by Jay Moore
August 17, 2014
It seems Bernie Sanders wants to become President and one of the titular Masters of the Universe. But how is the man going to deal with an international crisis with the fate of the world at stake when he can’t even deal with a little righteous heat right in his own back yard? A handful of activists from Code Pink and Occupy Central Vermont went to a town hall meeting in Cabot, Vermont on Saturday, hosted by Bernie Sanders and loudly confronted him on his unconscionable support for Israel’s murderous attacks on Palestinians in Gaza. His reaction was to freak out and call the state police on us, who came rushing through town at high speed as if there was a crime in progress.
Many on the Left outside of Vermont think Bernie is just wonderful. But they don’t know him as we do. He may be pretty decent on domestic issues, at least relative to the other set of bad to horrible choices in the U.S. political spectrum. Yet, ever since he’s been in the U.S. Congress, he has been consistently atrocious on U.S.-launched and U.S.-supported wars, especially in the Middle East.
This is not the first time Bernie has sicced the cops on anti-war protesters. He had a number of us arrested for sitting-in at his congressional office in Burlington at the time of Clinton’s “humanitarian” bombing of Yugoslavia, which Bernie was happily supporting. This led a disgusted local Marxist, who was one of those arrested, to write the essay “Bernie the Bomber’s Bad Week“.
Bernie was an “avowed socialist” when he started out his electoral career in the early 1980s. He displayed a portrait of Eugene Debs over his desk in his Burlington mayoral office. But today Bernie never even uses the term, “working class,” much less talks about what socialism means. That’s been totally dropped from his vocabulary as he seeks higher and higher offices. His populist rhetoric is now all about saving the threatened American middle class. Lost is any sense that maybe the middle class got to where it was not only by virtue of hard work but also by living in an imperialist country that benefits off the exploitation of people in the Third World. There is no sense that maybe that American middle class standard of living is indefensible if we are going to move to a more sustainable way of living on the Earth sharing its resources in a more equitable manner.
Genuine socialists like Eugene Debs are internationalists. Rock bottom is building solidarity for working class and oppressed people all over the world. Israel was created by and continues to be an outpost of Western colonialism. It has no right to exist, at least not in its present form, any more than did apartheid South Africa or the Jim Crow American South. Resistance to Israel is taking many forms, from an armed defensive struggle in Gaza to non-violent anti-Apartheid Wall protests on the West Bank to a growing boycott, divestment and sanctions movement in this country and elsewhere. Zionist money has a tenacious grip on American politicians. No profiles in courage there. But they have to know they will be confronted.