Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
It’s your last chance to make a tax-deductible donation to CounterPunch in 2017. Help us gear up to fight the status-quo in 2018! Every dollar counts!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Is Sanders a Political Rebel?

by

shutterstock_342185006

I admit I’ve been slow to warm up to the idea of supporting Bernie Sanders. Maybe it’s because I publicly backed Barack Obama in 2008 and quickly came to rue that decision after he took office.

But I have decided Bernie Sanders is different.

It’s too facile to simply label him another “hope-and-change” Obama, or just another Bill Clinton liberal poseur, put in the Democratic race to lure left-leaning voters. When I wrote that I backed Obama, back in ’08, I said that it would be important for people on the left to stay organized and to press Obama, after election, to live up to his promises on health care reform, labor law reform and other issues. There will be no need to push Sanders on his issues if he wins. Unlike Obama, who after all was pretty much selected and groomed by elements of the Democratic Party leadership and the Wall Street crowd to run for them and their agenda, in the outsider Sanders’ case these issues have been the driving force of his political life since he was in college or maybe earlier. The party establishment is terrified that he might win.

As Sanders demonstrated in Sunday’s debate, and as he has been demonstrating on the campaign trail with his full-throated call for a single-payer national health care program and a trust-busting break-up of the giant banks which control a staggering and totally unconscionable 60% of the nation’s economy, and particularly as he has demonstrated by resolutely refusing to take corporate money to fund his campaign, while denouncing the buying of his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, by the financial and the pharmaceutical industries, Sanders is out to make change, not promise to make it.

Let’s start there. Sanders is not your ordinary, run-of-the-mill left liberal political candidate. When is the last time that you’ve heard a candidate for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination jump into a question posed on national television by the high-priced corporate news “talent” about whether he’s a “democratic socialist” and answer, “Yes, I am.”

We can debate what that means, as opposed to being a socialist or a social democrat, but the point remains — Sanders wears and has worn the label “socialist” with not just pride but with a refreshing in-your-face assertiveness. And yet he is threatening to upend the presumed front-runner in this race — an avowed capitalist. Why? Because most Americans are fed up with the rapacity and inherent corruption of American capitalism.

During its coverage of the debate, NBC flashed on its screen the results of a Seltzer & Co. poll of likely voters planning to attend Iowa’s Democratic caucuses on Feb. 1. They had been asked whether they considered themselves capitalists or socialists. The surprise result: 38% said they were capitalist, and 43% said they identified themselves as socialist.

My complaint, and that of many on the left, regarding Sanders has been his record over the years since he became a member of Congress in 1990, of supporting US military actions abroad, as well as other imperialist policies, such as the deadly 1990s embargo of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq which reportedly led to the death by disease of as many as half a million Iraqi children who had to drink untreated water because of the resulting unavailability of chlorine.

 

More articles by:

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

Weekend Edition
December 15, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
What’s Not Happening With Mr. Jones
Timothy M. Gill
The Height of Racial Resentment: White Cops
Andrew Levine
Democrats Have Much to Learn and the Odious Have Much to Teach Them
Luciana Bohne
Operation Jerusalem Capital: Second Balfour Declaration or Arab-Israeli NATO?
Anthony DiMaggio
#MeToo: Women are Speaking Out, Are We Listening?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Out Walked Monk
Ann Robertson - Bill Leumer
The Demoralizing Impact of Trump, But Hope Has Arrived
Samantha Paez – Sandra de los Santos
The Most Dangerous Place for Mexican Women is in the Streets
Martin Billheimer
Assassins of the Image: the CIA as Cultural Gatekeeper
Jérôme Duval
From Slave Trade to Debt: Occupation Disguised as “Discovery”
Vijay Prashad
The October Revolution
John Wight
The Grenfell Fire UK Establishment Circus
Steve Martinot
Twisted Thinking: Police Militarization in Berkeley
Robert Fantina
Juvenile Delinquency in U.S. Government
Dave Lindorff
Stupidity and Blindness Have Destroyed Whatever Democracy the US Ever Had
Pete Dolack
You are Working Harder and Getting Paid Less
Joseph Natoli
The Axioms of the Other
Susan Babbitt
Why Don Quixote?
Ralph Nader
What Does Trump Mean by “Make America Great Again”?
Ramzy Baroud
Towards a New Palestinian Beginning
Binoy Kampmark
Escaping Reality: Roy Moore and the Rage of Decency
Mark Luskus
Corporate Interests Are Warping the Internet
Brian Terrell
A Story of Two Blockades: New York City and Yemen
Ron Jacobs
Sinking in the Swamp
Brian Cloughley
Prepare! Pursue!! Prevail!!!
Matthew Stevenson
Into Africa: The Tanzania-Zambia Train to Nowhere
Jill Richardson
We Agree Assault is Bad, Now Let’s Agree on How to Punish It
Jeremy Corbyn
The Greatest Threats to Our Common Humanity
Walter Clemens – Stephen Advocate
The Amoral Code of America’s Dirty Old Men
Sheldon Richman
Trump & Co.’s Vile Anti-Immigrationism
Jessicah Pierre
Trump’s Cruel Policy on Haitian Refugees
George Wuerthner
Water Rights or Water Privileges?
Nick Pemberton
What I Learned in Ghana 
Missy Comley Beattie
It’s Capitalism
Tom H. Hastings
Stop Trump movement
Thomas Knapp
The Real Internet Censorship Threat
Robert Koehler
Peace on the Far Side of Nuclear Weapons
Kary Love
Christmas Letter to Jesus
Tom Clifford
China: From the Treasure Fleet to One Belt, One Road
Charles R. Larson
Trump’s Blueprint for State Capture
M. Shadee Malaklou
Jay-Z’s 4:44 Moves Black Radical Thought Through and Beyond the Classroom
Michael Dickinson
What About Our Debts, Pope Francis?
Phil Rockstroh
What Was Verifiably Great About America: Fragments of a Memoir Set to a Musical Soundtrack
David Yearsley
Froberger’s Musical Therapy
Edward Curtin
A Man Turns
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail