Marjorie Cohn reports on a more complete U.S. definition of human rights that, as Sanders urges, picks up where FDR left off.
Sanders Calls for FDR’s Vision to be Fulfilled
Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders delivered a full-throated defense of democratic socialism in his June 12 speech at George Washington University. Sanders quoted President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1944 State of the Union address: “We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence.”
Sanders, like FDR, proposed an Economic Bill of Rights, including the rights to health care, affordable housing, education, a living wage and retirement.
“Economic rights are human rights,” Sanders declared. “That is what I mean by democratic socialism.”
Sanders cited figures of vast wealth disparity in the United States, where “the top one percent of people own more wealth than the bottom 92 percent.” He said there is higher income and wealth inequality today than at any time since the 1920s. And, Sanders stated, “Despite an explosion in technology and worker productivity, the average wage of the American worker in real dollars is no higher than it was 46 years ago and millions of people are forced to work two or three jobs just to survive.”
He also noted, “In America today, the very rich live on average 15 years longer than the poorest Americans.”
Economic Rights Are Human Rights
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights sets forth two different categories of human rights: (1) civil and political rights, and (2) economic, social and cultural rights.
Civil and political rights comprise the rights to life, a fair trial and self-determination; freedom of speech, expression, assembly and religion; and freedom from torture, cruel treatment and arbitrary detention. Economic, social and cultural rights include the rights to health care, education and social security; the right to form and join unions and to strike; and the right to equal pay for equal work, unemployment insurance, paid maternity leave, and the prevention, treatment and control of diseases.
These two types of human rights are enshrined in two international treaties — the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).
The United States has ratified the ICCPR, but not the ICESCR. U.S. policy since the Reagan administration has been to define human rights only as civil and political rights, excluding economic, social and cultural rights from the realm of human rights.
The treaty involving economic, cultural and social rights — which has been ratified by 169 countries — guarantees the rights to work with favorable conditions, to the highest attainable standards of physical and mental health, to education, to housing, to an adequate standard of living, and to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and cultural freedom. It protects the rights to form and join trade unions, social security and social insurance, equal rights for men and women, and protection and assistance to the family.
Cuba, which has a human rights record that is frequently criticized by the U.S., puts the United States to shame with its recognition of economic rights. Cubans enjoy universal health care; universal free education including higher education; the right to form and join unions; and government-subsidized abortion and family planning. Cuba has a higher life expectancy than the U.S., as well as a relatively small ecological footprint due to low energy consumption.
Democratic or Corporate Socialism
President Donald Trump and his fellow oligarchs oppose democratic socialism, Sanders said, but “they don’t really oppose all forms of socialism.” Indeed, “they absolutely love corporate socialism that enriches Trump and other billionaires.”
Sanders cited the $700 billion bailout of Wall Street in 2008 by the Treasury Department “after their greed, recklessness and illegal behavior created the worst financial disaster since the Great Depression — with millions of Americans losing their jobs, their homes and their life savings — Wall Street’s religious adherence to unfettered capitalism suddenly came to an end.”
He also mentioned tax breaks and loopholes for fossil fuel companies, pharmaceutical companies, Amazon, and the Trump family.
As Dr. Martin Luther King observed, the United States “has socialism for the rich, rugged individualism for the poor.”
Sanders noted that FDR and his progressive coalition were successful, and their legacies continue to flourish in programs and protections like Social Security, regulation of Wall Street and unemployment compensation. He pointed out that Roosevelt aimed to go further.
“In 1944, FDR proposed an economic bill of rights but died a year later and was never able to fulfill that vision. Our job, 75 years later,” Sanders said, “is to complete what Roosevelt started.”
He then set forth his vision of a 21st Century Economic Bill of Rights, which would recognize that all Americans should have:
- The right to a decent job that pays a living wage
- The right to quality health care
- The right to a complete education
- The right to affordable housing
- The right to a clean environment
- The right to a secure retirement
Sanders listed Democratic presidents vilified by the oligarchs of their time for their programs of alleged “socialism.” Lyndon Johnson was attacked for Medicare, Harry Truman’s proposed national health care program was dubbed “socialized medicine,” and Newt Gingrich called Bill Clinton’s health care plan “centralized bureaucratic socialism.”
Although none of the other leading 2020 Democratic presidential candidates has embraced socialism, the party’s base has. Candidate John Hickenlooper, former governor of Colorado, was roundly booed at the California Democratic convention earlier this month when he said, “If we want to beat Donald Trump and achieve big progressive goals, socialism is not the answer.”
Thomas Piketty, author of “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” argues, “Without a strong egalitarian-internationalist platform, it is difficult to unite low-education, low-income voters from all origins within the same coalition and to deliver a reduction in inequality.”
Keith A. Spencer, writing at Salon, cites Piketty for the proposition that “nominating centrist Democrats who don’t speak to class issues will result in a great swathe of voters simply not voting.”
Moreover, a 2018 Gallup poll determined that a majority of young Americans have a positive opinion of socialism. According to a recent Axios poll, 55 percent of women between the ages of 18 and 54 would prefer to live in a socialist country.
Sanders said the U.S. and the rest of the world face two different political paths. “On one hand,” he noted, “there is a growing movement towards oligarchy and authoritarianism in which a small number of incredibly wealthy and powerful billionaires own and control a significant part of the economy and exert enormous influence over the political life of our country. On the other hand, in opposition to oligarchy, there is a movement of working people and young people who, in ever increasing numbers, are fighting for justice.”
After his speech, Sanders told CNN’s Anderson Cooper, that real change is generated by mass movements. He cited the civil rights movement, the women’s movement, the gay movement and the labor movement.
“It is time for the American people to stand up and fight for their right to freedom, human dignity and security,” Sanders affirmed. “This is the core of what my politics is all about.” He clarified, “The only way we achieve these goals is through a political revolution.”
Marjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, former president of the National Lawyers Guild, deputy secretary general of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers and a member of the advisory board of Veterans for Peace. Her most recent book is “Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues.”
This article is from Truthout and reprinted with permission.
Sander as a British Empire minion could never be compared to the great FDR who told the devil British Churchill that The British Colonialism is finished and it is time for Americanism. But unfortunately, since the death of FDR, the devil British established its Anglo-American confederacy and brought in puppet after puppet into the White House since than, except the JFK. Truman – Obama all British puppets who showed and support the devil Military-Industrial-Complex values of the New World Order of the last 70 years and it is time for their complete destruction by this great American President Trump. The second term for this president will kick the ass of this devil into its grave which is a long due!
6 1/2 decades ago studying to earn a BSME at OK A&M our courses became increasingly focused and tough by the 2nd year. Engineering physics, advanced math, AC circuits, strength of mat’ls, fluid mechanics etc required 4 hours or more study outside class just to pass frequent tests. Some guys couldn’t cut it so they dropped-out to attend law schools or get MBA degrees.
3+ decades later such individuals were my bosses cutting way back on American R&D (I authored 20 US patents)– while sending most American mfg overseas to China.
Bernie Sanders is a liar he does not support “peace” calls Maduro a dictator, capitulates to the DNC campaigned heart;y for Hillery Clinton, refuses to even acknowledge he was cheated. Refuses to openly support Julian Assange.
The whole idea that putting our faith in one person has collapsed along with Western Liberal Democracy.
Look, the USG is a captive of the oligarchy and has not represented the US population for decades.
So if Sanders (a liar) gets elected or if Noam Chomsky were to be elected president and tried to do anything against the interests of our feudal overlords this simple reality will sink in the USG is 22 trillion in debt – the oligarchy has 50+ trillion liquid assets. Sure you could call for world peace but the oligarchy will bankrupt the US in a heartbeat and no social security checks would go out.
The world and just about everything in it is owned by the oligarchy – the owners rule the world governments are a pantomime.
.Ssupporters of the status quo can relax: BS’s revolution is no more than another spin on the reformist misery-go-round. Remember
he has voted with the Democrats 98% of the time
What Debs said in 1904 remains relevant today. “The Republican and Democratic parties … are the political wings of the capitalist system and such differences as arise between them relate to spoils and not to principle. With either of these parties in power one thing is always certain and that is that the capitalist class is in the saddle and the working class under the saddle … The ignorant workingman who supports either of these parties forges his own fetters and is the unconscious author of his own misery.’
“Democratic socialist” is a tautological misnomer. The vast majority of ‘socialist’ groups individuals & proposals are better identified as left-leaning, progressive or social democrat.
Bernie Sanders wrote a column today which advocates for peace, as in no war with Iran.
Suggest we all ignore it because it doesn’t jive with the manufactured talking points we’re taught to regurgitate.
Everyone knows Sanders is a Warmonger!!!
Before a condition of ill-will, even of hostility bordering on enmity might overtake this thread, diminishing the mutual respect among most commenters, at this site, might I raise a simple question?
Who, here, anticipates, imagines, or believes that the Democratic Party, as currently organized and controlled would or will permit Bernie Sanders to become its champion, its candidate for the U$ presidency in 2020?
Remember, while Sanders has been called “the most popular politician” in the U$, the media continues to ignore him, as it did in 2016 and also continues to suggest that his ideas are neither practical nor acceptable.
Recall as well, that the Demicratic hierarchy has stated bluntly that it is, and always will be, “capitalist”.
Further, on the second ballot, the “super-delegates” can, and will, enforce the dictates of the party elite who made explicitly plain their “right” to choose whomever THEY please, even in that legendary “smoke-filled room”, without ANY input from lesser party members BECAUSE, the Party views itself as a “private club”, not a public institution, and thus it is not bound to follow ANY rules or procedures which it decides to abandon, for any or NO reasons at all.
2016 revealed quite a lot about the political system, far more than, seemingly, is remembered.
Frankly, at best, the most that Bernie Sanders or Tulsi Gabbard, for that matter, can DO, is expand the area of debate, discuss a variety of issues dear to the much abused many, which issues a number of commenters here have most eloquently described, and with which most everyone, here, fully agrees.
I do not say these things to disparage, to disappoint, to disgust, I share these thoughts simply to encourage a sober sensibility of what we all, together, or separately, in our own concerns, despairs, and isolation must confront.
Hard as this may seem, in 2020, “winning” will NOT consist of “taking” the White House even, through some unforeseen fluke, if Biden or whoever is the officially “annoited centrist”, for then it will simply be more of the bloody same, instead, “winning” will comprise of increased understanding among ever more individuals, of the nature of the Legacy Parties, the purpose of both being control of the spoils and NOT serving the interests or responding to the dire needs of the many.
We, all of us, are a long way from “winning”, collectively, to power to initiate the kinds of systemic change which our times and humankind most desperately need.
We are not “there”, yet.
We are, however, building momentum, and from that, if we can keep our wits and our respect for each other, we may construct the foundations for a sane, humane, and sustainable human society.
Such a society must value life over money, must treasure existence on this planet, and wage relentless peace on every human being and upon all the species with whom we share this paradise, this planet, which is still, our only home.
I realize that is not terribly satisfying to partisan intentions, to factional interests, and to ambitions of “decisive leadership”.
Yet, I would ask, how often over the span of our perceived “civilization”, have those mindsets proved to be of value, serving the best interests of the many?
We must, at some point, clearly, agree about what kind of future and sort of society might best serve those fundamental interests.
Perhaps we might begin with disarming hostility?
With agreeing NOT to bomb ourselves to oblivion.
After that, there are several other things it would well behoove us to agree upon.
I leave those things to your imagination and your conscience.
I’ve tried several times now to compose a comment refuting Sanders naysayers that wasn’t too incendiary. I don’t want to be a contributing factor in degrading this forum to the mud-fight existence of so many other sites.
I have little time today but since I do however contribute often to CN’s forum I feel an obligation to state that I have supported Bernie Sanders and continue to do so. I have no illusions about his faults, deficiencies, or his possible blind-spots. Some other day with more time, maybe another attempt at a detailed civil rebuttal.
As to the choices he made in 2016 and his so-called betrayals, had he done otherwise would have been political and professional suicide. Would that have been enough to satisfy some purists cum Bernie-haters? Had he accepted Jill’s invitation it would have resulted in a Trump landslide and Sanders would be labelled a traitor; had he not endorsed HRC he would have been blackballed forever by the Democratic Party. It sucks, but we’re not likely to shed the two-party stranglehold anytime soon.
You were still in diapers when FDR was in power and your going to tell me you know what his plan was. Jeez
Certainly the decision was made, by Truman and others, that the U$ would be kept in a permanent military Dominance position after WW II, Herman.
Yet the pork-barrel military base or weapons manufacture carrots to Congress (which is precisely why Eisenhower initially determined to call out the Military/Industrial/Congressional Complex of what would become his farewell address) played a less significant role in the overall economy until the 1970s, when corporations began moving to “off-shore” the major portion of the U$ industrial base in search of higher profits.
Until a research paper suggested to Kodak that it really owed Rochester New York no loyalty, corporations were expected to stay in the U$ and continue to make the U$ the manufacturing capital of the world, which it was and had been.
Interestingly, China has followed, very successfully the same game plan.
Incidentally, China no more “stole” U$ ideas than did the U$ when it eclipsed Great Britain as the major manufacturing nation in the world.
Yes, there should be concern for displaced workers.
One wonders why such concern was not evident during the great off-shoring which has rendered the U$ dependent on other nations even as the skills and knowledge of U$ industrial workers was tossed aside as worthless?
We can no longer make most of what we need.
How such vulnerability as that may be regarded as “progress”, or profitable, eludes reasonable consideration, seeming more akin to irrational exuberance or exuberant irrationality.
Perhaps, real jobs in agriculture, tending the land and environment as corporate farming methods do not, at realistic wages, or in alternative energy systems might open up areas of necessary endeavor?
Why should China and Germany be the cutting-edge nations in solar development or modular building systems, pioneered btw, centuries ago by the Japanese?
What is most lacking, I consider, is imagination, long-term resource management plans and socially useful foresight not focused on the quarterly report.
Certainly China has grasp that last, has taken the sustainable long-term view.
What keeps the U$ from innovation that benefits the many?
Why not have public banks, as has Nevada, in communities all over the country?
Instead we have “sacrifice zones” in Flint, in Detroit, in Johnstown, and all over “fly-over” country.
Is that wise?
Or simply a reflection of greed (which is NOT “good”) run amuck?
Human rights were codified in the UN’s UDHR. The most basic human rights are to food, shelter, and medical care — even for the US jobless poor. Democrats decided otherwise, and ended basic poverty relief in the 1990s. For years, Sen. Sanders had claimed support for democratic socialism, a system that ensures modest incomes even for those who are left jobless. As such, he advocated for legitimate poverty relief programs (welfare aid). He used to point to poverty in this “richest county on Earth,” as proof of the significant failures of our capitalist system. As he pointed out, not everyone is able to work (health, etc.), and viable jobs are simply not available for all. Add in the fact that US job losses of recent decades have far exceeded job gains. Nevertheless, Sanders dropped all of that by 2016, and focused on pandering to the generally-conservative middle class. He recently reconfirmed that he supports the Dem Party platform and agenda (pro-war, anti-poor, etc.) A reformed Democrat .
Ask Sanders to define “economic justice” for those who can’t work/are left jobless. They can’t survive on yet another decade of Democrats promising eventual jobs. The reason Sen. Sanders can’t (and won’t) answer that question is the reason that Trump is president: Democrats divided and conquered their own voting base, middle class vs. poor, workers vs. those left jobless. The best a Democrat candidate can do is work on fund-raising.
Practically everything about the perpetual Sanders campaign is a low-rent Dem sheepdog rip-off of the Green movement:
“The Green New Deal will convert the old, gray economy into a new, sustainable economy that is environmentally sound, economically viable and socially responsible. It seeks to solve the climate crisis by combining quick action to get to net- zero greenhouse gas emissions and 100% renewable energy by 2030 along with an ‘Economic Bill of Rights’ – the right to single-payer healthcare, a guaranteed job at a living wage, affordable housing and free college education.
“European Greens were among those calling for a Green New Deal in 2006 in response to the global financial crisis. In addition to a call for both climate action and a bill of economic rights, the approach by the European Greens sought to democratize the world’s financial system. In New York State, Howie Hawkins promoted a Green New Deal in his 2010 Green Party run for Governor – an issue focus that subsequently was picked up by Jill Stein in her 2012 Presidential campaign and by many other Green Party candidates across the United States.”
Sanders “revolution” vapers still will insist that Bernie is like totally “open to good ideas” and like totally ready to “fight” for them.
Right. 2016 demonstrated the limits of Sanders’ willingness “fight” for his supporters’ votes to be counted. And shut up about the emails.
The last I looked, the European Green Party still supported and demanded basic relief for those who are left jobless. This was also in the US Green Party platform for years, but I haven’t looked recently to see if it was removed. Either way, that is the issue that resulted in the Republican right wing takeover of the US political system — the successful splitting-apart of the “masses,” middle class vs. poor.
I have no issue with Sanders’ domestic policies except they’ll never happen under this system, regardless of who’s president. We are on an extinction trajectory with no little or no clue what to do. Emergency? There’s no emergencies when everything is falling apart all at once right from under us.
The Green New Deal is just another trick – how to save capitalism, ala FDR’s New Deal. None of these candidates or their star celebrity de jour – AOC – are speaking to a mobilization up to deal with the end-state we’ve created. The GND deals within the existing growth paradigm to try to produce what it never has: justice. But there is no justice on a dying planet – just the GREAT NADA.
If, as science and the data show, we are into the 6th extinction cycle (4 of the previous ones were due to CO2 emissions over millenniums unlike our just over a century hyper warming, one was due to a collision with an asteroid. Heading for 10 billions invasive souls – homo sapiens we’re likely to expire before 2050 at this rate.
Meanwhile this imperial nation is blowing up the world, creating low and high intensity global wars with everyone. No, 100% renewables will NOT save us. To do what we do under the regiment of growth will require all land be devoted to windmills and solar farms. In other words we’ll need the entire planet to create energy with no place to actually use it. We’ve depleted the soil, and even FDR knew that was deadly: “The nation that destroys the soil, destroys the nation.”
Meanwhile just since Gore’s Inconvenient Truth we have quadrupled the daily tonnage of CO2 into the atmosphere. This is imperialistic capitalism on steroids looking to devour the planet. And there are no saviors in the system because none of them can or will do what’s needed – Change Everything (and Naomi Klein realized as she researched her work on why we’re not doing anything about catastrophic global warming).
We’ll find out soon enough….
bernie sanders took his new bride to honeymoon in moscow. but he would never collude.
what is the phrase, full disclosure, i took my new wife to tahiti for our honeymoon.
communism in my country …
Bernie Sanders has returned to his pre-2016 presidential election cycle before the Democratic Party led by Hillary Clinton and her lickspittle Debbie Wasserman Schultz cheated him out of the nomination. Sanders’ powerful rhetoric was music to his supporters’ ears. His recent calls for a truly progressive agenda are the cooling rains in a drought of reactionary and dangerous policies espoused by a sadist cabal of oligarchs.
But, please pardon my skepticism of Sanders’ veracity; he has already stated unequivocally that he will support whoever the Democratic Party names as its presidential nominee. With the rigged deck still firmly in place, we can be certain that the party’s nominee will not be Bernie Sanders. So, when Joe Biden wins the Democratic party’s nomination for president, thus ensuring a second term for President Donald Trump, will Sanders meekly rollover like the whipped dog that he was in 2016?
It is interesting how propaganda seeps into people’s minds through repetition and presto magic! talking points become real.
Bernie Sanders is “too old” at 77. Except that Joe Biden is 76 and Donald Trump 73. Top 3 candidate are all geezers. Why does only Bernie get tagged with this talking point?
Sanders voted against the Iraq War, yet he’s a “War monger.”
I could continue, because it is easy to debunk these claims, but then, you all could do that yourselves if you wanted to do so. Strange to see people whose minds are so clear about things such as Russiagate be so easily deluded by talking points about Sanders.
Vote for whomever you wish, but at least recognize Sanders has moved the Overton Window such that discussions about the Green New Deal can even happen. That’s more than any of the other “Democrats” have accomplished in the last 40 years.
I disagree with the dismissive and bitter tone of the posts I’ve read so far. Is it a reflection of personal socio economics or just truly a matter of buying into some NPR narrative ?
I’m 64 this yr and from all of the podcasts ,
YouTube videos and Twitter , Bernie Sanders has
achieved no small feat in terms of energizing
people under 40 . That is a large base and this time around , poc are behind him after learning his history.
Our biggest concern should be the microsoft
voting machines. Big red flag when the company
is aligned with gov.
If Bernie folds like a cheap tent ,well again
my vote goes to the greens.
We already have socialism in the classic sense when we deliver public services, the issue is how and what should be socialized. Universal health care would be a good start. Guaranteed employment would not be, if it imposes requirements to hire. The Democratic Party could be a workers party but its something else. It lives on dividing people rather than uniting them.
Bernie Sanders is a hawk when it comes to the Middle East and that turns many people off. Peace, justice, equality and sanity.
Guaranteed employment should create production rather than impose requirements to hire within existing production: the best way is to build infrastructure here and in developing nations, subsidize some services not now profitable, extend medical/scientific research, even build parks as the CCC did, wherever jobs are needed.
Sanders will not stop the Mideast wars for Israel; Gabbard speaks of continuing a war on “terrorism” (although I contribute to her). So even a Sanders/Gabbard ticket means vast military budgets, imperialism, racist wars for Israeli campaign bribes, and “sorry, no budget left” for whatever it was you voted for. We’ll take a few bucks from the advertising budget for nominal progress. Just not possible yet; maybe next generation, peasants.
No Rep or Dem will do anything to protect the institutions of democracy (elections, mass media, and judiciary) from economic power, the corruption of which is essential to their oligarchy sources of campaign funds. So forget about real progress. Far more likely is a Dem ticket of Biden/sheepdog or worse, which will involve no positive change at all. Hopey-changey everyone.
No we are not partly or mostly socialist. Capitalists own, monopolize, the means of production. Profits come from the public sector, what you wrongly call socialism. Infrastucture, schools, health care military/wars, etc. are all public services that primarily benefit the capitalist.
I wouldn’t call Sanders a McCain styled warmonger, but he’s no peacenick. After all the job he’s going for is Commander-In-Chief, and he been selective about which immoral and illegal wars to support.
Right message, wrong messenger. When sheepdog Bernie caved to the Clinton machine in 2016 despite the Wikileaks revelations, I lost all faith in his integrity. The DNC controlled Democratic party is beyond being reformable. If the progressives rally to him in 2020, they are idiots. Fool me once…
The two other issues with Bernie are his age and his near total silence regarding the necessity to rein in the war machine. If he were elected, he would start his first term at 80. Even a healthy octogenarian would find it difficult to stand up to the rigors of the presidency and do battle with all the evil that resides inside the beltway. And democratic socialism without a non-interventionist foreign policy and a much smaller defense department is neither moral nor doable.
I think the time is ripe for an internet based third party challenge, and I hope Tulsi Gabbard sees the light and doesn’t give up and become another sheepdog for the DNC. She needs to either go over to the Greens, or start her own party from scratch.
And that’s why the DNC is getting behind Biden, because he’s young?
Bernie did not cave to the Clintons. You can forgo that fantasy. Bernie had stated all along he would back the Democratic candidate. So you can stop trolling about that. We don’t like it but that’s what Bernie said he would do.
