My hope is that when future historians look back
and describe how our country moved forward into
reversing the drift toward oligarchy, and created a
government which represents all the people and
not just the few, they will note that, to a significant
degree, that effort began with the political revolution
Thank you very much. Good night.
-- Bernie Sanders, June 16, 2016 speech --
Bernie sold us out!
From the redwood forests to the gulf stream waters, that plaintive cry is resounding right now among millions of dismayed Bernie supporters.
Did not he announce last night he looked "forward to working with Secretary Clinton"? Is she not the very person Bernie spent a year denouncing as the handmaiden of the oligarchy that is running and ruining the country?
I will not join the freshly-minted Bernie revilers.
1. Bernie is the consummate middle class rebel. Contrary to what such rebels proclaim, their goal is not revolution. By revolution we mean a change of, not in, socio-economic and political systems.
The Source of Terrorism: Middle Class Rebellion observed that reconciliation -- not revolution -- is
"the pivotal political role the middle class plays in perpetuating Western societies.
A phase of reconciliation is rebellion. Rebellion, far from being extrinsic to reconciliation, is part of reconciliation -- a crucial part. Rebellion is necessary for repair and renewal of the existing mode of reconciliation when the latter is damaged, outdated ...
In the not fully-developed capitalism of today, the middle class does not want to overcome its contradictions. It seeks improvement, not replacement. Wild, but behind bars -- bars without a cage -- middle class rebellion is dependent on its shackles. Without them rebellion is not free, because without them, rebellion does not exist." (pp. 101, 165)
What we phrased in socio-economic terms, Sartre phrased in psychological ones:
"The rebel is careful to keep intact the abuses he suffers so that he can continue to rebel against them. He always has a bad conscience and something resembling a sentiment of guilt. He does not want to destroy or transcend, but rather only to protest against the existing order. The more he attacks it, the more he obscurely respects it. In the depth of his heart, he preserves the rights which he attacks in public. If they disappeared, his own raison d’être and justification would disappear with them."*
There is nothing unusual, then, in Bernie the rebel ending up openly working for Hillary -- that is to say, the oligarchy. On the contrary, that outcome is fully expected. He will proclaim and defame to the stars above that it just ain´t so -- but it is. The public denial, the private angst, the unrequited creativity, the clever but uneasy rationalizations are all part of the rebel reconciliation package.
Time to come down hard with both feet:
As a middle class rebel, Bernie seeks to repair a damaged and outdated political system; he seeks change in, not of, political systems. He signaled that goal last night by denouncing "the drift toward oligarchy." Sorry, Bernie, the oligarchy is already here. The new system was installed in 2008-9. What is needed is revolution, not reform disguised as revolution. More on that subject below.
2. What about Bernie´s desire to reform the Democrat Party so as to have "the most progressive platform in its history"?
A fixation on rhetoric is another manifestation of middle class rebellion -- a classic one. The rebel is obsessed with words, images and other symbols. The obsession both testifies to and stems from the fact that ideological blinders have been placed not only on the rebel´s thoughts but also on his behavior, feelings, even intuitions; he is through and through an ideological being.**
The Source of Terrorism explained what waits at the end of the trail:
"The rebel is left with largely symbolic solutions ...
Of course, one has only to open the front door in the morning to see that solutions achieved on a symbolic level are not necessarily ´real´ solutions at all. Nevertheless, in ideology, solutions in fancy are more important than solutions in fact. The reason: the unconscious cannot distinguish between symbols and reality, and in ideology, it is the unconscious that counts. Thus, as rebellion enters its synthesis phase [of integrating what rebellion has revealed into the prevailing mode of reconciliation], any remaining symbol/reality gap is itself treated and ´fixed´ -- how else? -- symbolically." (pp. 213-4)
Platform. After last night´s speech, the kings and queens of Wall Street and Rodeo Drive will sleep peacefully in their palaces. In one word Bernie said all he wants to know.
All you need to know, too.
* * *
Once the repair role played by middle class rebellion is acknowledged, we can sincerely congratulate Bernie. We think his hope expressed at the top of this post will be realized.
1. The hard numbers are in. Bernie showed conclusively that sufficient money can be raised to mount a serious presidential candidacy independently of the oligarchy.
"Together, 2.7 million people made over 8 million individual contributions to our campaign – more contributions at this point than any campaign in American history. Amazingly, the bulk of those contributions came from low-income and working people whose donations averaged $27 apiece. In an unprecedented way, we showed the world that we could run a strong national campaign without being dependent on the big-money interests whose greed has done so much to damage our country."
2. Bernie´s hard numbers in money and votes, as well as the opinion polls, back up what our previous post ("President Sanders? Calling out Donnybroke") underlined: a track definitely, absolutely, positively exists for an Independent/third party candidate to win the White House. Who knows what else.
Will Bernie´s drive to reform the Democrat Party transmogrify into the usual, political blowhard hot air? We will find out after the July Democrat Convention. Keeping in mind what was said above about symbols and the integration of rebellion into the status quo, the answer is a loud probably.
3. Contrary to what Republican and Democrat party hacks want you to believe, major political parties have sunk beneath the waves before in America. I don´t know about you but I never heard a single person talk about the Federalist Party or Whig Party. Who remembers them? Nary a tear is shed anywhere for their demise.
I think history will record that Bernie´s campaign was an initial step -- clumsy and naive, but important -- toward what this blog is advocating. Censored by the mainstream press and academia, you will find it only here:
"The First American Revolution, 1776-1789, transformed the political system from a monarchy not into a democracy but a ´политей´ or polity, i.e., a middle class-moderated, oligarchy-democracy hybrid inclined toward democracy.
The Second American Revolution, 2008-2009, changed the polity into an oligarchy with democratic residues, accessories. That change was normal, predictable; Aristotle analyzed it 2000 years ago.
The Third American Revolution will resurrect the polity but with greater power for democracy, less for the oligarchy." (Thomas Belvedere, The Big Movida: The Third American Revolution).
The Big Movida is available on this website without charge.
It appears as of today that Bernie will not take just one more step -- run as an Independent and win the White House. However, he pioneered one way to The Third American Revolution. Other men and women will pursue it, and hopefully in your lifetime, dear reader.
Thank you very much. Good night.
*[[L]e révolté a soin de maintenir intacts les abus dont il souffre pour pouvoir se révolter contre eux. Il y a toujours en lui les éléments d’une mauvaise conscience et comme un sentiment de culpabilité. Il ne veut ni détruire ni dépasser mais seulement se dresser contre l’ordre. Plus il l’attaque, plus il le respecte obscurément ; les droits qu’il conteste au grand jour, il les conserve dans le plus profond de son cœur ; s’ils venaient à disparaître, sa raison d’être et sa justification disparaîtraient avec eux.]
Jean-Paul Sartre, Baudelaire, Gallimard, Paris, 1996, p. 50. My translation.
** I do not wish to leave readers with an entirely negative view of middle class rebellion.
The Source of Terrorism discussed at length a "fourth option":
"Everybody senses this fourth option is out there somewhere even though nobody has ever found a clear, concrete example of it.
… an ideology is identified by its lack of serious questioning of its own premises and values. It follows that if a rebel questions them, he ipso facto stops being a rebel in the ideological sense explored in this essay. He ceases to be programmed, brainwashed, pre-packaged; instantly, he is over 50% something else. The most powerful way for a rebel to begin that questioning is by admitting what he is. To my knowledge, that admission has never been made." (pp. 169-70.)
The ideology that becomes conscious is the ideology that dies. As the economic disintegration of the middle class grows and its socio-political reconciler role necessarily weakens, rebellion´s latent ideological programming will become increasingly manifest, thereby preparing the ground for the fourth option.