Bernie Sanders

Bernie Out of the Closet: Sanders’ Longstanding Deal with the Democrats – Paul Street

I am glad that the left intellectual and activist Chris Hedges does not support the Bernie Sanders campaign for the Democratic Party presidential nomination. As Hedges explained in a recent interview on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour, Sanders’ candidacy lends undeserved credibility to the thoroughly corporatized Democratic Party. Sanders has pledged that he will support the corporatist military hawk Hillary Clinton in the 2016 general presidential election. Sanders stirs up legitimate progressive energy and popular anger and then “funnels it back into a dead political system,” Hedges observes. Sanders fails to confront the American Empire and military state, and, Hedges adds, has unforgivably “abandoned the Palestinians and given carte blanche to Israel.”

I agree on all scores. Hedges’ reasoning is consistent with my own recent writings on interviews on the Sanders presidential sensation. I do, however, want to raise one quibble with Hedges on Sanders’ history – a difference that makes Hedges’ case against Sanders even stronger. “I don’t understand,” Hedges told Nader: “He [Sanders] fought the Democratic establishment in Vermont his entire career. Now he has sold out to it.”

Sanders’ 1990 Deal with the Dems

Sanders did not “f[i]ght the Democratic establishment in Vermont his entire career.” As the left University of Vermont philosopher Will Miller noted in a 1999 essay recounting left peace activists’ occupation of then U.S. Congressman Bernie Sanders’ Burlington, Vermont office to protest Sanders’ support of the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia and the ongoing U.S. War on Iraq, Sanders sold out to the corporate and war Democrats as early as 1990.

Read more