NO VOTE FOR "INDEPENDENT" BERNIE SANDERS FOR UNITED SENATOR FROM VERMONT ON NOVEMBER 7TH
IF HE WALKS LIKE A DEMOCRAT-IF HE TALKS LIKE A DEMOCRAT-IF HE TAKES HIS ASSIGNMENTS FROM THE DEMOCRATS-ISN’T HE A DEMOCRAT?
FORGET DONKEYS, ELEPHANTS AND GREENS- BUILD A WORKERS PARTY!
NOTE: This blog was originally written prior to the Vermont Democratic primaries this summer. I have republished it here as a reminder. Since that time Mr. Sanders has build up a commanding lead over his Republican and “Democratic” and other third party challengers. As a recent Boston Globe article pointed out this self-proclaimed socialist would be the first such avowed socialist elected since the late, unlamented Wisconsin American Socialist Party Congressman Victor Berger did so in the 1920’s. The article also pointed out that Mr. Sanders has a picture of socialist icon Eugene V. Debs hanging on a wall in his office. Every militant cherishes the memory of Debs, however, his party- the Socialist party in the 1920’s and thereafter turned into something very different from the militant anti-war, anti-capitalist party that Debs did so much to make a militant organization of the working class and its allies. Other forces, notably the American Communist Party inherited that tradition. That the Communist Party thereafter lost its authority in the working class does not negate the fact that it gathered the best militants around it. I note further that apparently Mr. Sanders has no picture of the likes of revolutionary militant “Big Bill” Haywood gracing his office.
Now that would, indeed, impress me.
All the above information is presented to point out that we are a long, very long way away from the old, militant traditions. Mr. Sanders represents the more insipid parliamentary road to socialism. We just do not have the centuries necessary to wait for that strategy to unfold, assuming it was the right strategy. But, for the sake of consistency, I point out to Mr. Sander’s supporters as I did last summer’s blog, re-posted below, the overarching question of the times. On the war in Iraq- Will you next year break the unanimous logjam for approval and vote against the war budget. YES OR NO. That is the only parliamentary maneuver against the war that means anything. I will invoke the shades of Debs here. He ran for President of the United States on the Socialist ticket from the Atlanta Penitentiary. Why? He was serving time for opposition to World War I. Against that courageous act is a simple parliamentary vote so difficult?
JULY 13, 2006
Is nothing sacred anymore? Picking on poor old Bernie Sanders the self-proclaimed “democratic socialist’’ Independent Congressman from Vermont who is running for the United States Senate. He is attempting to fill the seat of the retiring former Republican, now ‘Independent’ Jim Jeffords. Must be something in the Vermont milk that drives this independent thing. Okay, sure we did appreciate that Sanders (as an elementary act of political hygiene) voted against the Iraq War and all, but come to find out his voting record looks like a carbon copy of Ted Kennedy’s, the OTHER United States Senator from Massachusetts. And Kennedy is MR. DEMOCRAT. Which makes this writer wonder if Bernie walks like a Democrat, if he talks like a Democrat, if he takes his assignments from the Congressional Democrats-isn’t he a Democrat? Especially since the Vermont Democratic party is stepping all over itself NOT to run a Democratic candidate in the fall elections against Sanders. They even offered to put him on their party line. Bernie, however, is a little coquettish and insists on running as an ‘Independent’. I put this down to a personality quirk, though.
In any case, Congressman Sanders is a textbook example of why the so-called parliamentary road to socialism is utopian. As if the history of the international left, at least since 1914, hasn’t hammered militants over the head with the hard fact that unless you change the form of government the capitalists win every time. They have had a long time and much experience in the ways of keeping power. They are damn good at it. Remember that.
Make no mistake; militants use the parliamentary system, especially elections, to get their message out. We also use legislative office as a tribunal to talk over the heads of the politicians. But when the deal goes down we need our own governmental forms to get the things working people need. Bernie may have known that long ago when he started out but lost it somewhere along the way. Maybe it is that milk?
For those militants who insist on voting for Sanders anyway I pose a challenge. Make Congressman Sanders answer this simple question- Will he vote, YES or NO, against the Iraqi War budget next year, if elected? Forget those ‘softball’ non-binding ‘sense of the Congress’ resolutions on Immediate Withdrawal. On the parliamentary level that is the only vote that counts now in the fight against the war. Ask.
THIS IS PART OF A SERIES OF ARTICLES ON THE 2006-2008 ELECTION CYCLE UNDER THE HEADLINE- FORGET THE DONKEYS, ELEPHANTS, GREENS-BUILD A WORKERS PARTY!