Congratulations, Marissa Johnson and Mara Jacqueline Willaford. You accomplished what you set out to do. Maybe it wasn’t pretty. Maybe it wasn’t perfect. But we see that Sanders is now talking about “institutional racism,” he’s talking about Sandra Bland as an example of police racism.
It was the protest at Netroots Nation that first caught his attention, and your interruption really sealed the deal. “There is no president that will fight harder to end institutional racism,” he said in Los Angeles just two days after his Seattle adventure. There are a couple of conclusions we should draw:
- First and foremost, we should remember the immortal words of the very successful baseball manager, Leo Duroucher, who was known for being a real tyrant. When he was asked why he wasn’t a nicer guy, he answered, “because nice guys finish last.”
- Second, we can never rely on the liberal establishment. We have to build our own, independent power base.
The Sandersnistas have tried to defend his relative silence on the issue of institutional racism up until now by pointing to some march he participated in 50 years ago, as if resting on his laurels satisfies. But we can’t do the same; now its onward and upward. Sanders’ feet must be kept to the fire on this issue, but it should be expanded. If we are fighting racism here in the US, and if we want to be taken seriously, then we have to fight it everywhere. While Sanders claims to oppose “institutional racism”, there is probably no country in the world where racism is more institutionalized than the racist, expansionist State of Israel. Sanders supports Israel and Zionism. He can’t be allowed to pretend to oppose racism at home while he supports it abroad. If black lives matter, then so do Palestinian lives.
One trap we should beware of: Pressuring a liberal politician can lead us down the road to relying on those very same politicians. But if we want to avoid that trap, we have to have an alternative. Running our own candidates, separate and apart from the Republicrat paradigm won’t solve the entire problem, which is capitalism itself, but it’s one step in building a broader movement; it’s one step in helping that movement define its own goals and strategy; it’s one step down the road towards the US working class consciously becoming a class in, of and for itself. That means, among other things, explicitly fighting racism also.