February 17, 2017

Don't get sheepdogged by Bernie's new book — or his legacy spinoff

The following is based on my Goodreads review of Bernie Sanders' book about last year's campaign and beyond, including some presidential campaign staffers of his attempting to either do a Progressive Democrats-type reformation, or a non-Green third party, showing again just what Sanders himself — and his most loyal Berniecrats — think of real reform.

Our Revolution: A Future to Believe inOur Revolution: A Future to Believe in by Bernie Sanders
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Don't get sheepdogged

There are several problems with this book.

One is that Bernie's a real Democrat, and has been a real Democrat for 25 years, despite the "I" that comes after his name on paper on a ballot line. I've blogged about this more than once. Basically, starting with his first re-election run for his House seat, he made a deal with the Vermont Democratic Party. He'd stay in touch — close touch — and the party would keep the field clear of Democratic opponents. He did and it did.

And, he'll never tell you that. Nor does he support true independent or third-party options in general. There's no index, but I can tell you that you won't find a phrase like "Green Party" in this book. Besides, his willingness to tarpaper over the Democratic shithouse right after he folded his primary cards should tell you something.

Second is that, speaking of that, this book is all about domestic issues. Yes, ALL. Every chapter is about a domestic issue. Those are generally important issues, but, they're not the only issues.

And, some foreign policy issues spill onto the home front. Terrorism and trade are big ones, even if domestic automation of jobs has become as much a problem, if not more, than unfair versions of "free trade."

So, why is this a one-sided book, other than that kind of spins off of Bernie's one-note trumpet in the campaign?

Why? Yes, he voted against the Iraq War. So did other Democrats, even if they were a minority in the Senate. (Full details: 40 percent of Senate Dems voted against the Iraq War; 60 percent of House Dems voted no. Sanders was still in the House at the time.) That said, Bernie in general, and the duopoly in general, have supported most American imperialism and American interventionism. Bernie's no real friend of the Palestinians, for example, just like national Democrats in general. And, some of us know that. And we know that if he wrote enough about foreign policy, he eventually couldn't hide that. (Jeff St. Clair of Counterpunch, in a brief interview with Ken Silverstein, has more on the skinny of the reality of Bernie on foreign policy.)

In other words, just as Bernie only mentioned coups under Republican presidents in his second Democratic primary debate with Hillary Clinton, and ignored Kennedy against Diem in Vietnam and Trujillo in the Dominican Republic, not to mention Obama-Clinton in Honduras, he had no desire to shine a light on his party line on most foreign policy.

That, in turn, is because Bernie likes sucking on the military teat. And kind of a warhawk in general, just less of one than Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.

The problem is that warhawkery, American imperialism, and American exceptionalism are attitudes that don't stay on the foreign policy side of some mythical wall of separation.

Third is that, contra most 1 and 2 star reviews, while he called himself a "social democrat," he's not an actual socialist. But, for all his old curmudgeonliness, Bernie may have had his campaign test-drive the phrase "social democrat."

Fourth is that this is not a well-written book. It's the print version of Bernie's one-note trumpet, which eventually does become tiresome. And, as noted above, it was a quick-enough knockoff that there's no index.

The "Our Revolution" organization, at least from what I can see at the state level in my state, appears to be targeting entirely Dems on the left hand of the state Democratic party. There's two different links that teh Google brings up for Texas. Both are pretty meh on no "about" info; the national organization does list staff and board. Nina Turner is the most "left" there, but she, along with Jim Hightower, have kept their bread buttered with Democratic margarine only.

Let's look at the full board as at this third link. I've already mentioned Turner, the Ohio state senator.

  • Ben Jealous is former NAACP chair; the NAACP isn't leaving the duopoly.
  • Deborah Parker is a Berniecrat who served on the DNC's Platform Committee.
  • Jim Hightower may be a left-liberal, but he's never endorsed a Texas Green candidate at the state level in his life.
  • Jim Zogby? Mainstreamer.
  • Huck Gutman? A former Bernie chief of staff knows the duopoly score.
  • Jane Kleeb? Chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party. Her rural activism has been inside the left wing of the duopoly.
  • Lucy Flores? Youth and minority appeal, but still inside the duopoly.
  • Larry Cohen? Good union leader. But, has he ever even threatened to have the CWA not endorse a Democrat, let alone endorse a Green? Doubt it.
  • Catalina Velasquez gives Our Revolution a link to older activist groups.
  • Shailene Woodley is a woman who either doesn't understand feminism or else has a image based on bad interpretations of certain not-so-good types of feminism, per Time.

In other words, it appears, from that and from what I've heard about recruits for the Texas group, that Greens, Socialists, left-liberal independents need not apply. The book was written to further that; hence my headline.

Hence the header. (Combining points 1 and 2 above, in the one Dem debate, when Bernie discussed coups, he only mentioned Republican-sponsored ones. He ignored Diem in Vietnam, Hillary Clinton's coup against Honduras, and the semi-coup against Ukraine, for example.)

I don't like being lumped with disgruntled Hillbots and wingnuts, who make up all the 1- and 2-star reviews. But, Bernie could have done something different than he did from June on.

And, this past Sunday, Sanders again rejected the idea of stepping outside the Democratic party. Meanwhile, some of his staffers, either ignoring or dissing the Greens, are talking about starting a third party. Not needed. And, unless that third party is truly better than Greens, I won't give it the time of day.

One or more of those staffers, at this website, is stepping up the work to start a third party. Go troll them on Twitter.

And, speaking of Congressional staffers — a friendly reminder to don't get sheepdogged by the former Lloyd Doggett staffers of Team Indivisible, either.

Then, things like "Revolution Road: A Bernie Bedtime Story" leads me to suspect dollar signs behind some of this.

Meanwhile, want to know what else I'm reading?



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