After the California Democratic Party primary, it is clear now that Clinton has enough delegates to get the nomination. There is no doubt that the primary elections of the Democratic Party were everything but democratic: the Nevada results had to be reviewed as the vote count was not “accurate”, in New York early-registration voting laws restricted democratic participation, 27% of registered (3 million people) voters were denied their chance to vote, in many neighborhoods not enough polling places where installed, and finally in California, extra hoops and confusing information was disseminated to independents, majoritarily supporters of Sanders, to prevent the, from participating the the primaries.
By Florence Oppen.
The question now is to figure out which alternatives exist or need to be created for working people. Sanders´s campaign, with the slogan of making “a political revolution against the billionaires’ class” put forward a radical rhetoric which has galvanised millions of Americans, especially young ones. His campaign which has refused corporate money, has raised more than $200 million, with nearly 7 million contributions of $27 average. This shows it is possible to build an alternative to the two-party system in the US. But Sanders is not offering now a way out, on the opposite, he still clings to an impossible project: making the DP the party of the people.
Sanders´s Immediate Support for Clinton
For many of us, the fact that Sanders went immediately to announce his public support for Clinton after his meeting with President Obama on June 9th 2016 was not a surprise. But this was for sure a huge source of frustration, anger and even sense of betrayal for a lot of the amazing young activists and union organizers which have truly embraced his radical program of reforms for the 99% and threw themselves into a difficult political campaign, giving their time, energy and hope to see a radical change happen in this country. A significant sector of Sanders base is angry at such a quick and unconsulted capitulation to support Clinton, the clear preferred candidate of the 1% and the political establishment on this election.
Of course the reason Sanders is advocating to support Clinton in this cycle is the “threat of Trump”, and in this sense he has just proven to be absolutely no different from the precedent Democratic candidates, playing on the “lesser evil” game.
We revolutionary socialist did not support Sanders mainly because he was running (or attempting to run) on a Democratic Party ticket, which for anyone really serious about challenging the 1% was a clear major contradiction. Many of his supporters have asked him to split from the DP and/or to run as an independent if he were to lose the nomination. Now it is increasingly clear that he will not do so. He has repeatedly pledged his loyalty to the DP, and like many professional politicians of the parliamentary system, he has made most of his decisions without consulting his base.
What is Sanders’s Strategy to Implement Change?
As the campaign has evolved less favourably for Sanders, he has began to reveal his strategy for change: to transform the Democratic Party into a “democratic” organization for the people, to “push” its Platform to the Left. In May he declared: “The Democratic Party is going to have to make a very, very profound and important decision. It can do the right thing and open its doors. Or, the other option, the other for the Democratic Party which I see as a very sad and tragic option is to, is to choose to maintain its status quo structure, remain dependent on big money campaign contributions and be a party with limited participation and limited energy.”
Sanders wants the Democratic Party to “open its doors” to working people and to adopt “good politics”. But he seems to forget that the Democratic Party was never the party of the people, but always the party of a fraction of the 1%, and that since the adoption of the superdelegate system in the 1970’s to respond to the radical protest of the 1968 convention and the rise of Super-PACS, it is increasingly controlled by the major US corporate sectors, through its lobbies and think tanks, like the Economic Council for Foreign Relations. The DP cannot be reformed, its own structure and architecture is designed to maintain the control of the 1%, and thus to promote policies for the 1%.
When the Sander’s campaign began we argued that one of its big “risks” was that in the end his campaign will accomplish a negative goal in the long term: to renew the popular base of the Democratic Party, which after the Clinton and Obama´s disappointing administration had lost a lot of support.
Now we can say, that Sanders did a lot of that. He managed to increase dramatically the voter registration for the Democratic Party (having a lot of “progressives”, organizers and community members de-register from the Green Party), and he renewed the hope that a change is possible with the Democratic Party and within the DP.
We Need And Independent Strategy and a Different “Political Process”
In fact Sanders strategy for change is based in transforming the existing political institutions which have constantly deceived and disappointed working people, not in contesting their legitimacy and build the people’s power. On June 9th he outlined his path for change for the next period: to “bring working people and young people into the political process to create a government which represents all of us.” By “political process” Bernie means the participation in rigged elections, a totally useless Congress and Senate and a lobby and corporate dominated White House. And for course hois dreamed “transformation” of the Democratic party into a party of the people and the youth is a central piece of that project.
Well, we say, respectfully “No, Thank you”, we do not want to get more “into” that “political process”, actually since the 2007 immigrant strike, the Wisconsin Strike, the Occupy movement and the BLM actions we are trying to get “out” of that political process.
For us the path for change is, on the opposite, to build a different political process, one based on local and national struggles, on the independent mobilization of working people and the Black and Latino community, in order to develop a different kind of power. We do not want the silencing virtual power we get through elections and congress representatives, we want a working class power is based on our labor, on our democratic action and deliberation, on our mass actions, our active solidarity and struggle against racism, sexism and homophobia in our communities: a kind of power that can contest and respond to the organized power of the 1%.
Let’s Start Building It Where We Are
Important social movements and struggle have occurred in the past years since the burst of the crisis across different sectors. The demands and hopes of all of us involved in those struggles these fighters and organizers do not fit in the in Hillary’s candidacy, nor in Sanders utopian Democratic Party of the people. They donñt fit because we need something different.
Some did support Sanders enthusiastically, others with much hope, and many refused to be behind an open social democratic candidate, complacent with US imperialism and looking for the DP nomination. But what all of as as activists and organizes activists share had have expresses in our common desire to end the current state of affairs, to radically change the national priorities, to take the power away from the 1% destroying our lives and exercise it as the 99%.
This is why we need to start building together a political base independent from the Democratic Party, based on concrete struggles to get our demands achieved. We need to start building large coalitions to get our demands of free public education and healthcare, $15, labor benefits, the end of police brutality and divestment from the prison system etc met. And we also need to start coordinating and uniting our different struggles, in a working people’s united front, because no-matter who gets elected, the only way our demands will be met is by fighting in the streets and workplaces. And if we are successful in developing those campaigns based on grassroots activists and mass direct action and uniting them, we will have the most powerful base to build a political alternative for the 99%, an independent and broad political party of all the struggles that could mobilize people and have mean to achieve small and bigger changes, a political tool to challenge the DP and the RP and prove that we, working people and oppressed sectors, we the 99% can rule this country better than them.