After Bernie

So Bernie Sanders is running to be the the 2016 Presidential candidate of the Democratic Party. He will not succeed in this particular campaign, although he will bring many positions supported by the Green Party into the Democrats’ internal debate.

When he fails to gain the nomination, those who have enthusiastically supported his run will have a choice to make. Will they fold on the issues, and support the “mainstream” nominee? Will they just fold, and say, “To hell with it, I’m not voting in this election,” because the positions they support are not represented by the actual nominee? Or will they switch their support to the Green Party, because our party and our nominee for president will still stand for their positions on a range of important issues?

Well, some will go with the “practical” decision which has allowed to Democratic Party to retreat on progressive issues for decades, and some will simply quit participating in electoral politics altogether. Our job is to keep reminding the ones who are committed to the principles of social justice, grassroots democracy, ecological wisdom and non-violence that there will still be a way to work for and vote for these positions after Bernie is defeated within the Democratic Party.

We have to be very careful to distinguish between the Democratic Party establishment, which wants to contain all the grassroots, small-d democrats as votes for the nominees supported by the institutionalized corruption of big-money politics; and all those small-d democrats who are going to be very disappointed when Bernie is eliminated. The Democrats are striving to be our rulers. The democrats are looking for something entirely different, and the Green Party, once the nomination process is finished, might be just what they are looking for.

It just depends on how pissed off they are after getting bulldozed out of the way by the big-money nominee, whoever he or she is. Today’s Bernie supporters can become Green Party supporters next year. Let’s be sure they know we will welcome them, if they want to continue fighting for their positions after Bernie fails.

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Hillary and the Sucking Chest Wounds

Here’s what James Howard Kunstler has to say about the state of contemporary mainstream politics:

And so, from the dormant volcano that is American politics, out flies Hillary, like Rodan the Flying Reptile pretending to be Granny Goose. Now that she is officially flapping around the electorate, the excitable mainstream press reports the initial caw-caw-cawing of her campaign: it will be “based on diversity, discipline and humbleness.” These are endearing qualities in any giant flying reptile, and reassuring to voters who might otherwise fear something a bit darker on the wing.

The Elmer Fudd in the piece at the moment, former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, did get off a clever first shot at the flying behemoth when he cracked that “the presidency of the United States is not some crown to be passed between two families,” but it seems to have only provoked a deeper show of humility from the target. She’ll be starting a “listening campaign” to detect rustles of discontent as she banks over the cornfields of Iowa cawing platitudes across the sky, e.g. “Americans have fought their way back from tough economic times.”

Point of fact: no they haven’t. They are still strewn over the landscape with the economic equivalent of sucking chest wounds, but perhaps a few of them have noticed with vicarious satisfaction the astounding rise of the S & P stock index as they lie in a roadside ditch scanning the skies. It must give them some comfort as their lights go out. Just maybe, their children will also have the chance to become Goldman Sachs employees as history marches on. The flying reptile wants to be their champion! She wants to earn their votes — the old fashioned way, by purchasing as much TV air-time as possible to put across the illusion of sincerity. On such campaigns is the decline of empire propelled.

You can read the rest at http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/shes-back/#more-5588′

If you are one of the people still strewn over the landscape of our failing economic system, it’s pretty obvious that neither Republicans nor Democrats are coming to your rescue. However, there are a lot of us, and it is possible to rescue ourselves. This blog recently posted a guest article about the struggle of postal workers to restore a functional post office. That’s not the only action in the works by unionized workers. Below is some information about another part of the same issue:

OPEN LETTER TO CONCERNED TRADE UNIONISTS AND COMMUNITY ACTIVISTS

 [PLEASE FORWARD WIDELY]

 Dear Brothers and Sisters:

Please be advised that the Second National Labor Fightback Conference will be held May 15-17, 2015 at the Rutgers Community Inn and Conference Center in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

The undersigned urge attendance at this critically needed conference, with any interested union free to send as many representatives as desired.

The conference will address this key question: “What strategy will enable labor to mount the most effective and powerful fightback possible against the corporate assaults?”

For all the details concerning the conference — including workshops, speakers, agenda, registration and logistics —  please go to the Rutgers conference website at http://laborfightback.org/conference/

In solidarity,

Alan Benjamin, Member, San Francisco Labor Council Executive Committee
Tom Bias,
Treasurer, Labor Fightback Network; Member, New Jersey State Industrial Union Council; Former Member, International Typographical Union–Communications Workers of America, Local 103
Donna Dewitt,
President Emeritus, South Carolina AFL-CIO
Carol Gay,
President, New Jersey State Industrial Union Council
Jerry Gordon,
Secretary, Labor Fightback Network; International Representative, United Food and Commercial Workers Union (Retired)
Millie Phillips,
Former Member, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1245
Dennis Serrette, Former Education Director, Communications Workers of America

Issued by the Labor Fightback Network. For more information, please call 973-944-8975 or email conference@laborfightback.org or write Labor Fightback Network, P.O. Box 187, Flanders, NJ  07836or visit our website at laborfightback.org. Facebook link : https://www.facebook.com/laborfightback

 Donations to help fund the Labor Fightback Network based on its program of solidarity and labor-community unity are necessary for our work to continue and will be much appreciated. Please make checks payable to Labor Fightback Network and mail to the above P.O. Box or you can make a contribution online. Thanks!

Locally, we can expect continuing conflict over how the Detroit public schools are operated, as evidenced by this article about the position of the teacher’s union:  http://www.detroitnews.com/story/opinion/2015/03/20/conn-state-control-dps/25039921/

and this one, outlining the long history of emergency managers ruining the schools for private profit:  http://www.workers.org/articles/2015/04/09/a-school-board-member-in-exile-on-the-decline-of-detroits-public-schools/

Clearly, there’s a lot more conflict coming between the supporters of politics as usual and all of the people who have lost jobs, pensions, homes and family members to the injustice enforced by politics as usual.

As we approach the 2016 general election, keep in mind that the Green Party of Michigan can put candidates for all partisan offices from congress to township board on the ballot. We are not just about protecting the environment. We are also looking for candidates who will bring issues of social justice and grassroots democracy to the election campaign.

That’s why we are opposed to emergency managers for schools and cities and for democratically elected government; opposed to “right-to-work” laws and for the rights of workers to organize in unions and worker-owned businesses; opposed to privatization of public resources and for getting corporate money out of politics. If you agree with these positions, you might consider supporting Green Party candidates – or becoming a Green Party candidate – along with any of the more direct ways of changing our society for the better.