In late 2014 Bernie Sanders came out to Iowa City to speak before a large and enthusiastic crowd at that university town’s venerable independent Prairie Lights Bookstore. It was part of his exploration before finally committing to running for the U.S. presidency as a Democrat. Iowa City was a key spot – a big campus town bastion of liberal Democrats whose support would be needed in the pivotal first-in-the nation Iowa Caucuses in January of 2016.
Sanders spoke well and angrily against economic inequality and its terrible social and political consequences. He made a compelling case for single-payer health insurance, progressive taxation, the restoration of union organizing and collective bargaining rights, and positive climate action.
It was a good progressive-populist talk with some nice identity politics thrown in for the university crowd. It made important points any leftist could applaud.
There were two things missing from Bernie’s presentation, however – a pair of deletions that made me wonder how serious he really was about fighting for the nation’s working-class majority and against the nation’s unelected dictatorship of capital. The first omission did not surprise me: any criticism of the American war and empire (“defense”) machine as a barrier to the progressive policies he advocated for “the middle class.”
As usual, I agree with Street in this essay. One correction though, since the Dems voted overwhelmingly along with the Repukes on the ‘defense’ budget, we now spend 63% of our federal tax dollars on the national security state.
"Poverty is the parent of revolution and crime" - Aristotle "The more I see of the moneyed peoples, the more I understand the guillotine" - George Bernard Shaw "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, will make violent revolution inevitable" - JFK #SurviveAndRevolt