We were warned!  From 2015: “The problem with Bernie Sanders” – SocialistWorker.org 

http://socialistworker.org/2015/05/05/problem-bernie-sanders

SocialistWorker.org ~ May 5, 2015

Excerpts:

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.

…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”.

If Sanders had his heart set on national politics, he could have run for president like Ralph Nader as an independent, opposing both capitalist parties, the Democrats and Republicans. He would have been appealing for a protest vote, rather than any real chance to win, but Sanders rejected this possibility out of hand for a different reason.

“No matter what I do,” Sanders said in January, “I will not be a spoiler. I will not play that role in helping to elect some right-wing Republican as president of the United States.”

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.

In jumping into the Democratic Party primaries, Sanders appointed a quintessential corporate party insider, Ted Devine, to be his campaign manager. Devine has worked for a series of Democratic presidential campaigns, stretching back to Walter Mondale and running through to John Kerry.

THE DEMOCRATIC establishment can breathe a collective sigh of relief. It doesn’t, in fact, fear liberal Democrats like Kucinich or Sanders, but third-party challenges like Nader’s that have the prospect of breaking their stranglehold on votes from workers and the oppressed, as several local and statewide campaigns have shown over the last few years.

Sanders admitted the truth in what was perhaps a Freudian slip: “If I decide to run, I’m not running against Hillary Clinton. I’m running for a declining middle class.”

However much he disagrees with that candidate, Sanders will agitate for trade unionists and social movement activists to vote for the lesser of two evils. The result is that he will help corral people on the left from taking any steps toward building a genuine alternative to the two-party status quo.

Sanders’ retreat is based on a liberal strategy of attempting to transform the Democratic Party from within that has failed for generations. Instead of shifting the Democrats to the left, the leftists who join the Democrats get dragged to the right. Sanders himself is, in many ways, a prime example of this process.

His foreign policy positions are to the right of many liberal Democrats. Sanders voted in favor of George W. Bush’s original Authorization for Use of Military Force resolution that gave the administration a green light to launch the war on Afghanistan. While he did vote against Bush’s invasion of Iraq, he repeatedly supported funding resolutions for both U.S. occupations. He is also a Zionist who supports Israel consistently, even after its recent escalations of the slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza.

Sanders’ backing of U.S. imperialism compromises his support for workers’ rights. For example, Sanders supports the basing of the new F-35 warplane at Burlington’s airport, despite the fact that the fighter-bomber’s ear-shattering noise made scores of working-class housing unsafe for habitation.

…the left shouldn’t abandon the electoral arena to the two capitalist parties. If we do, we create a vacuum that the Democrats will fill, co-opting movement activists, demobilizing unions and social movements, and redirecting their precious time, money and energy into electing candidates who then betray workers and the oppressed.

We need to win the new left born out of Occupy, public-sector union struggles and the Black Lives Matter movement to breaking with the Democratic Party and building an electoral alternative as a complement to struggle from below. 

Bernie Sanders’ campaign inside the Democratic Party is an obstacle to that project.

Full article: http://socialistworker.org/2015/05/05/problem-bernie-sanders

 

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