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  • Writer's pictureFred Guerin

We Don't Get Fooled Again. No! No!" [Pete Townshend, The Who]

Updated: May 31, 2020

The youth, the disenfranchised and the working people of the world were looking for radical change.

They wanted universal healthcare. They wanted out of the miserable debt forced upon them while they tried to get an education and improve themselves and their society. They wanted people to be paid fairly for a days work. They wanted government not for the corporate elite but 'of the people, by the people and for the people'. They want a different kind of politician--not one who gave favours to the super-rich in order to get elected, but one who would speak for those excluded and without a voice. They wanted a political leader who would be responsive to climate change, rather than one who supported and subsidized polluting industries, militaristic adventurism, mass incarceration and mass surveillance.

They had faith that a different world was, indeed, possible.

Bernie Sanders helped them build that faith. Many young people never before interested in politics came together under the movement he created. But this progressive movement had one major drawback: it was constrained from the beginning to be loyal to the Democratic Party--a party that primarily represents the interests of the ruling corporate elite class, and therefore a party that was and is quite prepared to rig the system in order to ensure someone like Bernie Sanders never becomes a candidate for POTUS. It was not the first, but the second time this happened.

"Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me."

That should become the mantra for the hundreds of thousands of mourning Sandernistas who knocked on hundreds of thousands of doors. The great labour activist Joe Hill would say to them: 'Don't waste any time mourning--just organize.'

But he might also counsel them to finally extricate themselves from the current duopolistic party system and begin something new. It must finally now be clear: neither the Republican nor Democratic parties will permit an outsider to disrupt the current arrangement of power and wealth that both derive tremendous benefit from.

It is past time for the creation of a third party based on the social democratic principles Bernie Sanders has been articulating for 50 years.

It will be an uphill struggle. Any third party would be seen as a direct threat to the hegemony of the current duopoly system. The latter would summon all the corporate money and media power they could muster in order to resist any threat to the status quo. A third party would initially be ignored or sidelined by mainstream media.

In fact, if a third party were to have any chance at success, America would have to get beyond the present electoral college voting system, beyond institutionalized gerrymandering and begin the fight for a more democratic voting arrangement such as proportional representation.

A tall order, indeed.

But those millions who support Bernie Sanders movement can perhaps take solace from his recent speech announcing the end of a hard-fought campaign:

"We have taken on Wall Street, the insurance companies, the drug companies, the fossil fuel industry, the military-industrial complex, the prison-industrial complex, and the greed of the entire corporate elite. That struggle continues. We often hear about the beauty of America, and this country is incredibly beautiful. But to me, the beauty I will remember most is the faces of the people we have met from one corner of the nation to the other, the compassion and love and decency I have seen, and it makes me so hopeful for our future. It also makes me more determined than ever to work to create a nation that reflects those values and lifts up all of our people.

Please stay in this fight with me. Let us go forward together, as our goal continues." Bernie Sanders

The problem is that the goal simply will not be achieved as long as the Sanders campaign does things like asking delegates to sign a pledge that they will not openly criticize Biden! Why? Was not the entire Sanders campaign built on a foundation of resistance to a Democratic Party that sold out to Wall Street? Why does Sanders continue to betray the wishes of his own movement by continuing to align himself with a neoliberal corportist party he has consistently affirmed he is not a member of?

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