Should socialists get behind Bernie Sanders? - Two views from the US left

Bernie Sanders' campaign to win pre-selection in the Democratic primaries and become the party's presidential candidate has generated much debate on the US left.

Bernie Sanders' Socialist America

By Ethan Earle January 2016 -- Reposted from Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, New York Office -- I was born in North Carolina, but my parents are from Vermont and I grew up taking long summer road trips up the east coast to visit our family in Burlington, the state’s largest city with just over 40,000 people. It was on one of these trips, sometime in the early 1990s, that I first learned about Bernie Sanders and his uniquely American brand of democratic socialism. Vermont is an odd little place. It is 49th of fifty states with just 626,000 people, the vast majority of whom live in small farming towns dotted around the Green Mountains that run like a spine up its length. Vermonters are characterized by a proud sense of self-reliance mixed with a stubbornly independent and occasionally revolutionary streak. The state was founded by a breakaway militia during the Revolutionary War. It would later become the first state to abolish slavery and play a crucial role in the Underground Railroad, hiding escaped slaves in its sinuous terrain and shepherding them across its northern border to Canada. Growing up I would hear these stories told as proof that Vermonters are engaged citizens who don’t take kindly to injustice or political doublespeak. In 1980 Brooklyn-born Bernie Sanders entered Vermont politics stage left, running for mayor of Burlington as an Independent and self-described democratic socialist. He defeated the five-term incumbent by ten votes and would subsequently be reelected three times. During his period as mayor Bernie became widely known as an outspoken leftist, but also, crucially, as an effective administrator. He opened the city’s first women’s commission, supported the development of worker cooperatives, and initiated one of the first and most successful state-funded community-trust housing experiments in the country. This last measure has ensured the preservation of low- and middle-income housing and calmed gentrification in the midst of a waterfront revitalization development project that has otherwise transformed the city’s downtown. Bernie the Leftist invited Noam Chomsky to speak at city hall and traveled to Nicaragua to meet with Daniel Ortega and establish a Sandinista sister city. Bernie the Administrator balanced the city’s budget and oversaw the transformation of Burlington into what is regularly considered one of the nicest and most livable cities in the United States. In 1990 Bernie ran for the U.S. House of Representatives and became its first Independent member in forty years. He quickly moved to found the Congressional Progressive Congress, to this day one of the few leftist bulwarks on Capitol Hill. He criticized politicians from both parties for being subservient to corrupt Washington logic. He came across as an ever-serious, one-pitch politician, at all times earnest and alarmed about the crises our country is facing. If at times his manner could be gruff, his social graces lacking, there was never any doubting that he cared deeply about his work. He would soon emerge as an important national voice on issues ranging from income inequality and universal healthcare, to campaign finance reform and LGBT rights. He would later become a prominent early critic of the Iraq War and domestic surveillance programs like the PATRIOT Act. Basically Bernie stayed the course he had set from the start — that of an unabashed progressive who bases his work on principled independence and the stubborn notion of getting stuff done. Back in Vermont, where since 2006 he has served as senator, Bernie continues to be incredibly popular, winning 71% of the vote in his most recent election and consistently holding among the highest constituent approval ratings of any U.S. politician. His well-known refusal to run attack advertisements, as well as his doggedly old-fashioned commitment to finding common ground with political figures on the other side of the aisle, has only strengthened his reputation. But his greatest achievement, and the secret to much of his success, has been to build a new political consensus in the state of Vermont. Of course he appeals to most dyed-in-the-wool liberals, but he draws his real strength from small-town white working families, not typically known (at least in recent decades) for their democratic-socialist proclivities. My family is a family of hairdressers, with a couple of nurses and electricians mixed in. We’re a family of hunters and Katy Perry fans. We’re a family that contemporary American political culture has made to believe its voice doesn’t count. And I can tell you with all honesty that Bernie Sanders has made my family think differently. Heading into the upcoming presidential primary, almost every one of them — otherwise liable to go Republican in any given election — will be casting their vote for Bernie Sanders. When I’m up in Vermont we don’t usually talk politics, but when we do we talk Bernie. I can hear my aunt say now: “I might not agree with everything he says or does, but I know he means what he says and believe in what he does. I know he’ll never sell us out and he’ll always give it to us straight.” +++++ Senator Bernie Sanders’ increasingly un-quixotic campaign to become the 45th President of the United States has stirred strange and restless spirits in the American public. He has drawn far larger crowds and generated more enthusiasm than any other candidate in either party. During 2015 his campaign received $73 million from more than a million individuals and a record 2.5 million total contributions. He is receiving consistent front-page coverage in every major U.S. media and is the subject of vertiginous numbers of tweets, shares, memes, and general Internet chatter. His major challenger and still-frontrunner — former Secretary of State, Senator, Presidential First Lady, and Democratic establishment darling Hillary Clinton — was positioned as the most unstoppable candidate in a generation just six months ago. As of this writing, in mid- January 2016, she clings to a seven point lead nationally and is in a dead heat in the first two primary states, which historically act as bellwethers for the rest of the nation. Even more amazingly, Bernie Sanders is doing this without taking money from corporations or receiving backing from virtually any establishment group, all the while trumpeting the virtues of democratic socialism and telling anybody who will listen that this country needs a political revolution. Having spent decades working on policy, it should come as no surprise that Bernie’s campaign platform is broad and detailed — wonkish, one might say. Perhaps wonkish but not muddled: he leaves no doubt that his greatest preoccupation is the inequality that increasingly defines the U.S. economy. He proposes to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 by 2020. He promises to create millions of jobs through federal infrastructure and youth programs. He says he will expand Social Security, provide free education at all public universities, and extend universal healthcare to all people in the U.S. through a single-payer system. His plan to pay for these programs is simple: raise taxes on wealthy individuals and large corporations, and tax speculative financial transactions. In the stories Bernie tells of how America became one of the most unequal major countries in the world, he reserves special wrath for the large financial institutions he considers responsible for the 2007-08 financial crisis. He laments that not a single bank executive went to prison for their role in the crash, contrasting this to a criminal justice system that has imprisoned millions of people for low-level, non-violent offenses. He calls for the implementation of a 21st century Glass-Steagall Act, which prevented commercial banks from engaging with investment banks from 1933 until it was effectively repealed under the watch of President Bill Clinton in 1999. More recently he announced that, if elected, he would break up all “too big to fail” financial institutions during the first year of his administration. However, his fiery brand of economic populism does not alone explain why millions of people have come to “Feel the Bern,” the viral hashtag that has become a slogan for the campaign. Rather it is that he speaks so directly to a broader moment in our country’s history. Personal debt and economic inequality are at record highs, and the generation now coming of age has been socialized by the Iraq War and Great Recession; raised on myths about the American Dream while being fed the realities of downward mobility for all but the elite and lucky few. In this context, it is his indictment of the system as not just broken but fixed — designed to perpetuate control by a small elite comprised of politically entrenched capital interests — that has made his campaign catch fire in such a startling way. In addition to his economic proposals, the other cornerstone of Bernie’s campaign is a call to get big money out of politics. He advocates vociferously for comprehensive campaign finance reform, including a repeal of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision and the abolition of “super PACs,” which together have allowed corporate money to exert ever-greater control over the electoral process. Bernie regularly reminds us that he is the only candidate without a super PAC and that his campaign is corporate-free. Instead he is funded largely by small donations mixed with a few larger contributions from labor unions. Hillary’s campaign, in contrast, is funded mostly by wealthy individuals and corporations; six of her ten largest donors are banks. Bernie believes there has been a corporate takeover of American democracy, and this is where he returns to the idea of political revolution. In nearly every speech he makes this clarion call, and he is always unequivocal about the fact that neither he nor any other politician can make the necessary changes alone. Bernie’s idea of political revolution starts with the American people getting out to vote in record numbers — including a rollback of racist Republican disenfranchisement measures — taking back our democracy, and demanding the types of reforms he proposes to increase our control over the national economy and political process. +++++ Not surprisingly the powers that be are not happy about Bernie, and the biggest offense has been taken — also not surprisingly, if sadly — by the Democratic establishment. Their candidate, Hillary Clinton, has thus far received 455 endorsements from governors and congressional representatives, compared to three for Bernie Sanders; she has been endorsed by 18 unions representing 12 million workers versus his three unions representing one million workers. Among so- called superdelegates — an unpleasant particularity of the U.S. electoral system that together constitute about one-third of party votes and are not democratically accountable to actual voter preference — Hillary holds a reported 45-to-1 edge. The Democratic National Committee, for its part, has sought to limit debate opportunities and viewership in an effort to protect Clinton’s lead, and at one point actually cut off the Sanders campaign from its database in a completely disproportionate punishment for a minor (and disputed) offense. Meanwhile establishment talking heads are tripping over themselves to discount Bernie as unable to win a general election, despite ample polling evidence to the contrary. The best-intentioned of Hillary supporters will argue something like the following: She still has the best chance to beat whichever crazy/dangerous thug emerges from the WWF-style brawl taking place in the Republican primary. They will say she also has the best chance to get things done once in government. Politics are ugly and the Republican Party has re-defined itself through its obstructionism as much as its fanaticism. While Hillary might not be pure, she is the person in the Democratic Party most likely to force at least a few positive reforms through our dysfunctional government. And they will add that it’s about time we elect a woman president after more than two centuries of uninterrupted man-rule. I would respond that Clinton represents too much of what is dysfunctional about our current political system to really do anything about it. She is tied as closely to Wall Street as any politician in either party. She voted for the Iraq War and remains loyal to the war-hawk wing of a Democratic Party running on the fumes of a widely discredited brand of liberal interventionism. Clinton is too politically expedient toward the goal of winning power, while Sanders has maintained consistent values over more than thirty years in elected office. The symbolism of electing a woman president is important, no doubt — a potentially historic event that would rival the election of Barack Obama as our country’s first Black president eight years ago. However we have also seen the limitations of symbolism-as-politics during President Obama’s administration, with Black median income and wealth declining while incarceration rates continue at a seemingly inexorable pace and the deportation of Latino immigrants has hit record highs. The value of this symbolism is outweighed by the hard currency of electing a president with a plan and a mandate to change the way that Washington, and our country at large, works. +++++ As should only be expected for what I’ll loosely call “the Left,” debates about this election have gotten pretty nasty in recent months. Bernie’s insistence on not employing negative-campaigning techniques — together with Hillary’s once- comfortable lead — kept things civil for a time. But as the campaign has worn on and her lead has shrunk, legions of Hillary followers have taken to the media to somewhat indiscriminately discount Bernie supporters as sexist “Brocialists.” Bernie followers have been snarky and occasionally impolitic — albeit generally correct to judge by concrete positions and achievements — in responding that Bernie has supported policies and other measures that are far more progressive for women’s equality (beyond the higher echelons of the professional classes, at least). This debate, while having potential to lead to a productive discussion on the distinctions between liberatory and corporate feminism, has more generally been led by partisans and hacks, and has not progressed much past the point of Twitter-style mudslinging. Further to the left, the usual suspects have come out of the woodwork to accuse Bernie of not being the bearer of the true revolution. They accuse him of a litany of original-sin-style offenses, broadly relating to him not aligning in every possible way with a particular (and dare I say esoteric) brand of politics. Some say he is acting as a “sheep dog” for the Democratic Party, leading disaffected youth back into its fold — never mind that he has been an Independent for most of his career and is now pretty much the Public Enemy No. 1 of the Democratic establishment. Others will never forgive him for actually being a social democrat when he so clearly mislabels himself as a democratic socialist — oh, the gall! And then there are those who think Bernie fell from grace because of this or that foreign-policy vote, showing himself to be just like everybody else — no matter that he openly criticizes our country’s history of regime change and maintains that climate change is a greater existential threat to us than terrorism in the face of aggressive media fear mongering. While irrelevant to mainstream political consciousness, these political pathologies are worth mentioning insofar as they have sharpened and clarified distinctions on the broader “socialist left” — between those who go where the people are and build politics on the basis of existing realities, and those who would rather sit out on the edges and shout at everybody who is not already with them. More interesting and relevant to the current moment in U.S. politics is a debate that started in full during Netroots Nation, a prominent annual progressive political convention. Activists from the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement interrupted a Bernie speech to call attention to ongoing police violence against Black people and demand the adoption of more forthright political agendas to dismantle structural racism in the United States. Sanders’ response was derided by some as off-pitch and overly dismissive. His initial follow-up attempts — to laud his own racial justice record and link the issue of racism back to economic policies designed to alleviate inequality — did him no favors in this regard. A few weeks later, a Seattle-based group of BLM activists interrupted another Bernie Sanders speech, this time at a rally to celebrate the 80th birthday of Social Security. The protestors grabbed the microphone before Bernie could speak, refused to let him respond to their critiques, accused the city of Seattle of “white supremacist liberalism” in response to boos from the audience, and held the stage until the event was called off. Just after this second action, the Sanders campaign released a racial justice agenda (presumably crafted after the first intervention) that opened — in an explicit nod to the requests of BLM and other activists — by saying the names of Black women and men recently killed by the police. It continued by directly addressing the physical violence perpetuated by the state and right-wing extremists against Black and Brown bodies in this country, and then shifted to a lengthy list of policy proposals and demands also addressing issues of political, legal, economic, and environmental violence against communities of color. This new agenda has been applauded by prominent leading voices from the Black Lives Matter movement. While the first BLM intervention provided an example of two distinct but overlapping progressive movements in critical and productive conversation, the latter showed that the two can still speak past each other at times. Bernie, a 74-year-old white Jewish man from the second-whitest state in the U.S. (96.7%), was initially slow to recognize the immediacy of this moment in racial justice, as well as the bad optics of folding BLM concerns into his pre-existing economic justice platform. BLM activists were opportunistic in exploiting these optics at the expense of somebody who has, at the very least, been a good “white ally” to racial justice movements since he marched with Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1963. Their tactic, while usefully provocative at Netroots, was overwrought in Seattle. In this second case the group — led by activists relatively new to social justice and much further from the leadership of what is essentially an open-door movement — came across as cynical and not particularly interested in building progressive politics across essentialist divisions. +++++ As a whole, the Bernie/BLM saga has been a good learning experience for Sanders and his followers, and this should come as comfort to us as progressives. In addition to his racial justice agenda, Bernie has hired more people of color to prominent staff positions. He has also become increasingly active in spotlighting the horrific on-going trend of police violence against Black people — for example visiting the family of Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old woman found dead in jail after being arrested for a minor traffic violation, and afterward issuing the powerful, if tragically simple, proclamation that she “would be alive today if she were a white woman.” He has also toured with prominent Black cultural figures like Killer Mike of the rap group Run the Jewels and gotten better at explicitly discussing the racism that has underpinned so much of U.S. economic development ever since slavery. While his name recognition among minority communities still lags far behind Hillary, his likeability and likely voter ratings have risen significantly. More broadly we can view these debates as part of a rising moment — and perhaps even a generation — of renewed leftist activism in the United States. Several decades of progressive retreat, at least at the level of mass consciousness, were suddenly reversed during Occupy Wall Street in September 2011, as I’ve previously written. This incipient movement had all the guile and beauty of a newborn, which it more or less was as far as most people connected to it were concerned. In this way it served as a generational awakening to the possibility of transformative political activism in the United States. Black Lives Matter, while not directly linked to or inspired by OWS, entered the mainstream media in its wake and incorporated (intentionally or not) many of the critiques against its predecessor. The Bernie Sanders campaign has reached millions of people for whom it was easier to engage politics through the prism of a presidential campaign. Considered together (even if they wouldn’t always have it as such), this triple movement marks the ascendance of a new era of progressive politics in the United States. And while debates between these and other political movements are necessary, as is the critical struggle for the shape and direction of progressive politics, it is equally necessary that we not let destructive infighting distract us from the underlying issue of our time, which is how to remake the U.S. political and economic system into something that works for everybody in our country and does more to help than to harm the rest of the world. Bernie Sanders is doing everything he can to keep us focused on this big issue, always clear that it cannot be solved by him alone. This, more than any other reason, is why I support Bernie Sanders and think you should, too. Bernie is the best-positioned person to galvanize a broad movement with the chance to win power and also realign political alliances around class-based and racial solidarity, as opposed to the divisions that corporate interests would impose upon us. He did this in Vermont, perhaps not at the level of our greatest socialist fantasies, but certainly in a transformative and durable fashion. And when we look at the state of U.S. politics — where a right-wing populist like Donald Trump has captured the imagination of a sizeable portion of the Republican electorate with his outside-the-Beltway message — we see the urgent need for us to battle for a new new majority in this country that is based around togetherness and not hate. Back home Bernie Sanders continues to hold together the coalition he has built with politics that move beyond typical partisan trench warfare. He is well known for his support for U.S. war veterans as well as his efforts to audit the U.S. Federal Reserve, both typically considered conservative issues. And he is surprisingly well liked by many of his Congressional Republican colleagues, not as somebody who talks baseball with them, but as a person who doesn’t talk one way and act the other. In a recent speech at the conservative Christian Liberty University, Bernie invoked a rhetorical tool that has been common throughout his career, basically telling the audience, “we may not agree on everything, but we can agree on the injustice of inequality and the corruption and dysfunction that defines our system.” For as much as the current primary showcases deep splits in each of the two parties, it shows an even deeper split in the country between conservative and progressive cultures. Nobody seems to be able to imagine anything worse than any politician from the opposing party being elected president. Beyond Bernie’s message of economic and political transformation, he also speaks to how we may re-envision our fractured polity in the 21st century. The possibility of a Bernie Sanders presidency provides us with an important, if only partial, roadmap for how to move beyond the culture of political gridlock that has overtaken us. +++++ The last time I visited Vermont, my Argentine wife and I went to see my 90- year-old grandmother, a lifelong Vermonter and avid follower of golf and talk- show politics. Not surprisingly we got to talking about the elections, and she said that one of her sons, my uncle, was trying to convince her to vote for Bernie. She remained undecided. She has known Bernie for decades and likes him and trusts his judgment, but she also really wants to see a woman president before she dies. It was a simple, strong argument and one that I take seriously. My wife responded that her home country has had a woman president — a progressive, Cristina Kirchner —for most of the past decade and that, while she understands how historic it would be for us, how could it compare to having a socialist president in the most powerful capitalist country in the world? Hold on, my grandma said — not exactly suspiciously but as if shaking the dust off an idea she hadn’t considered in a long time — are you two socialists? We looked at each other and paused for a moment, hesitantly, before my wife answered, yeah, I guess if that’s what it takes, then we are. My grandma’s eyes widened slightly with surprise or a hint of mischief — or perhaps in an attempt to take in her grandson and granddaughter-in-law and the breadth of old and new ideas, all at once. Well, she replied, her words slow and careful, how about that. The next time I visit my family, I look forward to celebrating Vermont’s latest intervention in the course of U.S. history. In the best of cases we will celebrate the election of the country’s first democratic socialist president. But even if Bernie loses, I believe his campaign will have nonetheless succeeded in creating a space to envision a new era in progressive politics. Either way, Bernie’s message of political revolution will have been passed down to a new generation of young people, a plot of ground for us to build on as we strive for a better future.

Their Socialism and Ours: On Sanders

By Jordan Martinez January 2016 -- Reposted from The North Star -- A specter is haunting Socialism – the specter of Sanders. The presidential run of Bernie Sanders, a nominally “independent” Senator from Vermont, has garnered at least nearly 200,000 claimed volunteers and $73 million in donations in 2015. His campaign has been heralded by the Left for it’s unabashedly populist rhetoric, with economistic calls for a “political revolution against the Billionaire Class.” There’s apparently just one problem: he’s running as a Democrat. Sanders and the Democrats In spite of how some on the Left might portray him, Bernie Sanders did not just wake up one day and say we need a political revolution, nor was his decision to run as a Democrat an incidental mistake. Sanders has long played a role as a false alternative from the Democratic Party, the primary run being only the most recent blatant shattering of his myth, although many supporters still cling to the pieces of “independence.” Bernie Sanders became involved in third party politics beginning in 1971, with his membership in the anti-war Liberty Union Party and his candidacy under their name for various statewide Vermont political positions from 1972 to 1976, before leaving the Party and orientating towards local elections. On the national level, the exit from LUP was underpinned by Sander’s support for Democratic presidential candidates - Jimmy Carter beginning in 1976, and campaigning for Walter Mondale in ’84.[i] In 1981, Sanders successfully ran for Mayor of Burlington, Vermont as an independent, unseating a six-term Democrat incumbent. A new liberal progressive coalition formed to drive the electoral bids of Sanders, the precursor to the modern Vermont Progressive Party. From 1983 to ’87, Sanders would continue to win re-election against both Democrat and Republican challengers. Sanders was noted for his ardent anti-war positions, and opposition to certain imperialist policies of the federal government, a marked contrast from his current stances. In 1986, Sanders ran for Governor of Vermont, apart from the Liberty Union Party (who fielded their own candidate), solidifying the past division between himself and a layer of grassroots third-party supporters who buoyed his earliest campaigns. Despite continued “progressive coalition” support, Bernie’s electoral momentum came to a halt in 1988, following a failed run for the US House of Representatives. After seeing out his Burlington mayoral term, Sanders briefly departed from political activity. When returning to active political activity in the 1990’s, a new Bernie Sanders was formed. As the Vermont Liberty Union Party describe the rightward consolidation:
Bernie–out of office for the first time in eight years–then went to the Kennedy School at Harvard for six months and came back with a new relationship with the state’s Democrats. The Vermont Democratic Party leadership has allowed no authorized candidate to run against Bernie in 1990 (or since) and in return, Bernie has repeatedly blocked third party building. His closet party, the Democrats, are very worried about a left 3rd party forming in Vermont. In the last two elections, Sanders has prevented Progressives in his machine from running against Howard Dean, our conservative Democratic Governor who was ahead of Gingrich in the attack on welfare.
The unauthorized Democratic candidate in 1990, Delores Sandoval, an African American faculty member at the University of Vermont, was amazed that the official party treated her as a nonperson and Bernie kept outflanking her to her right. She opposed the Gulf build-up, Bernie supported it. She supported decriminalization of drug use and Bernie defended the war on drugs, and so on…..
After being safely elected in November of 1990, Bernie continued to support the buildup while seeking membership in the Democratic Congressional Caucus–with the enthusiastic support of the Vermont Democratic Party leadership. But, the national Democratic Party blew him off, so he finally voted against the war and returned home–and as the war began–belatedly claimed to be the leader of the anti-war movement in Vermont.[ii]
A very clear affinity to the Democratic Party was then established. Democratic leader Howard Dean clarified the relationship Bernie Sanders has to the Dems on a 2005 episode of Meet The Press. Responding to a question on Sanders’ socialism in the run up to an upcoming Senate bid, he said “Bernie can call himself anything he wants. He is basically a liberal Democrat, and he is a Democrat that – he runs as an Independent because he doesn’t like the structure and the money that gets involved. And he actually has, I think, some good points about campaign finance reform. The bottom line is that Bernie Sanders votes with the Democrats 98 percent of the time And that is a candidate that we think… (w)e may very well end up supporting him. We need to work some things out because it’s very important for us not to split the votes in some of the other offices as well.”[iii] For Sander’s loyalty to the Democrats, the current primary campaign opposite Hillary Clinton is the first time in the 21st Century he has faced a DNC-backed challenger for electoral office. Even with a decades long electoral success resume, no independent party has been built with the seal of Sanders’ approval. Instead, he has given consistent endorsements and funding for Democrats nationally including, through PAC fronts, right wing Democrats.[iv] Disgracefully this is matched by his active campaigning against other independent campaigns, even of those by the Vermont Progressive Party which was founded by Sanders supporters. On the independent campaign of Ralph Nader in 2004, Sanders said, “Not only am I going to vote for John Kerry, I am going to run around this country and do everything I can to dissuade people from voting for Ralph Nader.”[v] Unfortunately, even armed with history, the role of Bernie Sanders as a loyal opposition has been ignored by much of the Left. To posit that perhaps paradoxically running openly as a Democrat allows the opportunity of potential success for a “Socialist” candidate is fatally flawed, an understanding that cannot escape Sanders. The campaign has long been doomed as a non-starter, exactly because of the Democratic Party machine Sanders has aided and continues to provide pseudo-independent cover to. The Democratic Party, surprise surprise, is not actually democratically structured. Instead the primary process is overly determined outside of the caucuses by “super delegates,” primarily currently elected Democratic Party politicians. These super delegates control 20% of the overall delegate vote, and five hundred out of nearly eight hundred have already pledged support for Clinton. [vi] These pledges are not even coming exclusively from party hardliners, even presumed Sanders endorsers like Sherrod Brown of Ohio have gone into the camp of Clinton. Hillary then has the greatest party backing of any Democratic Party primary candidate at least since 1980. Only two House Representatives have