Ferment and turmoil is rocking both the parties of big business in the United States. First we had the Republican Party convention, with the mainstay of the religious right wing – Ted Cruz – booed and heckled by Trump supporters, while other Republican bigwigs staying away completely. Now it’s the Democrats’ turn.
“We’re giving them their space right now so when Hillary takes the stage they will have all of their things resolved.” So spoke a delegate at yesterday’s Democratic Party convention. In other words, let them get it out of their system. Sanders doubled down on this: “I ask you as a personal courtesy to me not to engage in any kind of protest on the floor,” he said.
You couldn’t have a better example of the role of the entire liberal wing of the Democratic Party. Basically, what it amounts to is “roll with the punches.” Absorb all the disorganized protests and anger, even express some of that anger… and keep everything tightly controlled from the top.
Now there is talk about a walkout when Clinton is officially nominated. Will that happen? Possibly, but I’m reminded of the Carpenters Union general convention of 1980. President Ronald Reagan had been invited to speak, right when he was in the midst of breaking the air traffic controllers strike and destroy their union. There was a movement among the California delegates to walk out, and other delegates wanted to also. The central leaders got all the California delegates together in a room and hammered at them for an hour about how we must not walk out. Since there was no central leadership of the delegates to oppose this, they won the day and the walkout movement was squashed.
Of course, we are in a very different period today, but we should not be surprised if only a few delegates end up walking out.
The other thing is this: The entire emphasis of the Sanders campaign has been to elect him and he will solve people’s problems for them. Yes, it’s true that he talked about the “political revolution” and said that the campaign was not about just one individual, but the reality is that that is exactly what it was about — electing him and maybe getting set up to elect some other “Bernie Sanders’s” to lower office. Now, much of that has shifted to Jill Stein of the Green Party. But what is missing is linking up building the movement in the streets, the work places and also, critically, the movement inside the unions to transform the unions. What is missing is building a democratic infrastructure.
So it’s probably best to vote for Jill Stein as a vote against the corporate duopoly, but that movement from below, and the organization to build and coordinate that movement is still the critical task.