Socialist Alternative - March 11, 2020
Join Us for a Mass Protest and Conference in Milwaukee
The Coronavirus is spreading, global markets are in chaos, and we need a political revolution now more than ever. Now is the time to deepen our fight for Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, and socialist policies that benefit working people, not Wall Street – to take our struggle against the billionaire class to a new level.
In all this, we will continue to face the relentless opposition of the Democratic Party establishment, whose priorities have been on full display over the course of the primary. Faced between the choice of Bernie Sanders’ political revolution and risking a likely second term of Donald Trump, the party leadership has ferociously chosen the latter.
While Joe Biden’s third attempt at the presidency seemed all but dead in February, over the past two weeks, establishment politicians and pundits have dragged his political corpse into a clear lead, dramatically altering the course of the election. After sweeping gains on Super Tuesday, Biden will now walk away from “Mini-Super Tuesday” on March 10 with decisive victories in Michigan, Mississippi, and Missouri.
“The waters parted for Joe Biden like no other candidate has ever seen,” said CNN’s chief political analyst, Gloria Borger, describing the wild swing in his direction. “It’s almost as if he’s standing there saying, ‘What? What? I’m here?’ Because he did everything wrong. He lost a couple times, he came in second or third. This should not have happened, but it did happen to him.”
This abrupt change was no accident. A corrupt elite has poured huge amounts of money, air time, and political capital behind Biden.
Make no mistake, the Democratic Party elite resuscitated Biden not because they have profound faith in him, but because he is their last line of defense against Bernie’s political revolution. The New York Times, notorious defenders of the status quo, themselves admitted as much the day after Biden’s win in South Carolina when they announced: “Buttigieg and Klobuchar Endorse Biden, Aiming to Slow Sanders.” The establishment’s number one, number two, and number three goals were to suffocate our movement: to use any means necessary to stop Medicare for All, universal rent control, a Green New Deal, and our demand that billionaires should no longer exist.
Friends and Enemies
It has never been more critical for working class people to fully grasp who are our friends and who are our enemies. Unfortunately, despite what Bernie has said, Joe Biden is not our friend, and we cannot support him. He, the Democratic establishment, and the corporate media are our enemies and will stop at nothing to defend their bankrupt system.
Unfortunately, Elizabeth Warren has also been an important part of the Block Bernie campaign. Her refusal to back Sanders in the critical moment following Super Tuesday is effectively an endorsement for Biden and a bludgeon to the progressive left, in a telling repeat of her refusal to support the political revolution in 2016. She has proven herself to be a fake progressive. Even the left of the Democratic Party leadership is no ally of the working class.
The enemies named above are hellbent on stopping our movement despite the fact that 40% of Americans, that’s well over 100 million people, do not have enough money in the bank to cover a medical emergency. Despite the fact that 2.5 million kids in America are homeless. Despite the fact that 34 million adults in the U.S. have watched someone die because they cannot afford their prescription drugs, and now so many of the uninsured and underinsured face a deadly coronavirus pandemic with little-to-no protection. Despite the fact that the system of capitalism has all of us marching toward catastrophic and irreversible climate change. In the midst of all the carnage in our society, the Democratic Party leadership has sold millions of Americans on the notion that now is not the time to “take a political risk.”
Above all else, the Democratic establishment is concerned with maintaining immense wealth for their billionaire masters and a status quo of mass inequality and a rapidly worsening future for the rest of us.
It is not just the last minute endorsements that have saved Biden, it is also the relentless campaigning from the corporate media – reporting into being the inevitability of a Biden victory. They have not tried to hide their disdain for Bernie. Chris Matthews’ comparison of Sanders’ Nevada victory to the Nazi invasion of France was the most extreme, but the airwaves were full of vicious attacks aimed at taking Bernie down. Their expansive coverage to anoint Biden in the run up to Super Tuesday eclipsed even their coverage of COVID-19.
The Democratic Party has engaged in what Bernie himself has identified as voter suppression in this election. Prohibitively long lines and shoddy election equipment have been reported in a number of states. This has served as an assist to the Biden campaign as those hit hardest by this voter suppression are younger, poorer voters who are more likely to vote for Bernie.
Biden’s shocking weaknesses as a candidate says a tremendous amount about the priorities of the Democratic Party. Biden, like Hillary Clinton, is a tool of Wall Street whose long record of defending the interests of billionaires against the needs of the working class, combined with his clearly declining mental faculties, make him an easy target for Trump – who will eat him alive in the general election. Despite consistently polling better against Trump than Biden, the establishment hopes to prop Biden through the primary by limiting his public appearances. Biden himself has barely campaigned in the states he’s now winning.
The Democrats first announced a change to the format of the last remaining Democratic debate to protect Biden, and now they are looking to cancel it altogether. Their desperation to protect Biden was summed up by Jim Clyburn who suggested that, if Biden made big gains on “Mini Tuesday”, they should shut down the primary and declare Biden the winner – before tens of millions of working class people even have the chance to make their voices heard.
Even if he manages to win, Biden will preside over a major economic downturn and will naturally do everything possible to bail out the ruling class, not working people as Obama did after 2008-9. This is how we got Trump in the first place!
Right now, we should not stop fighting and Bernie should absolutely not hold back. He should call out Biden’s rotten corporate record and fight all out in the coming states. He should call for mass marches across the country to back up the political revolution. He should demand a series of real, head-to-head debates with Biden and grill him on his long service to the billionaire class. He should stop calling Joe Biden his “friend” and emphasizing their mutual support for one another. And he absolutely should not endorse Biden.
What Next for the Political Revolution?
The Democratic elite have shown their cards. They would prefer that Trump wins against a candidate even weaker than Hillary Clinton than put an “organizer in chief” in the White House. They are terrified of what our movement represents. They are afraid of the millions of ordinary Americans who are inspired to fight for Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, and universal rent control. There are millions of people voting for Bernie Sanders despite the vicious campaign against him, this in and of itself is historic.
Despite his millions of supporters, the delegate math is not on our side in this contest. Bernie securing the most delegates at this stage would require either an absolute crisis in the Biden campaign or an unprecedented surge of non-traditional voters in upcoming states coming out for Bernie. The more likely scenario is that the Democratic Party establishment succeeds in stealing this election.
While the establishment may cynically congratulate themselves on this, what they fail to see is that the train that has been set in motion by capitalism and by decades of extraordinarily brutal inequality will not stop with one night of sub-par election results, it does not stop with one lost primary contest, and it certainly does not stop with a single election even if their craven efforts to block Bernie are successful. We must continue to build our political revolution, regardless of what happens in the primary.
#DemExit: We Need a New Party
We will not settle for empty promises and we are tired of being told we’re asking for too much. We will not accept sky-high prescription drug costs, endless student debt, constant war, disastrous trade deals that take millions of jobs overseas, or climate catastrophe.
We need to fight in every remaining state to win every vote we can for the political revolution and to build the biggest possible base of support for Bernie Sanders’ ideas.
But most importantly, we need to transform our political revolution into a mighty movement to take on the DNC and the corporate and political elite, and to build a new party.
My organization has been calling for a million people to go to Milwaukee to have Bernie’s back and prevent undemocratic maneuvers at the Convention. But the maneuvers have already happened.
Now we need our movement to go to Milwaukee for a mass protest and conference to begin discussing next steps for the political revolution and preparing for the launch of a new party, of, by and for working people. This conference, along with simultaneous regional conferences, would have the historic task of organizing for a mass national convention next year with delegates from around the country to found a new party.
We need a new party which fights unambiguously for the needs of ordinary people while we wage a battle against Donald Trump and the billionaire class. The Democratic Party has betrayed us again and again and put up nothing but obstacles for our movement. We need our own party completely independent of corporate money that will fight alongside our movement, instead of against it. We need a party that will fight alongside young climate strikers for a Green New Deal. A party that can be a political home to a reborn fighting labor movement, not one in league with the bosses.
Everything we’ve been able to win in Seattle, from making our city the first to pass a $15 minimum wage to defeating Amazon in my reelection last year, was because I have run independent of the Democratic Party as a member of Socialist Alternative. Socialist Alternative has been the backbone of our movements, while Seattle’s Democratic establishment has fought us every step of the way, as has the party nationally against Bernie.
We have said since 2015 that it would have been better if Bernie ran as an independent, precisely because of the limitations of running within the Democratic Party which are now on full display. We acknowledge that Sanders’ approach has brought millions toward the idea of a political revolution, but now the limits of his approach have been reached. We do not think working class people should support Joe Biden and we urge Bernie to join his millions of supporters in forming a new party.
The Democratic Party has carried out a tremendous political con, selling millions of people on Joe Biden despite his enormous weakness. He is not our friend, and working class people cannot support him. Let’s begin the project of building a new party in this country NOW. Sign our online pledge to launch a new party and to build for a mass protest and conference in Milwaukee. Share it widely and bring it to every Bernie supporter you know.
History is calling on us, and we need to use this moment to take decisive steps outside the rotten, corporate Democratic Party and begin building something fundamentally new. The brutal system of capitalism is again heading into another major economic crisis as it fails to meet the needs of the overwhelming majority of people and threatens to take us over the cliff of climate disaster. We need to build a powerful movement to fight for an alternative.
I’ll see you in Milwaukee.