endorsed Sanders, no senators, no governors. [vii] As for the other 80% of delegate votes, derived via the caucuses, the picture isn’t much prettier. While the first two primaries of Iowa and New Hampshire look likelier by the day to swing towards Sanders, they represent a fraction of a percent of the number of delegates required at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. Additionally, New Hampshire and Iowa - along with Sanders’ Vermont - are three of the nations five whitest states. Demographics will give an inevitable electoral challenge to Bernie Sanders, particularly in the South, who was polled last June at only 9% support amongst non-White Democrats nationally. Clinton however enjoys generally positive name-recognition and support amongst Black Democrats. [viii] This is in large part due to the complicity of the extra-parliamentary wings of the Democratic Party. The majority of unionized workers now belong to a union which has endorsed Clinton, an affirmation of labor activist Steve Early’s warning that if “organized labor plays it cautious and safe, jumping on the Clinton bandwagon instead of rallying around Sanders, it will be just one more sign of diminished union capacity for mounting any kind of worker self-defense, on the job or in politics.” Much of the institutions of the Black community are also firmly embedded in the Democratic Party machine, and thusly the Clinton campaign. [ix] In September, Sanders reached out to the Congressional Black Caucus, holding a meeting for the Caucus generally panned as a failure with only six CBC participants. This is half the number of CBC members who have already endorsed Clinton, twelve, a full quarter of CBC members. [x] The lock-step march of the Black elite behind the Clinton campaign in the form of intellectuals like Michael Eric Dyson, over fifty Black mayors and the U.S. Black Chambers (of Commerce) endorsing Clinton, conservative church leaders, and continued patronage by Democratic Party front groups like the Urban League and the NAACP, communicates less the monopoly Clinton has over the political imagination of Black workers, and more a deep political disconnect. This political disconnect between the Black elite and the Black working class continues the political crisis exemplified by the uprisings in Ferguson and Baltimore. To this, Democratic Party offers no solutions, most certainly none desired by much of the Black youth who have ruptured with the old guard. In September of 2014, in the wake of the Ferguson protests, over thirty elected Black Democrat St.Louis County, Missouri officials formed the “Fannie Lou Hamer Coalition.” While invoking radical rhetoric, the Coalition endorsed a Republican for the Missouri State House, citing an anti-incumbent and anti-Democrat mood. As one Republican supporter said: “We’re so baptized into voting for Democrats. . . . Look at all the Democrats that have done wrong to you.”[xi] At the Coalition’s launching press conference a 27 year old Black factory worker and hip-hop artist, a resident of the neighborhood Mike Brown was murdered in, “told the coalition that most of the youth are not going to follow them, but they will follow young men like him who have been on the ground since day one of the protests.” A coalition which pendulum-like swings from Republicans to Democrats is hardly a solution to the political fissures erupting in Black America. Numerous new organizing efforts have used the rhetoric of a New Civil Rights Movement, while funneling that energy into co-optionary dead ends. “Our generation is tired of this… It’s the young men who have being doing the fighting, but it’s still the young men who are not being heard. If it wasn’t for us fighting, these organizations wouldn’t be forming right now.” [xii] Unfortunately nor does the dominant organization emerging in this new period, Black Lives Matter, offer any alternative to the two-party system. The Two-Way Street of Pressure Politics The Black Lives Matter organization, headed by intellectuals Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi, for a lengthy period strategically maintained an anarchistic abstention from the 2016 elections in terms of endorsements, while tactically simultaneously disrupting various election rallies. BLM came to strain under the new terrain of party politics. Rightist branches of the network, like that in Boston, embarrassingly appealed to the moral faculties of politicians,[xiii] while more controversial actions like the shutdown of Bernie Sander’s Westlake Plaza speech in Seattle haven’t been principally defended. On the Seattle incident, BLM addressed it in a statement, saying “(r)egardless of the merits of this individual action which, among some, are still up for debate, one isolated incident cannot be the basis of judgment for the movement as a whole.” This is a shameful distancing from the actions of BLM activists, if “one isolated incident” was correct, then absolutely it should not just be defended - including its “merits” - but held up as an example for the “movement as a whole”! While they claim that their “work is not funded or driven by any political party nor is it influenced by local or national candidates,” this is clearly contradicted by the electoral orientation of the network. Flowing from this work, came the inevitable reckoning with reality. [xiv] Black Lives Matter aided in creating a political vacuum in the modern Black Freedom Movement, by not definitively pointing to alternatives to the two-party system, while simultaneously placing demands on that system. This vacuum was readily filled by liberals like DeRay McKesson who, with his liberal Campaign Zero, met with Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and requested meetings with Republican candidates as well. Quickly, Campaign Zero took headlines and their platform began to define the movement, propelling BLM to build a relationship with the Democratic Party. Where McKesson called for a town hall candidates forum, BLM one-upped with a petition for a debate. However it was made clear on an episode of MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry’s show that, radical language aside, the differences are minimal. Alicia Garza clarified the trajectory of BLM as such:
I think the big thing that we`re concerned about is that thus far, the Democratic Party has not done the work that it needs to, to genuinely engage black voters. And we have been doing that work. So has my colleague, DeRay. And certainly, again, it`s less a question of the format to us. We want to make sure that the Democratic National Committee is having serious conversations at every single level about how to address the crisis facing black communities today. And what we think that does not mean is resting it on the shoulders of black folks to do that work for them."
“I think what`s relevant is the question of our access to the democratic system. And what`s also relevant is the question of how democracy works right now, which to be honest, and to be frank, is locking out people like the members of our network from participating in genuine ways.
