Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Do Dirty Tricks Make 2020 Like 1972?

The dirty tricks in 1972 were sustained attacks based on faleshoods by the Nixon CREEP against the most popular possible Dem opponent, Sen. Edmund Muskie of Maine, who was finally brought to tears in public, which fatally damaged his campaign, opening the way for George McGovern to get the nomination and take only DC and Massachusetts in the general election.  Today Trump and his many allies, both in Congress and on Fox News, have peddled a false story that Joe Biden fired a Ukrainian prosecutor because that prosecutor was investigating Biden's son, Hunter.  They said repeatedly during the impeachment trial, and just last night I heard Sean Hannity at it again vociferously, with those on the show all nodding their heads.  Today is the New Hampshire primary and results not out yet. But Biden is expecting to do poorly, while Bernie Sanders is likely to win (although might not), with Warren also probably on the fade, leaving Bernie on top on the progressive left end of the Dems.  I read some interviews with voters in Iowa who did not vote for Biden because they fear the "baggage" of his son and that the attacks by Trump et al will weaken him like Hillary's emails hurt her in the 2016.  But to me, this looks more like 1972 all over again.

Now I like Bernie and have lots of respect for him.  I also liked McGovern, and somewhere in July, 1972 I was out in South Dakota and actually thought he might win, although in the end he was unable to take even his home state.  I even was an economic adviser of his during his brief run in 1984, when he dropped out after surprising everybody by coming in third in the Iowa caucus (Eleanor had not wanted him to run a all).  I provided him with a budget proposal he touted there and got csalled "the conscience of the Democratic Party," but nobody was under any delusions that he had any chance of winning anything, having been ousted from his Senate seat in 1980 in the Reagan sweep (which also took out the Father of Earth Day, Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin).

Now maybe Bernie would do better than many think, and polls have him not doing all that much worse than some of the other Dem candidates.  But in contrast to Warren, he has a lot of Dems against him (although Gabbard and Bloomberg have more), with on that measure Warren the least disliked among Dems of all their candidates. As it is, both Dems and the Trump people have held off going too hard against Bernie, the Dems out of not wanting to anger his loyal followers, and until very recently the Trump people out of wanting to puff him up against Biden the way they puffed him up against Cliinton (and still do. last night Hannity was all over how the Dems screwed him out of the nomination in 2016).  But there is a lot that will be dragged out and thrown at him if he gets the nomination that has received little publicity, such as his supporting the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party canddiates for president in 1980 and 1984 (in 1980 that candidate called for US enlisted men to kill their officers).  Unfortunately there is more where that came from, although at least young people do not know who Trotsky was, or if they do it is because he was Frida Kahlo's lover briefly in Mexxico, how cool.

Anyway, I doubt Bernie would get slaughtered as badly as McGovern was in 1972, but it couls be bad enough to throw the House back to being under GOP control as well as keeping Trump in the WH and the GOP in control of the Senate.  But then, maybe not.  Maybe Bernie will go all the way, or one of the others will surge out and win, although between Buttigieg, Klobuchar, and Bloomberg, they seem to be banging into each other while Bernie has a clear path.  In any case, like Muskie in 1972, I think that it will not be Biden, although he is not totally out.  A lot of it has been his own weak campaigning and poor fundraising and disorganization, but the dirty tricks by the Trumpsters have certainly played their role as well and continue to do so.

Barkley Rosser


41 comments:

ilsm said...

I voted this AM in NH primary on the retiree schedule, after the working early birds. No lines, maybe turnout will be not so “exciting”?

NH people love "lawn signs" and folks at the polling places holding signs, the only sign I saw this AM was for Klobichar. Pete lawn signs along the driveway, were only signs at my polling place.

I thought I would get by this primary season without seeing a politician at the diner during breakfast, but alas I got to talk to an out of state US congressman in a “Team Trump” fleece! I told him Bernie would win….. We will see if I am prescient.

Anonymous said...

Bernie Sanders will be a superb candidate for president, simple as that.

Calgacus said...

Right, Anonymous. Comments like "Now maybe Bernie would do better than many think, and polls have him not doing all that much worse than some of the other Dem candidates." are just bizarre. crazily wrong.

Basically ALL the polls show that Sanders is clearly the MOST electable Dem candidate, the only one who would clearly beat Trump.

pgl said...

Michael Bennett dropped out. So did Andrew Yang - who might run to be NYC's next mayor. Trump has made numerous attacks on Warren and has even called Bloomberg mini Mike. So the attacks keep coming and may intensify unless Judge Jackson ignores the latest DOJ memo on the sentencing of Roger Stone written of course by Trump's mob lawyer Bill Barr. Yea 1972 was bad but 2020 is going to be a lot worse.

Anonymous said...

https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/1227585418473988096

Glenn Greenwald @ggreenwald

The long-time billionaire head of Goldman, Sachs is very angry about Sanders winning because he'll ruin our economy & "doesn't care about our military."

He somehow links it all to RUSSIA: Putin will likely support Sanders this time, he says.

US oligarchs are rotted and dumb:

https://twitter.com/lloydblankfein/status/1227455415241363456

Lloyd Blankfein @lloydblankfein

If Dems go on to nominate Sanders, the Russians will have to reconsider who to work for to best screw up the US. Sanders is just as polarizing as Trump AND he’ll ruin our economy and doesn’t care about our military. If I’m Russian, I go with Sanders this time around.

11:52 PM · Feb 11, 2020

[ Turning Goldman Sachs sociopathic... This is where a Democratic "moneyed-elite" have taken this country in ruining the legacy of Franklin Roosevelt. ]

pgl said...

While we are on CREEP and Roger Stone - here is an interesting discussion of 1972:

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2019/01/29/roger-stone-donald-trump-watergate-224383

Anonymous said...

https://twitter.com/lloydblankfein/status/1227455415241363456

Lloyd Blankfein @lloydblankfein

If Dems go on to nominate Sanders, the Russians will have to reconsider who to work for to best screw up the US. Sanders is just as polarizing as Trump AND he’ll ruin our economy and doesn’t care about our military. If I’m Russian, I go with Sanders this time around.

11:52 PM · Feb 11, 2020

[ Me, I go with Bernie Sanders. Goldman Sachs guy makes my decision completely clear and simple. ]

Anonymous said...

Also, forgive me for saying so, but I know nothing and care not a fig about who Frida Kahlo had an affair with. I barely know who Kahlo was as an artist, which may well be regrettable but has nothing to do with who I will support and vote for as a presidential candidate. What is the point of trying to undo a splendid Democratic candidate?

pgl said...

So our Anonymous and Glenn Greenwald think that Lloyd Blankfein speaks for every Democrat? Seriously? This is the kind of silly back and forth that makes Trump very happy. I could care less what some Goldman Sachs big shot thinks and I doubt the other Democrats running for office has Mr. Blankfein on their short lists for the next Treasury Secretary.

pgl said...

Anonymous brings up the people who Frida Kahlo had affairs with? WTF? Oh let’s take a look and count the number of people who are running for the Democratic nomination:

https://www.biography.com/news/frida-kahlo-real-rumored-affairs-men-women

Not a single one except for maybe Leon Trotsky!

Anonymous said...

Barkley Rosser brought up the artist Frida Kahlo and an affair the artist may have had with a person I know nothing about and care nothing about and will be sure to never ever learn about. I think trying to demean a presidential candidate for an affair an artist may have had with a person with an amusing name say 60 or 70 or 80 years ago is ridiculous. Ms. Kahlo has had nothing to do with any presidential candidate, so good grief....

Mr. Rosser knows all sorts of history, which is wonderful, but the supposed affair of a long, long gone artist with a funny-named guy is really, really not going to make me decide who to vote for.

Anonymous said...

As for Glenn Greenwald, a person I greatly appreciate and admire...

As for the supposed-Democrat-supporting president of Goldman Sachs, I know the Goldman billionaire to be highly influential and think a crazily vicious attack on a splendid Democratic presidential candidate is important to immediately point to and condemn.

As for reading a biography of the long, long gone artist or finding out who the funny-named friend of the artist was, that will never happen.

Anonymous said...

Remember, Barkley Rosser wrote about who Frida Kahlo may have had an affair with. Me, I do not know, do not care and will never know or care.

Anonymous said...

There are those Democrats who can command an article in the New York Times, and that is the point of the terrible harm done by the nuttily mean Goldman guy:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/12/business/lloyd-blankfein-bernie-sanders.html

February 12, 2020

Bernie Sanders Would ‘Ruin Our Economy,’ Says Ex-Goldman Sachs Boss
Lloyd Blankfein warned on Twitter that Mr. Sanders was “just as polarizing” as President Trump.
By Katie Robertson and Alan Rappeport

Anonymous said...

https://www.nytimes.com/

February 12, 2020

Alarmed by Sanders, Moderate Democrats Can’t Agree on an Alternative

In both Iowa and New Hampshire, a majority supported moderate candidates, but there was no consensus on an alternative to Senator Bernie Sanders.

