This week we discuss the rising popularity of socialism in the US, Bernie Sanders’ energy policy, and the electoral obstacles to electing a new Congress. We share your comments for “The People Who Think Bernie Is Moderate,” “Bernie Wants to Seize the Means of Production,” and “Trump Bombs New Silk Road With Tariffs.”
“The People Who Think Bernie Is Moderate” by Annie Lowrey examines third party candidates running to Sanders left, the growth of the Democratic Socialists of America and the overall left wing trends in current US politics.
Bob Marston writes:
“The article got off to a good start but it failed to go for the knock-out punch. Why amalgamate social reformers and socialists under the banner of 'the Left’ ? Bernie Sanders is a capitalist, Corey Booker is a capitalists. AOC is a capitalista along with every sorry soul in that pack of frauds known as DSA. Annie Lowrey talks about the ‘rapid’ growth of DSA but doesn't ask why the phenomenon is confined to DSA. Could it be that DSA is acting as a catch basin for Democrat Party Malcontents? The interest in Socialism is indeed on the rise but few are moving just yet.”
In “Bernie Wants to Seize the Means of Production” Johanna Bozuwa describes the presidential candidate’s proposal for public ownership of the nation’s electricity grid.
Automonte Payne writes:
“Bernie is no fool. Americans simply have short term memory problems. Like now Americans don't remember that Reagan made all these changes in the 80s. It was a bad idea. The title is misleading. Bernie is simply advocating that the US go back to government regulation of the power grid like it was before the government started privatizing it. I do think the US went too far deregulating critical infrastructure and has exposed the country in dangerous ways.”
Jaymi O. writes:
“Why stop there? Alaska's Republican governor set up a Permanent Dividend in 1976. This can even be expanded to provide a basic income via a Public Dividend (seizing the memes of production, i.e. ‘better branding’)
“After all, it was conservative economist Milton Friedman who planned the basic income as an expansion of EITC, which was to replace welfare. Bill Clinton just cut welfare without any replacement program, using a fake equation, but this is where he got the idea. So, in my view, that makes a Reparations overdue. Welfare was cut without replacement....well, it was really given to corporations....and the EITC was never expanded. Instead, the IRS budget was cut, and the public's lost sight of the wealth redistribution capabilities of the tax code altogether....even though it's the only reason we even have a billionaire class.
“Hell, the tax code is even capable of imposing a Maximum Income Tax along with a public dividend/basic income.....and the MIT tax has a certain poetic justice ring to it, given the Romney campaign's inflaming ‘corporations are people, my friend’ slogan.”
In “Trump Bombs New Silk Road With Tariffs” Glen Ford argues that Trump’s trade policies are accelerating American imperial decline vis a vis China and asserts that Sanders’ Green New Deal poses a threat to the bipartisan U.S. corporate austerity regime.
Trisha Driscoll writes:
“You say: ‘But a President Sanders could not get a Green New Deal through a corporate-bought Congress. That would require a revival of mass movement politics that puts millions of people in the streets.’
“Sad to say, I doubt mass movements of people in the streets are going to accomplish much in changing the political landscape. 2003 was the last time I stood in the streets with millions of people in a struggle to stop the Iraq War. Not only did the movement fail to stop the war, it also failed to result in any significant political changes, quite the opposite. The more recent Occupy movement failed to budge political priorities one iota.
“Mass movement politics have to deal with incumbent Congressional re-election rates of 91% in 2018. Even such an odious Democrat as Nancy Pelosi handily won her 2018 primary -- in the liberal bastion of her Congressional District which consists entirely of the city of San Francisco -- with 68.5% of the vote and the general election with 86.8%(!). Progressive hopeful Shahid Buttar ran against her in 2018 primary and came in 3rd with 8.5%. He's running again in 2020, but even if he makes it into 2nd place under California's undemocratic ‘top two’ primary system (offering voters a ‘choice’ between TWO democrats in the general election, whoo hoo) he stands little chance of unseating her.”
We see from this discussion that mass movements always face mass challenges. However, the struggle will require us to seriously think through strategies for the current political moment and its challenges.
Jahan Choudhryis Comments Editor for Black Agenda Report. He is an organizer with the Saturday Free School based in Philadelphia, PA.
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