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Racist and Pro-War Bernie Sanders Is No Socialist and No Friend of the Working Class
by Steven Argue
Tuesday Aug 11th, 2015 1:44 PM
[Photo: Exiled U.S. political refugee Assata Shakur. Among his many crimes, Bernie Sanders voted in favor of a Senate resolution demanding Cuba return her from exile.]
Racist and Pro-War Bernie Sanders Is No Socialist and No Friend of the Working Class
No Vote for Any Democrats or Republicans
By Steven Argue
Every four years the American people are subjected to the farce of bourgeois democracy, a “democracy” where only the candidates chosen by the very wealthy have any chance of being elected. That season of nicely dressed pathological liars and false hopes is now upon us.
Since the corporate media of the United States has long ago abandoned any semblance of reporting on anything of substance about candidates such as voting records and actual political views, it is up to the leftists and communist writers like myself to tell the truth. Some may want to forgive voting records, but they are the only true indication of where politicians stand.
Running from the far right of the Democrat Party is the hated front runner Hilary Clinton. As a U.S. senator, Hillary Clinton has voted for every war the United States has carried out since she came into office in 2000. Those pro-war votes include the Iraq war and the war in Afghanistan. She also voted to take away our civil liberties by supporting the “Patriot Act” and its renewal. Hillary Clinton, like the entire Democrat Party, pounds the war drum for the racist Zionist state of Israel even louder than the Republicans. In addition she voted for the anti-immigrant wall.
In her successful run for Senate, Hillary Clinton amassed more than 22 million dollars, making her at the time the biggest campaign finance recipient running for Senate in the country. Her money came from such corporate interests as drug and hospital conglomerates, Wall Street finance interests, real estate developers, and rightwing corporate media mogul, Rupert Murdoch.
As secretary of state, Hilary Clinton helped bring together a coalition of governments that would fight for "democracy" in Syria by backing the genocidal and anti-woman religious fanatics of the so-called "Free Syria Army". Most of those fighters later joined ISIS, Al-Nusra, and the Islamic Front with the rump forces that were remaining receiving U.S. weapons and selling them to those other forces. The governments Hilary Clinton brought together to help build ISIS in the name of fighting for "democracy" included Saudi Arabia, the most repressive established government in the world. Saudi Arabia, like the Islamic State they helped create, offers no religious or political freedom, women have no rights and are prohibited from driving as well as being in public without a male escort. Outright slavery of worker immigrants is common and people are executed for renouncing the Koran. The absolute monarchy of Saudi Arabia conspires with U.S. oil companies to rob the Saudi Arabian working class blind of their oil resources. The U.S. state department under Hilary Clinton enlisted this country (which receives billions of U.S. arms sales) to fight for "democracy" in Syria.
Meanwhile, Syria, despite its problems, has a secular government, full religious freedom, advanced women's rights, and a semi-socialist economy that has benefited the Syrian working class. That is in areas still controlled by the Syrian government and Kurdish YPG. U.S. and Saudi Arabian intervention, has, on the other hand, brought a system far more resembling Saudi Arabia in rebel controlled territories. After leaving the Obama administration, Hilary Clinton criticized Obama's support for the Syrian counterrevolution from the right, saying Obama didn't give the Free Syrian Army enough support. Fact is, Obama gave them too much support and many people are suffering horribly under the Islamic State as a result.
Even further to the right is the openly racist and sexist campaign of Donald Trump. Some on the left have hailed the Trump campaign as a step forward that is shaking up the political establishment and hurting the Republican Party. Will Trump destroy the Republican Party? Perhaps. Yet, the emergence and popularity of a candidate even more bellicose, racist, sexist, anti-environmental, and far right than Obama and the Bush and Clinton families really is nothing to celebrate. The growth of a semi-fascistic movement like the Tea Party that is behind Trump's popularity signals even larger threats to the norms of bourgeois democracy than have even been carried out under Clinton, Obama, and the Bushes. And the socialist left has hardly built anywhere near the working class vanguard party needed to counter this threat.
The Trump campaign is so hateful against women that Donald Trump has called the “Santa is white” FOX News host Megyn Kelly a “bimbo”. I kid you not. In the FOX News Republican debate, Megyn Kelly asked Donald Trump about his misogynistic comments on twitter. Later, Trump retaliated on twitter calling Megyn Kelly a "bimbo". Of course Trump is terrible on women's issues, including his opposition to the right to abortion. Obama has been bad as well, including his renewals of the Hyde Amendment which blocks government spending on abortion for low income people. There is little reason to doubt that Hilary Clinton will renew the Hyde Amendment as well, just as her husband Bill did in office.
