Response to Bernie Sanders


The above is Bernie Sanders writing to the participants of last weekend’s  Future of Left/Independent Politics conference claiming that his campaign is “very much complementary” to “(our) efforts in Chicago”.

Mark A. Lause, Louis N. Proyect, Fred Murphy, Matt Hoke and myself (among others at the conference) think he’s wrong.

Here’s why.

If you’d like to sign on, please leave a comment.

Senator Sanders:

As participants in the Future of Left and Independent Politics conference held in Chicago May 2-3, we sincerely appreciate your declaration of support for our efforts. Nonetheless, we must express our regret that you have chosen to forgo independent political action and instead enter the primaries of the Democratic Party, which is entirely beholden to Wall Street and the corporate interests you have fought throughout your career. And while we do appreciate the support you have offered to a few independent campaigns in Richmond, Madison and Chicago, we cannot condone your indirect funding of corporate Democrats such as Sens. Mary Landrieu, Mark Begich and Kay Hagan, or your failure to criticize Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin’s recent betrayal of the campaign for single-payer health care in your home state of Vermont.

Nevertheless, we look forward to welcoming you and your supporters back into the movement for independent political action after the Democratic primaries are over and Hillary Clinton or another corporate Democrat is nominated. Such a return to your green, socialist and anti-war roots will be the most principled resolution of the false and contradictory situation into which you have placed yourself and your supporters by joining the Democratic Party and – as one of our conference speakers noted – serving as the “sheepdog” to herd progressives and activists back into the two-party system.


Mark Lause, Fred Murphy, John Halle, Louis Proyect, Matt Hoke, Margaret Flowers, Kevin Zeese, Howie Hawkins, Paul Street, Linda Thompson, Joanne Landy, Dan La Botz, Thomas Harrison, Bruce Dixon, Robert Caldwell, Rick Kissell, Chelsey Sprengeler

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9 thoughts on “Response to Bernie Sanders”

  1. If there was a mass movement to form a left-wing 3rd party, this letter would be perfectly sensible. But there isn’t. So I can’t see Sanders as a “sheepdog” “herding” anyone. Who’s there to herd? I think he just wants to make sure he gets into the TV debates with H. Clinton.

    1. Right. But apparently the price for being allowed into the debates is endorsement/non-criticism of Hillary-a serious problem.

    2. Hi Jason,

      A mass party of the working class, of the 99%, doesn’t fall from the sky.
      It has to be fought for, argued for, organized for, yearned for, if necessary bled for.

      If you’re yearning to build a skyscraper, do you build the top floor first?
      Or do you build the foundation first?
      “Mighty oaks from little acorns grow.”

      Bernard Sanders is a US chauvinist and an Israeli-chauvinist; he supported the US regime’s and Israeli regime’s blood-soaked 2014 rampage against Gaza.
      Such filth are not fighters for socialism; instead, they are traitors against socialism.

      Nevertheless, had Bernard Sanders run for the US presidency as an INDEPENDENT candidate against both the Republican and Democrat capitalist enemy parties, it would have been absolutely incumbent upon all leftists to enthusiastically but critically support his campaign.
      Because he’s suddenly stopped being chauvinist filth?
      Instead, because such an independent anti-capitalist campaign would create a huge political space for building a mass party of the working class, of the 99%.
      — uniting the fight for women’s rights, Black Lives Matter, 15 Now, immigrants, community activists, the trade unions!

      Every candidate of every capitalist party, running for any public position, is an enemy — not one vote, not one cent, not one foot-soldier, for any of them!

      [Except where that is likely to result in an actual fascist party candidate’s victory — but that’s hardly a situation in existence today!]

      Here’s a quotation from Marx and Engels:
      ” … the proletariat must take care: 1) that by sharp practices local authorities and government commissioners do not, under any pretext whatsoever, exclude any section of workers; 2) that workers’ candidates are nominated everywhere in opposition to bourgeois-democratic candidates. As far as possible they should be League members and their election should be pursued by all possible means. Even where there is no prospect of achieving their election the workers must put up their own candidates to preserve their independence, to gauge their own strength and to bring their revolutionary position and party standpoint to public attention. They must not be led astray by the empty phrases of the democrats, who will maintain that the workers’ candidates will split the democratic party and offer the forces of reaction the chance of victory. All such talk means, in the final analysis, that the proletariat is to be swindled. The progress which the proletarian party will make by operating independently in this way is infinitely more important than the disadvantages resulting from the presence of a few reactionaries in the representative body.”

      And their political daughter Kshama Sawant, the Socialist Alternative fighter on the Seattle city council:
      “The Democrats are NOT the LESSER evil — they are the MORE EFFECTIVE evil!”

      And Malcolm X:
      “Democrat bigwigs, Republican bigwigs: one’s the wolf, the other’s the hyena. No matter what, they’ll both eat you!”

      Struggle, Solidarity, Socialism!

      Dump the Elephant, Dump the Ass! Build a Party of the Working Class!

  2. Nice letter. I like how it is straight to the point on political independence rather than just a laundry list of Bernie’s failings. Though I agree that there isn’t a viable alternative yet, this campaign is yet another in the series of false hopes in the Democratic Party.

  3. I posted this previously in the wrong place.

    Sign me on

    Bernie calls for a “political revolution” against the “billionaires and oligarchs” who have hijacked the political system.

    Then support the policy, not the politician.

    Direct ten times the “revolutionary” oppositional zeal that he asks for or expects against his fellow Democrats, until he and they choke on it.

    If he can be made to do anything, make him do this.

    Make him show his hand.

    Make the passion this issue brings to the people grow stronger than his ability to stifle and contain it.

    Make him renounce the party and politicians he now promises to support, and make the Democratic Party renounce him for his disloyalty to the big money parties.

    Make him run as an independent, or not at all.

    Or make him be known as the sheepdog.

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