February 25, 2016

#FeelTheBern vs. #GoingGreen

That second hashtag? Dr. Jill Stein, 2012 Green Party presidential nominee and a candidate again this year, talks about the very real differences between her and Bernie Sanders. They're primarily in the field of foreign policy, but some are domestic policy differences too.

First, she notes that the Green Party, whomever it nominates, is working to be either a Plan A for the already enlightened, or a Plan B for Sanders backers when he gets shivved enough times, backed into an establishmentarian corner, or whatever.

And, yes, all of that is already starting to happen.

First, she makes clear that that fact will happen, the rest of the way.

Second, those differences.

Per Bernie lusting after the military teat for F-35s, as I've noted in depth before, she's got a good phrase for it: "military Keynesianism." Sanders had an excellent, straight-on opportunity last Thursday to reject this, when asked what federal agencies or programs he might downsize. As I noted, a simple answer would have been "The Department of Defense and the CIA." And he passed. Says enough right there.

From there, she notes he's been insufficiently concerned about the "Deep State," though he did vote against the Patriot Act. And, he's drone warfare-lite, and still within establishmentarian bounds on Israel-Palestine issues.

On Snowden, Sanders himself has said "I don't care." But, he actually does care, as in the first Democratic debate, he called for Snowden to be prosecuted, knowing full well that the idea of him getting "a light sentence" in today's America is far more unrealistic than Sanders' ideas on reducing prison incarceration. (However, establishmentarians like Mark Kleiman, while playing "gotcha" with Sanders on incarceration in general, surely applaud his comment on Snowden.

Related to this, Stein stares straight at the issue of "Lesser Evilism," And, she's unafraid to call out even a left-liberal icon to some, Noam Chomsky, for participating in it.

Next, she moves to identity politics, played unsubtly by Clinton this time around, and more smoothly by Obama in 2008. I agree with her, and when asked about that election, I tell people: "I voted for the black and the woman." I didn't vote for Cynthia McKinney because of either her ethnos or her sex, though; I voted for her because she was the 2008 Green Party candidate.

Related to that, she's right about one other thing — Clinton has less power to "bamboozle" now than Obama did in 2008.

Give the whole piece a read. Stein herself isn't afraid to call out Marxist types — a place leftward I would never go — for claiming that the Green Party, and real "green" types in general, are "catastrophists" for our degree of worry about climate change.

I know many Sanders backers, especially among younger voters, may not grasp that he's likely to cut his deal with the national Democratic party at some point. I also recognize that many of you may not realize how establishmentarian much of his foreign policy is. That's why I'm blogging about this piece — when the "deal time" comes, you need to know there's a Plan B, and one that's better.

That said, Sanders-only backers vs. Plan B thinkers has led to an outbreak of dueling articles on left-liberal opinion sites.

Chris Hedges, while overblown on calling Sanders a "sheepdogger" for the Democratic party, is right that any true political movement of the left will ultimately have to arise outside that party.

Here’s a key graf, with a mix of truth and speculation:
If Sanders is denied the nomination—the Clinton machine and the Democratic Party establishment, along with their corporate puppet masters, will use every dirty trick to ensure he loses—his so-called movement and political revolution will evaporate. His mobilized base, as was true with the Obama campaign, will be fossilized into donor and volunteer lists. The curtain will come down with a thunderclap until the next election carnival.
First, it’s out of date — the “will use” is actually “are using.”

That's why I long ago decided to stop enabling the Democratic Party, as I wrote yesterday.

That said, the speculation about his revolution evaporating? Not so fast, Chris — those of us who think outside the two-party box are already ready to push Plan B.

The baseline question is: Are Sandernistas amenable to voting Green, and thinking outside the two-party box themselves, or not? If "not," then, yes, his movement and revolution ends. But, if at least 10 percent vote Green rather than either voting Hillary or staying home in November, it's "onward and upward."

That depends, as Hedges notes, whether they are ready to think outside the bipartisan foreign policy establishment box. Bernie himself, whether on F-35s, his general warhawkery, quietude about coups today committed under a Democratic president, including one when your opponent was Secretary of State, rather than condemning only coups of the past by GOP presidents, our relations with Russia (I am OK with left-liberal Realpolitik myself, but I highly suspect Hedges is not), and other foreign policy issues, has shown that he refuses to step outside that box himself.

It's not that Sanders is ignorant of any of this. He's been in the House and Senate for a combined quarter century. And become more establishmentarianist on foreign policy the longer he's been there.

And, we haven't even mentioned how, at least among the left-of-center side, he's arguably a gun nut. Oops, I just mentioned it. And, maybe we shouldn't talk about him really being a Democrat in all but name. Or that, like Democrats, he can be a corporate socialist in a bad way.

That's why I've already said that I'll back a renominated Jill Stein, or other acceptable Green, over Sanders in November.

Hedges has been attacked by one freelance contributor on TruthDig. Unfortunately, after calling me a Bolshevist on Facebook for demanding some absolute purity from Sanders by saying we should look beyond him, he then deleted his comments and ran away. TruthDig doesn't have a search function. Maybe he asked for his pieces there to be withdrawn, too.

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