The issue with the lack of response from the DNC, and this is not a new demand, right? There`s lots of conversation happening in the DNC about opening up the process so more people can participate. And actually opening up the process so candidates can get closer to movements without being sanctioned for doing so.[xv]
Garza, rather than pointing to a break from the Democrats, instead gestures towards further inroads between “movements” and the DNC. The failure of pressure politics was put on full display, when Alicia Garza appealed to the very DNC resolution endorsing BLM, which BLM had supposedly rejected, as leverage to demand a full debate on #BlackLivesMatter with the Democrats. This was a furthering of BLM’s general strategy of confrontational pressuring, rather than challenging, of the Democrats. What is made clear here, is that rather than the campaign of Bernie Sanders and the 2016 Democratic Party primary election cycle being an across the board gain for the “Left,” it in fact has been a rightist influence on large swaths of the Left, both on recent movements, as well as long-standing organizations. This is an inevitability where generally the working class have no independent institutions to resist electoral conservativism. American Leftist political parties in their current idealist (liberal) form, disconnected from specifically working class activity, cannot replace the role of institutions. Other examples can be made reflecting this reality. Nominally the Green Party has maintained an independent position from the Democratic Party, with a Jill Stein campaign underway already. However, within the rank-and-file fissures have formed on the issue of Bernie Sanders. This is most visibly the case in Maine, where leadership members intervened to silence discussion of supporting Sanders, sparking threats of a wide-scale departure from the GP. The creator of the “Greens for Sanders” Facebook page, Maine State Party Treasurer Daniel Stromgren, claimed that “the majority of our 40,000 voter membership is going to vote for Sanders if he beats Hillary.” This claim was reinforced by Benjamin Meiklejohn, State Party Senior Advisor: “Statistically speaking, if you look at the numbers, between 80 and 97 percent of our own party’s members will not vote for the Green presidential candidate in the general election.” [xvi] For the Greens, the Sanders campaign cannot be boiled down merely as a short term tactical orientation, as due to the present ballot access laws, organizing here and now is a necessity to maintain a presence in upcoming ballots and consistent openings for electoral challenges to the Left of the Dems. As Bruce Dixon writes “Currently the law keeps Greens and others off the ballot in more than half the states. Precise details vary according to state law, but if a third party candidate after obtaining one-time ballot access receives about 2% of total votes, a new ballot line is created, granting ballot access to any potential candidate from school board to sheriff to US congress who wants to run as something other than a Republican or Democrat. That, many participants agreed, would be a significant puncture in the legal thicket that now protects Democrats against competition on the ballot from their left. But a nationwide trans-partisan ballot access campaign to create a national alternative to the two capitalist parties is something left activists must begin serious work a good 18 months before a November election, essentially right now.”[xvii] This again points to the barriers Bernie Sanders builds impeding potential third-party victories. An orientation towards the Sanders campaign, without simultaneously concretely building an alternative (not just vocalizing in favor of one), reveals a level of disingenuous populism. This is why Green Party candidate “Dr. [Jill] Stein is asking for [Sanders] supporters to think about helping her party now with ballot access in order to have another option on the ballot in November as a “Plan B” for them.” [xviii] “As of July 2015, [the GP] are on the ballot in 20 states, reaching 55% of the population. In play for 2015 is 9% of the population. In 2016, [the GP will] be fighting for another 26% of the population. About another 10% of the population lives in states with the most challenging ballot access laws.” [xix] Of course, it is absurd to speak with any seriousness of an independent Bernie Sanders campaign, even aside from the ballot access laws. Sanders himself has made clear his intentions to not run as an independent multiple times. [xx] Additionally, his ties with the Democratic Party have been strengthened through the primary. In November, the Sanders campaign agreed to a join fund-raising agreement with the Democratic National Committee. “The move, which comes more than two months after Hillary Clinton’s campaign signed such an agreement in August, will allow Sanders’ team to raise up to $33,400 for the committee as well as $2,700 for the campaign from individual donors at events… (Sanders) also recently lent his name to a fundraising letter for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, according to a campaign adviser, in another indication of his slowly growing ties to the party’s infrastructure.”[xxi] The majority of Sanders supporters are just as tied to the Democratic Party, with a recent poll showing Clinton with 59% and Sanders with 26% of the party’s support, and of primary Sanders supporters - 59% also comfortable with a Clinton nomination. With Clinton consistently polling around merely 15% unfavorability amongst Democrats, the number of Sanders supports who will find it within themselves to vote Clinton in 2016 is sure to rise.[xxii] Dead On Arrival is my assessment of the Bernie Sanders campaign, and the movement of “Sandernistas.” Even where a movement for Bernie is a Left rather than Rightward shift, it is a zero-sum game to the DNC’s benefit. This is why the DNC has allowed an “insurgent” their platform, even highlighting Sanders’ campaign in email blasts.[xxiii] Whereas, in the midst of inner-party disputes, “progressive” Howard Dean had his 2004 primary run brutally taken down by a Clinton led leadership. A precursor to Sanders, Dean and his 140,000-strong “Deaniacs” movement broke records at this pre-Citizens United time with over $15 million raised, and an average donation of $25. Tens of thousands of dollars were spent on attack ads against Dean by DNC insiders, culminating in a failing third-place at the Iowa caucus, and the infamous decontextualized “scream” for which he would be politically eviscerated. “Howard Dean was assassinated in broad daylight. Unlike Kennedy’s ‘grassy knoll,’ Dean’s killers are not hiding — it was the Democratic Party itself, and more specifically the Democratic Leadership Council.”[xxiv] No less will Sanders campaign be eventually suffocated by the DNC, however, whereas Dean’s campaign was partially the product of a rift within the leadership of the Party, Sanders hardly could be said to have the Democratic Party, leadership or structures, in his cross hairs. Calls for a movement then coming from campaign offices, are marching orders into the DNC. Even explicit calls for a broader movement must be questioned by the previous measure – “A campaign has got to be much more than just getting votes and getting elected. It has got to be helping to educate people, organize people.”[xxv] Is this a statement of pressure politics, or the politics of rupture? Given what we know, this is clearly the former, a “socialism” not even passing for reformism. This is a repetition of history which should remind Leftists of all the calls after the 2008 presidential election to “hold Obama’s feet to the fire.” We should not fight to hold the state accountable, but to undermine it, as the Capitalist state can never be accountable to the oppressed. Sanders, or Soviets? Unfortunately, following decades of degrading labor and anti-capitalist movements, the Left is dominated by liberal ideas even on the fringes. Amongst Socialists, the conception of “movement” is less Trotskyist and more Alinskyist. Saul Alinisky was the author of Rules for Radicals, published in 1971, it became a bible for NGO “community organizers.” Inherently reformist and economistic, Alinskyism sees working class action in a utilitarian lens, as a means to an ends, rather than an expression of class consciouses. The ends in this case often are the winning of narrow reforms or pre-determined “leaders” being placed into positions of power. Given the recent history of various pressure campaigns like 15 Now and Black Lives Matter, whether intentionally so or eventually subsumed as such, the following critique of Alinskyism seems prophetic on its gains and limitations:
(T)he Alinsky form of opposing power is not sufficient, of course. That model takes a basic insight–one almost entirely absent from our national discourse these days–about the need to fight if you hope to win, and the need to oppose power with power, and does almost as little as possible with it: it defines powers narrowly, challenges them with a deeply formulaic strategy, and wins predictably narrow victories. These victories are actual victories, which should be a slap-across-the-face wake-up to the countless liberal and progressive organizations and ‘movements’ out there that never give the [few] people they involve in their campaigns an opportunity to experience the empowerment of actually winning something. But the victories of Alinsky groups are generally narrow and local; rarely if ever do they contribute to the creation of a new political circumstance in which similar groups of citizens will not have to form and fight and win in other places to achieve the same basic gain. They do not catalyze political change, really–just the resolution of a particular community’s ‘unique’ problems.[xxvi]
Returning then to the question of accountability, only institutions of the working class can ever hold their own “to the fire.” However, Sanders is not of the working class but a career politician, and is thusly an impediment to class independence where workers are expected to, in popular front fashion, liquidate themselves into his campaign – a liquidation evidenced by Socialist Alternative’s “Movement4Bernie” front group, whose website contains not a single criticism of Sanders. After decades of genuine workers institutions and organizing efforts being repressed by state violence, such as the case of the Black Panther Party, such institutions are vitally needed as the basis for “accountability” to bare any material meaning. Without them, elected Leftists, particularly those who carry no analysis of the extra-parliamentary wings of the Democrats, are forced into a centrism – swinging between, at worst, realpolitik allies, and at best, spontaneous class activity. Proletarian institutions historically mean the commune, the soviet, the class- struggle based neighborhood and workplace councils. They build upon and transcend spontaneity, and they are the basis of dual power and thusly a new society: “All power to the Soviets.” The construction of such institutions, and the preparation for them to fulfill their historic role – this is the real task, which history in motion does not concede time to vacillate on. For Sanders though, Socialism has nothing to do with the “withering away of the State,” nothing to do with actual working class democracy and power. Instead, while appearing to be working class centered, Sanders is first and foremost state centered – in this historical context, centered on the Capitalist state. This overrides whatever promised reforms he may be campaigning on, as this places him at odds with the working class. Sanders, by defining Socialism so loosely as simply anything the government does, including the police and military(!), empowers the 70 members (in 2009) of the Democratic Socialists of America serving in the US Congress to continue their delusion that they are “Socialists” by reinforcing the state. [xxvii] This is why the head of the DNC, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, can refuse to answer what the difference between a Democrat and a Socialist is when asked. Her response, “the more important question is, what’s the difference between a Democrat and a Republican?” may also be shared by the leadership of SAlt and much of the soft-Left.[xxviii] Murray Bookchin wrote of Sanders as Mayor of Burlington, Vermont in 1986, describing him as “a centralist” with an “administration, [that] despite its democratic proclivities, tends to look more like a civic oligarchy than a municipal democracy.” Bookchin concluded his criticism, which included details of a Burlington waterfront sellout, thusly: “This ‘managerial radicalism’ with its technocratic bias and its corporate concern for expansion is bourgeois to the core — and even brings the authenticity of traditional ‘socialist’ canons into grave question. A recent Burlington Free Press headline which declared: ‘Sanders Unites with Business on Waterfront’ could be taken as a verdict by the local business establishment as a whole that it is not they who have been joining Sanders but Sanders who has joined them. When productivist forms of ‘socialism’ begin to resemble corporate forms of capitalism, it may be well to ask how these inversions occur and whether they are accidental at all. This question is not only one that must concern Sanders and his supporters; it is a matter of grim concern for the American radical community as a whole.”[xxix] The numerous Sanders campaign promises have limitations exactly because of the restrictions of the capitalist state which he is tied to in his “Sewer Socialism” even more than he is tied to the Democratic Party. The economic program of Sanders, which could be generalized as a Keynesian one, is a 2016 version of Obama’s “Hope and Change,” and just as sterile – sterile, as a result of the constraints of the Capitalist system in crisis. In the midst of all this talk of taxing the “Billionaire class” lies a economy struggling with a marginal recovery post-Great Recession and teetering on collapse. The assumptions present in the economic outlook of Sanders are completely at odds with a Marxist outlook. Whereas liberal economists look at the drop of investment in productive sectors of the economy, as opposed to speculative investment, as a political issue of mis- or non-allocated funds, which the state must thusly appropriate to direct the marketplace, Marxists actually have an analysis founded not in (politically Left) Keynesianism, but in (politically Right) classical Liberalism. The world is then flipped on it’s head from the perspective of a Keynesian. The root causes of the 2008 long depression – Ponzi speculations, fantastical casino betting, and easy credit – are in reality the superficial expressions of a low rate of profit, the ability for the Capitalist class to turn a dollar into two dollars. Government investment outside of particular circumstances, which both Keynes and Krugman have acknowledged to be a World War economy, are an encroachment on the profits of corporations.[xxx] This encroachment cycles further drops in investment, as the promise of profitable returns is lowered. On this, New York University professor Michael Rectenwald wrote that,
As it stands, over the past forty-plus years, we have witnessed a tremendous curtailment of investment in social reproduction, such that the withering of state and private property investments has resulted in a shrunken and shrinking fixed capital base, along with the continual sloughing off of even more layers of variable capital [the labor power of workers]. Given the new, vaunted robotic automation that is promised, even more layers of workers could lose their jobs, thus offsetting or more than offsetting any gains Sanders or Clinton might achieve in employment. And if this were not bad enough, the increased technology investments in robotics [to the detriment of labor] would have the effect of further drawing down the rate of profit, thus serving to further stifle investment in production and thus labor. Likewise, the increasing introduction of robotic automation would enlarge the already growing layers of displaced workers.[xxxi]
On multiple fronts then the Socialism of Bernie Sanders, and the Socialism of much of the Left is found lacking. In common discourse it has become a trope to posit Sanders as the “good,” contrasted to the “perfect” that is a pie-in-the- sky Socialism. At this historical juncture however, the perfect is not the enemy of the good; in fact, the good is the enemy of the perfect – and it’s not even very good. Whereas the “Left” is supposedly a spectrum from liberals and progressives to radicals and revolutionaries, on the crucial issues before us today of the economy and the state, Marxism is not simply a ratcheting up of “progressive” rhetoric, but is it’s own logic entirely. Stoking illusions in the ability for the Capitalist state to respond to the needs of the people is a doomed strategy, one having already played out under Syriza in Greece. The only correct political response to Capitalism in crisis is the organization of a working class conscious of itself as having interests separate from the ruling class and the Capitalist state. Jim B further wrote in his previously quoted 2006 article that “(i)n the end, real organizing and ideology are deeply linked. When the left has either one of these without the other – as with the Alinsky-based models (real organizing without ideology) and countless 20th-century manifestations of intellectual socialism (ideology without real organizing) – the right has the opportunity, if it has both (as it does in the U.S. today, in spades), to beat the living shit out of us.”[xxxii] While the Far Right, emphasized most by ISIS, are consolidating in the wake of the failures of the Left, whether it be Syriza’s capitulation to austerity in Greece or Chavizmo’s historic electoral loss in Venezuala, we must build up the conscious forces of the historic revolutionary Left amongst working and oppressed communities. A strategy of autonomy from the state matching that of the Far Right is both a tactical maneuver to undercut and transcend divisions within the working class, while also a strategic necessity in building towards a situation of dual power. While it may seem laughable to contrast organizing around Bernie Sanders to organizing for a revolution, that is precisely the situation we’ve found ourselves in 2016 – closer to the precipice of another economic crash, with the Far Right much better positioned to take advantage. Immediately, campaigns around democracy – “the lifeblood of Socialism” – should be introduced for every facet of working class life, such as campaigning for community and tenant run public housing. Mass movements should not be treated as means, but as the basis for new expressions of class organizing. Ultimately, the “vanguard,” as the highest expression of class consciousness, can only appear out of class struggle. That the United States is populated by numerous “vanguard” parties, each an exception to the history of such organizations as the central bodies of co-operation and debate between genuine working class leaders, should cease to be the norm. Replacing today’s Left should be one which is both rooted, and emanates from, the working class and their conditions. Nothing else can move us. forward. [i]“A Vermont Socialist’s Guide to Bernie Sanders,”, accessed December 29, 2015, [ii]“Liberty Union Party | Bernie the Bomber’s Bad Week,” accessed January 3, 2016, [iii]JoetheElectrician, Meet the Press – May 22, 2005 – Howard Dean, 2009, [iv]“‘Socialist’ Bernie Sanders Funds Scumbag Democratic Party Campaigns,” Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist, accessed December 29, 2015, democratic-party-campaigns/. [v]“A Socialist in the Senate?,” accessed December 29, 2015, [vi]“Bill Clinton Rallies Superdelegates as Hillary’s Campaign Hints at Growing Roster,”, accessed January 4, 2016, superdelegates-as-hillary-s-campaign-hints-at-growing-roster. [vii]Aaron Bycoffe, “The 2016 Endorsement Primary,” FiveThirtyEight, accessed January 4, 2016, primary/. [viii]Nate Silver, “Bernie Sanders Could Win Iowa And New Hampshire. Then Lose Everywhere Else.,” FiveThirtyEight, October 11, 2015, hampshire-then-lose-everywhere-else/. [ix]“Hillary Clinton Is Pulling Away From Bernie Sanders With Union Endorsements,” The Huffington Post, accessed January 4, 2016, endorsements_564677a2e4b045bf3def3588. [x]Sophia Tesfaye, “Bernie Sanders Tries to Meet with Black Leaders but Nobody Shows up: Only 6 Congressional Black Caucus Members Attend,” accessed December 29, 2015, d_nobody_shows_up_only_6_congressional_black_caucus_members_attend/. [xi]“Black Voters in St. Louis County Direct Their Anger at the Democratic Party – The Washington Post,” accessed January 3, 2016, their-anger-at-the-democratic-party/2014/10/14/e6957b8a-4f02-11e4-aa5e- 7153e466a02d_story.html. [xii]“Black Dems Form ‘Fannie Lou Hamer’ Political Organization,” St. Louis American, accessed January 3, 2016, d3c00efcf341.html. [xiii]“#BlackLivesMatter Performs a Self-Humiliation at Hillary Clinton’s Hands | Black Agenda Report,” accessed December 30, 2015, [xiv]“Two Years Later, Black Lives Matter Faces Critiques, But It Won’t Be StoppedBlack Lives Matter,” accessed January 5, 2016, but-it-wont-be-stopped/. [xv]“Melissa Harris-Perry, Transcript 10/25/15,” MSNBC, October 25, 2015, [xvi]“Conflict Erupts in Green Party after Censorship of Sanders Supporters | Fighting the Tides,” accessed December 29, 2015, party-after-censorship-of-sanders-supporters/. [xvii]“Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders: Sheepdogging for Hillary and the Democrats in 2016 | Black Agenda Report,” accessed December 29, 2015, [xviii]“Plan B? Green Party Candidate Jill Stein’s Message to Bernie Sanders Supporters,” Florida for Jill Stein 2016, accessed January 10, 2016, jill-steins-message-bernie-sanders-supporters/. [xix]“Ballot Access,”, accessed January 10, 2016, [xx]“‘This Week’ Transcript: Fallout From Baltimore,” ABC News, May 3, 2015, id=30757510. [xxi]Gabriel Debenedetti, “Sanders Campaign Inks Joint Fundraising Pact with DNC,” POLITICO, accessed December 29, 2015, 215559. [xxii]“Most Bernie Sanders Voters OK with Hillary Clinton Winning,” USA TODAY, accessed December 29, 2015, sanders-voters-hillary-clinton-poll/77414862/. [xxiii]Josh Marshall, “The Official Opposition?,” TPM, May 28, 2015, [xxiv]“What Bernie Sanders’ Supporters Can Learn From Howard Dean,”, accessed December 29, 2015, learn-from-howard-dean/. [xxv]“Bernie Sanders: ‘I Am Prepared to Run for President of the United States’ [Updated on March 19],” The Nation, accessed January 11, 2016, united-states-updated-march-19/. [xxvi]“Activism, Incorporated,”, accessed January 11, 2016, [xxvii]“How Many Socialists Sit in Congress Today?,” WND, accessed January 5, 2016, [xxviii]“No Really—What’s the Difference Between a Democrat and a Socialist?,”, accessed December 29, 2015, difference-between-a-democrat-and-a-socialist-. [xxix]“Murray Bookchin, ‘The Bernie Sanders Paradox: When Socialism Grows Old’ (1986),” accessed December 29, 2015, bernie-sanders-paradox-when. [xxx]“Krugman and Depression Economics,” Michael Roberts Blog, May 27, 2012, economics/. [xxxi]“Syriza and Sanders: ‘Just Say “No”’ to Neo-Liberalism | Insurgent Notes,” accessed December 29, 2015, sanders-just-say-no-to-neo-liberalism/. [xxxii]“Activism, Incorporated.”