Month: June, 2015
Bernie Sanders ‘political revolution’
worker | June 30, 2015 | 7:11 pm | Bernie Sanders, political struggle | Comments closed

The presentation below was presented to the CPUSA National Board on June 10, 2015.

The context of the amazing outpouring and response to Bernie Sanders campaign is the uprising underway for a more just society. Across the country, pressure is mounting and social movements are building for a livable wage, to end racist attacks and police brutality, to stop fast track for TPP in the interest of jobs, the environment and democratic rights over corporate rule, to expand Scoial Security and end student debt.

Bernie Sanders is attracting thousands at each event because he presents a specific program squarely on the side of the 99%, challenging income inequality and financial domination of the country and of politics.

His campaign is shaking up the political landscape, “a political revolution,”as he says.

Bernie Sanders is getting a big response from people who are sick and tired of elections being bought by Wall St, people who have become angry and alienated from the political process, people who have been looking for a voice. His appeal is wide. Reports from grassroots house meetings and rallies in the south and mid west reveal that some Democratic leaders are on board, and some independents and Republicans are changing affiliation to support Bernie.

While all the points in his program have long had majority support in the polls, Bernie himself has said that he is stunned by the huge turnouts as he campaigns around the country.  Days after he announced, the Wisconsin Democratic convention held a straw poll. Hillary Clinton was chosen by 49% and Bernie Sanders was chosen by 41% of delegates.

Soon after, the South Carolina AFL-CIO passed a resolution calling upon the national AFL CIO to endorse Bernie Sanders as the “strongest candidate articulating labor’s values.” The resolution says, “Labor must step up to fundamentally change the direction of American politics by refocusing on the issues of our time: growing inequality and pervasive racism; the power of concentrated wealth and its corruption of our democracy; an escalating pension and retirement security crisis, runaway military spending and a militarized foreign policy, Medicare for All, and the need for new, bold solutions to our shared problems.”

In other early labor support, the UE General Executive Board endorsed Bernie Sanders. The campaign has been well received by steel worker retirees. An open letter of support from union leaders and members is being circulated on-line.

The latest endorsement comes from Neil Young, after Donald Trump had the audacity to play “Rockin in the Free World” at his campaign announcement yesterday. Neil Young’s manager says use of the song was not authorized and that Young is a long-time supporter of Bernie Sanders.

Bernie Sanders has a life-long record and relationship with labor. To create the kind of unity that can move our country forward, such a specific outreach based in his strong record is critical as well with the African American, Latino, Native American, Asian Pacific communities, women and youth.

A national campaign to popularize and build support for the Employ Young Americans Now Act introduced by Bernie Sanders (S 1506) and John Conyers (HR 2714) is a powerful link to both the Fight for 15 and Black Lives Matter. This legislation would provide $5.5 billion for states and local governments to employ 1 million youth from ages 16 to 24 years old.

“The answer to unemployment and poverty is not and cannot be the mass incarceration of young African Americans,” Sanders said.  “It’s time to bring hope and economic opportunity to communities across the country.”

The Sanders campaign is a wonderful development for 2016 and beyond in many ways.

  • 1) The Sanders campaign can shift the dialog from the right wing and objectively boost the various initiatives underway around the country for a progressive agenda.

  • 2) The campaign has the potential to inspire people to engage in the political process and increase voter turnout. It has the potential to help create progressive structures, campaigns and coalitions at the local level to shift the political climate.

  • 3) It is already changing the political debate within the Democratic primary and the Democratic Party.

  • 4) Sanders identifying as a democratic socialist opens up long-term discussion about what socialism is and could be in our country, and makes socialism respectable. It offers the possibility to deepen the discussion about socialism, third parties and political independence in and outside the Democratic Party.

All of this is a huge contribution toward the strategic electoral goal of defeating the extreme right wing. Sanders himself has been careful to emphasize he is not campaigning against Hillary Clinton (or Lincoln Chaffee or Martin O’Malley), he is campaigning to take on the corporate agenda of the Republicans and offer positive solutions.

