10+ Reasons Why Tulsi Gabbard Should Not Be a Sanders Institute Fellow

The Washington Post reports:

“Jane O’Meara Sanders, who campaigned alongside her husband Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) across the country last year, is launching the Sanders Institute to help progressive allies reach more people through events and traditional media.

“‘The purpose is to revitalize democracy in the support of progressive institutions,’ Jane Sanders said in an interview. ‘Our feeling is at our point in time, our country is at a crossroads, and people are engaged in a political process that can be opaque. A vital democracy requires an informed electorate, civil discourse, and bold thinking. So we put together this team to focus on issues, but not in a partisan way, not in a way that just focuses on the latest crazy thing. It will not be about Trump; it will be about the issues facing the country.’”

If revitalizing democracy is the purpose of the Sanders Institute, it is hard to understand why Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is a Fellow given that she has refused to debate her general election opponents for three Congressional elections in a row and refused to debate her 2016 primary opponent (all while calling for the Democratic National Committee to have more Clinton-Sanders debates, no less!).

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5 Myths about Fighting ISIS

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Originally published by Anonymous Mugwump.

To some extent, the following myths are all interlinked.

The typical anti-war activist believes that the current crisis is mainly political and financial and so military means are not addressing the primary cause of the rise of Islamic State (ISIS). The idea that we’re going to make it worse through military intervention isn’t just because its failing to address the key causes but because it reinforces what went wrong: Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki alienated Sunnis and bombs will alienate Sunnis. And somewhat linked but not entirely, they think because ISIS is a response to local conditions, ISIS is not concerned with attacking the West.

This post is addressed to these people — their premises are false and so their conclusions and prescriptions are also flawed. References for the academic studies cited are at the bottom and footnotes are elaborations. Apologies for the length of myths 1 and 2, myth 5 should make up for it. Continue reading

Could Sanders Split the Democratic Party?

Shawn Whitney, Canadian writer, filmmaker, and socialist, continues our discussion of the US elections. He argues that Marxists should be playing an active role in Sanders’ campaign because of its potential to raise the general level of class-conciousness. Read previous contributions to the debate hereFirst published by Revolutionary Socialism in the 21st Century.

Presidential primary season is drawing to a close in the United States and mainstream media are trying to wrap up the dirty business of choosing the political candidates for each of the dominant political parties – so that they can move on to the dirty business of choosing the president. It will be Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, we are told, and that is the end of it.

They are probably right. But that is hardly the end of it. The looming California primary could deal another bloody nose to the credibility of Hillary Clinton as the Democratic candidate, with the potential for a late season major upset by Bernie Sanders. If this happens it would come just a week after the Inspector General at the State Department released a damning report on Hillary Clinton’s simmering email scandal, explicitly exposing her as a liar[1], further cementing her image in the public mind as fundamentally dishonest. A recent Fox poll found that more people thought her dishonest than serial liar Trump with his multiple bankruptcies and business swindles.[2] In fact, what has become most apparent in the current primary is that both presumptive candidates – Trump and Clinton – have the highest disapproval ratings in polling history for any presidential candidate.[3]

What has been different this primary season is, first and foremost, the hunger on both sides of the political spectrum for more muscular responses to the unending crisis of capitalism. On the right there is Trump touting the politics of scapegoating. He promises to build a wall between the US and Mexico to keep out Latino refugees and immigrants. He promises to ban Muslim immigration. Lately he has been using racism to attack the Mexican-American judge who is presiding over the class-action lawsuit against Trump regarding one of his (many) scams: Trump University.[4] And, once a liberal on some social questions, he has run with the reactionary politics that are fueling his supporters. He has enthusiastically taken up the cudgel of social conservatism to attack women, gays and lesbians, African-Americans, etc. Continue reading

What America’s Third Parties Teach Us About the Democratic ‘Party’

The debate between Jason Schulman of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and Barry Finger of New Politics about how to build a party to the left of the Democratic ‘Party’ in the 21st century has largely ignored actually existing third-party efforts and focused instead on whether it is possible to use the Democratic Party for progressive ends in light of the astounding success of the 2016 presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders. Schulman along with DSA argue that yes, it is possible — in certain situations under certain conditions — while Finger says no, it is not possible in any situation or under any conditions. For Schulman and DSA, working within the Democratic Party could help lead to the formation of a left-of-Democratic Party wheras Finger contends that all roads within the Democratic Party framework lead inevitably to dead ends.

The best way to settle this debate is to look at the three organizing models provided by America’s actually existing third-party efforts. Continue reading

The 21st Century Democratic “Party”: A Marxist Analysis

By Jason Schulman. (Originally published at New Politics, republished by Shiraz Socialist.)

Some months ago I responded to a piece that appeared on the New Politics blog by my longtime fellow New Politics (NP) editorial board member and friend Barry Finger.1 In my own blog, I argued that Barry had a better, more sophisticated understanding of the peculiarities of the Democratic Party and the U.S. electoral system than do many on the radical left who refuse to support any Democratic candidate regardless of that candidate’s personal political platform. However, I also made clear that I believed that Barry still suffered from certain misunderstandings regarding just how different American political parties are from parties that exist anywhere else in the world, and this meant there were defects in his suggestions as to how left-wing socialists should relate to the Sanders campaign. Other defects still characterize the arguments of those who claim that to support Sanders, however critically, is to support a candidate of a party of capital. While invoking my debate with Barry, I’ll touch upon those other arguments and their problems and explain why I think that critical support for the Sanders campaign is a necessity if we’re to build a much larger socialist movement and how the campaign may lay the basis for an independent party of the left. Continue reading

Don’t Be Bamboozled by “Bernie the Bomber” Bombast

Bernie the Bomber’s Bad Week” by the late Will Miller is perhaps the most quoted and most-cited piece of ‘left’ criticism of Bernie Sanders and therefore deserves serious scrutiny. At first glance “Bernie the Bomber’s Bad Week” appears to be a muckracking exposé but a closer inspection reveals that it is riddled with embarrassing contradictions and is written with as much respect for the facts as the average Fox News story on President Barack Obama.

It is time to set the record straight on this piece of yellow journalism and expose the exposers before anyone else is bamboozled.

Gulf War and Iraq Sanctions

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An Open Letter to Solidarity from a Socialist, Feminist, Anti-Racist Sanders Supporter

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If Solidarity’s “An Open Letter to Bernie Sanders Supporters” is indicative of the group’s approach to the Bernie Sanders 2016 presidential campaign, then the work they are trying to undertake is in big trouble. Solidarity’s letter informs us — the unwashed unenlightened ignoramuses who support Sanders — that:

“… there’s a gaping hole in Sanders’ program for economic and social justice: his platform does not talk about what’s called ‘foreign policy’–war and peace, military spending, the vast global network of U.S. bases, the infamous Guantanamo detention center, Palestine and Israel, or the refugee crisis from the horrific wars in the Middle East. These are not abstractions, but life-and-death issues for millions of people–and absolutely fundamental for the hopes of a ‘political revolution’ and mass ‘grassroots movement’ that Bernie Sanders calls for.”

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