VERMONT SENATOR IS COMMITTED TO EXPAND HIS SOCIALIST FOOTPRINT
The apparently stunning Super Tuesday with buoyan cy in favour of Joe Biden notwithstanding, the sea-saw battle for the nomination of Democratic Party for the US presidential contest in November seems whirling in a nebula. Founding editor of Brussels-based Politico John Hariss strikes an ethical chord when he points at Bernie Sanders’ “consistency and passion” in viewing politics as “a clash of interests which casts ‘the people’ as more of an abstraction, rather than connecting with or projecting empathy toward individual people with their flesh-and-blood problems”, a ‘dynamic’ that may be crucial during the balance of March.
Based on Tuesday, “Biden looks well positioned for contests in Louisiana, Mississippi, Illinois and Florida. More competitive — and therefore an opportunity for Sanders to hit the brakes on the trajectory of the race or for Biden to become de facto nominee — are Arizona, Michigan and Ohio”, he stresses. Trump, he thinks “almost a cartoon version of a political disrupter” and Biden “a cartoon version of a return to conventionality”, he quips.
Nonetheless, inexplicable is Biden’s lead in primaries like Virginia and North Carolina, Minnesota and particularly Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Tennessee, where African Americans are a decisive factor. Rachel Bitecofer senior fellow at the Niskanen Center and assistant director of the Wason Center for Public Policy Department of Political Science at Christopher Newport University is unconvinced of all such guess and rightly expresses doubts on how Biden won many of the states without any campaign spending, something unprecedented.
Stupefying it appears, when one remembers Biden’s words on slavery: “I don’t feel responsible for the sins of my father and grandfather”, leave alone his role in the mass incarceration of African American people or his subtle racist contempt towards Barrack Obama as “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.” He was also the leading mastermind behind the now-condemned invasion of Iraq in 2003, killing more than 4,500 American troops and 200,000 Iraqi civilians.
An investigative story in the Guardian reveals that Texas closed hundreds of polling centres in areas of rapid growth of Black and Latino Populations as between 2012 and 2018 residents per polling site rose from 4,000 to 7,700 residents on an average. On the eve of Super Tuesday, the NBC News telecast a breaking story that Obama might have the “hidden hand” in Biden’s inexplicable ascension although Obama refrained from openly endorsing his former White House buddy. But he allegedly sent the “signal” that Biden was his favorite in the run-up, called Pete Buttigieg, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg who subsequently dropped out of the race in favour of Biden. Otherwise his win in Virginia was out of question.
Finally, withdrawal of Senator Amy Klobuchar and exit of billionaire Mike Bloomberg, predicted by NBC made it unmistakably clear that the Democrats’ establishment embraced an unprecedented centrism in the way of Bernie Sanders. Exit polls across a dozen Super Tuesday States correctly predicted strong support of black voters in favour of Biden, along with moderates and liberal Democrats on the fringe, despite Sanders’ conspicuous gain from Hispanics, younger voters and the most liberal swath of voters.
Nevertheless, clinging to establishmentarianism among Dems’ following was no unexpected. Sanders’ statement on abolition of CIA as ‘a criminal establishment’ , contempt for ‘McArthyte corporate power’, softness towards the Socialist Workers Party which is for dismantling of the Pentagon and nationalisation of major industries and his words ‘”I don’t mind people coming up and calling me a communist” encourage polarisation crossing the bounds of Democratic Party.
Whether Sanders crack the nomination for Dems is relatively immaterial. He is committed to a campaign for expansion of socialist footprint, braving his frail physique. The 79-year old Left radical’s 3900-plus word thesis, ‘What Democratic Socialism Means Today’ in the forthcoming collection of essays, ‘An Inheritance of Our Time: Democratic Centralism’ (Ed Michael J Thompson & Smulewicz Zucker), IS scheduled to be released on May Day this year. In contrast to the ‘growing movement towards oligarchy and authoritarianism’ with ‘a small number of incredibly wealthy and powerful billionaires’ at the helm in the USA ‘there is a movement of working people and young people who, in ever increasing numbers, are fighting for justice. They are the teachers taking to the streets to make certain that schools are adequately funded and that their students get a quality education.”
They are workers at Disney, Amazon, Walmart and the fast food industry standing up and fighting for a living wage of at least $15 an hour and the right to have a union. They are young people taking on the fossil fuel industry and demanding policies that transform our energy system and protect our planet from the ravages of climate change. They are women who refuse to give control of their bodies to local, state and federal politicians. They are people of color and their allies demanding an end to systemic racism and massive racial inequities that exist throughout our society. They are immigrants and their allies fighting to end the demonization of undocumented people and for comprehensive immigration reform’, he wrote.
Several top-ranking Marx scholars in the academia like Paresh Chattopadhyay, Kevin B Anderson, Stephen Eric Bronner, Richard D. Wolff, Barbara A Epstein, Peter Hudis and Stephanie Mudge are among the contributors to the thought-provoking anthology. Chattopadhyay is the author of ‘Communism of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels’ in The Oxford Handbook of the History of Communism.
Mudge whose essay is captioned, ‘The Impossible History of Democratic Socialism: An American Tale’ , skeptically defines American-style democratic socialism as one that has to have a’ specific correlate’ , something ‘historically false’ She thinks ‘one of the most ritualised, institutionalised, and predictable idiosyncrasies of American socialist politics is its tendency to call forth what we might call the impossibility thesis.” “Socialism’s vision always rooted in the ‘age of democratic revolution’ in the uprisings and rebellions against lordship and bondage that patterned western societies, against all social relations that expressed hierarchy over cooperation.”