Thursday, February 4, 2016

movement politics

Hillary supporters think Bernistas are pushy and rude. Bernie supporters think Hillarites are blind. I think I understand it.

Here is the problem, I think: we Berniacs see his campaign as a movement, like the Civil Rights movement (1960s), anti-slavery (1850s), labor (1880s and on). All of the movements I can think that follow the pattern of the Bernie campaign of have to do with race and/or class. Gender and sexual orientation seem to follow a different pattern.

I have no trouble putting Bernie is this list: Frederick Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, Thaddeus Stevens, FDR, Martin Luther King, Eugene Debs, etc. They didn’t all agree and weren’t the same kind of figures but they were all movement leaders and Bernie belongs on that list, win or lose. Some of the people I mentioned lost.

Hillary supporters see their candidate as super smart and capable. She is. She’s brilliant. Sanders supporters, such as myself, don’t care about that. We see that in 1918 when other countries elites gave up and let their labor movements into the political structure, we had Eugene Debs locked up and the red scare. When the Civil Rights movement was about to reach out to make it a class-race movement, if that would have worked, we got the assassination of MLK and dog whistle politics and residential segregation. We seem to have movements headed by one person. That isn’t smart, as even those leaders know, but there doesn’t seem any way around it.

The New Deal was more than an election campaign. There was no evidence of a New Deal movement in 1929 but by 1932 the whole country was swept up in the movement. Sometimes things happen big and fast like that. Sometimes it takes a long time, like the abolition, and then comes to a head quickly. In 1850 Lincoln could not have imagined where the world would be in 1860.

So that’s the problem between Hillary and Bernie supporters. We see movement, if not in the terms I outlined here but something like that, and they see people.

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