According to the establishment media, Bernie Sanders’ campaign is done, kaput, finito. There’s nothing left to do but have him pack up his bags and head off to Hillary’s coronation. To this I say, “Not so fast.” From the beginning, Bernie has been clear in saying that this is not about a Presidential campaign. This is about starting a political revolution to take back the United States Government from the billionaires and special interests who now control it.
It goes almost without saying that revolutions are neither fast nor easy. Those who claim otherwise are either ignorant or liars. Even the U.S. Revolution, which was short in time-frame as revolutions go, took far longer than from 1776 to 1781, the time in which open declared warfare between the U.S. and Britain was happening. The Boston Massacre, the first recognized bloodshed of the revolution, was in 1770. The Townshend Acts, which gave rise to the revolutionary slogan, “No taxation without representation,” had been put in place two years earlier.
The Chinese Revolution, led by, among others, Mao Zedung and Zhou Enlai, lasted at least from 1934 (the Long March) to eventual military victory in 1949, but the Communist Party of China had actually begun in 1921. In India, Gandhi returned from South Africa in 1915, but India did not gain its independence until 1950. Other countries such as France and England have undergone repeated revolutions, each of which dramatically changed control of the country.
While Bernie may not be envisioning revolutionary troops storming the barricades of Washington DC, he is looking to ignite a mass movement on a scale not seen in this country since the New Deal of the 1930s. A movement like that, while it may be catalyzed by an individual, will only have staying power if it can expand beyond any one person to become focused on a vision that is being pursued.
In Bernie’s case, that vision involves reversing many years of gradual domination of America’s political process by wealthy individuals and even wealthier corporations. (One can argue that from its very beginning, the U.S. Government has been dominated by the well-to-do, but the proportion of people with control over the government has been greatly reduced with the rise of mega-corporations and a large billionaire class.) It also involves reasserting the Rooseveltian ideal that Government exists to protect the interests of the common people, not the wealthy.
The establishment was shocked when Bernie’s campaign actually gained traction and began attracting not only large crowds, but lots and lots of small donations and volunteers, particularly among the youth of the country. Not since Gene McCarthy’s “children’s crusade” of 1968 had there been such an outpouring of political activity from college campuses (as well as from the “millenials” not in college). The combination of anger and idealism was something U.S. political parties were not used to.
Now, a combination of a series of primaries in conservative Southern states on “Super Tuesday,” followed by primaries in somewhat less conservative, but still not liberal, Midwestern states, has splashed cold water on those “feeling the Bern.” The message the establishment news media are sending is, “It’s all over now. Better give up on Bernie and get behind Hillary.” If this is truly going to be a political revolution, the answer needs to be a resounding, “No Thanks!”
The Primaries and Caucuses are still important. First, it’s not yet clear that Bernie can no longer win the nomination. However, even if that were the case, convention delegates can still influence the party platform. Even more importantly, it’s not just the presidency that’s at stake in November. There are Congressional elections as well as elections for state legislatures and local offices. All of these can be foci for demands that power return to the common people. Even if Hillary, Trump, or someone else other than Bernie is elected president, a political revolution with staying power could begin to grab the reins of power away from the corporate elite that currently runs things.
The first thing to do, however, is to stop letting the corporate media brainwash us and control our minds. As local radio newscaster Scoop Nisker used to say, “If you don’t like the news, go out and make some of your own!”