Long before the right to abortion was legalized in the United States, communist countries offered abortion free and on demand through their socialized health care systems. Revolutionary Cuba continues to do so, and their medical system even gives fee sex change surgery to those who need it. They do this free from the wrath of billionaires like Donald Trump and Rupert Murdoch because all such capitalists were expropriated of their wealth in the Cuban Revolution. Come the proletarian socialist revolution in the United States, moronic racist capitalists like Trump, whose only real claim to fame is robbing the working class of billions, will be fired. Completely expropriated and forced to do actual work. In the meantime, Trump, along with the rest of the mainstream candidates, represent what desperately needs to be swept away into the dustbin of history. In the meantime, this system can only produce a pathetic array of mainstream politicians. Rick “I can’t remember the third federal agency I’d abolish” Perry and another Bush? Really?
The rift between FOX News and Donald Trump is an indication that the ruling capitalist class of the United States (what would be called oligarchs in the east), have turned on Donald Trump’s campaign. I predicted this when Donald Trump announced his candidacy explaining:
"Donald Dimwit as president? I doubt it. The rest of the capitalist ruling class is not likely to let someone as dumb as Trump into the White House. I mean the guy makes Bush Jr. look like a genius. Part of how the ruling class keeps class peace in the United States is by electing leaders who carry out acts that are racist, sexist, and against the working class in general, but who also are smart enough to keep their mouths shut about the hate encapsulated in their policies. Trump violates these norms so the capitalist class will reject him."
While Trump is upsetting the mainstream political apple cart of the far right Republican Party, the rightwing Democrat Party is also getting some grief as their chosen successor to Obama, Hilary Clinton, is facing a rise in opposition in support of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.
Sanders portrays himself as a socialist, but instead is actually just another capitalist politician. His entire voting record shows this as does his opposition to deep seated principles of the socialist movement, like the need to expropriate the capitalist class and establish a planned socialist economy. Bernie Sanders is also in favor of U.S. imperialism. He has supported every U.S. war including Bill Clinton’s war on Yugoslavia and Israel’s war on Gaza, as well as the U.S. wars on Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Iraq. Sanders voted for the 2014 senate resolution that backed the Israeli massacre of thousands of civilians in Gaza. He supported the Bill Clinton / UN starvation blockade that murdered over 1.5 million Iraqis, most of them children. While he voted for the Bush invasion of Afghanistan, he voted against the Bush invasion of Iraq. Yet, he continuously voted for the military budget during that war and was opposed to demands for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq. He supported the Vermont National Guard’s development of a center for unmanned drone warfare and was outspoken in his desire to have F-35 fighters built in his state.
Regarding immigration from Mexico and further south as U.S. imperialist exploitation and U.S. imposed regimes turn those countries into a living hell of poverty and violence, Sanders has repeatedly introduced legislation to revoke federal immigration visas to supposedly “protect American jobs”. Actual socialists see no difference between human beings based on what side of a border we were born on. We argue that U.S. workers would be far better off if immigrants had more rights and were better able to stand with the multi-racial working class for better pay, benefits, and rights. Sanders instead backs the racist treatment of immigrants, just as Trump does.
Regarding heroic whistle blower Edward Snowden who revealed a massive NSA spying campaign against the American people, Sanders says, “there is no debate that Mr. Snowden violated an oath and committed a crime.”
On other domestic questions, Sanders has been terrible as well. At an electoral rally, when anti-police brutality protesters joined him on stage, Bernie Sanders left instead of attempting any dialogue. There was a reason for this. Bernie Sanders has been a strong supporter of building up the American police state that guns down so many people in the streets. He supported Bill Clinton’s “Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act,” which greatly expanded the U.S. government’s war on Black and poor people by putting 100,000 more cops on the street and increasing the use of the death penalty. His response to outrage in Baltimore against the police murdering an unarmed man in custody was saying, “Being a cop is a hard job”. The Black lives Matter Movement is right to protest Bernie Sanders.
In addition to Bernie Sanders’ other crimes, he voted in favor of a Senate resolution that demanded Cuba return political refugee Assata Shakur to the United States. New Jersey governor Chris Christie holds the exact same position as Bernie Sanders and applies typical racist disrespect by using Assata Shakur’s discarded slave name in saying:
“So Joanne Chesimard, a cold-blooded cop-killer, convicted by a jury of her peers, in what is without question the fairest and most just criminal justice system in the world ... is now, according to an official of the Cuban government, persecuted. These thugs in Cuba have given her political asylum for 30 years. It’s unacceptable.”
