some 30 years in Congress performing this service for the ruling class, and is now being handsomely rewarded, earning not only political prestige and media attention, but also a cool million in income last year. In fact, the Demagog Party long ago abandoned any policy of social reform and spent the last four decades undoing the New Deal and War on Poverty programs. It continues to move to the right, not the left. The Demagog Party has almost nothing to say about the biggest attack on social programs in history. It is not holding congressional hearings on Trump’s destruction of Medicaid or his attacks on democratic rights. Instead, it is holding hearings to pressure or even remove Trump so that the ruling class can escalate its aggressive policy against Russia, including preparations for war.

Sanders’ support for the anti-Russia campaign expresses the essence of his class position as a capitalist and imperialist politician. He and the liberal and pseudo-left publications and organizations that back him, from the Democratic Socialists of America to the Nation magazine, the International Socialist Organization, Socialist Alternative and other anti-Marxist “left” organizations, are perpetrating a political fraud to block the emergence of a revolutionary movement of the working class. Some of these forces are urging Sanders to break with the Demagogs and build a new “People’s Party” along the lines of the pro-capitalist Podemos movement in Spain or Syriza in Greece. The latter, once in power, quickly betrayed all of its anti-austerity promises and set about implementing social attacks that go beyond those carried out by its conservative predecessors. Both Podemos and Syriza had representatives at the “People’s Summit.” Rejecting a political break with the Demagogs, Sanders told the WaPo:

Look! As the longest-serving independent member of Congress, I know something about that (third parties)! Where my energy is right now is in fundamentally transforming the Demagog Party into a grassroots progressive party, and we’ll see where it goes.

Whatever illusions remain in Sanders will be dissipated as if a movement of the working class emerges and workers begin to advance their own demands, which cannot be reconciled with war, social inequality and the maintenance of the capitalist system.

Hey Bernie! Welcome to the millionaire’s club!
Tom Hall, WSWS, Jun 13 2017

Personal finance disclosure forms submitted by Bernie Sanders and widely reported in the media, reveal that Sanders’ income was more than $1m last year. This figure includes both his $174k annual salary as a senator, $58.75k from book royalties, and a nearly $800k advance for a book about his 2016 campaign, “Our Revolution.” Sanders’ income would put him somewhere in the top 0.2%, according to census data. The wealth of the average senator or representative has skyrocketed in recent years, earning Congress a reputation as a “millionaire’s club.” In 2014, the average personal wealth across both houses of Congress surpassed $1m for the first time in history, with the median net worth of the Senate surging from $2.5m to $2.7m. However, few Congress critturs are able to amass as much wealth in a single year as Bernie Sanders did last year. Opensecrets.org shows that Sanders’ book royalties alone would been the third-highest outside income in the Senate in 2014, the last year for which the site has figures. At $1.2m, first place that year went to fellow “progressive” Demagog Elizabeth Warren, who parlayed her brief tenure as a rubber-stamp banking regulator during Obama’s first term into a Senate seat.

We at WSWS would like to tell Sanders: welcome to the millionaire’s club! Opensecrets.org’s records show that for years you have been forced to subsist on income levels at or around the threshold of the top 1%, in the low-to-mid six figures. This no doubt is what you had in mind during a primary debate last year when you described yourself as “one of the poorer members of the Senate.” But 2016 was a turning point in your career. The $1m payday you received last year is payment for services rendered during your intervention in last year’s Demagog primaries. Your fraudulent claims to be leading a “political revolution” against the “billionaire class” were designed to corral popular anger and promote illusions in the Demagog Party, one of the two parties of the Pindosi corporate financial aristocracy, as a party representing the interests of working people. And while you attracted considerable interest from left-leaning workers and young people with your false claims to be a socialist, you rejected basic socialist measures such as the nationalization of key industries, endorsed ongoing imperialist wars of conquest, and defended a truculent nationalism which pitted Pindo workers against their brothers and sisters internationally. Your intervention was all the more crucial as the Demagog Party was preparing to nominate Hillary Clinton, who was widely and deservedly hated as a stooge of Wall Street and the military. You threw your support to her in the DNC and presented her candidacy as a continuation of your so-called “political revolution.” You declared that electing Clinton was an urgent necessity to defeat Trump, in spite of the fact that her pro-war, anti-working class agenda was no less reactionary than Trump’s.

But your work was not yet done. When this produced a debacle for the Demagogs in the November election, you were elevated to a more responsible position within the Demagog political hierarchy, working closely with Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, whose election campaigns have received tens of millions of dollars in funding from Wall Street. You crossed the country stumping for the Demagogs with the new chairman of the NC, former Obama cabinet member Tom Perez. You have even emerged as a de facto leader of a wing of the Demagog Party concerned that the party’s focus on the right-wing campaign over Russia against Trump, at the expense of posturing over social issues, could open the door to the emergence of a mass popular movement outside the control of the Demagogs, a potential threat to capitalism. Nevertheless, you have supported the Demagogs’ unsubstantiated accusations of Russian collusion with Trump, which are designed to force a confrontation with Russia. In your campaign to corral social opposition behind the Demagogs, you have received the crucial aid of the middle class, pseudo-left organizations which function as satellites of the Demagog Party. They all presented as good coin your calls for a “political revolution” and either endorsed your candidacy, as in the case of Socialist Alternative and the Democratic Socialists of America, or, like the International Socialist Organization, issued mildly-worded tactical criticisms of your decision to run as a Demagog rather than continuing the charade of running statewide in Vermont as an “independent.” As with your own campaign, their goal was to prevent the emergence of a genuine socialist movement within the working class capable of challenging capitalism. Many of them made the trek to Chicago this weekend to hear you speak at the People’s Summit, an annual gathering of what passes for the Demagog Party’s “left.” The pseudo-left is also being handsomely rewarded for their services to capitalism. Last year, the Ford Foundation announced that it was donating $100m to BLM. It has since cashed in through such investments as a “Black debit card” and other projects promoting Black capitalism. Last year’s million, you have reason to hope, will be the first of many. Given the explosive character of the political and economic conditions in Pindostan, and the broad hostility workers feel towards both the Trump administration and his Demagog opponents, the ruling class will very likely continue to value your political services.

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