When the Bernie Sander’s mass movement becomes the establishment’s “worst nightmare”

17 February by Yorgos Mitralias


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Now that the most sceptical and doubting are finally beginning to realise that Bernie Sanders is a real contender for the US Presidency, it is time to take a closer look at the reasons why his candidature is so unprecedented, historical and truly revolutionary. To have an overview of what his opponents, from Trump to the Democrat establishment and the big capitalists who rule the world, to fear Bernie so much and do all they can to “neutralize” him.

So what are they all scared of? Quite simply, not so much Bernie Sanders’s programme, but more the enormous popular movement launched by Bernie himself in november 2018 and still under construction! A popular movement with no precedents in US history, neither by its size nor by the radicalism of the young activists who are eager to face off with the system and its political representatives! As Noam Chomsky recently noted: “Even more threatening than Sanders’s proposals to carry forward New Deal-style policies, I think, is his inspiring a popular movement that is steadily engaged in political action and direct activism to change the social order — a movement of people, mostly young, who have not internalized the norms of liberal democracy: that the public are “ignorant and meddlesome outsiders” who are to be “spectators, not participants in action,” entitled to push a lever every four years but are then to return to their TV sets and video games while the ’responsible men’ look after serious matters” [1]

It is crystal clear that the establishment’s fear, even terror, of these millions of young activists stems from their capacity to transform “dangerous” ideas into a material force, and in so doing, shift the boundaries of a new social and political balance Balance End of year statement of a company’s assets (what the company possesses) and liabilities (what it owes). In other words, the assets provide information about how the funds collected by the company have been used; and the liabilities, about the origins of those funds. of power! This ensures the continuity of a massive popular movement and neutralizes political oppression and the official line of establishment propaganda. Why? Because one shot can eliminate an adversary – Bernie Sanders for example – who has become too dangerous, but much more is required to suppress a radical, massive popular movement that wants to “change the living conditions of the people, and “change our life and the World”.

Of course, far be it from us to belittle the importance of Bernie Sanders’s programme, because it is his programme, as well as his personal example, that has inspired and mobilised so many millions of youthful supporters. In fact, the proposals, positions and demands in the programme cover the whole spectrum of human activities, give answers to the grave problems facing the North American peoples and the peoples of the World, whilst linking the satisfaction of the immediate needs of the vast majority of the population with a radically different vision of the future.

So, is this a “revolutionary” programme or just a list of “bourgeois” reforms that would make Bernie Sanders a politician like any other? At first sight, none of the principal measures and policies that are mentioned, such as universal health care, free education, or even the abolition of privately run prisons or the write-off of the totality of outstanding student debt can be called revolutionary. What’s more, some of the measures are rightly presented by Bernie Sanders himself as inspired by Roosevelt’s New Deal with which he openly identifies. But, what was so “revolutionary” about the Bolshevik’s rallying cry of “Peace, Land and Bread” that so inflamed the Russian population and brought about the revolution of October 1917? What really makes a demand revolutionary is not its intrinsic qualities but more the social and political dynamic that it liberates and develops in the context of a given historical moment. And all the signs indicate that Bernie Sander’s transitional demands are at this moment creating just such a subversive dynamic... [2]

Are there any proofs for that? The answer is yes, and is offered by the reactions of those from below, as well as those from above, each camp interpreting in their own fashion, and according to their interests as a clear incitement to revolt against the system and its principal political and economic forces. For those from below (workers, minorities, women, indigenous peoples, migrants and victims of all kinds of oppressions) this programme has already become a source of hope and inspiration, an offensive weapon and a banner to fly high and strong. As such it has already met with outstanding success. But for those from above (Trump, the Democrat establishment, the mainstream media and especially big corporations), it is quite simply the worst existential threat, or rather, as Bernie likes to repeat, “Their Worst Nightmare”.

It was then no surprise thatthose from above declared total war on Bernie and the popular movement that supports him. It was logical and foreseeable and they had no other choice when his allies, led by the young representatives and senators, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashid Tlaib and Pramila Jayapal, dare to call publicly by their names the capitalist enemies and promise to terminate their rule. And this war is already pitiless: No holds barred [3], even the most barbaric and repulsive acts are permitted, because the stakes in this class struggle to the death are greater than enormous, they are of historical dimensions.

Translated by Mike Krolikowski.



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Footnotes

[1Interview by C.J. Polychroniou: https://truthout.org/articles/noam-chomsky-sanders-threatens-the-establishment-by-inspiring-popular-movements/. This interview of Noam Chomsky as well as the thousands of texts, videos and first-hand images from the US concerning primary issues going into the depths of US society are posted on the Facebook page ’Europeans for Bernie’s Mass Movement’ that we launched three and a half years ago and invite all to visit: https://www.facebook.com/EuropeansForBerniesMassMovement/

[2It is regrettable, to say the least, that the European left is unable to understand that what has been happening in the US for the last four years is of historical importance for the left and for the labour movements of the whole world and, it follows, for itself also. The European left, labour and popular movements would have much to gain by creating bonds and developing solidarity with the present mass movement active in North America now that it is the epicentre of a gigantic class confrontation of uncertain outcome. Unfortunately, the World’s popular movements do not consider Internationalism to be of great importance nowadays.

[3One of the most recent manifestations of the unceasing war against Bernie was the over 72 hour delay in the publication of the emblematic Iowa Democrat primary result! This allowed the establishment’s and big business’s blue eyed boy Pete Buttigieg to claim victory and Joe Biden to avoid humiliation while Bernie Sanders was unable to make the most of his victory largely supported by the popular vote. The fact that the society Shadow, largely responsible for the mess-up worked for Hilary Clinton in 2016 and is currently employed by the Buttigieg and Biden campaigns is surely no more than a coincidence.

Yorgos Mitralias

Journalist, Giorgos Mitralias is one of the founders and leaders of the Greek Committee Against the Debt, a member of the international CADTM network.

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