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Response to Sanders-as-sheepdog

Below is my response to the to this WSWS article  [via WordVirus]  

 

It is indeed probably at least partially true that Sanders is this election’s “sheepdog” candidate, stringing along Democratic voters for another cycle of Hope-and-Change (Bait-and-Switch), keeping the party’s left from wandering off to form a third party.

Nevertheless, even if we adopt this pessimistic-but-plausible expectation, consider this:

Simply to offer up the Hope (Bait) part of the deal, the Dem. establishment must, and are, on a national level, legitimizing the following:

1. The idea that economic inequality is a top-level issue
2. Rehabilitation of the word “socialist” in American popular discourse from its century of McCarthyist exile
3. Laying to rest the once-popular idea, that the present form of the U.S. political system is on the side of the regular American. Laying to rest the idea that the U.S. political system is capable of forging an actual partnership between disempowered-individuals-acting-collectively and concentrated moneyed interests when they are distilled into their machine-like corporate mode of operation — rather than rolling over for business interests as the Obama presidency demonstrated in the wake of the Financial Crisis. Up through Obama, a lot of Democrats seriously bought into the idea the U.S. political system, as it now exists, could harness the U.S. government in a way that looked out for most people’s interests. The financial crisis and OWS knocked this naiive belief down, and it may well get finished off this cycle.
4. Similarly, lay to rest the illusion that establishment Democrat party folk can be trusted by the voters, at least not without a very deep overhaul.

With those illusions out of the way, the country can move to the much easier questions of “How?”. (Hint: paint a target on the 2-party duopoly pattern. Break that pattern using the technique of proportional representation / instant runoff voting, beginning at the local level and working up).

If Sanders does another Hope-and-Change / Bait-and-Switch, then the result ought to be that the Democratic party goes down with it. Leaving space for something new and better can take its place on the left side of the balance. Clearing the illusions above, as Sanders’ campaign has potential to do, sets up this possibility.

I am sometimes tempted to feel pity for those who call themselves “moderate” democrats, but offer only that they are “not as bad” as Republicans. It is true that the analog of the Sanders pattern on the right brings the added elements of demagoguery and racism and belligerence so forth. — But —  what is really happening if you buy into the “not-as-bad-as-Trump” argument? You are being held hostage, that’s what.

Long time beneficiaries of the 2-party duopoly would, as their last defense, resort to hostage-taking behavior, to hold off leftist objections to the Democrat party’s complicity 2-party duopoly. This kind of hostage taking behavior should be called out for what it is.

The only way out of it is to allow ourselves to permanently give up on the fraud which is the “moderate” (aka center-right) wing of the Democratic party.

Ultimately, the “principled left” and the extreme right will have to sort things out, and business interests may have to choose between those two somewhat more extreme options, at least one of which is more insistent on a compromise between business and individuals — in contrast with today’s situation where the demands for compromise are spoken during elections but mostly dropped when really making policy.

Keep in mind, if there is not enough compromise between big business and less empowered individuals, you can get social instability. Nobody wants that.

All this is admittedly still most optimistic, and there are many ways it can go wrong, but it is better than a simple Bait-and-Switch with no upside whatsoever, and is FAR better than the even LESS attractive Bait-and-Switch which Hillary has to offer. The third option, of a genuine third party, must first clear the roadblock of our winner-takes-all voting system which necessitates the “triage voting”, or “least-worst” voting strategy. Until that is removed, we are stuck with the 2-party duopoly. With both major parties semi-discredited at the moment, the time to remove their lock-hold on U.S. politics is now. Sanders is a vehicle to do so.

Ok, Rant off. Peace and Blessings to all.

-peteybee 2016.02.11

QuickThought – How to Resolve Citizens United

Something just occurred to walking home from a convenience store, when I finally reached equilibrium with the proper February cold that’s back again, and started to enjoy the crisp winter air on my face… how to resolve the “problem of Citizens United”, aka, money-vs-speech in US national politics.

The solution is to do both! There are two houses of Congress.

In the house of Representatives, place strict limits on campaign contributions by individuals and completely forbid contributions by corporations or groups of any kind.

In the Senate, allow corporate contributions. In fact just sell a certain number of Senate seats to the highest bidder as a way to raise funds for the federal government. Any domestic person, group, or organization is elegible to buy a senate seat. Religious bodies, sports clubs, corporations, local governments. The House of Representatives votes each year as part of the budget process to decide how many Senate seats to sell. Have a futures market for Senate seats too.

Probably wouldn’t change much, but would bring the corruption out into the open so we can legalize it and regulate it, just like with Prohibition.

For President, keep it unchanged vs how it is now.

Democracy in Europe Movement [Y. Varoufakis / Newsweek]

Newsweek interview [copied on YV’s site] with former Greek FM Yanis Varoufakis, about the DiEM project.

DiEM which is a nascent political movement advocating democratization of European trans-national structures which have de-facto power over national governments.

Looks like Varoufakis has homed in on a pretty good line of argument, distilled into a well put together set of talking points / interview responses. I found his anti-Brexit argument, and the general argument that it is impossible to return to the national sovereignty regime interesting, though I’m not fully convinced of that yet. Regardless, democratization of super-national organs of power is absolutely essential.

DiEM’s goal (my impression) is to focus popular discontent with the EU’s status quo on a specific set of proposals, targeting openness and accountability, followed by a formal adoption of democracy bringing it up to the level of Western norms.

link: YV Newsweek Interview – read this first

link: DiEM Short form manifesto, English language  [substance begins at bottom of page 3]

link: DiEM Full website

Establishment tries to ward off Corbyn/Sanders [G. Greenwald / Intercept]

A poll last week found that Sanders has a large lead with millennial voters … Just as was true for Corbyn, there is a direct correlation between the strength of Sanders and the intensity of the bitter and ugly attacks unleashed at him by the D.C. and Democratic political and media establishment. There were, roughly speaking, seven stages to this establishment revolt in the U.K. against Corbyn, and the U.S. reaction to Sanders is closely following the same script …

link: https://theintercept.com/2016/01/21/the-seven-stages-of-establishment-backlash-corbynsanders-edition/

[via Stop Making Sense]

Technology and the Future of Work [Jayati Ghosh / Frontline India]

Good article talking about a common gripe of mine, the fear of unemployment in cases when the cause of unemployment comes from increased productivity-per-amount-of-effort (as opposed to productivity-per-wage-paid).

One simple insight I took away: Uber style innovation = piecework, which is a structure that, in the history of the industrial economy at least, tended to create a situation that those of us living the first-world life would find distasteful if it happened to us.

link: http://www.frontline.in/columns/Jayati_Ghosh/the-future-of-work/article8182703.ece

[via Naked Capitalism]

quicklink: economic models of TPP [Dani Rodrik / Proj-Syn]

link: http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/tpp-debate-economic-benefits-by-dani-rodrik-2016-02

Hillary is the Candidate of the War Machine [Jeffrey Sachs / Huffpo]

In case you’re comparing Bernie vs Hillary on the subject of US foreign policy:

Columbia University’s Jeffrey Sachs writes an article reviewing Senator/Secretary-of-State Clinton’s record of support for the entire portfolio of US foreign policy adventurism since she was elected to the Senate in 2000. Jeffrey Sachs thinks Clinton as president would take us further down this road, which has already caused so much trouble so far this century.

Article contains some fun facts you can use to alienate your Hillary supporting friends :-).

link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeffrey-sachs/hillary-is-the-candidate_b_9168938.html

[via In Saner Thought]

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