Bernie’s only folly is believing that the Democratic Party can be reformed. Without a third party, running a national campaign as an independent is doomed to fail. Bernie knows this from his time running as an Independent in Vermont for various political offices. Both parties roadblock independents and the media ignores them. Any chance at support or recognition is as either a Democrat or Republican. Bernie knows this. Tulsi Gabbard knows this too. She’s a Democrat and has made no plans to stop being one. So put aside that fantasy.
Why people despair of Bernie is that he was at the right place and the right time to change politics. From the outside it looked like Bernie could have marched into the White House as an Independent beating both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. From the inside, that was not very clear. Too much risk. Even in primary defeat, his message would live on and have a voice. Defeat as an Independent in the presidential election and he would be ignored and shunned.
If you believe in a 3rd party then you should lend your support to the Movement for a People’s Party. Nothing will change unless we the people change. Waiting for politicians is like waiting for Godot.
Yes, but what he also said he would do, and I remember this clearly, is that he would fight to the last vote at the nominating convention–this in the face of Clinton’s huge super-delegate surplus.
I’m not making this up. I heard him say it, and it was at the time I was arguing with Counterpunch people that he was the real deal, whereas Counterpunch was saying, nope, he isn’t (and supplying historical behaviors on him) same old Bernie, they said, and you will see . . . which I did.
But we surely knew he had little chance anyway against Clinton with the huge advantage she had, didn’t we?
But he had momentum, he had “the burn.” He sounded good. And at a moment of high passion to an adoring crowd he said he would fight to the last vote at the nominating convention–then promptly bailed right after HRC won the California primary early in June of that year.
So I too feel the time is ripe for a new party, a third party, indeed a People’s Party, as you indicate, to rise up, suddenly. Tulsi Gabbard talks the talk that could lead such a party–a “soldier” she has said in this endeavor. But this is not likely to happen, given the suffocation Establishment Pols have on the election process, and perhaps the reason she isn’t trying to create such a party and lead it–has anyone asked her?
My dream is to see a group of people like Gabbard, and joined with the set of rad fems we now have in the Congress, AOC et al, rise up, sweep the millenials into their arms, and take over. This can’t happen? Yeah, probably not. But it’s still early, so I will dream on.
A combination of labor and green while slashing the military by a couple of trillion
would be a great step in the right direction.
AOC is the face of that future. Boycotts
and education can enable people to wrest
corp power from those that abuse it.
There is enormous potential as anger
has built to a tipping point .Whether it
is harnessed for good will depend on the
energy we put out. Obvious but true.
I’m sure that Skip is not trolling. Both of your comments are reasonable and even consistent in this political situation, except on the viability of a third party.
“Nothing will change unless we the people change” contains truth but does not reach a conclusion either. It is incorrect to the extent that it suggests that personal change by activists must precede political change.
Skip is right that the DNC is not reformable: it is funded by the zionists, KSA, MIC, WallSt, and will do just as they say. Until we protect the institutions of democracy from money power we shall have only gangs, not political parties. That won’t happen until the US is militarily and financially broken, not a likely prospect. So enjoy the hopey-changey! Who needs democracy when they live virtual lives anyway?
A major third party is difficult because there is no unifying third issue that can’t be co-opted by money power. But it is the only hope for an unlikely political reform. Maybe a Hopey-Changey Party would force the others to differentiate.
I don’t appreciate the hopey-changey sarcasm. We have a huge number of people in this country, in the globe, entirely fed up with establishment politics, who are eager for change. How to facilitate that crowd into a viable political force, whether it is possible, and you say it isn’t, is the question.
What Sanders is selling I am buying, in fact get me two. The only thing though is Bernie’s heaviest fight will be or is with the DNC. Now I’m no pollster far from it but if all things were told to reveal what’s not in the polls I do believe Sanders would win big … or at least bigger than any other Democrat. While we are on it how much more could the Democrats ignore Tulsi until she disappears? I do digress but anyway bring back the FDR days.
I’m with you. I don’t get all the Bernie disparagement here.
“He’s not anti-war enough.” Except that the famed peace activist Medea Benjamin claims he has the best voting record of any candidate on war and peace issues, especially on military spending.
“He’s not a real socialist.” Except that the Democratic Socialists of America endorse him
“He’s too pro-Israel.” Except that AIPAC opposes him and his support among Arab-Americans and Muslim Americans is, as far as I can tell, significantly higher than for any other candidate.
“He’s a sheepdog.” Except that, if he’s nominated, he can’t possibly be a sheepdog. (He can only be a sheepdog for another Democrat if he loses the Democratic nomination.)
“He’s too old.” Who cares? If he runs with Tulsi (which I hope he does), Tulsi will likely be our first female President after a single Bernie term.
Of course he’s not perfect. He’s a politician who thinks he should be President. That should automatically cause one to question him. But the same argument applies to every other candidate. And one of them *will* be our next President.
And these points just address the (dubious) arguments against him. When you factor in all the positives he brings, he becomes a truly extraordinary candidate.
We’re fortunate he’s willing to run. There is no one out there better. When Obama ran, there was hope that he’d be the FDR we needed. Obviously he wasn’t. Maybe Bernie is. But if he’s not, no one is.
I agree with every word you said. Especially the Tulsi VP promotion.
As much as I like Bernie Saunders & FDR’s unfulfilled 2nd Bill of Rights, it will never be achieved in America, not now, not ever? The US is a moral wasteland & its Political, Neoliberal, zero sum game system is so irreparably damaged & corrupted that it is beyond repair & cannot be reformed? And all this nonsense about Socialism such as FDR’s Bill of Rights, America already has Corporate & Political Socialism for the rich & its Banking Czars? America is now a Feudal Society & its Citizens are Feudal peasants that service these masters, be they corrupt Politicians & Bankers or Corporate slaveowners? This Nation which masquerades as a Democracy has also become a Fascist, Totalitarian, surveillance State Country hellbent on Worldwide domination & War plunder ambitions, using its Military to steal other Nations resources, most notably & especially Oil, to satisfy its power crazed, unfettered greed, arrogance & hubris? Drunk with Imperial unipolar delusion, it does this by Economic Terrorism & Industrial sabotage via sanctions & tariffs, Political interference in other Nations internal affairs to overthrow non-compliant actors & conducting Regime change ops via false flags attacks & MSM propaganda to overthrow any Country such as Venezuela or Iran? Any who values their own Sovereignty or any who don’t wish to be vassals of the US Empire are to be destroyed? The one factor that stands out in all of this as a roadmarker is that any Nation that attempts to dump the US Dollar or any who try to escape the US Petro, Oil for Dollars System that has enabled America to economically rape the World & fund its debt ridden Corptocracy Govt & War mongering Military & Corporations are singled out for American style, regime changed, forced democratisation & Bombs of Freedom? Because of this fact, Nations such as Libya, Syria, Iraq & now Iran & Venezuela are or will be targets to be destroyed by the US! Bernie is a good man but FDR’s vision will never be implemented because America doesn’t care about Human rights, be they economic or moral, either in its own Country & people or around the World? FDR’s 2nd Bill of rights is being implemented in other Nations & rebranded as Wellbeing Budgets & Goals as opposed to the inaccurate & poor GDP measure most Nations use to measure a peoples happiness & wellbeing but these measures don’t have a hope in hell of ever being achieved in America! Its a pipe dream that Bernie is selling regarding the American implementation of FDR’s 2nd Bill of Rights & will be dead on arrival if he ever tried to pass this, deader than FDR himself!
For those suffering memory loss from inhaling comrade Bernie’s hot new 2020 “revolution” cloud, here’s a little reminder of what happened the last time Americans felt the burn:
Two weeks ahead of the Democratic National Convention, celebrating a “revolution” worthy of the CIA, sheepdog Bernie pledged his fealty to Hillary: “I intend to do everything I can to make certain she will be the next president of the United States.”
Hillary crowed, “Senator Sanders has brought people off the sidelines and into the political process. He has energized and inspired a generation of young people who care deeply about our country.”
She imperiously declared, “To everyone here and everyone cross the country who poured your heart and soul into Senator Sanders’ campaign: Thank you.”
Bernie had performed his sheepdog function by exciting the Democratic Party’s liberal base and winning young voters by large margins during the primary.
The Sanders campaign won primaries and caucuses in 22 states.
But Bernie spat in the face of his “revolution” by not energetically fighting efforts at black voter suppression, and not effectively contesting the votes in states like California and Arizona, as was his campaign’s right by law.
Long after Hillary clinched the nomination with California, sheepdog Bernie continued to hold rallies and advocate for his “revolution”, which not only served the interests of the Trump campaign, but very effectively delayed incensed Sanders supporters from migrating to third party tickets.
Green Party leader Jill Stein correctly remarked: “A revolution that goes back under Hillary Clinton’s wing is not a revolution.”
Black Agenda Report editor Glen Ford described the debacle:
“Bernie Sanders did not lie to his followers; they deceived themselves, just as most of them – the ones that were old enough – had fooled themselves into believing that Barack Obama was a peace candidate and a political progressive back in 2008, although Obama’s actual record and policy pronouncements showed him clearly to be a corporate imperialist warmonger – a political twin of his principal primary election opponent, Hillary Clinton and her philandering, huckster husband.
“Back then, phony leftists like Bill Fletcher and Tom Hayden swore on their mothers’ honor that Obama’s campaign was really a people’s movement, a prelude to revolution – as if the Democrats, a militarist corporate political party, could give birth to an anti-corporate, anti-militarist people’s revolution.
“Real Fascist vs. Trump Cartoon Version
“Bernie Sanders threw around the word ‘revolution’ quite a bit. He was still using it in his surrender speech on Tuesday [July 12, 2016], assuring his flock that the revolution would continue as he marched arm in arm with the most dangerous person in the world, today – far more dangerous than Donald Trump […] Sanders’ job is to shepherd his flock into a little leftwing corner of Hillary’s Big Tent, right next to the latrine and alongside her loyal Black Democrats, who are so meek in the presence of power that they won’t even complain about the smell.”
Bernie’s own behavior during and after the “revolution” belies this prattle about CIA “derailment” of a “Sanders insurgency”.
A guy who once urged once urged abolishing CIA, Bernie now can’t get enough of fact-free claims by “intelligence agencies”.
Bloviating with Wolf Blitzer in CNN’s Situation Room on 10 May 2017, Bernie declared: “Our intelligence agencies all agree that [Russia] interfered significantly in the American election.”
“This is an investigation that has to go forward,” he said.
Bernie wasn’t so keen on investigation when American votes were at stake during the “revolution” in 2016.
What better way for the CIA to thwart a “revolution” against “intelligence agencies” than to have the Dems front an “insurgent” sheepdog candidate who would not only throw the “fight” at critical moments, but turn around and praise the BS produced by the very “intelligence agencies” he previously sought to abolish.
Put that in your vape and smoke it, kids.
For those suffering brain loss, Bernie had stated all along he would support the Democratic candidate. He never said otherwise.
You don’t like that he supported Hillary, tough. That’s what he said he would do.
But he also said, he could not control people who supported him. That his supporters have to make up their own minds if they want to support Hillary or not. Deal with that.
In the end, people make their own decisions. No one should follow anyone. People should offer their support based on policy not cult of personality.
Indeed, Sanders said all along that he would support whomever the reactionaries in the rigged Democratic Party deck selected. That is the point!
He already telegraphed his intent to sell out the gullible fools that cannot see that he intends to make certain that we see the same result that occurred in 2016. If Sanders had any integrity at all, he would have dumped the corporate-owned Democratic Party years ago.
Any sane person would realize that such a promise should have been contingent on a fair process. With the Wikileaks releases, and the subsequent ousting of Wasserman-Shultz, he could have easily contested the convention, and threatened to go over to the Greens if he didn’t get the Democratic nod. His supporters would have happily gone with him. Instead he caved and expected us to cave with him. He missed his moment.
As for his age, old is old whether it’s Bernie or Biden, or anybody else. And his buying into Russiagate BS has me very suspicious of his judgement. Is it feeble-mindedness, or something worse?
I do make my own decisions. I am not a “follower”, and I have consistently voted my conscience based on the issues. I have switched parties numerous times to vote for a major candidate who espoused a non-interventionist foreign policy, and then usually vote 3rd party in the General rather than vote for evil.
Bernie and Tulsi are the only 2 candidates who will discuss foreign policy so far. And also speak out against the wrongdoing and the catastrophic mistakes of past policies.
I won’t vote for any candidate who does not speak up about standing up to the MICIMATT machine.
Thanks Bernie and Tulsi!!!!!!
And y’know what – I’d vote for Tulsi if she were 80 and I’d vote for Bernie if he were 40.
Respecting the brilliant Martin Luther King for his clarity and truth telling is also a must for me.
Both Tulsi and Bernie are critical of policies that have cost the world so much in violence, death, resources and profit diverted to the top taken from tax dollars that are shoveled down a drain of wrongdoing – wrongdoing to the soldiers who are asked/ordered to execute the delusional choices and their targets.
Interestingly some liberals prefer the shiny new pennies with sparse track records on policies whereas there are some lifelong conservative Republicans who say that they may not agree with Bernie on all his policy positions but they TRUST him to tell them the truth and they’re sick of all the lying and double speak.
We’ll see how smart the voters are this time – whether they’ve learned any lessons…..I’m skeptical.
Thanks Marjorie Cohn.
Although Bernie has excellent ideas and is a great proponent of democratic socialism, his endorsement of Hillary Clinton (the blood-covered war hyena) negated his progressivism, and embracing Russiagate shows his partisanship (although Hillary claims Bernie cost her the Election).
“Sanders cited the $700 billion bailout of Wall Street in 2008 by the Treasury Department “after their greed, recklessness and illegal behavior created the worst financial disaster since the Great Depression — with millions of Americans losing their jobs, their homes and their life savings — Wall Street’s religious adherence to unfettered capitalism suddenly came to an end.””
Note the TARP $700 billion initiated by Bush II was a disaster according to Sanders, but the $29 TRILLION that economists noted Obama gave to Wall Street, 40 times as much!, are not mentioned (so it’s only bad if the GOP does it? Really undercuts Bernie’s messaging.) Bernie is so desperate to receive blessings from the Democrats that he will not criticize their leaders. https://www.cnbc.com/id/45674390
It’s just so obvious this country’s in desperate need of major, major economic reforms to favor the demand side, the employee side.
We can’t even get single-payer passed!
I’m afraid if these reforms don’t eventually go through, white males could increasingly turn to neo-fascism.
Why continue to waste time on somebody who’s already lost? This 100-year-old (we used to laugh at the old men in the Kremlin and in Beijing; do we even notice that with fossils like McCain, Feinstein, Pelosi, Biden, and yes Sanders, we’re now in the Chernenko/Andropov phase of the American Empire?) can give all the speeches he wants, but he’s been around in Washington. He knows full well that there’s not a penny left for nice things. In the current climate of Red Scare hysteria which he himself helped create, all the funding will go to the Armies of Mordor and the sinister agencies of State Security. By all evidence, he’s fine with that.
Another thing, and Ms. Cohn will probably not like me saying it. A destructive Iran war looming over all our heads has reminded us all, if that was necessary, that jewish power has gone completely out of control and this didn’t happen just yesterday. OK, we don’t want to be bigots, everybody is an individual and starts with the benefit of the doubt. Unfortunately, with his nonstop RussiaGating Mr. Sanders has exposed himself as an inveterate liar, so in his case the benefit-of-the-doubt was misplaced. And the lies weren’t about something silly like sex, but about the stuff that can get us into nuclear war.
And were is the consideration that with his RussiaGating, Bernie has shown utter contempt for the proceedings of the 2016 vote? How can somebody like that stand in an election again? Why would he want it if he doesn’t believe in or respect them? Tulsi any time over this phony, but if you’re at all serious then you burn the Democratic Party to the ground for its betrayal of the American public; nothing happens unless there are consequences. Then you build something new and better for 2024 (weren’t Americans supposed to be good at that)–you know, the things people should’ve done right after She lost, but didn’t because Putin. Pathetic.
Jewish power in the United States is real, but as I would remind all of the Consortium News readers and specifically to Caitlin Johnson who has an article at Informationclearinghouse.info regarding a possible air strike against Iranian nuclear sites, please re-visit the YouTube video where Amy Goodman is questioning Gen. Wesley Clark regarding 9/11 and the wars against Afghanistan and Iraq.
He told her about his visit to The Pentagon “a few weeks after 9/11”, where he was taken aside by someone and shown a Classified memo detailing plans for “invading and occupying seven countries in five years.”
Iraq was one of the countries. And he named five others in the Middle East and said, “ending with Iran”.
ENDING WITH IRAN.
Not sure where Gen. Wesley Clark is hanging out these days, but if I was Caitlin Johnson or Jeremy Scahill at The Intercept, about right now I would be trying to get Clark to do a sit down tell all to elucidate on that Amy Goodman interview.
Gen. Wesley Clark is doing fine, no doubt swimming in cash. After warning us about the drumbeat for Middle East wars (‘course I know about that video), he had to prove he was still serious by beating the drum for war with Russia–you know, the one which can get billions killed as opposed to mere millions.
Amy Goodman has also been careful not to stray into the wilderness, and is on board with the “Assad gassing his own people” narrative even after the US intel community (as opposed to political rhetoric) retracted the claim. I won’t get into her heritage, because lying now has overtaken baseball as the national pastime on all sides. But people who tell lies like that are (used to be) known as liars, and should not be trusted henceforth. See also Glenn Greenwald; see also Tulsi, sadly. Our present condition calls for fighters, not appeasers. If none stand up in the D party, then maybe that party isn’t worth saving.