In Vermont, where he was first elected Mayor of Burlington, Sanders always ran independent with the broadest kind of approach and coalition building and with an emphasis on issues that improve people’s lives. He is elected to the U.S. Senate as an independent (last election with 72% of the vote) but caucuses with the Democrats in the Senate. He made the decision to run in the Democratic primary because he determined that he could never raise enough money to get heard otherwise in a presidential campaign given current electoral structures.

A winning approach for 2016 starts with the issues and by connecting with emerging social movements Black Lives Matter and the Fight for $15 and local campaigns and coalitions. This is a unifying approach that keeps the focus against the extreme right-wing with a positive agenda.

The Sanders campaign offers a unique opportunity to initiate committees and community conversations on the issues. The doors are wide open to organize as broadly as possible with activists and coalitions.

Campaign house parties and local events can be promoted on-line to spread the word about what Bernie Sanders stands for.

At the grass roots across the country, Bernie Sanders is not necessarily a household name. As well, the corporate media does not want this name and program to be known. Introducing who Bernie Sanders is, what positions he is running on, and the bigger significance of his campaign cam be brought to every community in a way that is inclusive of those in progressive circles who support Hillary Clinton or others.

The South Carolina AFL CIO Resolution is an example of what other organizations could also consider. and share via social media.

Building for the long-term, beyond the election, in local election districts, is an essential ingredient in the strategy to defeat the extreme right wing and go onto the offensive for people’s needs.

As and launch new websites the ability to share these ideas increases. Combining on-line communications with building door to door in key working class communities can be instrumental in getting out the vote and organizing year round.

Writing up local experiences and analysis for the People’s World will attract more new readers and can contribute to bigger coalition building and inspiring the disengaged to get involved.

There are times in history when things move fast. This may be one of those times.

Congress: Oppose IMF Assault on Greek Democracy
worker | June 30, 2015 | 7:09 pm | Greece, political struggle | Comments closed

LGBT of the Party of Communists
worker | June 29, 2015 | 8:53 pm | LGBT, Party of Communists USA, Party Voices | 2 Comments

——–LGBT of the Party of Communists—-Gay Pride Parade Jun 28 2015


Communists have always fought for social and economic equality; battling against racism, sexism, disability and LGBT bias. In fact, the Soviet Union was the first country to decriminalize homosexuality in 1917 and many important LGBT people held important positions of power in the USSR. In the United States, LGBT rights were important to the communist party and many comrades like HARRY HAY who created the Madison School were involved in the fight, even during the repressive 1950’s. East Germany was the first country to legalize birth control, abortion, sexual education, and even advocate LGBT rights as one form of sexuality equal to others during the early 1960’s.


Like racism and sexism; LGBT bias is caused by Capitalism’s need to create scapegoats and pit one set of workers against others to prevent solidarity. Just like racism did not exist for example during the Roman period or the Middle Ages, LGBT bias is a modern creation of Capitalism. Sigmund Freud, for example, when he declared that all men and women were bisexual was not postulating a new theory, but one that had been accepted. LGBT bias and the use of terms like homosexual were modern 20th century creations; gaining momentum specifically in the 1920’s with the rise of Fascism. Like Jews, LGBT people were also scapegoated whether in Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, or Capitalist America.


One may argue that after the historic Supreme Court decision allowing same sex partners to marry in the US, why is there still a need for LGBT to support communism or join the communist party? Because Same sex marriage is not enough. In 29 states for example, it is still legal to fire someone for being LGBT. Moreover 40% of LGBT youth are homeless. In addition, attacks against the LGBT community will continue as long as Capitalism needs scapegoats to detract attention from economic ills. In fact, the Supreme Court just happened to pass the Gay Marriage Act, as Congress passed the TPP. The TPP is a brutal free trade act that undermines all worker and community rights. Under the TPP, states and countries will no longer be able to set or enforce pollution controls or even a minimum wage if it interferes with corporate profits. We need real progressive change. An End to All Discrimination!! Not smokescreens.



