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feelin’ the bern, sort of…

October 15, 2015

I’m really happy that Bernie Sanders has been doing so well in the polls. I thought he did OK in the debate; and I like that he’s using his platform as a presidential candidate to talk about things like universal healthcare, the threat of global climate change, and the treat of capital accumulation (i.e., the consolidation of capital in the hands of large corporations and uber-rich individuals who own the majority of the earth’s wealth). He’s exciting young people, drawing huge crowds wherever he goes, and getting the term ‘socialist’ out there in a positive way. And I’m happy that a lot of people I personally know are behind him for that reason.

That said, I’m too cynical to get as excited and throw my full support behind him. For one, he’s not really a socialist in the sense that he stills supports a capitalist system, albeit a more regulated one, rather than a true socialist alternative where opportunity is socialized and the economy becomes a part of the commons. In addition, his strong support of US drone strikes in places like Syria that kill innocent people, as well as his support of Israel along with his relative silence on Israeli apartheid of Palestinians, bothers me. I’d prefer a real socialist like Kshama Sawant to Sanders any day. Also, I have no illusions that anyone elected to the White House, socialist or otherwise, can implement the kind of policies I think we need, not only to transition to a more socialist economy, but to help us survive the threats we face due to climate change and the socio-economic inequality created by capitalism. Our Roman-style republic was specifically designed to be difficult to change.

But like I said, I’m truly happy that his message is getting out there and inspiring a lot of people, and I hope it continues. I just hope that energy can be harnessed into a working-class mass movement rather than simply funnelled into the Democratic Party and die of entropy.


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