Bernie Sanders and the End of Neoliberalism
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The lack of a sufficiently aggressive approach by Sanders flows from a deeper problem, namely that he underestimates how far-reaching the “revolution” in politics and society needs to be to achieve his stated goals.
Sanders’ vision of “democratic socialism,” as articulated in the last four years does not extend far beyond Roosevelt’s New Deal and postwar European-style social-democratic welfare states. These were both different versions of applying Keynesian measures whose goal is to save capitalism, rather than move toward socialism. Furthermore, they both ended in failure: the New Deal did not lead to a sustained recovery, which only began with the war economy of World War II; the “structural Keynesianism”of the postwar period led to the “stagflation” and social crisis of the ‘70s before the capitalists turned to neoliberalism.
Sanders and others on the reformist left imagine a return to the postwar welfare state. But as we explain on p.— the postwar boom happened for very specific reasons which cannot be reproduced. Capitalism has resumed its long-term decline and the period we are heading into will more resemble the 1930s than the 1960s. Significant reforms can be won but only based on building a fighting labor movement and a new party of working people and the poor.
Sanders appears to be motivated by the desire not to be blamed for re-electing Trump by giving any less than his most fulsome support to the only “viable” candidate, Biden. But how will this in any way advance the fight for Medicare for All or a Green New Deal? At the very least there would have to be a credible threat made that his support and that of the millions who follow him could not be guaranteed to extract meaningful concessions from the establishment. Whatever lip service is paid to “progressive” ideas in the coming months by Biden and his surrogates is literally worth nothing.
Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction
May 14, 2020 at 1:16 PM #315330HassleCatParticipant
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I was a democratic socialist 40 years ago, and the “real” socialists didn’t like us any better back then. Anyway, that’s kind of beside the point, as far as I can see. Bernie Sanders’ mistake was underestimating his success, leading him to surrender too quickly. I don’t know what went on inside his campaign, but I’m pretty sure Bernie did not make the decision to quit all by himself. It would be interesting to know how the various factions influenced the decision, how they made their arguments, which supporters advocated quitting vs. which advocated continuing.
May 14, 2020 at 6:02 PM #315355N2DocParticipant
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Giving us the worst of both
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