Bernie Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard unsettle the oligarchs because their policy positions are dangerously desired yet unobtainable under the current arrangement of society.
“We should expect that Gabbard and Sanders will eventually concede to the Democrats once they are driven from the race.”
This writer became an anti-imperialist and anti-war activist only after studying the Black liberation movement. Individuals such as Claudia Jones and organizations such as the Black Panther Party placed internationalism at the forefront of their work to achieve true emancipation for Black America. The legacy of the Black liberation movement helped establish Black America as the most pro-peace constituency in the United States. As Black Agenda Report’s Executive Editor Glen Ford notes, Black G.I.s and military officers resisted efforts to put down the Black uprisings that swept across American cities in the mid-1960s. Such resistance paved the way for the abolition of the military draft.
Black anti-war politics held strong until Barack Obama was elected president in 2008. The presence of the so-called Black president moved the most progressive constituency drastically to the right. By 2013, Black Americans were more in favor of NSA spyingand the Obama administration’s plan for U.S. intervention in Syriathan any other racial group. Without a Black liberation movement, Black people were left to the political vice grip of the corporate media and the Democratic Party. In the post-Obama era, the corporate media and the Democratic Party fell into a crisis of legitimacy and have since unleashed the dogs of the Cold War on any force that dares to challenge U.S. military supremacy and terrorism.
‘Without a Black liberation movement, Black people were left to the political vice grip of the corporate media and the Democratic Party.”
The crisis of legitimacy afflicting the Democratic Party and the corporate media stems from their inability to address the pressing needs of a vast majority of working people in the U.S., let alone the world. Over seventy percent of the U.S. population believes that the U.S. media reports news that they know to be false.The Democratic Party lost to a billionaire celebrity real estate mogul in the 2016 presidential election not because of “fake news,” but because of its loyalty to the policies of endless war and austerity. While Trump screamed “Make America Great Again” and railed against regime change wars and free trade agreements, the Democrats suppressed Bernie Sanders’ popular campaign and responded to Trump with the slogan, “America is already great.” The Democratic Party ignored the pesky reality that four out of five peoplein the U.S. live paycheck to paycheck and that its young voters support socialistic policiesin large numbers.
After losing to Donald Trump, the Democratic Party took leadership in the New Cold War that began when the Clinton campaign concocted the conspiracy that Trump “colluded” with Russia to win the U.S. election. This narrative, aptly called Russia-gate, has pressured Donald Trump’s administration to renew sanctions against Russia, continue the dangerous NATO build-upalong Russia’s border, and wage an unprecedented campaign of surveillance of independent media.Because Russia-gate was a conspiracy with no factual basis, it was never supposed to be an effective means of opposing Donald Trump. Russia-gate has always been the U.S. Empire’s newest weapon for protecting its interests amid the presence of wholesale rot, which is why it is currently being used to demonize and smear leftish elements within the Democratic Party.
“Russia-gate was a conspiracy with no factual basis.”
The New York Times has historically led the Cold War against socialism in the mediaand recently showed its anti-communist teeth in a two-pronged attack on Bernie Sanders in mid-May. The Times called Sanders the “Foreign Minister”of Burlington for participating in rallies and actions against U.S.-proxy wars in Nicaragua in the 1980s. Sydney Ember, the co-author of the original Sanders hit piece, followed up with an interview of the Vermont Senator. Ember urged Sanders to remember instances of “anti-American” chants during his trips to Nicaragua. Forgotten was the fact that U.S.-backed death squads, also known as Contras, killed tens of thousands of civiliansin Nicaragua and Honduras. For Ember and the rest of the Cold Warriors at The New York Times, U.S. wars of mass destruction in Central America were justified and Sanders should apologize for his opposition to them. In a Meet the Press interview that same week, Sanders was asked if he would apologize for his anti-war activismagainst the Vietnam war and his vote against the Iraq war. To his credit, Sanders declined to apologize on all accounts of his anti-war history.
“Russiagate is being used to demonize and smear leftish elements within the Democratic Party.”
