by Joshua Tree
In regards to Bernie Sanders #OurRevolution launch last night, I had the following thoughts. I love Bernie Sanders, and he has done amazing things within the political structure that currently exists. I respect his fight and he has championed the rights of his fellow countrymen above the self aggrandizement or monetary gain that so many other US politicians have prioritized. Unfortunately, I am not yet convinced that the Our Revolution organization is where I want to focus my efforts. The address last night was very similar to his stump speech. I was once again still amazed and impressed with Bernie’s absolutely awe-inspiring speaking style and voice. He is definitely the best campaigner we’ve had for a president in my lifetime, and has a speaking style that is so very warm and informative and thoughtful, endearing and inspiring all at once (in critique of oration alone, I believe that I prefer Bernie’s style over OBZ’s long pauses, any day). That said, I felt like there was little new information…little depth for how we accomplish the progressive change Bernie sees occurring through the Democratic Party, who has been so extremely resistant to change in almost every way.
Many of the people listed on OurRev were either already running or have already run and won (like Joseph Salazar – who is awesome and, imho, is one of the few truly progressive voices Coloradans have in our legislature), Keith Ellison (who is considered one of HRC’s strongest once-Bernie-backers), or Martin Quezeda of Arizona. Backing already elected officials is not a revolution (no revolution without change of ownership of modes of production, but whatever). Highlighting Progressive Causes with no cognitive game plan is not a revolution. Having conference calls and writing letters to our elected officials is not a game plan, they are simply steps in what should be a much larger playbook.
How are we going to force the party to keep to the established platform? In 2012, Democrats stated that expanding Social Security was part of the Democrats Platform, but in 2014 the president strongly considered cutting Social Security. It took the campaign of Bernie to stop the Dem’s plans – doesn’t sound like a party keeping with their platform. Wall Street reform was part of the 2012 platform, but the Dodd-Frank act is considerably less effective than a modern day Glass-Steigel would be, and Obama has been keen to defend Dodd-Frank and not go any further. Affordable healthcare? – Have you seen prescription drug prices?! Immigration? – hasn’t Obama deported more people than all other presidents before him combined? I could dissect the whole platform, but the truth is that Democrats do not have a great track record of sticking with their platform. So how do we hold their feet to the fire? How do we make it happen that the Dems do as they say they will? Don’t tell me “Republican obstructionism made this impossible”. how quickly you forget that the Dems had control of The White House and both Houses of Congress and still could not get gun control reform or single payer healthcare passed due to the infighting between moderates and liberals within the party.
A real “revolution” within our political environment WILL require the boldness and leadership the likes of Bernie Sanders, and WILL require thoughtful organization and infrastructure in place, but they can’t both be giving the billionaire class their comeuppance with one hand, but supporting the politicians who continue to help the embed the oligarchy with the other.
Where is the challenge? Homeboy Tim Canova for Congress offered real challenge to the establishment, and for some reason, OurRevolution has backed off its support WHILE still listing Canova as one of their candidates. Arn Menconi offers a real challenge to an establishment Democrat Senator Michael Bennet, but OurRevolution isn’t going to back him because his political affiliation isn’t Blue, though his policies more than align with OurRev and BNC. Why? Why the fuck must we continue trying to infiltrate the Democratic party and change it from the inside when they’ve told us, in fairly specific terms, that they don’t give a shit about our bloc? We’re strong, we’re independent, and we can be well funded if we put our minds to it. The question, then, is why is this party worth saving?
So what we gonna do, Berndawg? Going to establish a Progressive Party? How about a Cyan Alliance between Greens and truly Progressive Dems (which would probably piss of leadership in both parties – yay!) How about starting Democrats Against the Duopoly, an organization of Dems who don’t want to monopolize the political environment and see options in Democracy as a representation of a free society?
I want to volunteer my time and money toward Progressive causes – I am a Green but I have no problem stepping forward for anyone when the cause is just. However, I will not to continue to entrench a semi-moderate political party whose rhetoric acts like a champion for the Proletariat while shitting on her the entire time. I have zero interest in acting like I’m being revolutionary, all the while assisting a party that lines its pockets with lobbyist money. That’s not a revolution, that’s incremental change with a heaping dosage of more-of-the same.