In reality, Assata Shakur was not convicted by a “jury of her peers”, she was convicted by an all-white jury. Assata Shakur was a victim of America’s racist courts and the FBI’s COINTELPRO operations that targeted Black radicals for police murder and judicial frame-up. Police ambushed Assata Shakur and her comrades in 1973. In that attack, police crossfire struck and killed New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster, with a bullet from a police revolver killing the cop. James Harper, the slain trooper’s partner has admitted that he lied about seeing a gun in Assata Shakur’s hand. Assata Shakur was supposedly being apprehended for 7 counts, including a bank robbery. She was later acquitted for all of these counts and a jury even decided that the picture the FBI had widely circulated, supposedly showing her during a bank robbery, wasn’t even a picture of her. She and her comrade Sundiata Acoli were, however, wrongly convicted in the death of Werner Foerster.
Before going to trial, Assata Shakur was badly tortured as were other Black Panthers in custody like Ruben Scott who confessed after being tortured. Assata Shakur did not confess to a crime she did not commit.
The torture and murder of political dissidents by the U.S. government did not begin with Bagram, Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo, it was used against the Black Panther Party as well as directly by the U.S. government in places like Vietnam. For instance, before Guantanamo and the Panthers, there were the tiger cages of Côn Sơn Island where U.S. forces and the South Vietnamese puppet government tortured prisoners and murdered 20,000 people. The victims were largely leftists and suspected leftists who opposed the U.S. imposed dictatorship of southern Vietnam. Similarly, the CIA’s torture and assassination under the Phoenix Program in southern Vietnam targeted Communists and suspected Communist supporters. Few prisoners survived their interrogations. The U.S. State Department admits to directly killing 20,000 people under this program and another 20,000 people were murdered by it when the program was turned over to the South Vietnamese dictatorship.
It was in 1977 that Assata Shakur was convicted by an all-white jury that was kept unaware of the FBI’s COINTELPRO campaign of murder and frame-up against the Black liberation movement. After the conviction, Assata Shakur’s comrades, however, broke her out of prison. She lived underground in the United States for 5 years and by 1984 she was able to escape to freedom in Cuba.
While Assata Shakur benefits from the gains of the Cuban Revolution living in exile in Cuba, political prisoners who have not been able to escape the United States like Sundiata Acoli, who was arrested in relation to the same incident as Assata Shakur, still sit in prison. In September 2014, Sundiata Acoli, however, won an appeal to grant his release on parole, but the state of New Jersey is still fighting the ruling. Free Sundiata Acoli Now!
African Americans have faced brutal political repression in the United States orchestrated by the FBI. In the 1960’s and 70’s the U.S. government liquidated the Black Panther Party For Self Defense through the murders of 38 members, constant police harassment costing hundreds of thousands of dollars in bail money, and the frame-up of many other members.
Fred Hampton was a leader of the Chicago Black Panther Party (BPP). He was murdered in his sleep at the age of 21 in a joint assassination carried out by the Chicago Police and the FBI. The operation also murdered BPP member Mark Clark. As a leader of the BPP, Fred Hampton organized a non-aggression pact between Chicago’s street gangs, a successful breakfast program, and a multi-racial Rainbow Coalition unrelated to Jesse Jackson’s later liberal appropriation of the name for the so-called “Democratic” Party. In addition, Fred Hampton gave fiery speeches that were part of building a movement for proletarian socialist revolution. As Fred Hampton said, “Racism is the excuse used; racism is just a byproduct of capitalism.”
This was a point also made by BPP member Connie Mathews in a speech to 500 students at San Jose State University on October 25th, 1969:
“…the reason they divided us up into ethnic groups, into races, because as Fanon has said—capitalism and racism—one is a cause and the other is effect. They did not bring Black people over from Africa as slaves because we are Black. They brought Black people over so capitalism could thrive. When capitalism reached its highest form—imperialism—they had to define methods to keep the division.”
These kinds of teachings were expressly forbidden by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover who infamously declared in 1968, "The Negro youth and moderate[s] must be made to understand that if they succumb to revolutionary teachings, they will be dead revolutionaries."
By the time of Connie Mathews’ San Jose speech, that repression was already well under way as she pointed out, saying, “I am saying that over the last 6 months Nixon has launched a massive repression against the Black Panther Party that is unheard of.” Fred Hampton was not yet murdered at that time, that came two months later on December 4th, but he was rapidly rising up in the national leadership of the party due in part to FBI and police murders and frame-ups.
Among the prominent FBI frame-ups was that of Geronimo Ji Jaga (Pratt), a BPP member in Los Angeles who was finally exonerated (i.e. found innocent) after 27 years in prison. The FBI stated in their own files that they sought to "neutralize Pratt as an effective BPP functionary." While carrying out Geronimo’s frame-up, the FBI hid evidence of their knowledge that Geronimo was 350 miles from the murders for which he was framed at the time they occurred.
The joining of Bernie Sanders in the racist and murderous campaign that destroyed the Black Panther Party designates him, like the rest of his ilk in the Democrat and Republican parties, an enemy of the working class.
Today, besides the jailing of great revolutionaries like Mumia Abu Jamal, the exile of Assata Shakur, and the murder of others like Fred Hampton, we can still to a large degree legally build the revolutionary party and play a role in the struggle for fighting unions of the multi-racial working class. We must take advantage of this window opportunity while we still can. It is hard to say exactly when that window will close, but it is the present march of the bourgeoisie to more and more violate democratic norms as they drive down the standard of living of the working class, destroy unions, and nastily oppress journalists like Julian Assange and heroic whistle blowers like Edward Snowden and Chelsea (Bradley) Manning. Even the Occupy movement, which was for the most part another failed attempt at pressure politics rather than a fight for power, faced police repression that to a large degree crushed that movement. The ruling capitalist class fears any sort of working class mobilization as belts tighten, police abuses get worse, global warming worsens, and the new Jim Crow creates huge abused layers of the working class who are denied decent jobs based largely on irrelevant and largely unjust criminal background records. Nothing good will come of this election cycle. The most important thing we can do is build a revolutionary party today that is prepared to lead the working class upsurges and revolutionary struggles that are coming.
The left and working class in general has much to lose by backing Bernie Sanders. This includes the following:
1. Our good name by backing a scoundrel faux socialist, war monger, and supporter of America's brutal police.
2. Time, energy, and money that would be better spent building up the strength of our movements and strike coffers.
3. Time and energy that would be better spent building an actual revolutionary socialist party in opposition to the ruling capitalist parties. Nothing will change in this election cycle, so we must have a long term goal of building the kind of revolutionary party that can intervene in the streets, unions, and elections to bring change in the long term.
-Steven Argue of the Revolutionary Party
The Revolutionary Tendency
This is an article of Liberation News, subscribe free:
§National Lawyers Guild on Frame-up of Assata Shakur
Tuesday Aug 11th, 2015 4:33 PM
National Lawyers Guild Urges FBI to Respect Political Asylum Status of Assata Shakur
May 7, 2013
At her final trial, Ms. Shakur was represented by NLG lawyers William Kunstler and Lennox Hinds. The proceedings were fraught with constitutional violations:
•All of the 15 jurors were white, in a clear Batson v. Kentucky violation;
•Five jurors had personal connections to state troopers (one girlfriend, two nephews and two friends), posing a clear conflict of interest;
•One juror violated the jury’s sequestration order and, according to William Kunstler, a New Jersey State Assembly member spoke to jury members at the hotel where they were sequestered, urging them to convict Shakur;
•The judge cut funding for additional expert defense testimony after medical testimony demonstrated that Ms. Shakur—who had no gunpowder residues on her fingers, and whose fingerprints were not found on any weapon at the crime scene—was shot with her hands up and suffered injury to a critical nerve in her right arm, making it anatomically impossible for her to fire a weapon;
•Forensic and ballistic specialists declined to testify, citing conflicts of interest because they routinely testified for law enforcement officials.
§Response To Hugo on Who To Vote For
by Steven Argue
Saturday Aug 22nd, 2015 8:30 AM
In the state of California in the primaries I suggest voting for Gloria LaRiva (Presidential Nominee) and Eugene Puryear (vice Presidential Nominee). They are the candidates of the PARTY OF SOCIALISM AND LIBERATION (PSL), a party that I have some strong criticisms of, but at least they are authentically anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist, pro-union, pro-LGBT, and anti-racist.
The undemocratic laws of the state of California make it impossible for the PSL or any other socialist party to file their candidates under their party name, so the PSL will be on the ballot through the ballot access granted to the Peace and Freedom Party (a party so far to the right that they sent a message to Bernie Sanders to invite him ballot access in California if he ran as an independent). Other parties, like the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), are to the left of the Peace and Freedom Party and refuse to attempt ballot access on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket, but do gain ballot access in their own name in a number of other states where laws are not as undemocratic as California's.
Another anti-democratic law in California only allows us to vote for "third parties" in the primaries, with the November elections being a runoff between the two top vote getters. In the primaries I suggest a vote for the PSL by checking them off or a vote for the SWP by writing them in. In the November 2016 elections in California we will most likely be given the choice between a Republican and a Democrat, I suggest spoiling you ballot in protest. In more democratic states than California, I suggest people vote for one of the socialist candidates on their ballot or writing one in.
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