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Do As I say, Not as I Do. The Cult of Bernie Sanders.

Last week Bernie Sanders spoke with the LA Times.

He gave a brief overview of his standard talking points, which are all reasonable and essential, and when asked about how he was going to fix the stagnant, exploitation economy, he said:

“…it will be a combination of federal policy and the private sector.”

When Bill Clinton said that (about anything) the responses were predictable.

On the right he was a godless Bolshevik, and on the left he was a triangulating Wall Street centrist and a soulless shill.

When Buttigieg says anything like that the responses are predictable.

On the right he’s a godless Bolshevik, and a queer one at that, and on the left he’s a triangulating Wall Street centrist and a soulless shill, and a queer one at that.

Needless to say the Bernie camp ignored the emperor parading his compromises.

When Bernie says it, when he spaffs tepid socialism-lite, and admits he’s going to get into bed with the very system he’s otherwise at pains to denounce, it’s acceptable because he’s righteous and cool.

When Buttigieg says it he’s a square, and a queer one at that.

The appeal of Sanders among his most ardent supporters is in that he offers safe rage and the illusion of revolution.

He is Mr. Smithstein goes to Washington.

All you have to do is type and post and tweet hashtags and vote and everything will be fixed.

Of course a government partnership with the private sector means investments from the banks who get their money from oligarchs and it means loan shark level interest rates.

It means bond measures and treasury bills.

It means transportation, construction and the mafia.

It means that, in order to succeed, the neo-fascists are prevented from creating a debt crisis somewhere by, for example, crashing the Mexican peso.

Doing so is essentially setting fire to the Reichstag or claiming there was an incident in Tonkin Gulf.

As we’ve said before, we like Bernie and think he’s essentially correct.

But his followers are hypocrites.

And Bernie is as much of a prevaricating pol as anyone else seeking the big chair.

He’s not going to nationalize the banks.

He’s not going to eliminate debt in a national Jubilee and when he tries to eliminate student debt (as he should) the centrists and the Wall Street goons will say ok, but the price you pay is that you let us make money off of your plan to merge the government and the private sector.

And that means robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Because his “revolution” is a revolution in name only.

And if he refuses?

Then he will find Nancy were capitalists get used to it Pelosi in the Oval Office saying, I’m sorry Mr. President but the votes just aren’t there.

Sanders goes on to basically lay out the same old socialist plan that has been on offer for over a hundred years.

It boils down to a reasonable proposal – lower profits and higher taxes and a more equitable distribution of profit, taxes, and benefits.

And he’s not wrong.

The problem is not Sanders being unreasonable.

It’s that his opponents are not just unreasonable they are violent fanatics.

And his supporters are wearing blinders.





8 comments on “Do As I say, Not as I Do. The Cult of Bernie Sanders.

  1. I supported Sanders in the past. The main reason was, in last campaign season, I simply hoped he could change the terms of the debate and shift the Overton Window back left. To give him credit, he did accomplish that. Now all the candidates, including the corporatists, are forced to use progressive rhetoric and make social democratic promises.

    Beyond that, it gets problematic. Yes, Sanders’ message, for the most part, is factually correct and morally right/righteous. Yet in our political environment, this message is effectively impotent and so dead at birth. It is a failure in lacking political will and moral force, as far as real world results. There is no where for it to go.

    In a sane society, such a message of moderate centrism might be reasonable and adequate. But we this isn’t a sane society. And besides, in a sane society, a message of moderate centrism would be unnecessary and irrelevant in that it would go without saying. The question is how do we get to a sane society and Sanders’ neutered political ‘revolution’ can’t get us there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. rauldukeblog says:

      You outlined the dilemma.

      If things were ‘sane” Sanders would be a practical moderate and consensus would move from his pov as a given.

      But of course this is an insane situation, an insane world and so on.

      The whack on the iranian yesterday reeks of 1914 and while straight similarities don’t fit the general vibe is of a systemic insanity.

      And that’s while the planet melts/burns.

      As one might expect assorted “reasonable” and/or “moderate “compromises are put forward.

      Blah blah yada yada.

      Sanders private and government thing is too limp generally and too “radical” for the Wall St goons.

      It’s a level of paralysis you find in all pre-revolutionary moments.

      In a rough analogy Sanders is sort of Kerensky or any other liberal who is anti-Bolshevik but not sufficiently anti-Czarist.

      Instead of trench slaughter it’s environmental genocide.

      Sanders obviously is more left than Kerensky but I think the situational analogy works.

      There are of course no left thugs in America of any stature so that’s moot but what I mean is that things will continue to go in a circle (jerk) until it collapses – for example when an out of control fire wipes out part of California and/or a hurricane wipes out New Orleans or somewhere else.

      And I mean wipes out and you see tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of “climate refugees” on the move.

      Several years ago a french-Belgian writer (Paul Virilio) wrote an essay on how the military has replaced the government for “disaster relief.”

      During the Formula 1 race in Baltimore, the cops and the state/city transformed the downtown area into a “viewing and race track area” – with massive concrete barriers with razor wire that bent down and over the track and sidewalk.

      Virilio talks about acceleration – the speed with which infrastructures of control can be put into place.

      Walking along that route I saw what he meant.

      The downtown area of the city was transformed in 24 hours into a vast holding pen.

      The social environment is now about detachment – the virtual detachment of things far away appearing close by via screens (internet, video, etc).

      instead of actual action we get has5tags and tweet jurys and the canel culture and “strikes” by teenagers that last a few hours on a friday.


      While of course the distance is meaningless because the fires in Australia might as well be in Texas.

      The system is clearly breaking down and Sanders for all his good intention has already been superseded.

      He admits in the LA times video that $15/hr is not enough and $35-50 is the goal.

      But that’s not going to happen w/o putting a gun to people’s heads.

      And that wont happen w/o the environment collapsing and then we’ll see just how fast the military can erect “camps” which they will call something like Environmental Assistance Centers.

      It seems too much of a sci-fi dystopian cliche and yet…so what?

      That doesn’t make it unlikely.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “But that’s not going to happen w/o putting a gun to people’s heads.” That is often on my mind. It’s the reality of the situation. And I suspect that, on some level, everyone knows this is true. On occasion, someone will even state it openly.

        It came up in an interview with Nick Hanauer, of Pitchforks for Plutocrats fame. He is a rich white guy of the Democratic Party and saw himself as warning people like himself, not merely criticizing the overt right-wing fascists.

        He used to work with Jeff Bezos at Amazon, another rich white guy of the Democratic Party. When asked what would be necessary for change, he gave a brutally honest response. He said Bezos would allow the changes that need to happen when someone points a gun at his head.

        Those were his exact words. And I doubt it was hyperbole.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. rauldukeblog says:

        Interesting and I don’t doubt it.

        I would figure that a cursory survey of books, articles, blogs, and assorted comments would suggest as you say basically everyone knows it.

        But they are afraid to discuss it.

        You get half-assed comments and a few direct ones.

        The occasional oligarch comes out and says change is necessary to avoid revolution but no one listens.

        Then it’s back to SOP.

        In 2008-ish Obama made some comments about saving the gang from the mob with pitchforks and torches.

        That was him casting himself as their saviour and the black man they had to finally accept.

        Which says everything about him and nothing about them.

        He didn’t miss the opportunity for authentic change (nationalizing the banks, and breaking them up and authentic debt relief, etc) He deliberately sidestepped it because he always wanted to belong to the club.

        And here we are.

        Bloomberg is nauseating, Sanders/Warren too tepid relative to the crisis and then there’s the rest.

        What a fucking mess.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Here it is, the “gun to his head” statement:

        Nick Hanauer, a wealthy businessman and early investor in Amazon, has warned about the pitchforks coming for the plutocrats. He makes this warning because, as with Adam Smith, he knows inequality is bad for any hope of a free society and free economy. And Hanauer is talking not only to Trump-like Republicans but also to major Democratic political operators such as Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. “They’re super exploitive—just unacceptable,” Hanauer says. “What I can guarantee you is that Jeff Bezos is not going to change those things in the absence of somebody putting essentially a gun to his head and forcing him to do it.”

        The Hanauer quote comes from this interview:

        Liked by 1 person

      4. rauldukeblog says:

        Thanks! I’ll read the rest and respond..The irony being that this guy is closer to Sanders/Warren than not.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. rauldukeblog says:

        I remember this post! Thought it was very interesting when you posted it. Besoz is presented as just having fallen into his billions when of course he had the proverbial silver spoon. A character in a tv show said: I hate guys like that; they were born on third base and act as if they hit a triple.;-/

        Liked by 1 person

      6. In that post, I spoke of the early defense funding that built Silicon Valley. There is an interesting side story within this involving the eugenicist and IQ researcher Lewis Terman. Before doing research at Stanford, Lewis Terman did the first ever mass IQ testing while working for the military during WWI and that was the period he developed his eugenicist thinking.

        His son, Frederick Terman, was considered one of the fathers of Silicon Valley. The other father of Silicon Valley was William Shockley, yet another eugenicist who as a child had been rejected from Lewis Terman’s study about an intellectual elite, later on to become friends with his son who got him a job at Stanford.

        Military-industrial complex and eugenics-driven social Darwinism, the two go together. There isn’t much distance between Lewis Terman and Jeff Bezos. It’s not simply that Bezos is a danger to democracy. He is that. The bigger and more threatening problem is the entire system that regularly produces plutocrats like him.


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