Bernie Sanders Isn’t Socialist Enough For The Socialist Worker
Bernie Sanders has become known for the being the presidential candidate who isn’t afraid to call himself a “socialist”. To the people who put the social in socialist, however, Sanders isn’t all that. The Socialist Worker writes,
“By steering liberal and left supporters into a Democratic Party whose policies and politics he claims to disagree with, Sanders–no matter how critical he might be of Hillary Clinton–is acting as the opposite of an ‘alternative.'”
“But if Sanders really wanted to participate in mobilizing millions to resist the status quo in U.S. politics, he had other options to launching himself into the circus of a Democratic presidential campaign as the designated marginal renegade. And he rejected them.”
“In other words, Sanders refused to consider an independent presidential campaign not because he had little chance of winning, but because he didn’t want to compete for vote with the Democrats’ eventual nominee. There’s no reason to believe he will be a “bold alternative” at the end of his doomed campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.”
“LIKE MANY leftists before him, the Democratic Party has co-opted and changed Bernie Sanders, using him to help hinder the development of a genuine alternative to the capitalist parties. His campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination will be, at best, a re-run of Jesse Jackson’s primary runs in 1984 and 1988.”
I understand the Socialist Worker’s reluctance to embrace the Sanders for President campaign. They’ve been busy building up the idea of Socialism as a movement of political outsiders who struggle to gain a few new members by hanging on to the outskirts of of liberal protests. For Bernie Sanders to come along and, as America’s only well-known socialist, embrace the Democratic Party as a vehicle of political activism must be very frustrating. Sanders won’t be creating any lasting advantage for those outside the two dominant political parties. His goal is to create change within the Democratic Party, and there is good reason, given the Democrats’ dependence on cash from corporations and wealthy families, to doubt whether his effort can create any genuine reform.
However, a Democratic contest without Bernard Sanders in it would be impoverished. Hillary Clinton is no liberal, and none of the other Democratic candidates currently in the race have anything like the standing of Sanders. Even if Sanders doesn’t win a single state, he will have the opportunity to ensure that a liberal voice is heard.
When he Democratic primary is over, another liberal voice can take on the challenge of contrasting the conservative agenda of Clinton. Jill Stein of the Green Party has some credibility to take on that role, though she lacks the experience of Sanders. Voting Sanders in a Democratic primary, then Stein in the general election, enables Democratic voters to push for reform in their own party without abandoning liberal principles.
Dean Capone of the Socialist Party USA hasn’t even been able to summon the wherewithal to create a campaign web site. Is there another socialist candidate for president? I can’t find one.