National Nurses United Endorses Sanders, Centrist Democrats Campaign on Illusions

Though I vote Green and hope to vote for an ecosocialist candidate of that party, I also take my good news wherever I can find it. And the fact that many young people have swelled the ranks of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) in all 50 states is undeniably good news. The public conversation about democracy and socialism is bigger and healthier, and most importantly has gone under, over and around MSNBC and FOX News. People are in motion and are willing to vote for class conscious candidates and public policies.

If the old guard within the bunker of the DNC tries to sabotage Bernie again, they will be drawing a knife across their own throats. But there is also a problem with Bernie’s claim to lead a political revolution. He ended up endorsing Hillary Clinton the last time. If Sanders ends up endorsing Warren this time round, then his claim is played out in the partisan game. Warren is closest to Sanders in her own stated aims and public policies. If– who knows?– Warren’s campaign is sabotaged by the “centrist” warnings of Obama, the Clintons, and the DNC, then Sanders may even feel duty bound to endorse Biden. And Biden is plainly a candidate of nostalgia for hope and change, without the political talent of Obama.

I recommend following two young political analysts at The Hill (see links below), namely, Krystal Ball (yeah, her real name) and Saagar Enjeti. In my view, they belong in the wider orbit of what might be called the Jacobin left, oriented to Jacobin magazine. Both Ball and Enjeti are just light years beyond the drip, drip, drip of commentators at MSNBC, because they are serious about class conscious democracy in this country. They are not above criticism, which I will summarize in a few brief points.

Ball and Enjeti lean heavily on the “OK Boomer” analysis of political differences between generations. To be sure, as people grow older and more accommodated to a given social order, many become more conservative. But the reflex to slam boomers is also a hipster dead end, especially for critics who claim to be class conscious. Class and political divisions among the generation born in the 1950s and early 1960s are real. Otherwise the radicals of that generation must be explained away as “exceptions,” and that is historical nonsense.

Ball and Enjeti are also deeply confused about identity politics, and seem to have no idea that the very concept has a class conscious history among working class feminists of color. Nowadays, identity politics is more often used as ammunition in a polemical paintball massacre spanning the whole political spectrum, left, right and “center.” This much is true: especially among career politicians of the Democratic Party, identity politics from the top down includes playing “progressive” cards in a partisan poker game. By that standard, Hillary Clinton passed as a feminist, Obama passed as a racial transcendentalist, and Buttigieg passes as the gay candidate who got gay issues off his own public agenda as fast as possible.

Ball and Enjeti are just too young and uninformed about the real deal behind this ongoing poker game, so on these issues they fall back on current hipster slogans. Saagar, in particular, was only half correct when he analyzed Obama’s program as a mix of standard corporate centrism and “far left cultural politics.” Obama, in fact, pitched himself as a cultural conservative on an issue such as gay marriage, until it was safe to embrace that issue after familiar Clintonian triangulations.

Most seriously, I have not yet found a segment of The Hill in which Ball and Enjeti seriously consider voters and candidates who work outside and against the two big corporate parties. So in the given terms of partisan ideologies, they are also “pragmatists.” Yet we may well witness a tectonic rupture in the electoral landscape following the next big elections in 2020. To take only one example, the young socialists within DSA will have to decide for themselves what a political revolution really means beyond Bernie. In relation to the Democratic Party, some DSA members will become Remainers and others will become Exiteers. Some of them will join a democratic left committed to a class conscious confrontation with the parties of capitalism.


National Nurses United to Endorse Bernie Sanders
National Nurses United
November 12, 2019

Sanders to join nurses for official endorsement event Friday, Nov. 15

National Nurses United, the nation’s largest union of registered nurses, announces today that it will endorse Sen. Bernie Sanders for the Democratic Party presidential nomination. Nurses cite how Sanders’ leading platform closely aligns with nurses’ values on a whole host of issues, including rebuilding America’s labor movement to restore workers’ rights and his trailblazing leadership to win Medicare for All.

The endorsement will officially take place this Friday, November 15 at a press conference.

“For nurses, our solidarity is a matter of life or death for our patients. We need a president who makes it easier for us to stand together and hold our employers accountable for putting people above profits,” said NNU President Jean Ross, RN, of Minnesota. “Bernie Sanders is leading all the candidates on labor, with his Workplace Democracy Act and as a cosponsor of the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act.”

Livestream of endorsement event here:

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