Our Resolution: Bomber Bernie Sets Sights on 2020

Drawing by Nathaniel St. Clair

“Yesterday, one of Hillary Clinton’s most prominent Super PACs attacked our campaign pretty viciously…They suggested I’d be friendly with Middle East terrorist organizations, and even tried to link me to a dead communist dictator”

—Alive Imperialist Collaborator Bernie Sanders, expressing his solidarity with the international working class.

Colonel Bernard Sanders has long despised by the powers that be for his “different” ways. The rich surely despise him because he is a Jewish person talking about economics. But their conscious hatred of the Colonel mostly has to with his consistent and largely successful efforts to keep track of the least of us here in America. Differences between the consistent Sanders and the lurching rightward corporate duopoly have only become more evident. Bernie remained serious while the popular class got more and more frivolous, ridiculous and out of touch. Bernie only became grumpier, but stayed just as determined. Many tried to give him the boot, but he had his fringe of weirdo lefties in Vermont, and they kept him around, seemingly as a fringe group.

Bernie, after many years of being sidelined, thought, what the heck, I have little to lose, let’s run for President. This was necessary, and just by itself, very courageous, as the Democratic Party agreed as a unit to rig the 2016 race for establishment third way Wall St. Hawk Hillary Clinton. To the surprise and horror of the establishment, Bernie’s ideas, while seemingly fringe and coo-coo, were more popular than theirs. Bernie was hastily sabotaged, smeared and cheated out of contention for a race he should have won. The damage, in many ways, had already been done for the establishment. Bernie folded to their needs, but a restless populace began to carry many of his ideas forward in the electoral field. Bernie tried to cover for his speaking out of turn. He tried lying about the Clintons, the Democrats and the political establishment in general. But it did no good. Bernie was just too sincere to be a proper puppet, even if it was in his nature to try.

Bernie should be proud that he was part of the reason Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump. The establishment recognized, even if Bernie did not, that seeds of something better than establishment Democrats naturally hurt their ability to win with the same old garbage. Partly because of Sanders’ success, partly because of Clinton’s failure, and partly too because of Donald Trump’s ability to grasp the true savage nature of the Republican Party, Trump and people like him now rule the country. The Democrats bounced back slightly in 2018, with slight concessions to Sanders, but mostly by simply being something other than Donald Trump.

Now more than ever Sanders seriously wants to be President. Or more likely, given his lifetime of never electing to run, he at least he wants someone like him (maybe Elizabeth Warren, maybe Beto O’Rourke) to be President. Sensing correctly that Trump is truly dangerous and that the Democrats provide no real winnable alternative, Sanders is begging them to consider a Sanders type this time around. Not just because he believes in his more populist ideas, but because he knows, in a fair political system, they would stand a better chance against Donald Trump. What Sanders saw as worrying under Clinton and Obama, he sees as a crisis under Trump. Thus, despite a right-wing surge, Sanders now sees his populism as the only way forward.

Sanders surprised himself by almost winning last time. This time will be different, and his historic fundraising in the early stages of his campaign sets the stage for something bigger. Sanders is already setting records for small donations, demonstrating sincere broad support that no one in the US will be able to defeat without a lot of dirty tricks from the mainstream media, the DNC, and corporate donors. Sanders will denounce these forces broadly, but it remains unlikely he will admit that his own campaign is being sabotaged because Sanders’ number one objective is to beat Donald Trump. He knows pointing out his Democrat opponent cheated will discredit them. It’s also true that people will find out the mainstream Democrats cheat, and will boycott them no matter what Sanders says.

Still, Sanders is wise enough to know that the Democrats as they stand have little chance against a Donald Trump, because they remain almost as morally compromised and devoid of substance as he is. Sanders also knows that in a vacuum, his politics are much better for the average person than most other Democrats’ policies are. So he wants to win, even if he is unwilling to rock any boats to get there. Following his logic of not upsetting the establishment as a key to victory, Sanders will have to combat their smears.

Sanders may be right that ultimately the corporate gatekeepers decide who wins elections. He is wrong to believe that his base would fall for their lies. Sanders must also know that this time around, given his better chances, and refusal to fold despite his older age, that the establishment is going to smear him harder this time. How this fits with his goal of winning them over remains unclear.

What is clear is that Sanders is preparing to be “electable.” We should have seen this coming. Sanders doesn’t call himself a socialist. He calls himself a “democratic socialist.” This implies that socialism is normally not democratic and that Sanders is changing the rules so it is. Imagine someone upon being asked their sexuality, responding by saying they are “gay without AIDs”. The immediate assumption, of course, is that normally gay people have AIDS, and that this person says they don’t so that you know they are different from other gay people and therefore safe. Likewise, it seems silly that any politician in the so-called heart of democracy would have to introduce themselves as democratic. Both corporate parties rig elections (Democrats in the primary, Republicans in the general). And none of them ever feel the need to introduce themselves as “democratic”.

On the one hand, the need for Sanders to do this reflects the prejudice against socialism in our conservative country. On the other, it exposes Sanders as openly catering to the people who would smear him. Some may argue that Sanders making these terms safe is what led to them becoming more mainstream. Perhaps. But now that he achieved that, why not go further, seeing he made the journey this far without too much trouble?

Sanders may not be going farther because of a real ideological difference with real socialists. He has consistently undermined and even voted to bomb such leaders in other countries. Usually, this is on the basis of a lack of so-called democracy and human rights, which are metrics that are never measured when a country opens up their floodgates to capital.

Capitalism, by definition, is the enemy of democracy, because the economy is owned and operated by very few people. Socialism is by definition democratic because the people own the means of production. In fact, the only difference between the two is democracy in one, and the lack of democracy in the other. The West likes to measure democracies in different ways, but what is more critical to a person’s representation than their ability to control the economy?

Fast forward to the present moment with Sanders being attacked from the right by the Democrats. They declared like the dictators they are that he would not be the nominee of their party unless he called the elected Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro a dictator and ordered regime change. The implication of this being that they would not recognize Sanders’ own democratic victory unless he claimed that another country had no democracy. Oh my.

Sanders must have taken this threat seriously. This was not his mistake. The Democrats would absolutely undermine a democratic election. They did it to Sanders in 2016. And they tried their best to do this to Nicholas Maduro. They are trying to force a rigged election now by suddenly reporting on violent conflicts, giving pennies of aid alongside their massive sanctions, and threatening to starve the working people of other countries if they don’t cooperate with the regime change line. What Sanders should have done is give Mr. Maduro a call. He should have said we have the same enemy. But more importantly, we have the same job: to lift up the international working class in every way we can. Such solidarity could have gone a long way, but it just isn’t in Sanders’ DNA.

Sanders instead danced his best dance for the Evil Empire. Hoping naively that the establishment would save his ass, despite demonstrating repeatedly they would do anything to stop him. Nicholas Maduro, while having his own baggage, is not this foolish.

Bernie Sanders and 10 other pathetic Democrats (yes, Bernie you are a Democrat) introduced a resolution condemning the Maduro government. In it Bernie exposes himself as the useless bag of bones that he is when he signs on to blatant lies. And what was the purpose of this resolution? To stop Venezuela from holding elections: “Whereas Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE) unilaterally called for a presidential election on April 22, 2018, despite the absence of an agreement between the Government of Venezuela and the political opposition on the conditions necessary for the electoral process;” This sounds fine, but the United States and its allies will only agree to an election where their puppet Juan Guido is guaranteed to win. This despite over 80% of the population never even hearing of this man before the United States made him up.

In case Bernie hasn’t noticed, the elections in the United States are pretty darn rigged. But we have them anyways. And we don’t start withholding food and medicine because we don’t like a politician. The blackmail tactics we use in Latin America and beyond is just is a ridiculous practice that would never be tolerated here. How would we have felt if Russia had began to starve our people because Clinton had beat Trump? Bernie doesn’t even acknowledge the United States doing this when he accuses Venezuela of starving their own people in order to push through the candidate they prefer: “E) there is no implied or direct link between an individual’s vote and the government food rations to which the individual is eligible and no record is retained of a voter’s choice for any reason related to government benefits, including retaliation”

Bernie won’t even allow an election in Venezuela unless the government denies that imperialism exists: “rejects the Venezuelan Government’s efforts to blame the country’s economic, humanitarian, and political crisis on other actors instead of recognizing that the crisis was caused by its own malfeasance and criminality;” Now how could any rational person believe that Maduro would agree to these terms and conditions? Here’s a novel idea: maybe these Senators don’t want Maduro to agree to them. The point is to force a situation other than an election.

Bernie, like the rest of the Democrats, takes his base for granted. He figures that he can make compromises to the right of his voting bloc and no one will notice. Bernie or Bust burned lying crooked Hillary, more than Bernie would ever dare to do. What Bernie is betting on is two things: firstly, that his base won’t budge. The need for revolution is too dire, and Bernie has demonstrated broad support in this country, for reasons both good and bad. Given the feeble state of the left in this country, and the financially and morally corrupt nature of his neoliberal opponents, maybe Bernie is right to bet this way. But he’s a sure fool when he bets that the establishment will now save his candidacy because he caved on Venezuela. Bernie did everything short of kissing the ring of Hillary Clinton last time around, and it did him no favors. All Bernie accomplished was splitting up his own base. Some understandably defended the cowardly man, others stuck to the principled movement.

Now the establishment is making Bernie dance again. Did he not count his record number of small donations? He does not need these imperialist gangsters, nor are they worth having. Bernie though may not be making a miscalculation in one sense. His goal remains much the same as it has throughout his career. Make just enough compromises with the War Party to stay in power.

There is a lesson from Venezuela. If socialism is not achieved everywhere, it can be achieved nowhere. Asking a single economy to stay socialist while global capitalism, war and austerity gains momentum across the world is simply too much to ask. Even if Bernie was correct, and all his compromises with the Empire led him to gain the world’s highest office, how does he expect to resolve his own contradictions? Does he really think that any capitalist would agree to spare the US working class in exchange for a continued assault on the global south?

It’s a cynical, if not downright appalling deal to offer. But, for the sake of argument, would it work? The short answer is no. Bernie needs to recognize that the capitalists are not here to negotiate. They want it all. They won’t spare Venezuela and they won’t spare us.

Solidarity, not compromise, will topple the capitalist-imperialist world order. Bernie’s “democratic socialism” wouldn’t stand a chance domestically without international support. Venezuela won’t stand a chance unless we ditch both corporate duopoly parties, and ditch them now. The beautiful and horrifying thing is that we are all in this together. If Bernie studied history of the international left outside of the axis of US Empire, he would see many of these countries bonding together against similar forces.

Bernie is making what he thinks is a serious run for the Presidency. Denounce Trump at every turn, endorse Empire and say the word “democracy” quite a bit. Bernie is right. This is the formula. But everyone else is doing this formula. And the establishment likes their policies much better. Despite his flaws, Bernie remains far too radical for any endorsement from the powers that be. What he has is people power. Rather than twirl his baton for the judges of Empire, why doesn’t Colonel Bernie ditch his hopeless audition for power and stand in solidarity with the international working class?

It may be quite simply ideological blindness. A sincere fear of radical change and the consequences of it for people of all classes. Bernie would rather flirt with the ideas of things people enjoy like health care, education and high wages. But when it comes to the actual means of getting these things done, power must be confronted. And whenever this is done in a serious and unflinching way, power will clap back with equal force and fury.

The empty stomaches on the streets on Venezuela mark a warning sign for anyone who dares disobey imperialist capitalism. But Bernie may not even be reading that closely. It is more likely that he has sincerely blocked out the role of Empire and global capitalism because deep down he knows confronting it would be a serious risk, and one he may not overcome. Whatever battle Bernie is fighting though has little reward for the long-term future of the world if he is willing to roll over this easily.

Bernie’s miscalculation is that America lives in a democracy. He believes that he can win the 2020 election, and all he needs to do to get there is embrace the Empire. This is a severe error in judgement. To win in 2020 Bernie would need to bow to corporate America. But he doesn’t need to win to make a positive impact. If he exposes Empire and the corporate duopoly and builds a people-powered third party, he could help shatter our current system. Bernie chooses not to do so for not just strategic reasons, but ideological ones. He still believes that America is a democracy. He still believes that America should enforce democracy across the globe, and that our country is still capable of doing so. These are useful political believes for succeeding in our so-called democracy, but Bernie should know by now he will always be a political outcast. If he had a more realistic view of America’s evils, he might be more keen to embrace this label and be more willing to take the side of all the wonderful people pushed to the margins by this country.

Bernie’s latest dance for the Empire is done for two reasons. The first is his sincere belief in Empire (with the acknowledged inadequacy of equating politician’s actions with their believes). He sees socialist leaders as dictators, even if he doesn’t always invade militarily. Bernie was pushed farther than he wanted to go though by the Empire itself who shamed him for his wishy-washy statement. He bowed to their will for the same reason he believes in them generally: because he falsely believes America is a democracy, both at home and abroad. Ironically it will be the inevitable sabotage of Mr. Sanders and his grassroots campaign that proves just the opposite.

The ultimate purpose of Bernie Sanders is to convince the radicals that this world and this country is run by democracy. Rather than revolt, we debate. Rather than eat the rich, we run sham elections run by them. Rather than fight the Empire, we take its goals at face value—questioning only the methods of world domination—and never the lies used to justify it.

In Bernieland, it is democracy, not class that wins the day. As long as there is a process that resembles democracy, Bernie has no issue with it. He doesn’t mind the DNC sabotaging him anymore than he minds a US coup. The point is that we go through the motions. The point is to feel better—not change society radically.

Bernie doesn’t like when things fall out of the New Deal equilibrium. He doesn’t care much for the rich abusing the powers of capitalism. But he does not see this abuse as an inevitable consequence of capitalism. He does not like when the U.S. wastes its money on war. But he fails to see that literally every action of his own government is done with the intention of creating more war and austerity—even when done in the name of peace and charity.

The United States is toppling left Latin American governments one by one. This region once was a united front against capitalism and imperialism. Now Venezuela and Mexico stand nearly alone as they face the towering giants who run the global economy. With their people held hostage, how long can Venezuela hold out? For now, longer than we thought. There is pride there. There is people power there.

The United States will not be satisfied until every last country is destroyed. The oligarchs want the whole world in chaos. They want the whole world to run publicly as a democracy and privately as a precarious jungle of high job turnover, splintered communities, busted unions and desperate people.

As government after government is hijacked, and soon dismantled and defunded by the rich, Bernie the imperialist looks to America—the vehicle of this monstrosity—to save the world. He wonders aloud why America cannot be more like Europe. Dream big Bernie! Here’s the short answer, and it is why I maintain that as awful as America is, we aren’t nearly as smug as Europe. America can never have those nice things—health care, college, wages, etc. It is because our entire budget is used for war—war to pillage for both us and Europe/Canada. This is something Donald Trump gets at—but never completely follows through on.

The goal of the left side of the Democrat Party is to draw up a budget with ideas we actually like, only to have it get shot down so no one has to change anything. We are supposed to believe that this process is democratic. But the real reason we know it isn’t is because the plans laid out—and this includes the Green New Deal—are not realistic. They are by no means realistic as long as Empire stays in place as the primary engine of our economy. The fact that Sanders never confronts Empire proves that he never has been planning to do the things he says he will do domestically and he knows he won’t have to.

The world is freer, more prosperous and more democratic than many times in human history. In many ways the language of democracy has never been stronger. The opportunity for debate, protest and expression never more evident. And yet the contradiction in this modern world is that the institutions built up to spread democracy are mostly used just to trick us we have it. The media’s failure to report accurately on Venezuela as well as the Western international community’s response at large proves just the point.

Centuries ago we may heard little new about our country’s war on Venezuela. This makes such a war hard to resist, no doubt. But today the challenges may even be greater. Every single rich white person now considers themselves an expert on Venezuela simply because we are bombarded in the news by it. Despite many people being aware that the media is corrupt, we charge only Venezuela’s own media for bias.

The more you know about democracy, the less likely you have it. The more things you are told you want, the less things that you actually want will be achieved. Americans have a rigid, but through understanding of what democracy should look like.We just are easily fooled into believing we have it.

Democracy is falling away quickly. Into the hands of business leaders—who turn schools into vocational training. Basic rights like health care, water and citizenship are being held hostage in order to loot the poor of what they don’t have. Reactionary nationalists hijack anger and frustration and turn it against the masses. And across the world, left-wing governments are being undermined by global capitalists through force.

Rather than trying to prove democracy exists, we should be convincing the public that it doesn’t. Contrary to the rich’s grumbling about disengagement from our electoral sham—such disillusion with the present system could create a global revolutionary movement too big for the rich to handle. Bernie Sanders and the rest of the corporate duopoly create dangerous apologies for the rich and powerful when they rely on them to tell us what is a democracy and what is not. International solidarity and organizing from the ground up will be the only way to save democracy from those assuring us we already have it.

Bernie Sanders thinks in terms of resolutions, not revolutions. He is at his base a reactionary who can be triggered by any lies the Empire tells him. The purpose of Empire in the dying days is to make every corner of the earth a place that can be looted from. The purpose is to strip away all rights of the working class until the rich can work them as slaves. Charity will be used as a weapon to blackmail governments into permanent austerity, slavery and violence. Any resistance will lead to the starving of said government’s people until there is no longer any strength left to resist.

Bernie wants to march to the end days, twirling his baton of democracy. He doesn’t have the irrationality of a Trump, a Clinton, or most of his duopoly peers. He instead is just your typical cynic. He remains glaringly naive in regards to the history of the working class. He is incapable of grasping anything outside his own backyard. And for the stewards of Empire, the whole damn world is their backyard. They won’t stop until the whole world is burning, propped up by smiling puppets who are friendly to capital. Bernie scowls through his dying days of a long and healthy life, jabbing his finger all over the Facebook feeds of adorable and dispirited millennials. But why the long face, Bernie the Grouch? You’re a puppet too, would it kill you to smile?

Nick Pemberton writes and works from Saint Paul, Minnesota. He loves to receive feedback at pemberton.nick@gmail.com