If one decided based on a lot of evidence that the Democratic and Republican Parties are not worth the effort, then what is left is the Green Party, by far the biggest party on the left. Other parties do not seriously run people and seem more like chess clubs who like to talk amongst themselves.
Unfortunately, the Green Party has managed many times, to change a Winston Churchill quote, "snatched defeat from the jaws of victory." The "old guard" Greens resent newcomers and seemingly has the motto, "We have always done it that way." Jeff and Rose Roby have devoted decades of service to the GP and to enlightening the rest of us, only to face the same Green Party frustration so many others of us have faced. Jeff has written elsewhere on the NPA blog. This is an interesting conversation I had with Rose.
Let me clarify something to people who might not know this – I’m supporting Bernie Sanders for President. I’m doing this with my eyes wide open about him not being a “real” Socialist (which isn’t a big secret since he says that every chance he gets). I’m doing this well aware that he, like every member of Congress, has blood on his hands as a representative of a nation that’s thrown itself into a constant state of war. So why am I supporting him? Because at this particular moment in history, Sanders is the best candidate that has any opportunity to be heard in the chilling political environment we’re living in. He’s talking about expanding the social safety net, which is a subject that’s been verboten in the Democratic Party for over a generation now. He’s touching the hearts of millennials who are, through his run, getting introduced to progressive politics. Sanders may not be a real socialist, but his run has stopped making socialism a dirty word, never to be uttered without fear and loathing, and many of his supporters are far more drawn to real socialism as a result of this. It may not be what Bernie himself wants, but history is bigger than any one person at any given moment.
Sanders’ candidacy has caused a bigger split on the Left than anything I’ve ever seen in my lifetime. There are prominent and respected leftists openly supporting his run – Cornell West, Noam Chomsky and Kshama Sawant to name a few. None of them are stupid people or dupes of the establishment. They, like me, and like hundreds of thousands of other leftists, see potential and opportunity in the energy and passion that his run has ignited. We don’t want this historical moment to pass us by without seeing what we can do with it.
But with all this said, I’m someone who believes in an Inside/Outside strategy. Therefore, it hasn’t been my inclination to try to convince those who want to stay outside the hellhole of Democratic politics to just STFU and support Sanders. Actually, to the extent I can have a conversation at all, what I’ve tried to push is that they help build environments for Sanders supporters to move to should his bid for the Presidency fail. I’d very much like to see that scenario end with a historic number of votes for the Green Party’s Jill Stein, although based upon the Green Party I know and don’t love, I don’t see how that’s going to be possible. That’s not going to stop me from trying.
The problem I’m finding is that I can’t have a serious conversation about an Inside/Outside strategy with the vast majority of the left outsider class right now. Any statement shy of “Sanders is Pure Evil” is immediately twisted into a declaration of blind hero worship of not only Sanders, but the Democratic Party and the entire political establishment! It’s striking to me how my words aren’t even heard, as if everything is passed through the prism of this near caveman-like moral simplicity “Sanders Bad, Me Hate Sanders Because Sanders Bad, You Not Hate Sanders You Bad!” so that there’s no opportunity for nuance or human conversation.
This has had a chilling effect on me, in that I’ve been genuinely too intimidated to even discuss Sanders on social media because he inspires such uncontrollable rage and hatred. I really don’t see how this is much different than the level of discourse enjoyed in far right-wing circles. My husband has written some brilliant pieces on this that I’ve literally been too afraid to promote on my own facebook page because I’ve come to fear my “friends” – this can’t go on any longer!
If you’re on the Left, you work with the Democrats whether you want to acknowledge that or not. Support Black Lives Matters? They’re Democratic Party controlled, whatever they say about that publicly. Same for Fight for 15. Same for Planned Parenthood. Same for The Sierra Club. And if you have ever promoted any one of those organizations, congratulations, you’ve supported the Democrats! And those organizations I mentioned above are only the tip of the iceberg. Like the air we breathe, the Democratic Party is everywhere and simply can’t be avoided in a quest for purity. Once that’s acknowledged, we can try to figure out what to do with it. Staying in a state of constant denial has no positive effect on the state of the world.
As primary season heats up, expect to see more pro-Sanders posts coming from me. If you want to disagree with me in a civil manner and a way that can encourage understanding, go for it – I welcome that discussion with all my heart! But if you want to troll me, bully me, Red-bait me, Establishment-Tool-bait me, and overall shit on me because Sanders dared to tread upon turf you saw as your rightful property then either get me off your network now or I’ll do it for you the moment you come for me.
Too much is at stake for humankind at this moment for me to indulge this petty in-fighting for another moment.
“Support Black Lives Matters? They’re Democratic Party controlled, whatever they say about that publicly. Same for Fight for 15. Same for Planned Parenthood. Same for The Sierra Club. (Ed’s insert - And Socialist Alternative, Cornell West, Noam Chomsky, most of the Green Party, and Kshama Sawant) And if you have ever promoted anyone of those organizations, congratulations, you’ve supported the Democrats!”
