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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,

Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire“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.

5 thoughts on “Bernie Sanders Isn’t Socialist Enough For The Socialist Worker”

  1. Ella says:

    You have hit the nail on the head. But I believe that given the opportunity, Bernie can make a far greater statement than is being allowed right now. I know other candidates need equal time and I like Jill too. These and other voices need to shout over the blare of the stagnant parties. Give voice to the thoughts and ideas of the majority for a change.

  2. Charles Manning says:

    The great advantage of working within the Democratic party is access to ballots (at least in the primaries), primary debates, and reportage in mainstream media. By running unaffiliated with the Democratic or Republican party (I assume he at least considered signing on as a Republican), Sanders would have had no chance of improving on the 2012 performances of Stein, Johnson, Anderson, and a slew of other “alternative” candidates. He could have gained some ballot access as a Green, and I would like to know his reasons for not trying that. He could have gone the route of Ross Perot, except that he lacks the financial clout Perot was able to muster.

    I think Sanders is already driving Clinton toward stating more reasonable positions, although I’m sure Clinton’s backers don’t think she’ll actually do something about things like wealth inequity, immigration, and climate change. Sanders has said he won’t run against Clinton, if she wins nomination, as a non-Democrat. He’ll have accomplished a great deal if his follows peel off after the primaries and support a non-Democratic/Republican candidate instead of Clinton. The fear of that might cause Clinton to continue promoting reasonable policies after winning the nomination.

    1. Charles Manning says:

      “. . . if his FOLLOWERS peel off . . .”

  3. Ella says:

    Yes, “…if his followers peel off…”. That is how parties are created or of course votes go for an alternative. But it is a shame that we have only a two party system in reality. No matter how many other parties form, in the Congressional and Presidential elections it come down to two. If Sanders has any chance to get real public acknowledgement he has to go to one of the major parties. Democrats are closer to his Socialist views. Although there are probably Socialist Republicans too.

    1. Charles Manning says:

      Ella, I agree completely that it’s a shame we have the two party system we have, which is basically one party with puppet factions pretending to contend with each other, controlled by the wealthy. But Sanders can’t reform the system in time for the 2016 election. His current effort is probably the best way he can promote the needed reforms in the long run. He’s definitely hitting the right notes on eliminating control of the electoral system by the wealthy. When he gets on stage with Clinton and possibly others, I suspect he’ll be the only one without puppet strings coming down from the mysterious dark money.

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