Much ado has been made about the candidacy of Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) for the Democratic Party nomination for Presidency of the United States. Although he makes much of his supposed status as an independent (while simultaneously hitching his wagon to the bourgeois Democratic Party, caucusing/voting with them in the Senate, and running for the party’s nomination for President), has attracted quite a dedicated and almost cult-like following among certain groups of college students, youth, and supposedly progressive elements of American society (who are overwhelmingly white), played a bit of a role in the 1960s mass struggle for civil rights, and proclaims himself a socialist, even a cursory and lazy examination of his record shows that he is ultimately an enemy of the interests of the oppressed masses, worldwide.
Freedom fighter Assata Shakur sought and received political asylum in Cuba after a successful liberation from prison in 1979. Naturally, this was a major blow to the interests and prestige of the imperialist United States, and there has been much clamor for her extradition so that she can be returned to prison to finish serving her sentence after being legally railroaded. On September 14, 1998, there was a vote on a particular Congressional resolution.
Calling on the Government of Cuba to extradite to the United States convicted felon Joanne Chesimard …and all other individuals who have fled the United States to avoid prosecution or confinement for criminal offenses and who are currently living freely in Cuba.
Listening to the social democrats and regular Democrats who relentlessly and tirelessly agitate for Sanders, one would believe that he, supposed anti-imperialist and “political revolutionary”, would be firmly against returning Comrade Shakur to the United States. Yet, Sanders voted against the revolution. He believed, and still believes, that Shakur is a murderer and belongs in prison to be tortured, brutalized, maimed, and possibly even secretly killed by reactionary corrections officers. Sanders, the reactionary and friend of the police and criminal injustice system, has no right to use the words political revolution together. He oppresses revolutionaries. More recently, in August of last year, activist women of color in Seattle took control of the microphone at a Sanders rally to hold discourse on racism in the Seattle area and Black Lives Matter, and were mercilessly booed, certain members of the almost entirely white audience called for their tasing and arrest, and they also targeted misogynistic slurs at them. These are the so called progressives. What did Sanders himself say? He gave a lukewarm statement that never addressed the concerns of the sisters who “interrupted” his rally. Just three days ago, Sanders came out against reparations for oppressed nations, saying that:
“Its likelihood of getting through Congress is nil,” he told Fusion in an interview. “Second of all, I think it would be very divisive.”
The Vermont senator called for “massive investments in rebuilding our cities,” creating millions of decent-paying jobs, and making public colleges and universities tuition-free.
What type of political revolutionary worries about what will and won’t go through Congress, and vaguely calls for “investments” in rebuilding cities that were destroyed by capitalism in the first place? A counterrevolutionary and a reactionary!
The social democrats also make the claim that Sanders has a correct, anti-imperialist foreign policy, comparing his positions to that of the fascist, Trump. Yet, an examination of the behavior of his campaign staffers and his own stated positions reveal the truth. Sanders’ campaign threw out activists who raised questions regarding the situation of the oppressed Palestinian nation last October, Sanders himself has told activists around the Palestine issue to “shut up”, and a Sanders campaign page lays out his position on Israel and Palestine.
“The hatred, violence and loss of life that define this conflict make living an ordinary life a constant struggle for both peoples. We must work with those Israeli and Palestinian leaders who are committed to peace, security and statehood rather than to empty rhetoric and violence. A two-state solution must include compromises from both sides to achieve a fair and lasting peace in the region. The Palestinians must fulfill their responsibilities to end terrorism against Israel and recognize Israel’s right to exist. In return, the Israelis must end their policy of targeted killings, prevent further Israeli settlements on Palestinian land and prevent the destruction of Palestinian homes, businesses and infrastructure.”
Sanders calls for a two-state solution (disregarding the fact that Israel has already swallowed up most of what would be a Palestinian state, as shown in this graphic). Palestine with its current borders wouldn’t be a state, it’d be a functional Bantustan.
He also is so arrogant as to tell an oppressed people facing extermination that they must cease struggling for survival, and recognize the legitimacy and right to exist of the state that is trying to take all of their land, shoots them, and restricts their movements and access to their friends and families, among countless other outrages that occur on a near constant basis. It is impossible for a genuine friend and ally of Palestine to uphold such an imperialist, racist, genocidal line. We know that the only statehood must be that of Palestine. Israel is a criminal imposition of Western imperialists, a settler-colonial state designed to be an imperialist foothold and watchdog over the Middle East, and a constant warmongering element that routinely drops bombs on civilian neighborhoods and disrupts basic infrastructure. As of January 15, 2016, hundreds of thousands of Gazans are freezing, because Israel has curtailed their gas supply. Can we, progressive students and youth of Saint Louis, support Sanders when it was the Palestinian people that supported the 2014 uprising in Ferguson, teaching the people how to counter the impact of toxic chemicals such as tear gas and pepper spray? No!
EMBRACE REAL REVOLUTIONARY POLITICS, NOT CAPITALIST BANDAGES!
BUILD A TRULY LIBERATORY MASS MOVEMENT, NOT A PHONY REVOLUTION AT THE POLLS!
STAND WITH ASSATA SHAKUR AND THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE!