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Where Does the Sanders Movement Go From Here?

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Of all the Democratic primary postmortems I have read, the smartest is from Communication Workers of America official Bob Master. Exploring the various success and failures of the Sanders movement, he notes its potentially historic message legitimizing socialism in American politics at a time when capitalism is immersed in a long-term crisis. He then thinks on where the movement goes from here. He provides short summaries of each point and then longer thoughts about each. I am going to just quote the short summaries and provide a little commentary of my own.

1. A new national left party or a single unified organization is unlikely to emerge from the Sanders movement, but let’s build something. The Occupy encampments changed the global political discourse, but the movement’s longer-term potential was squandered by its rejection of organization-building, an anti-leadership obsession with “horizontality,” and an aversion to program. Preoccupation with “holding space” and with decentralized direct action made it impossible to create the Occupy equivalent of SNCC or SDS—an organization that could have carried forward the anti-Wall Street mobilization even after state violence dismantled the encampments. We shouldn’t make those mistakes again.

Yes on all fronts. Occupy was doomed to failure as a movement for the reasons Master states. Presumably most of the Occupy activists were deeply committed to Sanders. But of course Sanders vastly expanded upon that base. Whoever wants to be active in leftist politics absolutely needs to be committed to movement building and concrete goals. And yes, that means verticality in leadership, at least to some extent. If nothing comes of the Sanders movement in the next 4 years except grumbling about Clinton, that would be incredibly disappointing. But I do think something will come of it because the problems of inequality and disillusion that led to both Occupy and Sanders are not going away.

2. The question of race must be dealt with upfront. In order to gain credibility among constituencies of color which were reluctant to back Sanders, the new formation must unify the agendas of the Occupy, Black Lives and immigration rights movements. It must prominently engage key community and political leaders of color like Representatives Keith Ellison and Raul Grijalva, Ohio State Senator Nina Turner, and NYC Councilmember Jumaane Williams (who led the legislative fight against “stop and frisk”), former NAACP leader Ben Jealous, and intellectuals like Michelle Alexander, who is probably the most significant intellectual influence on millennial activists, both white and black. And from the start, the post-Sanders formation must take up issues that are immediately relevant to constituencies of color—police accountability, stopping the attack on Voting Rights, or comprehensive immigration reform, to suggest just a few examples.

Yes, yes, yes. This was of course Bernie’s primary weakness. I fully believe that whatever gets built, it will be inclusive of racial inequality because that’s what most of the people in the Sanders movement also want, even if their candidate wasn’t so great at talking about it or even recognizing it as crucial.

3. The new movement should mobilize around a limited agenda that takes on issues of economic and racial exploitation on the one hand, and the reclamation of our democracy on the other. Such an agenda should be clearly understood as an effort to hold the new President and elected Democrats at every level accountable to the yearnings of tens of millions of Americans for racial and economic justice. This issue mobilization must begin—starting at the Democratic National Convention—by uniting forces both inside and outside the Sanders campaign to kill the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement (TPP) once and for all. This is not only the right policy, but critically important for the electoral success of the Democratic Party. So called “free trade” embodies the deep contradiction between the neoliberal bankers and technocrats, on the one side, who have dominated Democratic Party economic policy-making since the Clinton Administration, and its traditional working class base, on the other. It is also now the Party’s most vulnerable Achilles heel with white working class voters, whose sense of betrayal and economic hopelessness drive Trump’s right-wing, nationalistic populism and reduce Clinton’s support among these voters to abysmally low levels. Sanders has already pushed Clinton to rhetorical opposition to the TPP; in the run up to the convention, Sanders and Clinton should work together to extract a promise from Obama that the treaty will not be taken up in the lame duck session.

Again, completely agreed. Concrete goals are a must. Opposing the TPP is an obvious target. And even if that attempt fails to win, as I fear it will, new goals must be quickly articulated and organized around.

4. Launch a massive program of grassroots political and economic education. In the waning decades of the 19th century, the Populist movement deployed a small army of “lecturers” who traveled across the Plains talking to farmers about issues of debt, credit, monetary policy and the power of Wall Street over their lives. This popular education helped build the mass base for a reform agenda that ultimately culminated in the sweeping changes of the New Deal. Our movement requires a similar commitment to mass popular education.

For this point, I highly recommend reading Master’s further explanation of what he means, which includes small group trainings and popular education methods. In other words, it’s more than just the internet. I’m not totally sure how you reach mass numbers of people through these methods, but then it’s not really necessary. Given that it only takes small numbers of people to really draw attention to an issue that sometimes can then lead to something much larger, engaging in vigorous forms of education among activists, union members, and others who are socially conscious can have a pretty big cascading effect.

5. An openly socialist current should be built within the new movement. Senator Sanders’ refusal to retreat from his identification with democratic socialism certainly ranks as one of the most remarkable features of the campaign. To those of us who can remember “Commie” as a schoolyard epithet and “duck and cover” air raid drills, let alone labor’s bitter internecine battles over U.S. imperial misadventures in Vietnam and Central America, Sanders’ open embrace of socialism and the absence of “red-baiting” in the campaign has been almost beyond imagination.

Despite what a few Sanders supporters want to believe about Clinton, there has been very little red-baiting, although that would have changed big time had Bernie won the nomination and the Republicans gone after him. The open embrace of socialism is an absolute positive, even if the definitions are quite vague at this point.

6. The “political revolution” must be driven down to the level of school boards, city councils, county legislatures, state government, and Congress. The goal is not to take over the Democratic Party, but to build an infrastructure—an independent political party—comprised of activists and elected officials, both inside and outside the Democratic Party, which can carry the agenda of the Sanders campaign forward. For the last two decades, the Working Families Party, now operating in 11 states, has worked to build the political capacity to challenge corporate, right-wing Democrats, and to help defeat right-wing Republicans in general elections. Operating as a coalition of unions, community organizations and independent progressives, a model which can leverage substantial resources, the Working Families Party has had its greatest success at the state and local level. The Party’s endorsement of Sanders was its first such national endorsement, and created some tension with several of its labor affiliates, most of which had endorsed Clinton. Nevertheless, the WFP’s political and ideological agenda is tightly aligned with that of Sanders; in a sense, Sanders is the national candidate who embodies the Party’s foundational aspirations.

Master is a big player in the Working Families Party, so I think he plays down the real problems with the WFP, which is that it is so reliant on unions for funding that it had to endorse Andrew Cuomo because that’s what the unions wanted, completely eroding its credibility with much of the left. So I’m pretty skeptical of the WFP-style method. But I do of course absolutely agree with taking the fight to the local and state level and we need to talk more seriously about how to do that, including potentially through organizations like the WFP.

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  • shah8

    If a movement aggressively deals with race straightforwardly and upright, you really can expect most white liberals to ditch that movement. Any exposure to twitter shows that is too much to ask for. Same with the ease that racist sentiment can get injected in liberal discourse, using a variety of technique. Just because Jennie is clumsy and dumb doesn’t mean the broader tactics often has a bit of success.

    • DrDick

      While I acknowledge your larger point, I think much of that depends on how you do it and how you present it to your audience. If you attack white liberals for their, largely unconscious, racist beliefs and attitudes or for their white privilege, you will indeed drive most of them away. If you seek to educate them and make them aware of these and their consequences, it does not need to be so.

      • shah8

        Uh huh,

        The issue with that is that advocacy for racial equalization are usually taken as an attack on white welfare (couched in other terms). Desegregation of schools is the easy example here. Remember when Erik made an anodyne and completely true observation about “choosing neighborhood based on schools” and simply *asked* the readers to acknowledge the intrinsic racist mentality of it all? Nothing more, and he got a shitstorm of bad justification for his troubles.

        White people, conservative or liberal, are pro white supremacy–specifically about resource distribution. The difference tends to be the conservatives see everything as zero sum, and liberals wait until there is enough details such that a zero sum outcome is likely. The outcomes are the same, though.

        It’s not really to say I object to any sort New!Liberal!Left! mass movement. It’s basically that no solid movement will ever represent non-whites effectively, and as it has always been, any progress will be the chaotic stumbling of masses of people engaged in smaller group advocacies.

        • White people, conservative or liberal, are pro white supremacy–specifically about resource distribution.

          No. No. No.

          I’m as white as the day is long and I have fought my entire adult life against “white supremacy” as have a great many white people. The younger generation, in particular, is probably the most color blind generation in history. So no. White people are not automatically pro white supremacy. Rich people are pro rich supremacy, the vast majority of whom are white. There’s a difference.

          • burritoboy

            seems to me Shah8’s example of the desegregation debate is pretty powerful evidence that even white liberals are highly influenced by white supremacy, even if that influence is unconscious.

            • Robespierre

              People are, to some extent,selfish, especially when providing resources for their children.

              When an existing system gives advantages to some races over others, they’ll probably make use of it as long as it exists.

              That is, they won’t unilaterally disarm. That’s not the same thing as being personally racist.

              • Origami Isopod

                Well, no kidding. “Personal racism” isn’t even a fraction of the problem that structural racism is.

          • Drexciya

            The younger generation, in particular, is probably the most color blind generation in history.

            And we have this day, of all days, to offer as an example of just what, exactly, that means and how far it goes.

          • LifeOntheFallLine

            And then there are well meaning rich liberals who would come behind and say that “No, no, no I as a rich person have fought all my adult life as have many rich people I know for class equality. What there REALLY is is supremacy!”

            Something I learned well on the nascent Black social media platforms of Blackplanet and the Blackfolk community on LiveJournal is that the proper response to stuff like “White people are pro-white supremacy” isn’t to say “Not me therefore you’re wrong!” It’s to look at the evidence presented around that assertion and see if it scans. If it doesn’t apply to YOU then great, no one is talking about you, but shah8 made a decent argument for the general class of white people being inclined to white supremacist choices and policies. You and your friends don’t change the fact that for a disheartening majority of white people inner city public schools = Black = deficient. Among other things.

          • Origami Isopod

            #NotAllWhitePeople

          • Nick056

            White people are often, as a political group, comfortable with the disparate racial impact perpetuated by housing, educational, and criminal justice policies. And given that the continuing disparities are built on a long history of intentional discrimination which continues into the present, more white people should be more concerned about differences in outcomes. Indeed, they should advocate policies to reduce those disparities, and seek to eliminate the policies that allow them to continue. I am talking about whites as a political group, not every white individual. To the extent that anyone says every white person is pro-white supremacy, then that person is wrong. Obviously. I think my assessment is born out by the policies of the politicians white people tend to elect.

            Jelani Cobb’s post today at the New Yorker opens with a reference to David Blight’s Race And Reunion. Blight’s book is about how a key narrative of the Civil War — maybe the key narrative — was suppressed. Whites decided that the war was not about emancipation, and located its meaning elsewhere, in white soldiers’ valor, in “brother against brother,” and in the concept of the fight for local independence. As part of this process, of course, whites abandoned reconstruction in 1877. Whites have also never, as a group, embraced the concepts of positive liberty that defined the post-war amendments. This isn’t idle history. John Roberts’s decision in <emShelby County was a narrowing of the intended power given to Congress after the War.

            Whites as a political group have never reconciled these contradictions. We celebrate Memorial Day without acknowledging that the first Decoration Day was held by black freed people at the site of Union graves buried in the South. We fail to grasp that the least-taught period in American history is very probably the Reconstruction period because that was a period that saw both the greatest acts of decimating terror against black people, and the most rapid achievements in terms of black political and civic power, sadly reversed. By and large we don’t want to confront what that implies. Again, as a political group.

            Like I said in a thread the other day, people are never going to fully come to grips with history. But the continual lessening of intentional discrimination, although positive, doesn’t resolve the issues caused by indifference to disparate impact of facially neutral policies, or fix the problems caused by the philosophical gap at the heart of white-libertarian thinking.

            • cpinva

              oddly enough, on our way back home from the hospital yesterday afternoon, my wife and I were having this very (loud) discussion, about this very subject. I have no idea what people in other cars thought we were arguing about, but it’s a discussion (argument) we’ve been having for over 30 years (she’s born/raised in Richmond, VA). she’s a very well educated, very smart person, but she was taught the TX lie version of the civil war and its aftermath (state’s rights, union attacked the south, etc.), and is (I think) psychologically invested in it, to the extent that if I finally get her to read anything concerning that conflict and its aftermath, other than Gone With The Wind, I fear she might have a breakdown. I don’t know if anyone in her family fought in that war, but if so, it was most likely for the confederacy, and they wouldn’t have been slave owners themselves (too poor), but among the vast numbers of poor to middling whites, who got sucked into it by the wealthy, as a “state’s rights” supporter.

              of course, who wants to admit their ancestor committed treason in defense of slavery, any more than they want to admit that great grandpa was a member of the SS, and a guard at Dachau? some things I’d certainly want to whitewash out of my family’s heritage.

      • los

        a white tow truck driver or home health aid doesn’t feel “privileged”.
        “white privilege” is also “race deaf”
        (also, not many black tow truck drivers or home health aids have heard the phrase.)

    • AcademicLurker

      Any exposure to twitter shows

      Twitter is a pretty good example of how not to deal with any topic of any importance whatever.

      I’m not saying that building a movement that addresses both economic and racial equality will be easy or will succeed. But the fact that attempts to address both via social media inevitably end in abject failure doesn’t mean that it’s impossible in general.

      If nothing else, it’s not nearly so easy for psycho trolls to dominate/derail discussions in actual face to face meetings.

      • los

        I don’t have a twitter account, but I’ve seen enough of the word ‘unfollow’, that suggests a capablity of hiding psychos. True? False?
        If true, then clicking a button is easier than calling security guards.
        However, ‘social media’ lacks some positive attributes of social real life.

    • Yankee

      Maybe not to appeal to racial equality to build support, but to build political capital that can be spent towards racial equality.

    • UncleEbeneezer

      Yeah, I wish I shared Erik’s optimism but this:

      I fully believe that whatever gets built, it will be inclusive of racial inequality because that’s what most of the people in the Sanders movement also want

      Seems like an awfully rose-colored assumption to me. This Primary has led me to the opposite conclusion. Not that Bernie fans are particularly worse than any others, but that they share the same blindness on matters of race and the same blindness to (and defensiveness about) their blindness. Granted, this is based on annecdata so full caveat and #Notall….

      My sense is that whatever movement Bernie has led (if there is one) consists of alot of people who are fine with having Racial Issues be part of the overall goal, but that any time someone suggests those issues be placed as the first priority, they get just as indignant/Whitesplainy/defensive as any other group of White voters. As others have noted: see the reaction to Erik’s anodyne point about schools/bussing and the role of racism. See also the reaction of the mere floating of the idea that maybe Reparations should be up for consideration as part of the Progressive Platform, by TNC. See: the reaction to BLM protests or criticisms of Bernie for not prioritizing Racial Justice/Racial Inequality/Abortion Access enough. Sure some supporters admitted that yes, maybe he could do better on these things and wanted to try to push him to do so, but exponentially more just went on the defensive and/or Whitesplained that Economic Inequality was the real problem. Of the people I know, mostly online as commenters and FB friends, most of the ones who take Intersectionality seriously and recognize the need for White people to let marginalized groups speak for themselves and even let marginalized groups have first crack at taking the keys to the Progressive bus already support the Democratic Party. Many of them have learned these things through the work and interaction they have done within the Party. Most of the Sanders fans don’t even acknowledge the reality of their Privilege and the role that White Supremacy has played in creating the landscape (even on the Left) that we see. Someone noted below that young voters are “color blind” and that is a huge hurdle to any movement that wants to seriously incorporate Racial Equality goals and have a diverse base. The Bernie Movement absolutely CAN do it, but it’s already way behind the Democratic Party in that aspect. To do so, young Bernie supporters will have to realize that like Beyonce’s Lemonade, their opinions on some topics don’t matter and that they have to learn to cede the podium to others on them. When I start to see more of the Bernie Movement emphasizing this, or better yet, exemplifying it in their actions, I’ll think they are ready to seriously challenge the Democratic Party, but if this Primary has been any indication it’s gonna be awhile.

      • One thing I *think* is happening is that things get *iterative* better.

        My sense is that whatever movement Bernie has led (if there is one) consists of alot of people who are fine with having Racial Issues be part of the overall goal, but that any time someone suggests those issues be placed as the first priority, they get just as indignant/Whitesplainy/defensive as any other group of White voters.

        I agree, but I sort of see this as progress. We’re closer to the *default* being that those people think Racial issues are part of the overall goal…I’m not so sure that was the case at many points in history. And I think the subset of white folks who at least know to resist the defensive move (even if they are still prone to it) is higher. Plus, e.g., black folks have more intra and inter group structures for combating or working around these tendencies, including increasing power inside the democratic party.

        Now, this is by no means post-racial-crap utopia. And it’s terribly frustrating that we’ve not come farther. But there is progress and each round we gain a bit more at least inside the progressive movement.

        Even on the Trump side where you have more explicit, blatent, crass racism than we’ve had in years, it’s causing resistance in quarters where even in the 80s wouldn’t have gotten much. That Paul Ryan felt compelled to call Trump out on racism as such (before the uproar called on him to do so), is a good thing. He’s not a good thing, but that constraint is.

        So I think optimistic pessimism is the order of the day :)

      • Pat

        Much of Bernie’s initial visibility is based on his fury at Obama for compromising too much. I suspect part of Bernie’s Green Lanternism has to do with not trusting a black man.

  • DrDick

    Have to agree with all of that, which pretty much mirrors my own feelings and ideas. The two most important points in the medium term are working within the Democratic Party, much like Movement Conservatism did with the GOP, and building a strong local infrastructure, both by campaigning for and electing local officials (who gain experience and expertise) and the education programs.

    His point on the Occupy Movement is also important and highlights the fatal weakness of anarchism. Acephalous organization works well enough for small groups, but simply does not scale up much beyond about 25-30 active participants (based on actual patterns of social organization and decision-making in the ethnographic record). To effectively organize larger groups there has to be some delegation of authority from the group to individual leaders who are empowered to make at least some decisions for them. The larger the group, the greater amount of authority has to be delegated.

    • wrong place (I was going to say something about social psychology and theories that promote the recognition of the need for leadership arising out of the experience of anarchy but wrote the comment below instead)

  • Something I wrote a while ago that has some parallels, although it was about liberalism in general as opposed to the Sanders movement in general:

    https://cvdanes.wordpress.com/2014/08/05/a-modern-framework-for-liberalism/

    When it comes to Occupy, though, it didn’t help that the movement was targeted by law enforcement in coordinated raids in order to shut it down.

    • bender

      “When it comes to Occupy, though, it didn’t help that the movement was targeted by law enforcement in coordinated raids in order to shut it down.”

      No, really? That is absolutely to be expected for any mobilization that challenges the status quo. In the 1930s, in the 1960s, in the 2000s.

      Maybe everyone reading this will resent my talking down, but to succeed nonviolently, a movement must define a few goals explicitly in simple language and set interim goals to work for on the way to achieving the great goals, so that people who are more casually involved will know what is useful for them to do to support the movement.

      To last more than a couple of years, the movement needs a clear structure for making decisions about actions and for awarding and revoking authority to particular people and groups. The decision making system must not rely heavily on mass meetings, which police can easily break up, and which are pretty easy to hijack. Nor should it rely on tiny conspiratorial groups.

      What systems lie between those extremes? Meetings chaired by someone who uses and understands Robert’s Rules of Order or something similar. Majority rule. Representative democracy. There might be other systems that would work, but some structure is needed to get any work done. Even amoebas have structure.

      Consensus process is the favored alternate method of decision making on parts of the left such as OWS. It requires training and buy-in and does not usually work very well on a large scale or when the people using it do not have shared understandings. As Bob Master said.

      • dm

        I don’t agree with the idea that Occupy failed. The message was the point and it was clearly delivered. The movement was as starting point for others — like Sanders — to build on. Its methods and organization were effective during the Hurricane Sandy event. They were able to mobilize quickly and help a whole lot of people who would have literally died had they waited for official assistance.

        Occupy was certainly a target of some powerful forces. Corporate media depictions were dismissive. Very little actual reporting was done on the issues initially. The violent police suppression and surveillance also had a chilling effect — as intended. But I don’t agree that either the organization or ideology were inherently weak.

        • EliHawk

          One thing I took away from Occupy was that the focus on Occupying was a counterproductive bit of nonsense. So the DC edition fizzled out into the people who just kept living on McPherson Square, turning it into a mudpit and mildly annoying the passers by but not actually organizing for any real progressive change.

          • The Lorax

            This. Though the claims about inequality then became part of the zeitgeist. So I count that a victory for Occupy.

        • Origami Isopod

          I agree with this 100%. For what it was, Occupy was amazingly effective. It got the message about economic inequality out amid a national media that had ignored it entirely for years, and it ushered a lot of young people into political activism.

          • addicted44

            Occupy was similar to Obama’s 2008 campaign. It did a lot of good, but it could have been even better if it had channeled the energy it had generated into more permanent structures and organizations.

            • cpinva

              “It did a lot of good, but it could have been even better if it had channeled the energy it had generated into more permanent structures and organizations.”

              I’m not so sure that hasn’t happened, though it may not be obvious at the moment. correct me if I’m wrong here, but aren’t the organizers/leaders of the BLM movement veterans of the Occupy movement? they just happen to be a group that has become fairly widely known, but i’ll bet there are other groups, also involving veterans of Occupy, in their formative stages as we speak, who will, in time, also become known. just because something isn’t apparent to you right now doesn’t, by definition, mean it doesn’t exist. it could just mean you aren’t aware of it.

            • Origami Isopod

              A lot of them did channel their energy into more-permanent structures and organizations. Occupy Sandy, for one, plus other local initiatives. JL could almost certainly provide a lot more detail on this than I could.

          • bender

            Do you know if there is hard comparative data about the numbers of young people who have become activists on account of Occupy, or is this anecdotal and short term?

            Moments like OWS don’t happen very often, so it makes me sad when they aren’t built on in ways that will last.

            The reverse is true too. If a movement is well organized through toiling for years in obscurity with few resources, it will be prepared to seize a moment of opportunity when it comes.

            • cpinva

              I kind of doubt the existence of “hard” data, because this wasn’t an entity that kept membership records, so tracking them all down would be incredibly difficult and costly. at the same time, I’d bet money that some of those young people will continue their activism, and be the seed progressives of the future. we just haven’t heard of them yet.

              • bender

                Fair enough. I don’t think it would be necessary to track them all down. A few samples would do.

                For example, someone could interview a couple of dozen people who were active in one or two local Occupy groups, winnow out the ones who were activists before OWS, and ask what the remaining people have been doing since the height of Occupy and what their plans are for the next couple of years.

                The anecdata that Origami Isopod offers about increased activism by young adults and teenagers could be quantified to a degree by getting a count of progressive community organizations in a particular metro area that were founded post 2011, by asking existing organizations whether they have received an influx of new volunteers/members, and by surveying any group of activists with a few intelligent questions about how OWS affected them.

                Obviously there isn’t a lot of money for this kind of research, but these look to me like promising topics for graduate students in sociology and political science.

                I’m not invested in any one answer to these questions. I would just like to know.

            • Origami Isopod

              OWS having been extremely spontaneous and full of political neophytes, I agree with cpinva that there is probably a dearth of hard data.

              I think you and the other skeptics in this thread are putting too much emphasis on OWS remaining intact as OWS, which it obviously did not do. It functioned very well as a catalyst rather than as a permanent institution. The former is as necessary as the latter. And since 2011 I’ve seen a lot more activism by young adults and teenagers on the national radar.

  • On point 5: It seems to me “socialist” functions mostly as a shibboleth: do you declare yourself a socialist or not? (Of course it probably has different meanings in different times and places.) What does “socialist” mean? That you believe a revolution is necessary? That you believe a revolution is necessary and must be political? That you believe a revolution is necessary and will happen? That you believe the best form of government is probably going to involve societal ownership of factories and distribution networks, or that you believe we have to have state ownership now? That you believe we don’t currently put sufficient emphasis on “the social”? That you believe, more or less with Marx, but more or less vaguely, that the last revolution was an advance but not the last word? Are you a socialist if you want to work for reform and/or don’t vote for a socialist candidate? Are you a socialist if you believe the capitalist/industrial revolution wasn’t even an advance and the next turn of the wheel will result in something indistinguishable from what went before (except maybe with flying cars)?

    It seems cool that the Sanders movement consists of people who think further change would be good, don’t see neoliberalism as the end of history, and all that, but what do they believe beyond that? Is the world ready for a socialist movement that doesn’t care about the old questions, that’s willing to get rid of the old shibboleths?

    • AcademicLurker

      I suppose “socialist” in this context functions mostly as a rejection of the official doctrine that There Is No Alternative to neoliberalism. I think that’s probably fine for now.

      • This kind of thing makes me feel like I know why Marx went on about “utopian” socialism, though, and that’s just weird.

        When I was a lass, all this was very, very important. Then again, the Iron Curtain was still in place, and people my grandparents’ age who had been Communist Party members (or had chosen not to be) were still alive. In any case, when I was a lass, I think, only a socialist would think the idea of an “official doctrine” made sense.

        • cpinva

          well, the truth of the matter is that the US has been, to a degree, a socialist country from the get-go, from Ben Franklin’s US Postal Service (and the fledgling national highway system), our military, school systems, etc., etc., etc. all activities owned/run by the gov’t (who is us), that we all help pay for, and are all entitled to use. and, by our vote, have a voice in how they operate. it isn’t perfect Marxist/Hegelian socialism, but that’s always been an ideal, utopian philosophy that can’t actually exist in the real world, with actual real people in it.

    • burritoboy

      You may or may want me to contribute, since I’m hardly a socialist. (Or, if I am a socialist, the thing is so broad it has very little meaning.) What does seem weird is that modern people seem to need such a highly rigid and almost exhaustively detailed ideology laid out before they do much of anything.

      • need such a highly rigid and almost exhaustively detailed ideology

        Nah, I think only if you care whether or not you’re going to call yourself a “socialist.”

    • Nubby

      Allow me to suggest that instead of socialist, we call this new movement “The American People’s Front”.

      • rea

        The People’s Front of America, surely

        • Lurking Canadian

          Splitters.

          • Origami Isopod

            “The Americans, they go to the house?”

          • los

            North, South, Central?

            • cpinva

              daylight savings time

  • NewishLawyer

    HRC gets a lot of heat for coming up with incremental and highly technocratic solutions to help members of society that seem extremely specific. “Let me tell you about my plan to give daycare credits to working families in the diary industry” or something like that.

    The thing about HRC and incrementalism though is that it is a very realistic promise that can be delivered. The problem though is that HRC’s incrementalism is incredibly off-putting if you feel like you are not being helped. Clinton probably doesn’t think everyone needs help and some problems just need to be worked out the hard way over time. Just because you have a crappy job at 23, doesn’t meant you will have a crappy job at 34 or 45. Or she is not going to make any promises about bringing working-class manufacturing jobs or mining jobs back because she cannot.

    The Sander crowd wants something more sweeping.

    I mean I sort of get it. I would like Universal Healthcare too even though getting it is nearly impossible in the United States. Sanders is a 15 dollar minimum wage (though Clinton is that as well) but Clinton is more associated with something like an after-the-fact tax credit that comes once a year.

    • bernard

      Clinton probably doesn’t think everyone needs help and some problems just need to be worked out the hard way over time.

      Hmm. Is this intended as criticism?

      It sounds eminently sensible to me. Reversing the erosion of voting rights, reforming immigration, strengthening worker bargaining power, etc. are going to take a while.

    • “Let me tell you about my plan to give daycare credits to working families in the diary industry”

      Sold out to Kos already, has she?

    • Phil Perspective

      You forget something. Sanders proposes what he does because he knows it’ll probably get watered down in Congress. Starting off with: “Let me tell you about my plan to give daycare credits to working families in the diary industry” means that will get watered down in Congress as well. Which is not good.

      • Pseudonym

        Undoubtedly Sanders would be much better at using the bully pulpit to shift the Overton Window. Clinton Didn’t. Even. Try.

      • Sly

        Legislation gets “watered down” when there are opposing interests with enough political influence to, at the very least, blunt its impact. Scale is relevant only to the extent that it provides increasing or decreasing opportunities for powerful opposing interests to ally together and pool their resources to stop it.

        Blanket assumptions that legislative action functions exactly like the most superficial understanding of used car sales doesn’t actually get you anywhere. If someone wants to sell you a car for $5,000 and you offer $0, the seller is not compelled by some mystical force of balance to settle for $2,500. They’ll sell it for whatever price they think the market will bear.

        Likewise, a broad piece of legislation that is opposed by multiple interests with large reservoirs of political power doesn’t get watered down, it gets killed. So does a narrow piece of legislation. It gets watered down when the opposition doesn’t have enough power to kill it outright, but can be forced to accept some limited version of it. It passes in its original form when the opposition has no power to stop it at all. Thus legislation only passes, in whatever form, when the opposition can be steamrolled, co-opted, or bribed into submission.

        In all but a few cases, both in terms of broad and narrow legislation, the process ends up relying on the latter two.

        • cpinva

          “In all but a few cases, both in terms of broad and narrow legislation, the process ends up relying on the latter two.”

          I think that’s kind of the point Phil was making: if you start with the watered down version, you’ll get (assuming you get anything at all) an even more watered down, essentially useless version at the end. as opposed to a starting point which is ridiculously high (knowing it’s going to be watered down), to get a watered down version that you actually were willing to accept to begin with, and that has actual value going forward. I could be wrong.

          • Sly

            Where you start is irrelevant without accounting for the strength of the opposition, because it is precisely that strength that will determine the end result no matter what your initial legislative proposal.

            Take the ACA/Single Payer dilemma. The stakeholders in the existing system can be divided into five groups; providers (insurance, both public and private, and both non-profit and for-profit), suppliers (doctors, hospitals, etc), manufacturers (pharmaceuticals, DME, etc), intermediaries (business that offer insurance as compensation), and the existing regulatory bureaucracy (state insurance commissioners).

            Single Payer consistently fails because it unites those groups into a common cause – this legislation will hurt all of us – while the ACA passed because it divided that opposition against itself. It pit non-profit insurers against for-profit insurers through expanded regulatory measures, bought off the state regulators through state-run exchanges, ameliorated doctors and hospitals by not making the Medicare reimbursement rates system-wide, and reduced opposition to closing the Medicare Part D gap by giving the pharmaceutical industry more favorable terms on drug patents.

            Where the ACA was “watered down” was where that divide-and-conquer strategy was most needed. On drug patents, on state exchanges, on giving up the Medicare Buy-In / Public Option, etc. Starting with Single Payer wouldn’t have erased or even eased the necessity of doing that. The stakeholders are under no obligation to meet you halfway unless you their reasons to do so outweigh their reasons not to.

            • Pat

              And by getting rid of federal payments for medical bills of the uninsured, they drive hospitals and doctors to push the Medicaid expansion.

          • Hogan

            If a significant portion of your opposition has “do nothing” as their preferred outcome, this doesn’t really apply.

      • cleek

        Sanders proposes what he does because he knows it’ll probably get watered down in Congress.

        but that would mean he’d half to accept half a loaf!

        if there’s anything we’ve learned from the last 8 years is that any leftist politician who doesn’t get 145% of what they ask for is a LINO sellout certrist corporate backstabbing enemy of everything the Pure stand for (well, not really stand, since they don’t vote, but… everything they type for, at least)

    • los

      HRC gets a lot of heat for coming up with incremental and highly technocratic solutions to help members of society that seem extremely specific.
      the right is infamous for “criticizing” things that don’t exist…

  • AMK

    Stopping TPP shouldn’t be an impossible lift, given how clear it is that at least as many people in the GOP base are fed up with free trade. The Ryan-McConnell Congress is not exactly going to the mattresses on it, so a Dem Senate stocked with an empowered Sanders and (maybe VP) Liz Warren with a President Clinton leery of attacks from the left is not going to prioritize it either.

    Of course, if a significant number of Sandersite leaders are going to fixate on “socialist” as a label, the movement is already doomed. FDR and LBJ (and Obama) managed to enact “socialist” changes because they framed it as common sense, not “political revolution.” The winning version of Bernie Sanders is going to win in large part because he won’t spend half if every interview explaining that he’s a “democratic socialist.”

    • proportionwheel

      Maybe, but the fact that Sanders got millions of people to vote for someone who “spen[t] half of every interview explaining that he’s a “democratic socialist,” made a real and maybe lasting difference in the American political landscape.

      • cpinva

        I would ask how many of those people could tell you what a “democratic socialist” is, and how they differ from either a “democrat”, or a “socialist”. I’d bet money the vast majority of them would have no clue what you’re talking about, and even fewer would be able to define the terms. hell, I consider myself fairly intelligent, I’ve kept up with the primaries, etc., and I’ve been aware of Sen. Sanders for a long time. with all that, I’m still not clear on what the hell he means, and no one’s been able to give me a clear explanation, least of all Sanders himself.

    • ForkyMcSpoon

      I think Bernie could succeed in blocking it.

      But it would probably require him to compromise somewhere else. I think a good place to start compromising would be on the DWS/Frank/Malloy vendetta stuff.

      It’s still unclear to me what a reasonable compromise would be for him… it still seems like he wants it all. But at some point, he has to give up something.

      • Pat

        I just don’t think the man will come around and explicitly endorse HRC.

        I think that’s the big pill he refuses to swallow.

    • los

      spend half if every interview explaining that he’s a “democratic socialist.”
      msm interviewers were stuck, apparently.

  • Tracy Lightcap

    Point by point:

    1. Yes. I could see the breakdown of the Occupy movement coming a mile away. If you don’t have organization, you can’t organize.

    2. Yes, but this is a generational problem. I think in general white people like being a majority and getting the perks for that. I also think that this set of attitudes is crumbling all around us, especially among younger people. It’ll take awhile and we’ll never get rid of appeals to white supremacy entirely, but it is not a winning position in this country long run and I think everybody knows it.

    3. Ok, I get it that a lot of working people see trade agreements as inimical. I also see that things like the TPP (only barely a trade agreement anyway) are easy targets. But we’d be lying through our teeth to say that trade agreements are to blame for the erosion of industrial jobs or that they are the reason for inequality or any of the other easy explanations. Taking down trade barriers is good for everybody, provided it is linked to an aggressive industrial development policy. We don’t need more jobs making cupcakes; we need more jobs in hi-tech industry that pay well. For that we need a little indicative planning. Let’s not waste the momentum building up to tame capitalism by making promises that are based on politically driven and really, really bad economics.

    4. Really good idea. Problem = it needs to be tied to the Democrats. What we need is not something like the Populists but something more like the popular education provided by the WPA. It’ll have to be separate from government, but the education should be to build support for Democrats who would be willing to push policy efforts that have wide appeal and would shift the country further left. Easy course = get the government into things it can do really well when it is properly funded (*cough* infrastructural investment) then use the success to build confidence in government and public/private partnerships to reconstitute the public sphere in our country.

    5. Come with us now to 1972. In those golden days of yesteryear, the good ship Socialist Third Party left New York harbor and was never heard from again. People have been searching for it ever since without success. How can Masters make his first point and not see the folly of this one? You get the feeling that he has never heard of Duverger’s Law. But that doesn’t men that the Law isn’t working. We have the Democrats going in the right (I mean left) direction. Let’s keep pushing and see if the changing political culture of the country will give us what Masters wants. That’s a risk but it’s a lead pipe cinch that the “Working Families Party” doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in Hell of delivering on that.

    • Origami Isopod

      We don’t need more jobs making cupcakes; we need more jobs in hi-tech industry that pay well.

      Yeah, because everybody’s suited to one of those. “Just retrain!” What a scam. How about a universal basic income?

      • Brett

        That’s because we don’t take it seriously, or give anywhere near the right level of assistance for the unemployed (whether by trade or by any other reason – it really doesn’t matter why). We need active job searching assistance, better unemployment insurance, job finding rewards, and in areas of high unemployment temporary jobs programs if the above all fail.

        • Origami Isopod

          I’m fine with all that. We also need UBI, because there simply will not be enough jobs to go around anymore.

    • Murc

      We don’t need more jobs making cupcakes; we need more jobs in hi-tech industry that pay well.

      Or we could make the cupcake-making jobs pay well.

      Working in hi-tech industry used to pay shit and be considered a disrespectable occupation. Then it became something that paid enough to raise a whole family on and something you could take pride in.

      Why can’t service jobs be the same way?

      • cpinva

        “Working in hi-tech industry used to pay shit and be considered a disrespectable occupation.”

        IBM is on the phone, and would like a word with you. this is such utter bullshit, I don’t even know where to begin. in fact, the reality is almost totally the opposite of your claim. certainly in my lifetime, working in hi-tech has always been something that was aspired to. shit, it got us to the moon and safely back. you had to be smart to be in hi-tech, and it paid pretty damn well. hi-tech is what helped us win ww2, and it was applied at every level, from the lowliest grunt, to the technical marvels that were the aircraft carriers and planes launched from them. radar helped England win the Battle of Britain, against nearly overwhelming odds.

        I could go on (and on, and on………), but this is such an utterly stupid statement, why should I bother?

        • burritoboy

          National Cash Register is calling up IBM and wants a word with it. NCR’s motto back in the 1880s was “THINK”. Remind anybody of today’s tech cultures?

        • Murc

          certainly in my lifetime, working in hi-tech has always been something that was aspired to.

          In the late 19th and early 20th century, if you were working in a steel mill or on an assembly line, you were working in hi-tech industry.

          And that was low-paying, disrespectable work. Indeed, people used to talk about the laboring classes in that field as if they were a threat to public order and decency.

          Guess what? Our perception of that changed over time. Working on an assembly line became a respectable, well-paying line of work, as you correctly note.

          People keep talking about how we need more of this kind of job or more of that kind of job, and they’re always jobs that have high social status and financial remuneration. And I think that’s… slightly wrongheaded. Why not make all jobs ones that have high social status and financial remuneration?

        • Origami Isopod

          Talk to the women who were the earliest computer programmers. It might not have been a “disrespectable” profession (that’s a strange claim), but it was certainly not considered an aspirational one, either. That didn’t change until men entered the field en masse.

          • Murc

            And ever since women entered biology in great numbers, that’s started getting a lot less respect, have you noticed? “Not a real science, like a physics or math or chemistry.” Biologists were the ones who fucking cured all the deadliest diseases known to man and why we don’t die of whooping cough or smallpox anymore, but now that ladies are in there it’s all “meh.”

            • mds

              “Not a real science, like a physics or math or chemistry.”

              Well, physicists and chemists have been saying that about biology since the nineteenth century.** And at an anecdotal level, it seems many science-minded women went into biology because physics, and to a lesser extent chemistry, were somewhat likelier to be stuffed with sexist dudebros who never tired of pointing out how “girls” couldn’t handle their discipline. So I’m not sure how the correlation and causation actually work out here.

              **There’s a physics Nobel, there’s a chemistry Nobel, and there’s a “physiology or medicine” Nobel that tends to get shortened to medicine. Biology has managed to qualify for physiology or medicine, of course, and sometimes chemistry due to blurred lines. But not by name.

    • Yankee

      6?

    • Gregor Sansa

      One thing the Republicans do well is focus on structural solutions: kneecapping unions, hamstringing voting rights, Citizens United (though that one partially backfired, it took power and planning and guts). The left half has to do the same, but without being slimy. That means standing up for democracy. Including things like unions, voting rights, approval voting, and proportional representation. That stuff should be in the curriculum for point 4.

      • Phil Perspective

        One thing the Republicans do well is focus on structural solutions: kneecapping unions, hamstringing voting rights, Citizens United (though that one partially backfired, it took power and planning and guts). The left half has to do the same, but without being slimy.

        You do realize what this entails, right? This means the Democrats need to become more like a parliamentary party. The GOP has long been that. It’s why Scott Walker and other assholes can move so quickly. Yet when some of us advocate for Democrats to do it when/if they gain control we’re told to stop with the purity pony bullshit. So make up your damn mind.

        • ForkyMcSpoon

          I don’t think it’s purity pony to have party unity.

          After Garland’s blockade, I will be profoundly irritated if the Democrats take the Senate and don’t end the filibuster on all appointments. And if they manage to take the House, they should end it on everything (I’m content to hold out on that if Democrats don’t control the House). Reauthorize the Voting Rights Act – hell, expand it.

          I think another good thing to start with would be DC statehood (will easily be approved by residents) and a binding Puerto Rico statehood referendum. A couple of nice structural solutions that are perfectly justified and happen to be beneficial to the Democrats. If they can have two Dakotas (something which was explicitly done to favor Republicans), we can have DC be a state.

          If they manage to take the House, they’ll also be taking the Supreme Court, and it will time to go on offense.

          While I’m wary of the old defensive Democrats, I’m optimistic because 1. the last 8 years should have made the need for this clear 2. taking the SCOTUS for the first time in 40 years is a big deal 3. the racists have been purged from the party, and taking the House b/c of Trump’s racism should convince them it’s no longer necessary to cower in the face of the racist vote 4. Hillary came out for DC statehood and 5. they seem to have a more aggressive posture generally this year.

          This is why I don’t get the negative Bernie-or-bust people… we could be on the cusp of a breakthrough if we unite to do maximum damage to the GOP in Congress… Hillary might not be the standard bearer you wanted, but I don’t see any evidence so far she intends to capitulate to the GOP.

          • cpinva

            “Hillary might not be the standard bearer you wanted, but I don’t see any evidence so far she intends to capitulate to the GOP.”

            I think HRC scares the shit out of the GOP, because she has spent her entire life not capitulating, to anyone, much less those clods. this is why the right has spent so much, in the past 25 years attempting to destroy her, and has failed utterly and completely. where Obama is Eisenhower/Bradley (trying to get everyone to get along and work together), HRC is Grant/Sherman/Patton: she has a goal, a plan to achieve it, and will do what’s necessary to accomplish it. you either get in line with her, get out of the way, or get run over. and her goals, unlike those of the GOP, are for the betterment of the entire country, not just the wealthy few.

          • Murc

            I don’t think it’s purity pony to have party unity.

            This is harder to enforce in the Senate than you think it is. Senators often have political machines at their disposal that make it really hard to gain leverage over them. If a Senator says, “I can raise all the money for re-elections I want to by myself, and the voters of my state’s party like me enough to continually re-nominate me. I’ll vote how I like until one of those two things change.”

        • Murc

          Yet when some of us advocate for Democrats to do it when/if they gain control we’re told to stop with the purity pony bullshit.

          This is flatly untrue.

    • los

      sending ‘low tech’ manufacturing jobs overseas sent ‘medium tech’ and ‘high tech’ jobs overseas.

      or that they are the reason for inequality
      i have read, though not indepth, that Northern industrialists were envious of Southern oligarchy’s resource of slaves.
      The oligarchy is different these days; facial hair is less common among oligarchs. otherwise…

      • cpinva

        “i have read, though not indepth, that Northern industrialists were envious of Southern oligarchy’s resource of slaves.

        perhaps so, but not enough so that they moved their production down south, until after the war and emancipation.

        • los

          Maybe railroads weren’t adequate until the north – south rift had grown forbidding enough that a move south looked risky.

          Later, (as fas as I’ve read), industrialists moved “low skill” factories south to evade labor unions.

  • Spiny

    2. The question of race must be dealt with upfront. In order to gain credibility among constituencies of color which were reluctant to back Sanders, the new formation must unify the agendas of the Occupy, Black Lives and immigration rights movements. It must prominently engage key community and political leaders of color like Representatives Keith Ellison and Raul Grijalva, Ohio State Senator Nina Turner, and NYC Councilmember Jumaane Williams (who led the legislative fight against “stop and frisk”), former NAACP leader Ben Jealous, and intellectuals like Michelle Alexander, who is probably the most significant intellectual influence on millennial activists, both white and black.

    This list is a list of people who were already on Team Sanders. I could easily believe many of those folks gave outreach advice to the campaign that wasn’t heeded, but it seems like Sanders-movement-builders would stand to learn much more from community leaders that conspicuously didn’t sign on to Team Sanders.

    • Phil Perspective

      Has Loomis actually read anything written by PoC who supported Sanders that explained why older PoC didn’t #FeelTheBern?

      • Clearly I know nothing. Meanwhile, everyone here at LGM is waiting for you to deploy your plan for leftists to win election in Alabama.

        • Phil Perspective

          Do you ever read Doug Williams, as just one example? Or Benjamin Dixon?

          • Yes. So? One or two people people saying something means precisely nothing without data or results behind them.

      • cpinva

        not to defend prof. Loomis (he’s quite capable of doing that himself), but the reason older PoC’s didn’t flock to Sanders is the same reason PoNot of C didn’t flock to him: he represented a fantasy ideology, as opposed to one of actually getting things done now. those of us of a certain age (black, white, purple, green, etc.) have seen Sanders before. sure, we like the guy, and agree (to an extent) with a lot of what he says, but we also recognize that (at least for the moment) a lot of what he wants is unrealistic, given the very real economic constraints even our gov’t (who prints the money) has to contend with. yeah, it’d be great if all those things could be done, and right now. the reality is that they can’t. what can be done right now, and will have both support from the people, and money to accomplish them, is incremental change, that the GOP won’t be able to stop.

        HRC is smart enough to recognize this. sure, I guess it makes her kind of boring, but, throughout history, boring is what actually has led to improvements in the human condition. exciting is fun, it gets the adrenalin flowing, it also tends to burn out quickly, leaving little of substance behind.

        and that is why me, and my also older friends/colleagues of color, are mostly voting for HRC. yeah, a water treatment plant is boring, but it also keeps a lot of people from getting sick. i’ll take that over exciting any day of the week.

  • MPAVictoria

    I would say that red baiting happened throughout this campaign. I certainly experienced a ton of it.

  • petesh

    Race is enormously important as an issue and as a dividing line, and I agree with shah8 that a lot of white liberals deny their discomfort. A smaller but not insignificant number believe deep down, but as good liberals would never say, that men deserve primacy though exceptional women must of course be included. (Does anyone really think that Clinton did not receive misogynistic criticisms from the left?) Some even still raise eyebrows at gay Generals and have to remind themselves that’s it’s quite normal, really.

    What I am suggesting is that identity issues of all kinds (1) are not behind us as a society or as individuals (me, I’m still integrating my revised view of transgender/transsexual people); (2) remain issues on the left, defined broadly; and (3) must be faced and acknowledged and brought out by ensuring that they are represented at the start of anything. (No, one disabled black lesbian immigrant won’t do.)

    More generally, multiple lenses need to be valued and used. Economic, social, military, etc etc. It’s going to be a coalition, and all the kiddies have to play together.

    • Steve LaBonne

      I am a work in progress on all of this (white, male, cis hetero supremacy) stuff, and I have really needed a community that consistently pushes me on it (my UU congregation) to make what I hope is respectable progress. There’s a lot of work to be done by very many of us.

      • Origami Isopod

        Pretty much all of us, really.

        • petesh

          Yeah, but a lot of us don’t really admit it. I’ve been there, more often than I care to think, even though (or because) I was fortunate enough as a young man to get to hang out with a bunch of commies, queers and bra-burning feminists. Never had much trouble finding them. Just lucky, I guess.

  • michael8robinson

    According to some people, it goes here: http://brandnewcongress.org/

    • Steve LaBonne

      That reflects an understanding of politics that would be appropriate for a child of 5.

      • cpinva

        I don’t know, I suspect even 5 year-olds would think this is kind of ridiculous, and a waste of scarce, allocable resources.

      • Scott Lemieux

        Glad to see Larry Lessig has a new project already!

  • Breadbaker

    I’d argue for a sixth point, the acceptance of technical expertise, to replace having the ready excuse for defeat. The huge difference between Sanders and Obama, literally running against the same candidate, was that Obama’s team had analyzed the process and gamed it, while Sanders’s team just let things happen to them were ready to bitch when it happened. A lot of that, of course, is the difference in the personalities of the candidates, which was in turn reflected in the teams they selected for the campaign and in the things the emphasized and for which they allocated resources. But it’s difficult not to learn the lesson from 2008 that mastering the Democratic Party rules (just as mastering the electoral college math; see Clinton 1992) is a valuable, indeed mandatory exercise. This applies to a lot of other issues as well; saying, “I’ll think about that when I’m President”, which was Bernie’s response to a lot of things that matter a lot to people, doesn’t cut it. You have a crowd of really intelligent people who would love to work for you. Hire them and take their advice. Don’t be to cool to accept the help and don’t think having the right to complain after you lose is the same thing as winning.

    • cpinva

      my personal approach on this has always been: why bother paying people for their expertise, if you’re just going to ignore them? shit, I can screw up all on my own, I don’t need to spend lots of money, for people who I’m then going to ignore, to accomplish that.

  • Nutella

    Excellent points in the OP, except for the last one. A new progressive organization is indeed required but making it a third party would doom it to failure. It needs to be an organization independent of Democratic Party management but with all its members Democrats who are working to develop progressive policies and candidates for the Democratic Party.

    http://brandnewcongress.org/ is another third party (fourth party?) so they will fail, too.

    (ETA second paragraph)

    • cpinva

      “http://brandnewcongress.org/ is another third party (fourth party?) so they will fail, too.”

      I didn’t get the impression, from that, that they planned to be a third party (at least not intentionally), but just wanted to replace everyone in the house and senate, all at one time. pretty unrealistic either way, but not official third partyist.

  • ForkyMcSpoon

    I’m disappointed to see that Robert Reich is pushing “form a 3rd party” as a post-November solution. “And potentially run a presidential candidate in 2020.”

    He seemed to be coming off the ledge after the NY primary.

  • Marek

    I’d be interested in seeing these points lined up with Sanders’ speech last night. Pretty close match, I’d say. Also, I don’t remember hearing Sanders utter the word “Occupy” – not sure if the Occupiers were Sandernistas or not.

    • Breadbaker

      To reinforce my point, though, in how many states have the deadlines to run candidates in 2016 already passed?

      • nixnutz

        I don’t agree, I think a failure to maintain momentum through 2018 and 2020 was always a bigger potential problem than not having enough down-ticket candidates in this race. I think that speech and the stuff he’s been tweeting today is pretty perfect. We’ll see if it works but as an early sign of what Bernie can personally do to help I couldn’t hope for better.

        • cpinva

          “We’ll see if it works but as an early sign of what Bernie can personally do to help I couldn’t hope for better.”

          maybe I’m just being cranky, but I hoped for better. because, you know, Sen. Sanders is not a stupid man. venal perhaps (to some extent, we all are), but not stupid. and, I think, deep down, he really does want the best for the country, and for the country to be its idealic best, a true beacon of freedom and opportunity to the rest of the world, the kind of society to aspire to. what happened is that he let his ego get the better of him, and it doesn’t look good.

  • Yankee

    6! … so maybe we should stop talking about the rights of states and other sub-federal communities as if they always and only were a dog whistle for racism.

    • Origami Isopod

      the rights of states

      States don’t have “rights.” People have rights. Don’t want to be called racist? Don’t borrow the language of dogwhistle politics.

  • los

    Republicans gone after him
    this is a bizarrely persistent myth. RW media began producing anti-Sanders hitpieces at least by August 2015. I never even searched for them. They just showed up.

    • efgoldman

      RW media began producing anti-Sanders hitpieces at least by August 2015. I never even searched for them.

      Well, RW media is always bleating about something. They never went after him in a major, concerted, let’s grind this old man into the ground way that the last three campaigns went after Kerry and Obama twice.

      • cpinva

        “They never went after him in a major, concerted, let’s grind this old man into the ground way that the last three campaigns went after Kerry and Obama twice.”

        not then, because he wasn’t/isn’t the Dem nominee, whereas both Kerry and Obama were. had Sanders won the nomination, rest assured we’d have been greeted with commercials featuring CCCP clad divisions, marching on both DC and your hometown, ala Red Dawn.

        • los

          had Sanders won the nomination, rest assured
          Yes, exactly. Attack resources unite on the single foe. It doesn’t matter who that nominee is.
          Primary candidates are attacked if their popularity warrants attacks.
          We haven’t seen significant attacks on Jill Stein, Gary Johnston, De La Fuente, Jim Webb, Minnie Mouse, or Vermin Supreme (who received net positive media stories), because their current “threat” is insubstantial.

      • los

        The attacks ramped up after Dukakis, Kerry, Obama and became respective democratic nominee.
        In 2004 primaries, I don’t recall any Wesley Clark bashing, though recall some Dean bashing, and recall a good amount of Edwards bashing.

        The RW ‘surrogates’ will focus on Clinton, as the Democratic-aligned media ‘surrogates’ have begun focusing on Trump after Cruz “suspended” primary campaigning.

    • StellaB

      Links?

  • efgoldman

    Assuming Masters numbered his points in his order of priority, he’s got it backwards. The sixth point, organization from the ground up for local, county, and state races is where we have to start. I hate to say that the Republiklowns did anything right, but they did. You can’t move actual policy at any level without a critical mass (usually a majority) of elected officials and the voters that chose them.
    Demographics suggest Democrats will control the White House damned near forever, but as we’ve seen, a President’s options, even a president who uses executive orders as cleverly and aggressively as Obama has, has a very limited range of options in face of consolidated, determined opposition. Meanwhile state after state goes to shit.
    That was Sanders’ problem (besides the most basic one of getting enough votes). He had no goddamned idea at all about how his “revolution” was going to happen, either in a general way or in regard to specific attainable policies.

    • cpinva

      those same demographics bode ill for the GOP down-ballot and local, especially in states like TX, with an already large, and growing minority population. you can only gerrymander so far, eventually the republicans are going to find themselves restricted to small pockets of angry, old, fundamentalist Christian white guys. all of whom will be shouting at clouds, while shaking their canes at them.

  • Jean-Michel

    This is a pretty minor point, but Masters’ citation of SDS as a successful alternative to the self-defeatingly decentralized Occupy seems a bit weird to me. Sure, SDS had a National Office, but that National Office so abhorred “top-down” governance that it eventually wasn’t even keeping track of where local chapters existed. Even when the National Office proposed an initiative, like the “Ten Days of Resistance” in April ’68, they left virtually everything (including basic questions of tactics and issues) up to the local chapters, and coordination among the chapters was mostly done on either an ad hoc basis or by non-SDS groups like the Mobe. Ultimately the National Office itself was split between hard-left factions that neglected SDS in favor of parallel structures like the Weatherbureau or the Progressive Labor Party, and then the entire NO was wound up by a tiny sect that went underground after deciding SDS was totally irrelevant to “the revolution.”

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