  • Everyone should be entitled to healthcare benefits, not just married couples.
  • Increase number of School Counselors for all students, including LGBT
  • End all discrimination in the workplace, housing, adoption services, and public services.
  • End homelessness, including the 40% who are LGBT. In the former Soviet constitution, shelter was a basic right as was medical care, and education to the university level. 


Join us and make a difference.

Party of Communists, USA

P.O. Box 140434

Staten Island, NY 10314-0434  718-979-6563

North Korean diplomat visits Cuba on undisclosed mission
worker | June 29, 2015 | 8:41 pm | Cuba, DPRK, political struggle | Comments closed

Kang Sok SuKang Sok Su, member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of North Korea’s Workers’ Party and the party’s Secretary of International Relations, arrived in Havana last week for an official visit, accompanied by his deputy, Pak Kun Gwang, and other party functionaries.
On Saturday (June 27), they and Pak Chung Yul, North Korean ambassador to Cuba, met with José Ramón Machado Ventura, second secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba; José Ramón Balaguer and Oscar Martínez Cordovés, chief and deputy chief respectively of the Department of International Relations of the Cuban Communist Party’s Central Committee.
Kang Sok Su and President Kim Jong Il in 2009. Kim died in December 2011.
Kang Sok Su and President Kim Jong Il in 2009. Kim died in December 2011.
A report Sunday in the Cuban daily Juventud Rebelde described the meeting as a “fraternal exchange on the status of relations between both parties and nations, as well as on other national and international topics.”
The [North] Korean Center News Agency related that “both sides informed each other of their party activities and exchanged views on the issue of boosting the friendly and cooperative relations between the two parties and countries and issues of mutual concern.”
Later, Kang met with President Raúl Castro Ruz and attended a reception given by the Communist Party of Cuba.
Neither Havana nor Pyongyang has stated the specific reason for Kang’s trip or its duration, but Pyongyang-watchers in South Korea believe that he’s in Cuba to request food aid for his country, which has been severely affected by a serious drought this year — the worst in a century, according to North Korean authorities.
Researchers at South Korea’s Institute for National Security Strategy point to the simultaneous departure for Russia by Choe Thae Bok, chairman of the Workers’ Party Central Committee, as evidence that North Korea is looking abroad for food supplies.
Foreign Ministers Ri Su Yong and Bruno Rodríguez in Havana in March of this year.
Foreign Ministers Ri Su Yong and Bruno Rodríguez in Havana in March of this year.
Also, Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong traveled to Equatorial Guinea last week, beginning what the North Korean news agency described as a tour of “some African states.” In mid-March, Ri paid a short visit to Havana, where he met with his counterpart, Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla.
The 76-year-old Kang Sok Su (transliterated to English as Kang Sok Ju) is, according to North Korea Leadership Watch, “one of North Korea’s most experienced and influential foreign policy officials, having been one of [the late President] Kim Jong Ilís trusted foreign-policy hands.”
“He participated in numerous interactions […] with the foreign leadership of the United States, Japan, South Korea, China and Russia. Kang is a cousin of [the late] Kim Jong Ilís.”
Cuba has maintained diplomatic relations with North Korea since 1960. Fidel Castro visited that country in March 1986.
[Photo at top of Kang Sok Su being greeted by President Raúl Castro on June 27. At left is José Ramón Machado Ventura.]
The “New Feudalism”?
worker | June 29, 2015 | 8:38 pm | Economy, political struggle | Comments closed

