This isn’t about Sanders, as you will read here. It’s about pushing aside old ideas such as “if you have a job, you can have health care” and coming to another understanding that says, “you are owed healthcare irrespective of which job you have or even if you have a job at all.”
Sanders is a means to an end. He is not the end. I don’t care if he becomes president or not. If he does, he won’t be permitted to enact his ideas anyway.
But what he can do is aid in growing a class consciousness of workers who are learning they have more in common with each other than they do with those who own their labor. This is what happened in Nevada last Saturday, a coalition of workers who saw this. They disobeyed their labor leaders and caucused for Sanders. Unions have typically acted as one of the ways to keep class consciousness from becoming a thing. It didn’t work this time.
Since then, Fox News, to cite one example, in the run-up to Nevada last week had been painting Sanders sympathetically as being unfairly victimized by the Democratic establishment and its media stenographers. Since Nevada, Fox News has joined in the hunt to bring Sanders down. Now, Fox is painting Sanders as a radical socialist who prefers Cuba and Russia to the U.S. They are digging up silly quotes from 1969 like the one where Sanders said that if we allowed our kids to run around naked they might grow up to scorn pornography. In truth, he is really only a Democrat in the tradition of FDR: carve the rough edges off predatory capitalism so that it can continue to thrive.
It is not Sanders the establishment fears, however. As I said above, once in the White House, he won’t be permitted to do what he has promised. Of course, that will only infuriate the masses of Americans who voted for him and perhaps breathe more life into his proposals. Perhaps Americans will by then want to go even further than Sanders is willing. It’s not unusual for the people to be ahead of their leaders.
I know he has a tradition of being a Democratic sheepdog. Let him be that. Let’s not invest in him personally beyond being a vehicle to getting us where we want to go. Maybe we will outgrow him. That would be a good thing. It’s time to have faith in the American people as they begin to find out that capitalism is a cruel joke and a lie.
See the article below first published in Common Dreams by John Buell