Picture courtesy of Pixabay
The so-called revolution ended not with a bang or even a whimper. For the second election year in a row Bernie Sanders led what many of his naive followers and the media referred to as a revolution. They had the establishment running scared and were going to bring free education, free healthcare and a heavy tax on the “top one percent of the one percent.” Never in this nations history has a politician made such “radical’’ statements.
No, it was just more of the same rhetoric that’s been repeated by politicians over and over again in order to get elected. There was and never has been anything “radical” about what Bernie Sanders say’s or does. Sanders is a typical politician that does whatever he has to in order to get votes. He claims to be unique and fight for the working class and when he loses, he clings to his political party and throws his support to the same people he denounced.
Now, we’re seeing it again. After losing in the primaries a second time Sanders is joining the “establishment” that he denounced. Sanders even continues to contradict himself asking all the people that zealously put their support behind him hoping for change to support someone that’s about as establishment as it gets “to make certain that we defeat somebody who I believe is the most dangerous president in the modern history of this country.”
Sounds like a typical, boring politician to me.
I could go down the list of all the other forty-four Presidents and give a bunch of examples of how each one of them is just as dangerous as Trump is but for the sake of this essay, I’ll just give some recent examples. Joe Biden; the current Democratic Presidential front-runner, under Obama was apart of an Administration in which bombed seven countries (Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan) in the eight years they were in office, completely contradicting their campaign statements about bringing home all the troops. They reinstated the controversial Patriot Act which allows the government to spy on its citizens turning everyone into a suspect.
Not to mention how the NSA and FBI ran wild under their Administration violating civil liberty protections “by improperly searching and disseminating raw intelligence on Americans or failing to promptly delete unauthorized intercepts.” And the list goes on and on.
Donald Trump’s policies mimic that of Barack Obama and George Bush but to Sanders their never has been a more dangerous President. I guess, that means all the people that died thanks to Bush and Obama’s bombing campaigns don’t have much value to Sanders. This comes as no surprise being that Bernie Sanders is pretty pro-war himself. To emphasize on this fact, let’s go down the list of the kinds of foreign policies that he supported throughout his career.
While it is true that Sanders voted against the Iraq war authorization in 2002(which he likes to harp on when claiming he’s anti-establishment) he never seems to mention how he voted for the 2001 Authorization Unilateral Military Force Against Terrorists(AUMF) which allowed Bush to wage war anywhere he liked.
Going a little farther back in time for a moment, into the nineties, in 1998 Sanders voted in favor of the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998, which entailed the regime change of Saddam Hussein by the U.S. That same year Sanders supported a resolution that gave congressional backing to the C.I.A.’s plans to overthrow the Hussein regime and also tightened economic sanctions on Iraq, sanctions which since the Gulf War have been having more of an effect on Iraqi people, particularly children, then it does on the Hussein regime. The sanctions block or delays food, drugs, medical equipment and other necessities depriving the Iraqi people to satisfy basic needs. The resolution also greenlit Operation Desert Fox, a four-day long bombing campaign.
Sanders voted in favor of the war on Serbia on three different occasions, an armed conflict which caused over 100,000 deaths, a conflict launched by Clinton in violation of Article One of the U.S. Constitution that reserves war-making powers to Congress.
Sanders also appears to be a strong supporter of the idea that Russia colluded with the Trump Administration which creates further tensions between the two super powers on top of the hostility already there from the proxy war in Syria and other places between the U.S. and Russia. This should come as no surprise being that Sanders has supported sanctions against Russia in the past and even a “$1 billion package to support the anti-Russian, neo-Nazi forces in Ukraine” in 2014.
The Ukraine government itself is not fascists; however, there has been a resurgence of ultra right-wing, neo-Nazi groups in the country. One of the main ones is a militia known as Azov. Azov along with other groups have integrated into Kiev’s armed forces and is constantly praised for defending their country. Furthermore, the government never punishes these groups when they attack anti-fascists demonstrators, city council meetings, foreign students etc. And in some cases, the police actual arrests the peaceful demonstrators instead of the violent fascists causing the problems. Not that the U.S. should support Russia; however, Ukraine doesn’t seem like a good alternative.
Also contrary to Sanders anti-war stance is his support for the F-35 fighter jet. The jet altogether costs $1.5 trillion and is to be considered a huge waste of taxpayer money. When questioned about his view of the F-35 by activist Carl Gibson Sanders replied, “for better or worse, that is the plane of record right now, and it is not gonna be discarded. That’s the reality.” Instead of wasting $1.5 trillion on the same military industrial complex that he criticizes that money could have been used towards providing free college.
That wouldn’t be the only time Bernie Sanders danced with the military industrial complex. According to the Center for Responsive Politics on opensecrets.org, in 2016, Bernie Sanders received $385,830 from the defense industry.
What little anti-war rhetoric we do hear from Sanders is just PR stunts. Such as, Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 54, which was introduced by Sanders back in 2018. On the surface, the goal of the bill was to invoke the 1973 War Powers Resolution which prohibits the President from deploying U.S. troops into armed conflicts without congressional approval.
For one thing resolutions like that have been disregarded by presidents in the past and Trump has been no exception. The bill is anti-war in name only. The bill requires the removal of troops from Yemen with the exception of those fighting Al-Qaeda or forces associated with them. Coincidentally, all the US troops over there are allegedly fighting Al-Qaeda. All the president has to do is say that there are Al-Qaeda forces in certain areas that they are targeting and just like that Yemen intervention can continue.
That loophole also allows the US to continue to communicate and share information with Saudi Arabia. The bill’s supposed goal is to disassociate with Saudi Arabia’s campaign against Yemen but it still allows the US and Saudi Arabia to work together towards defeating Al-Qaeda. And now over a year later Yemen is still being ripped apart by the Saudis with US support. It’s also worth noting that the bill said nothing to stop the drone strikes which has killed many Yemenis civilians including children. Bernie Sanders has been a long-time supporter of drone strikes and Obama’s “kill lists” along with backing James “Mad Dog” Mattis as Secretary of Defense.
But enough about Sanders far-right foreign policies. Let’s turn to something closer to home such as his stance on unions. Bernie Sanders has been a strong union advocate, constantly talking about how we need to unionize everything. In a speech he gave in 2014 he states that “thirty, forty years ago, the largest private sector employer in America was General Motors. Making real products, having a strong UNION, providing decent wages and decent benefits. Today, the largest private sector in America is Wal-Mart.”
Bernie Sanders praises General Motors (obviously not being aware of their history) for being unionized and as usual props up Wal-Mart as the bad guy. Sanders is right about Wal-Mart; the argument isn’t whether or not Wal-Mart has labor issues. Or whether or not unions are necessary: they are, when dealing with multi-billion-dollar companies that are only looking out for profits workers need protection. The issue is union corruption.
Majority of the unions in America are controlled by organized crime members and other crooks. Members have to fight with the union to get their medical bills covered, annuities stolen/pension fraud, not fighting to get their members full-time employment (in the case of the UFCW). The unions are run by oligarchs, families like the Hoffa’s are just one example., they have for decades put their family members and friends in high positions not allowing anyone else the opportunity to be in a position to make decisions. These same families are long time associates with the Genovese, Colombo and DeCavalcante crime families, among others, who through them control the unions.
Unions are a great thing if they do what they’re suppose to do which is support and protect the workers from corporations. What they do now is protect the corporations and extort members for the mob. What we need and what Bernie Sanders never seems to talk about is union reform. If we can fix the unions and get them doing what their meant to do unionizing Wal-Mart and others will actually matter. Right now, for the most part, its counterproductive.
In summary, Bernie Sanders is no revolutionary but a typical politician. It’s easy to understand why his supporters put so much faith in him. He’s down to earth, talking to regular people as if he’s one of them as opposed to most politicians that talk as if their above everyone sounding artificial and even robotic. Sanders has also, in some cases, brought up real issues that other politicians usually favor like NAFTA and globalization which has taken jobs from the US.
But at the end of the day Sanders is no different from the rest of them. Fundamentally, he supports the same things. He talks a great deal about Medicare for all, unions, wage equality etc. But at what cost was he willing to bring in his socialist agenda. The number one issue that he talked about shouldn’t have been Medicare for All. It should have been the interventionism of the US. It should have been the endless wars overseas that have killed thousands of civilians not to mention our soldiers and has cost our country billions. Sanders only mentioned these things briefly and never made it his number one topic. In fact, the only time he really emphasized on it was when the media mentioned a big event in Syria, Venezuela or the Gaza Strip (some examples). In other words, he barley ever emphasized on it.
Sanders claimed to be anti-establishment but constantly referred to Joe Biden as his friend and supported Barack Obama who represented Wall Street instead of American citizens. Sanders often referred to Donald Trump as the most dangerous president, yet, Obama and Trump’s foreign policies are exactly the same. So, in a sense Sanders does support the most “dangerous president.” And for someone that is supposed to be a revolutionist he sure hops on board with the “establishment” when he loses as seen in the 2016 election with Hilary Clinton and now with Joe Biden. All that anti-establishment talk and now he’s trying to get his supporters to support…the establishment.
In short, Bernie Sanders is just like any other politician. He’ll say and do anything to get a vote. Trump’s the president everyone hates so Sanders refers to him as the worst of the worst instead of comparing Trump’s similarities to the past presidents. Climate change, Medicare for All, unions, are the popular talking points to regurgitate. No in-depth analysis of said topics. No emphasis on any other issues. No real talk about endless wars or bringing troops home. No critical thinking. Just regurgitation.
All information regarding union corruption see Solidarity for Sale by Robert Fitch