Monday, June 29, 2015

At the dawn of the era of capitalism, when commodity production remained embedded in feudalism, many merchants established networks of disconnected peasant households desirous of extra incomes and possessing modest handiwork skills. They supplied these networks with raw materials and tools (capital), paid for the work, secured the products, and brought them to market, reaping a profit. This system of “cottage” or “putting out” commodity production was a factor in accumulating capital necessary for the later system of collecting workers under one roof, what we came to know as manufactory, a more efficient means of commodity production. In turn, primitive manufactory, with the further accumulation of capital and revolutionary changes in the productive forces, gave rise to an even more efficient system of production by joining human labor with machinery and seemingly inexhaustible and ever-available sources of power.
Just as the modern CEO and his or her corporate courtiers have inherited the role of the early merchant-entrepreneur, today’s workers are the offspring of the peasant selling labor to the incipient capitalist.
Centuries after the proto-capitalism of putting out “jobs” to small, independent producers, the idea has returned. Ironically, twenty-first century capitalism is reviving the idea thanks to the ubiquitous technology of the smart phone and the computer. Modern entrepreneurs link services from isolated, unrelated providers with customers via the Internet. Arrangements and payments are made through the intermediary of an entrepreneurial organization that risks little and gains much. While the services have taken on tech-sounding brand names like Uber, Airbnb, Instacart, or TaskRabbit, advocates have dubbed the new enterprises “the sharing economy,” an expression that conjures the image of a utopian New Harmony of idealistic cooperators.
That would be a false image, however.
The “sharing economy” is nothing more than a new phase of monopoly capitalism in the service sector, a new mode of exploitation enabled by advances in the productive forces. As with the evolution of the factory system, higher forms of organization have concentrated industries and afforded higher rates of profit. Advances in technology have allowed a company like Uber to spread its corporate net both nationally and internationally, creating an enterprise much broader and more flexible than existing taxicab or other vehicle livery services. In a short time, the new wave of service start-ups have rivaled or surpassed in revenue or usage the long-standing traditionally organized business competitors. While their services rely upon dissociated, heterogeneous service providers, they are interlocked and dispatched with an efficiency only possible with the latest technological advances.
But even with these technological advances, it is the competitive edge won by lower prices that account for the explosive growth of the “sharing economy.” Customers are, first and foremost, flocking to Uber, Airbnb, etc. because they perceive a value. This has been especially appealing to those upper, upper-middle or want-to-be-upper stratum consumers who have been damaged by the economic crisis. The “sharing economy” thrives in the economic space between limousines (and taxis) and public transportation, between the Ritz-Carlton and Motel Six.
Lower prices are garnered in two very old-fashioned ways common to the history of capitalism: exploitation and side-stepping regulation.
By relying on informal employment and minimalist contracts, the “sharing economy” sidesteps the historically accumulated regulatory protections that have shaped the relevant industries (vehicle livery, hospitality, etc.) over many decades of practice. Without these protections, countless losses or injuries would have been suffered by both consumers and employees. Of course regulation comes at a price. Safety guarantees, training, maintaining humane working conditions, catastrophic insurance etc., all add to the costs of the final product. But billion-dollar corporations like Uber, hiding behind the “sharing” mantra, ignore or deny these regulations. And so far, corporate-friendly state and federal regulatory agencies have put up only meek resistance. Utility commissions and consumer protection agencies, always hesitant to step on corporate toes, have ignored the potential for abuse or negligence. Things will change dramatically when damages and legal actions begin to pile up.
But the “sharing” employment model adds even more to the bottom line. By using “free-lance” employees and selling the notion that they are independent contractors, “sharing economy” corporate moguls evade labor standards of any kind, depress payments on a whim, and allocate work on a totally capricious basis. As independent contractors, employees have virtually no supplemental workplace rights; the terms and conditions of employment are completely dictated by the boss. Wall Street Journal commentator Christopher Mims remarks how some have come to see the “sharing economy” as the “new feudalism” (How Everyone Misjudges the “Sharing” Economy, 5-24-2015). Given its commonalities with the 15th and 16th century putting-out system, one can appreciate the comparison.
In a Philadelphia study cited by Mims, Uber drivers, after expenses, averaged about ten dollars an hour. That figure will only go down when off-warranty repairs and damages and insurance liabilities catch up with extended usage. Moreover, Uber concedes that 51% of its drivers work less than 15 hours a week. And since Uber hires 20,000 new drivers a month internationally, per capita hours can only go down.
While Airbnb doesn’t directly exploit workers, it does (or soon will) take jobs from the hospitality industry. Housekeepers, janitors, desk personnel, concierge, etc. are not part of the expenses associated with the Airbnb business model. Consequently, Airbnb enjoys a price competitive advantage (though the customers never really are assured of what he or she will get for the price). But like any competitive advantage, vultures are attracted. In many cities, speculators are purchasing properties explicitly to use for short-term Airbnb rentals. Others are counting on rentals to finance home purchases. Both practices are driving property values higher and higher, further feeding the ethnic and class cleansing of our major cities for the urban gentry.
As with the other elements of the “sharing economy,” the avoidance of regulatory protections, customary amenities, and consistent service will eventually challenge the business model. “Accidents,” sub-standard performance, and disputes are coming. When the aura of newness wears off, the attraction of lower costs will lose much of its glitz.
The workplace may change, but exploitation remains the same. How the labor movement responds will say a lot about the future of organized labor. Depressed labor costs, whether it nests in the fast-food industry or in the new “sharing economy,” imperils all of labor, organized or unorganized.
If labor leaders think that the Democrats will stem the dampening of wages and benefits, they should think again. David Plouffe, President Obama’s former campaign manager now works for Uber and serves on its board of directors. Bill Clinton’s long-time spokesperson, Matt McKenna, has also joined Uber. And then there is Jim Messina, head of Priorities USA Action, a super PAC associated with Hillary Clinton’s Presidential aspirations. Messina works with both Uber and Airbnb to smooth the way with Democratic Party legislators. Fat chance Democratic leaders will stand in the way of the “sharing economy” juggernaut.
Let’s hope organized labor has the foresight to tackle this emerging threat to working class living standards.
Zoltan Zigedy
RESPONSE TO:Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders:Sheepdogging for Hillary and the Democrats in 2016
worker | June 29, 2015 | 8:57 am | Analysis, Bernie Sanders, political struggle | Comments closed

By A. Shaw

Bruce Dixon acts like a sheepdog even when he formulates his idea of such a dog.

“Bernie Sanders is this election’s Democratic sheepdog. The sheepdog is a card the Democratic party plays every presidential primary season when there’s no White House Democrat running for re-election. The sheepdog is a presidential candidate running ostensibly to the left of the establishment Democrat to whom the billionaires will award the nomination. Sheepdogs are herders, and the sheepdog candidate is charged with herding activists and voters back into the Democratic fold who might otherwise drift leftward and outside of the Democratic party, either staying home or trying to build something outside the two party box.”
So, after dropping some of Dixon’s transparent and obnoxious pro-GOP partisan biases, we get Items (1) to (5) as the concept of sheepdog:
(1)  A sheepdog is an electoral tactic used by the Democratic Party [DP] in every presidential primary season  in which there is no DP incumbent running for re-election.
(2) The sheepdog is a DP presidential candidate running ostensibly to the left of the establishment Democrat.
(3) A sheepdog herds activists and voters back into the Democratic fold.
(4) Otherwise, these activists and voters may drift leftward outside of the DP.
(5) These drifting activists and voters may either stay home on election day or try to build something outside the two party box.
(1)  a sheepdog is an electoral tactic used by the DP in every presidential primary season  in which there is no DP incumbent running for re-election.
Obviously, Bruce Dixon generously exonerates GOPs from the use of sheepdogs.
In 2015 and 2016, there’s no DP incumbent running for re-election; so, according to sheepdog-expert Dixon, the DP is using and will continue to use a sheepdog whom Dixon identifies as Bernie Sanders.
If sheepdogging is useful to the DP when there is no DP presidential incumbent, why wouldn’t sheepdogging also be useful or more useful when there is a DP incumbent running for re-election?
Clearly, the condition of no DP presidential incumbent is as capricious as the opposing condition that a DP incumbent exists.
This caprice shows that Item (1) is just gibberish.
(2) The sheepdog is a DP presidential candidate running ostensibly to the left of the establishment Democrat
In 2004, there was no DP presidential incumbent running for re-election.
John Kerry was the establishment Democratic candidate.
Dennis Kucinich, Al Sharpton, Howard Dean, Carol Moseley Braun and John Edwards were  DP presidential candidates running ostensibly to the left  of John Kerry.
Items (1) and (2), above, mention a single sheepdog per election, not a pack of dogs, all running ostensibly to the left of the establishment Democratic candidate.
How does one determine which member of the pack of dogs is the real sheepdog?
Let’s assume that the criterion is which member of the pack of dogs is running most ostensibly to the left.
Using this criterion, the real sheepdog is either Kucinich or Al Sharpton.
Clearly from Items (1) and (2), Dixon’s idea about a sheepdog is a crock of shit.
Let’s look at Item (3) of his idea.
(3) A sheepdog herds activists and voters back into the Democratic fold
Significantly, Mr. Dixon doesn’t object if the dog herds activists and voters back into the GOP fold or  back into the Green Party [GP] fold?
Mr. Dixon is a state committee member of the GP, Georgia.
So, Ralph Nader, a huge GP sheepdog in 1996 and 2000, is a hero to the GPs.
For whom did these activists act and for whom did they vote before they were herded back into the Democratic fold?
Let’s apply Dixon’s concept of sheepdog to Nader:
(1)  There was a DP incumbent [Bill Clinton] running in 1996 and none in 2000.
(2) Nader was the GP presidential candidate running ostensibly to the left of the establishment Democrats in both 1996 and 2000.
(3) Nader herded activists and voters out of the Democratic fold and into the GP fold.
(4) Otherwise, these activists and voters may drift around within the DP.
(5) In 1996 and 2000, Nader campaigned for either a liberal-left abstention or support for a third party that could not win due to the lack of sufficient ballot access. The GP had ballot access in only 21 out 50 states, not enough ballot access to win the White House in either popular or electoral votes.
Some crackpot GPs argue that ballot access in 21 out of 50 states is enough ballot access to win both the popular and electoral votes for the White House.

Presidential Election Results of Green Party

Election year Candidate Running mate # of overall votes  % of overall vote # of electoral votes +/-
1996 Ralph Nader Winona LaDuke 684,871 0.71
0 / 538
2000 Ralph Nader Winona LaDuke 2,882,955 2.74
0 / 538
2004 David Cobb Pat LaMarche 119,859 0.10
0 / 538
2008 Cynthia McKinney Rosa Clemente 161,680 0.12
0 / 538
2012 Jill Stein Cheri Honkala 468,907 0.36
0 / 538
The GP ran for the White House five times and has yet to win even one electoral vote.
In 4 of the five races for the White House, the GP failed to win 1% of the popular vote.
Still GP crackpots loudly argue that ballot access in only 21 states is sufficient to win the White House. Therefore, the crackpots conclude, a voter does not throw away his or her vote when they support a GP presidential  candidate.
The GP should concentrate its resources on ballot access campaigns and on the development of a  highly trained and highly experienced political force which knows how to win as a result of training and participation in local struggles for power.
“Local” includes state, county, municipal races.
The GP should discontinue its practice of taking money from the GOP to finance ballot access campaigns like the GP ballot access campaign in Texas to which the GOP appropriated $565,000.
(4) Otherwise, these activists and voters may drift leftward outside of the DP
Activists and voters can hardly drift to where they already are.
Bernie Sanders is a center left candidate and his sector of the DP is center left.
The GP is also a center left group, although much of the GP sees its leftism as pristine.
So, drifting from center left of the DP to the center left of the GP is not very much of a drift.
The consensus is that about 35% of the DP is reactionary.  So far, there doesn’t seem to be a consensus on how much of the GP is reactionary.
I would be surprised if the reactionary sector of the GP constitutes less than 35% of the GP.
Drifting from the reactionary sector of the DP to the reactionary sector of GP is not very much of a drift, either.
(5) These drifting activists and voters may either stay home on election day or try to build something outside the two party box
Political forces struggle for state power to satisfy their desire  for various ends. The ends include:
Far Right          Center Right          Right         Center Left         Far left
Bernie is center left and Hillary is center right. So, the essence of the current contest between them is center left opposes center right.
Pres. Obama exercises state power and he is clearly center right like Hillary.
To help Hillary Clinton achieve her center right ambitions, one can campaign for her and deliver votes to her.
To help Bernie Sanders achieve her center left ambitions, one can campaign for him and deliver votes to him.
But if campaigning and voting for Hillary is impossible or very unlikely for some reason, there are two other ways one can still help Hillary and hurt Bernie
    (a) convince Bernie’s supporters to stay at home [Item 5 of Dixon concept of sheepdogging] or, in other words, abstain from campaigning and voting for anybody.
This, that is (a), helps Hillary as much as it hurts Bernie, or
    (b) for those who refuse to abstain from campaigning and voting, convince them to campaign and vote for a candidate whose chances of winning are legally impossible or nearly impossible due to obstacles like insufficient ballot access or lack of minimum age for candidacy or candidate disqualification for felony conviction, etc.
This, that is (b), also helps Hillary as much as it hurts Bernie.
If you help Bernie to beat Hillary, then state power moves closer to a center left position.
If you help Hillary beat Bernie, then power moves closer to a center right position.
Hence, the citizen, campaigner, and voter must know whether he or she WANTS power to move to the right or center or left and whether power IS moving in one of these ways.
Again, at the present time, the political situation on the DP side seems to be center right (Hillary) opposes center  left (Bernie).
 At the present time, the political situation on the GOP side seems to be: The far right (divided among a dozen or so contenders) opposes the far right or, in other words, opposes itself.
What terrifies the proletariat and the middle class is that the mass of the ruling bourgeoisie seems to be solidly far right. The masses don’t understand why bourgeois scum deserted the people for a bunch of slimy reactionary extremists in the capitalist class.
Anyway, the next stage of the class struggle — the general election – seems to be: Either the center right (Hillary) or the center left (Bernie) opposes the far right (any of the dozen or so reactionary contenders).
No doubt Mr. Dixon will urge the workers to stay home on the Nov. 2016 election day or vote for some buffoon who lacks enough ballot access to win.
Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders: Sheepdogging for Hillary and the Democrats in 2016
worker | June 29, 2015 | 8:55 am | Bernie Sanders, political struggle | Comments closed

By BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

Vermont senator and ostensible socialist Bernie Sanders is playing the sheepdog candidate for Hillary Clinton this year. Bernie’s job is to warm up the crowd for Hillary, herding activist energies and the disaffected left back into the Democratic fold one more time. Bernie aims to tie up activist energies and resources till the summer of 2016 when the only remaining choice will be the usual lesser of two evils.

Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders: Sheepdogging for Hillary and the Democrats in 2016

By BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

“The sheepdog is a card the Democratic party plays every presidential primary season when there’s no White House Democrat running for re-election.”
Spoiler alert: we have seen the Bernie Sanders show before, and we know exactly how it ends. Bernie has zero likelihood of winning the Democratic nomination for president over Hillary Clinton. Bernie will lose, Hillary will win. When Bernie folds his tent in the summer of 2016, the money, the hopes and prayers, the year of activist zeal that folks put behind Bernie Sanders’ either vanishes into thin air, or directly benefits the Hillary Clinton campaign.
Don’t believe us? Then believe Bernie himself interviewed by George Stephanopoulos on ABC News “This Week” May 3.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So if you lose in this nomination fight, will you support the Democratic nominee?
SANDERS: Yes. I have in the past.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Not going to run as an independent?
SANDERS: No, absolutely not. I’ve been very clear about that.
Bernie Sanders is this election’s Democratic sheepdog. The sheepdog is a card the Democratic party plays every presidential primary season when there’s no White House Democrat running for re-election. The sheepdog is a presidential candidate running ostensibly to the left of the establishment Democrat to whom the billionaires will award the nomination. Sheepdogs are herders, and the sheepdog candidate is charged with herding activists and voters back into the Democratic fold who might otherwise drift leftward and outside of the Democratic party, either staying home or trying to build something outside the two party box.
1984 and 88 the sheepdog candidate was Jesse Jackson. In 92 it was California governor Jerry Brown. In 2000 and 2004 the designated sheepdog was Al Sharpton, and in 2008 it was Dennis Kucinich. This year it’s Vermont senator Bernie Sanders. The function of the sheepdog candidate is to give left activists and voters a reason, however illusory, to believe there’s a place of influence for them inside the Democratic party, if and only if the eventual Democratic nominee can win in November.
Despite casting millions of voters for the likes of Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and other sheepdogs, those leftish Democrat voters are always disregarded when Democrats actually win. Bill Clinton gave us NAFTA, a vicious “welfare reform,” no peace dividend or push for DC statehood, lowered unemployment but mostly in part time and low-wage jobs, and mass incarceration of black and brown people. President Obama doubled down on bailouts of banksters and GM, and immunized them from prosecution but failed to address the most catastrophic fall in black household wealth in history. We got health care for some instead of Medicare for All, the Patriot Act renewed instead of repealed, a race to privatize public education, drone wars and still more mass incarceration of black and brown people. And if President Obama gets his way, we may soon have a global job-destroying wage-lowering NAFTA on steroids, with the TTP and TTIP.
The sheepdog’s job is to divert the energy and enthusiasm of activists a year, a year and a half out from a November election away from building an alternative to the Democratic party, and into his doomed effort. When the sheepdog inevitably folds in the late spring or early summer before a November election, there’s no time remaining to win ballot access for alternative parties or candidates, no time to raise money or organize any effective challenge to the two capitalist parties.
At that point, with all the alternatives foreclosed, the narrative shifts to the familiar “lesser of two evils.” Every sheepdog candidate surrenders the shreds of his credibility to the Democratic nominee in time for the November election. This is how the Bernie Sanders show ends, as the left-leaning warm-up act for Hillary Clinton.
Intent on avoiding the two-party “lesser evil” trap this year, about two hundred activists gathered in Chicago last weekend to consider the future of electoral organizing outside the Democratic and Republican parties. Many of the participants were Greens, including former presidential and vice presidential candidates Jill Stein and Rosa Clemente, the former Green mayor of Richmond California, and many others. There were also representatives from Seattle, where Socialist Alternative’s Kshama Sawant won election to Seattle’s city council, as well as Angela Walker, a black socialist who received 67,000 votes for Milwaukee County sheriff in 2014, and many others, including some who took part in the recent Chicago mayoral election.
There was trans-partisan interest in a 50-state ballot access drive to put the Green Party’s Jill Stein on the presidential ballot for 2016 presidential race. 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.
Whether or not a national ballot access campaign is undertaken by Greens and others, a Bernie Sanders candidacy is an invitation to do again what’s been done in 1984, 1988, 1992, 2000, 2004 and 2008. Bernie’s candidacy is a blast toward the past, an invitation to herd and be herded like sheep back into the Democratic fold, to fundraise and canvass and recruit and mobilize for Bernie, as he warms up the crowd for Hillary. Bernie is a sheepdog.
The question is, are we sheep?
Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and a state committee member of the GA Green Party. He lives and works near Marietta GA and can be reached at bruce.dixon(at)