Where are cuts to the military? As MLK said, without it, there can be no domestic agenda. “Both the Democrats and Republicans are united in their commitment to continue to feed the U.S. war machine with dollars extracted — to the turn of 750 billion dollars — from the working class and transferred to the pockets of the military/industrial complex. ” Ajamu Baraka, Black Agenda Report
As long as we hear only from and about the two wings of the duopoly that Gore Vidal referred to as the ‘Property Party’, of course the proverbial elephant in the economic tent will not be addressed.
Thank you for quoting Ajamu Baraka, a member of a party that actually does have a platform which addresses this very issue you’ve so rightly pointed out.
Interesting relevant article (March 28th, 2019) by Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J.S. Davies “CODEPINK Ranks the 2020 Presidential Candidates on War, Peace and Military Spending.”
Senator Sanders has the best voting record of any candidate on war and peace issues, especially on military spending. Opposing the oversized Pentagon budget, he has only voted for 3 out of 19 military spending bills since 2013. By this measure, no other candidate comes close, including Tulsi Gabbard. In other votes on war and peace, Sanders voted as requested by Peace Action 84% of the time from 2011 to 2016, despite some hawkish votes on Iran from 2011-2013.
One major contradiction in Sanders’ opposition to out-of-control military spending has been his support for the world’s most expensive and wasteful weapon system: the trillion-dollar F-35 fighter jet. Not only did Sanders support the F-35, he pushed – despite local opposition – to get these fighter jets stationed at the Burlington airport for the Vermont National Guard.
In terms of stopping the war in Yemen, Sanders has been a hero. Over the past year, he and Senators Murphy and Lee have led a sustained effort to shepherd his historic War Powers bill on Yemen through the Senate. Congressman Ro Khanna, whom Sanders has chosen as one of his 4 campaign co-chairs, has led the parallel effort in the House.
If one looks at when Sanders supported war (yes supported war) it’s more than coincidental that it was when a D was Commander-In-Chief. The F35 is not a minor exception. These state MIC (bring home the bacon) projects are part of a much larger package and a vote for your state’s subsidized war preparations is to vote for the whole enchilada.
I know of no war (and WWII is questionable in terms of US entry) that has, in my life time been warranted, legal or moral. So to have supported any is to have supported immoral imperial killing.
Bills can be laced with other important matters, to be sure, and so if VA spending is mixed in a Congress person may have to weigh the entire impact. His support for $$$ for Israel and Ukraine is troubling to say the least.
He has NOT been an advocate for Peace over War. He may have peeled off a Republican war, or the recent crimes of US supported Yemen butchery, but these are selective and Saudis have become the “bad guy allies”.
It’s clear Tulsi Gabbard has been courageous and not pulled her punches on war regardless the audience.
Bernie’s war history: https://www.alternet.org/2015/05/bernie-sanders-troubling-history-supporting-us-military-violence-abroad/
You cannot be a partisan Democrat and only oppose Republicans, yet expect people to take you seriously. Bernie has great ideas, probably from elsewhere, but when you refuse to acknowledge that the problems are bipartisan, particularly in foreign policy, you are just wasting everyone’s time. Pass on your ideas and get out of the parade! Bernie’s ideas are great, he no longer is.
And that’s where Gabbard shines. She doesn’t view our policies through the prism of partisanship but the corruption of our polity. That’s a key difference in spite of her party affiliation she calls them all out.
Just tabulating Congressional floor votes isn’t a very convincing way of showing what a politician is really about: it’s too easily manipulated.
In recent years, Sanders has tacked somewhat away from his long record of not meaningfully dissenting from the Beltway consensus on these issues, but anybody who says he is a stronger voice against malignant U.S. empire and militarism than Gabbard is kidding themselves (or snowing us).
I’m surprised Medea Benjamin would sign on to that so soon after the Venezuelan embassy occupancy, with Gabbard coming out clearly against the would-be coup, while Bernie mumbles in the middle.
Where is cutting the military? As MLK said, that’s essential to address domestic concerns. Black Agenda Report Danny Haiphong: “Both the Democrats and Republicans are united in their commitment to continue to feed the U.S. war machine with dollars extracted — to the turn of 750 billion dollars — from the working class and transferred to the pockets of the military/industrial complex.”
You well frame the essential question, which Sanders never seems willing to forthrightly address, Riva Enteen.
Some may claim that, were he to do so, he would upset someone or something, or that it is too early, or that it just simply cannot be done because the many would refuse to vote for anyone who dared question the sacred might of the nation.
Yet most everyone, outside the ruling class of financial, corporate, political, and military elites, as reflected in numerous polls and conversations, consider that a substantial reduction in the military budget would be most welcome.
If Bernie Sanders stands for real revolution, then dismantling the killing machine, for that is what the U$ Military actually is, must be understood as a crucial and fundamental part of any revolution redirecting the largest part of the total budget toward the human rights that Sanders properly espouses.
Indeed, pulling back from confrontation and bullying threat is crucial to human survival.
Nuclear Brinkmanship, brandishing First Strike Assertions, is one of two existential threats to humanity, and the U$ Miltary contributes very significantly to the second, using the most fossil fuels and leaving the largest carbon footprint of any single entity on the planet.
Sanders should not get a “pass” on the question, not should any other candidate for the U$ presidency
Of course military spending is both wasteful and dangerous and most people claim they think it should be reduced. But for many, even those who espouse reductions, it is an economic benefit. Economist differ on the impact of military spending but no one doubts, for example, that the military spending during the latter part of the 1930’s Depression gave people jobs. Without being economists they saw what was happening as people flooded to where the spending was occurring.
Don’t know the answer but it seems a case has to be made that jobs and profits can be created to replace those lost in a very specific manner.