Trouble in Political Paradise

Seasons of change run through political movements. The vast Vietnam anti-war movement of the 1960s and early 1970s fell into insignificance once U.S. forces were withdrawn from combat in 1973 and the military draft ended. So too, it seems, at least from viewing last night’s “launching” of the political movement called “Our Revolution,” by Senator Bernie Sanders over the Internet and Free Speech TV, that perhaps the Sanders’ juggernaut has lost steam.

Even before the senator’s speech that began the nationwide effort to encourage and support left/progressive candidates at all level of government across the U.S., there was trouble in political paradise. Politico reported in “Bernie Sanders’ new group is already in turmoil,” (August 23, 2016) that the juggernaut that Sanders represented through the presidential primary season was showing signs of serious stress, or perhaps fatal political flaws. The battle to steer the direction of  the Our Revolution movement shaped up between the former digital director of the Sanders’ campaign, Kenneth Pennington and others, and Sanders’ former campaign manager, Jeff Weaver. The disputes seemed to run along lines of perceived disrespect some of the younger members of the Sanders’ staff felt and the direction those members felt the movement was headed toward by someone whom they characterized as a person who would begin to move the efforts of Our Revolution toward garnering support from large donors, which is diametrically opposed to the small donor base that powered Sanders’ presidential bid.

The late Abbie Hoffman’s words of wisdom came to mind in regard to the inability of leftists to agree to very much of anything over the long haul. Hoffman’s said that the left had the uncanny ability to “Snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory.”

Whether or not the latter is true remains to be seen. Thousands initially expressed an interest in running for political office at all levels of government in answer to an appeal from the senator at the end of the presidential primary season. That figure was pegged at about 100 candidates at last night’s gathering in Burlington, Vermont. And some of the key races within those 100 contested campaigns are showing signs of stress like the campaigns for Congress in Florida and New York. Indeed, as a true believer, I signed up to work in Zephyr Teachout’s campaign many weeks ago in upstate New York and have heard nothing yet.

What may worry readers more, and an issue that was not even given short shrift during Sanders’ speech last night, is whether or not an anti-war movement will be formed to counter the endless wars the U.S. now fight across the globe. Besides the very real ethical and moral issues that ongoing wars present, the very real guns vs. butter issue cannot be denied. During the closing days of the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia, a strong presence of anti-war sentiment seemed obvious on the floor of the convention center. Will that presence translate into a movement on the streets of this nation after inauguration day in January 2017?

More articles by:

Howard Lisnoff is a freelance writer. He is the author of Against the Wall: Memoir of a Vietnam-Era War Resister (2017).

April 08, 2020
Melvin Goodman
The Impact of COVID-19 on the Body Politic
Eve Ottenberg
Amid Plague, Sanctions are Genocide
Vijay Prashad, Du Xiaojun – Weiyan Zhu
How China Learned About SARS-CoV-2 in the Weeks Before the Global Pandemic
Bill Quigley
Seven Disturbing Facts About COVID-19 in Louisiana
Joyce Nelson
BlackRock Takes Command
Geoff Dutton
Coronavirus as Metaphor: It’s Not Peanuts
Richard Moser
From Strike Wave to General Strike
Gary Leupp
Could COVID-19 Kill Capitalism?
Thomas Klikauer – Nadine Campbell
Corona, Capital and Class in Germany
Tom Crofton
Aspirational vs Pragmatic: Why My Radicalness is Getting More Radical
Steve Kelly
Montana Ballot Access Decision Suppresses Green Party Voters
Jacob Hornberger
Muhammad Ali’s Fight Against the Pentagon
Phil Mattera
The Rap Sheets of the Big Ventilator Producers
Manuel García, Jr.
Why Remdesivir and Hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19?
Rick Baum
When “Moderate” Democrats Lead the Ticket and Win, Down-Ballot Candidates Soon Suffer Losses
Jake Johnston
Tens of Millions Will Be Pushed into Poverty Amid COVID-Induced Recession
Kim C. Domenico
Healthy and Unhealthy Fear in the Age of Coronavirus
John W. Whitehead
Draconian Lockdown Powers and Civil Liberties
Binoy Kampmark
University Bailouts, Funding and Coronavirus
Luke Ruediger
BLM Timber Sale Increases Fire Risk, Reduces Climate Resilience and Harms Recreation
John Kendall Hawkins
Slavoj Žižek’s Virulent Polemic Against Covid-19, and Stuff!
Nyla Ali Khan
Finding Meaning and Purpose in Adversity
April 07, 2020
Joel McCleary – Mark Medish
Paradigm Shift by Pandemic
Matt Smith
Amazon Retaliation: Workers Striking Back
Kenneth Surin
What The President Said (About The Plague)
Patrick Cockburn
The Chaotic Government Response to COVID-19 Resembles the Failures of 1914
Marshall Auerback
The Coronavirus Pandemic Has Opened the Curtains on the World’s Next Economic Model
Vijay Prashad, Paola Estrada, Ana Maldonado, and Zoe PC
Trump Sends Gun Boats to Venezuela While the World Partners to Fight a Deadly Pandemic
Jeremy Lent
Coronavirus Spells the End of the Neoliberal Era. What’s Next?
Dean Baker
The Big Hit: COVID-19 and the Economy
Nino Pagliccia
A Simple Democratic Transition Framework for Venezuela: End All “Sanctions”
Colin Todhunter
Locked Down and Locking in the New Global Order
Robert Fisk
Biden Says He ‘Doesn’t Have Enough Information’ on Iran to Have a Vew. How Odd, He Negotiated the Nuclear Deal
Wim Laven
GOP’s Achievement is Now on Display
Binoy Kampmark
Boastful Pay Cuts: the Coronavirus Incentive
Dave Lindorff
It’s Spring and I’ve Turned 71 in a Pandemic-Induced Recession
Steve Brown
FLASH! Trump Just Endorsed Bernie’s Medicare-For-All Health Plan
Marc Haggerty
Class and COVID-19: Those Who Can and Those Who Can’t
Manuel García, Jr.
A Reply to Jeffrey St. Clair’s “Strange Things Happening Every Day”
George Wuerthner
How Fuel Breaks Fuel Fires
Marshall Sahlins
Election 2020
April 06, 2020
Richard D. Wolff
COVID-19 and the Failures of Capitalism
W. T. Whitney
Donald Trump, Capitalism, and Letting Them Die
Cesar Chelala
Cuba’s Promising Approach to Cancer
David A. Schultz
Camus and Kübler-Ross in a Time of COVID-19 and Trump