All true, but that does not mean I have to continue supporting organizations and people who betray me. I worked very hard for Obama in 2008 and politically had my heart broken by his actions. The democrats have played this game for decades, offering token rhetoric to sheepdog progressives to stay with them. In 2009 – 2011 the democrats had a majority the republicans have not had since 1923. Other than making Bush’s tax cuts for the rich permeant, they collapsed on any real change before the minority republicans. Indeed they extended and expanded Bush’s initiatives. Contrast that with Bush who despite democratic majorities in both the HOR and Senate still did whatever the hell he wanted to do.
Who is the real villain to me? For me it is the Green Party and other third parties which continue to act like exclusive rich people white clubs uninterested in inviting new people in or seriously campaigning. Yes I like Jill Stein, but she is more insular in her campaign than she was in 2012 and continues to surround herself with the GP “old guard.”
As I said to Jeff, I know you are moving the ball forward by campaigning for Bernie in Florida. It reminds me of “The Impossible Dream” in that you and Jeff are “willing to march into hell for a heavenly cause.” You two are indeed following Jeff’s suggestion that while we can’t do much, we can do something. For me, I am tired, have health issues, and see no real movement for change. I get some satisfaction in documenting for the New Progressive Alliance.
Here's a strong suspicion I have where the Green Party and Stein are concerned. They aren't excited about the possibility of a huge (by GP standards) total in the 2016 election, they're TERRIFIED of it!
As you pointed out, the Greens are as tied to the Democratic Party as anyone else. Move to Amend is a good example. It was created by a Green, David Cobb, who was their 2004 Presidential candidate who ran on the pathetic "safe states" strategy. But like those other "non-partisan" organizations we've mentioned, MTA is fully Democratic Party controlled. So you literally can't be part of MTA and mention the Green Party or you will be immediately exiled. I know this from personal experience!
Therefore, as many top Greens still try to atone for their "original sin" of Nader in 2000, they are genuinely scared that enough pissed off Bernie supporters could cast their protest vote for Jill Stein to cost Hillary the election and they're not sure the party can survive that blow. This is part of the strategy of alienating, insulting and attacking every Bernie supporter that crosses their path. They don't WANT their vote. I think that strategy is coming from the top and being carried out by followers who have no idea how they're being used and exploited. Many people are caught up in a kind of groupthink around this that's rendered them unable to see the big picture or the ways their very declarations of political independence are being manipulated by the puppet-masters at the top.
From my perspective, a third-party that's terrified of SUCCESS has nowhere else to go but to the dustbin of history.
While I hope you are wrong, my pesky brain and experience indicates you might be right. Alas, other third parties seem even worse. What the dems may not fully realize is many Bernie supporters will not vote for Hilary regardless. For many of us, Obama was the last hurrah. No matter how bad the dems partner republicans make Trump look, there is a point of no return for many.
I think it's absurd that Susan Sarandon was made to explain that she has no plans to vote for Trump. I saw her interview with Chris Hayes, and she never implies for one moment that she intends to vote for Trump. It's just that Democrats are now intent to twist lack of support for Clinton into being the same as a vote for Trump, which is total bullshit.
I may not agree with everything Ms. Sarandon said (mostly that a Trump Presidency would bring about immediate revolution; the Left can barely organize a bake sale let alone a revolution at this particular moment. In other words, we don't have the foundation laid to bring about serious revolutionary activity at this time and a Trump Administration won't immediately change that). But I also think that it was one of the bravest things I've ever heard from a mainstream Hollywood star in my lifetime. She had the guts to stand up to the being bullied by a Democratic Party beltway hack, Chris Hayes, and insist that this nation can't afford another four years of the deadly status-quo!
I don't support Clinton and I sure as hell don't support Trump. If Sanders doesn't make it, I'm going to be told thousands of time that not supporting Clinton makes me a de-facto Trump supporter, just the way they tried to pull that crap with Ms. Sarandon.
This is what the entire #BernieOrBust crowd is in for if Clinton is the nominee. We will need to stand strong against it and remember that those of us who turn our back on politics as usual are the REAL patriots. We're not obligated to vote for the "lesser-evil" in the form of Hillary. It's not our job to show loyalty to the same Democratic Party that makes abundantly clear that they have no loyalty to us.
And when they bring up Nader (and they will, in fact, they already are) remind them that 200,000 registered Democrats in Florida voted for George W. Bush in 2000. But somehow, they're never factored in when assessing Gore's loss (which also involved election fraud and conspiracy, and Gore's total unwillingness to fight, not merely for himself but for American democracy). (Ed’s note: For more proof that Nader did not elect Bush see the below references 1-5.) But there's a reason for this -- because the Right is NEVER expected to capitulate but the left ALWAYS is -- and we have, over and over again.
If we're to have a shred of hope that we can move away from the abyss we're on the edge of right now, we can't afford to capitulate and throw our vote away on a terrible candidate with a (D) after their name anymore.
The time has come to take a stand #BernieOrBust
6-On Becoming Dependent Upon Incarceration by Rose Roby
7-The Democratic Party is the More Effective of Two Evils by Rose Roby and two others