Tulsi Gabbard is also no stranger to Cold War smears from the corporate media. In an article in the Daily Beast, Gabbard was accused of being supported by “Putin apologists.” Who were these apologists? Professor and Russia expert Stephen Cohen, a mysterious “Goofy Grapes” said to be a former employee of Lee Camp’s RT America program Redacted Tonight, and Sharon Tennison, a leader in the Center for Citizen Initiatives which organizes regular delegations to Russia in an effort to ease tensions between the nuclear armed nations. The Daily Beastarticle was cited by ABC’s George Stephanopoulosin his most recent interview with Tulsi Gabbard. Gabbard’s principle crime against the corporate media has been to publicly condemn the New Cold War with Russia and China.
That the corporate media is aligned with the poorly written smear against Gabbard in theDaily Beast should come as no surprise. The outlet is owned by media monopolist Barry Diller. Diller is the founder of Fox Broadcasting Company and a board member of the Coca-Cola corporation. In addition to Diller, the IAC board sports Chelsea Clintonas one of its many directors. Clinton is a leader in the now greatly tarnished Clinton Foundation. The leadership of Dillard and Clinton alone make the Daily Beast nothing more than a mouthpiece for the Cold War hawks that dominate Washington and the corporate media.
“Gabbard’s principle crime has been to publicly condemn the New Cold War with Russia and China.”
What the attacks on Sanders and Gabbard show is that there is a deep crisis within the ruling imperialist system of the United States. A larger portion of the U.S. population support socialist policies and believe that the U.S. military should be used as a “last resort.” The two-party corporate duopoly not only disagrees with most of the population but is also incapable of providing any relief from the many miseries of endless war and austerity. U.S. imperialism is built to enrich the few at the expense of the working and oppressed masses all around the world. High-tech monopoly capitalism and run-away financial plunder have made U.S. imperialism a drag on the progress of humanity. The maintenance of such a system requires trillions of dollars-worth of investments in the military to ensure social control at home and a check on the rising economic and military power of Russia and China abroad.
These conditions have ensured that there will be no New Deal 2.0 in either the Democratic Party or the White Man’s Party. Individuals such as Bernie Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard unsettle the oligarchs because their policy positions are dangerously desired yet unobtainable under the current arrangement of society. Of course, under a socialist system, policies such as Medicare For All, a Green New Deal, and an end to regime change wars are more than possible; they are the existing reality in nations such as China and Cuba. Despite the heavy pressure of U.S. military and economic warfare, both nations have committed to eradicating poverty, providing healthcare to all, and respecting international law and the environment. This has come about only through centralized, public, and planned control of the means of production, something that the U.S. ruling class fears its increasingly pauperized working-class population, especially Black America, may find attractive if their expectations are raised by the likes of Gabbard or Sanders.
“Cold Warriors in the corporate media and Washington establishment are desperately seeking to strangle leftish and socialist ideas in their crib.”
Gabbard and Sanders have been labeled traitors of the Empire in the new Cold War. The old Cold War relied upon ideological and material violence to dampen the expectations of the oppressed, impoverished, and exploited classes around the world. Soviet socialism, Chinese socialism, and numerous other national socialisms were branded as evil communist threats to the rule of capitalist and imperialist law. The Cold War’s destructive legacy paved the way for neoliberalism and neocolonialism. Neoliberalism presumed that there was no alternative to the rule of the rich while neocolonialism continued the colonial plunder of much of Africa, Asia, and Latin America by the U.S. and Europe through indirect means. The advent of neoliberalism and neocolonialism was championed as signs of the permanent reign of U.S. capitalism and imperialism worldwide.
The new Cold War uses the same ideological and material violence as the old Cold War, just under different conditions. With neoliberalism and neocolonialism in crisis, Cold Warriors in the corporate media and Washington establishment are desperately seeking to strangle leftish and socialist ideas in their crib. We should expect that Gabbard and Sanders will eventually concede to the Democrats once they are driven from the race.We can’t rely on them to lead a struggle for revolutionary change from within the Democratic Party machinery. We will need to develop independent political organizations capable of harnessing the anger and rebellion that will surely emerge once their demise at the hands of their own party is assured. What this looks like remains to be seen, but it must include a revived Black left if it is to have a truly transformative impact on this historical epoch.
Danny Haiphong is an activist and journalist in the New York City area. He and Roberto Sirvent are co-authors of the book entitled American Exceptionalism and American Innocence: A People’s History of Fake News -- From the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror (Skyhorse Publishing).He can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter at @SpiritofHo.
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