Unless a centrist favorite soon emerges, moderates may increasingly look to Michael Bloomberg as their potential savior.

[ That a gentle, middle-class, truly public-spirited political leader bent to continue the legacy of Franklin Roosevelt could alarm the New York Times and so-called moderate Democrats strikes me as perverse and tragic. Bernie Sanders is what moderate is really about. ]

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

Cal,

Sorry, but it is simply false that Bernie does better than all the others against Trump. He does pretty well, but until about a week ago, Biden did better against Trump than Bernie in nearly every poll.

Anonymous,

Do please read what I wrote carefully. What on earth makes you think that I am down on Trotky because he had an affair with now popular Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo? Just the opposite. I meant it when I wrote, "how cool," although I was being sardonic that this is about all most young people might know about him, with it having been depicted in a popular movie about her.

So, is it really the case that you know nothing about Leon Trotsky? He founded Pravda and the Soviet Red Army, oommanding it to bloodily crush the anarchist Kronstadt uprising. After Lenin's death most thought he would become the Soviet leader, but after a power struggle, Stalin won and Trotsky went into exile, ending up in Mexico where he was assassinated by a Stalin agent with an axe in 1940. In 1938 he founded the anti-Stalin Fourth International as rival on the left of Stalin's Third International, with its American branch founded that year also, the Socialist Workers Party, which still exists. A curiosity of Trotskyism is that a number of its US supporters in the late 30s and 1940s would eventually become founders of the neoconservative movement, most notably Irving Kristol and the just-dead Gertrude Himmelfarb.

Anyway, Trotsky was not just a socialist, but a commmunist, indeed a super comnmuinst to the left of the Soviet Communist Party under Stalin. However, watching Hannity right now, and he was dumping on Bernie for honeymooning in USSR in 1988, not yet going after him on his SWP connections

ilsm said...

12 Feb is the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth.

On the wall of the Lincoln Memorial, which was my custom to visit along with the Vietnam Memorial when in DC, is a portion of his second inaugural address.

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in
the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on
to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds"

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

And, for the record again, I like Bernie. I voted for him over Hillary in the VA primary in 2016. I think he would be a reasonably good president if he made it all the way. But, as it is right now, I do not know whom I shall vote for in the upcoming VA primary on Super Tuesday.

pgl said...

"Barkley Rosser brought up the artist Frida Kahlo and an affair the artist may have had with a person I know nothing about and care nothing about and will be sure to never ever learn about. I think trying to demean a presidential candidate for an affair an artist may have had with a person with an amusing name say 60 or 70 or 80 years ago is ridiculous. Ms. Kahlo has had nothing to do with any presidential candidate, so good grief...."

Barkley was trying to remind the know nothing kids about Leon Trotsky - yea. And what does our dear Anonymous take away from that? Having an affair? Good grief indeed!

pgl said...

"I know the Goldman billionaire to be highly influential and think a crazily vicious attack on a splendid Democratic presidential candidate is important to immediately point to and condemn." - Anonymous must think I pay attention to the political recommendations of the Goldman Sachs crowd. Seriously? Anyone who has read almost anything I have ever written knows this is not true at all.

Anonymous said...

Barkley was trying to remind the know nothing kids...

[ Happily, I continue to know nothing about the comical-named person or object in question and I never ever will. The idea of trying to frighten me by writing about a supposed affair of a long, long gone artist is bizarre.

Guy writes about Frida, I can only think of "Stella, Stella" in the film with Marlon Brando.

Ah, so that's it. It was Stella and Stanley all the time. Bernie Sanders likes classic films. I get it.

Stella, Stella. Got to vote for Bernie Sanders now that I know he watches old movies. ]

Anonymous said...

Barkley was trying to remind the know nothing kids ...

[ Thank you, Barkley Rosser, for reminding me about Marlon Brando as Stanley Kowalski. Love Marlon. Love Bernie Sanders.

Stella, Stella. ]

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Difference between Nixon and Trump impeachment

Today's republicans have accepted that they will never again be a majority, can never again win fair and square. Nixon showed them how to overcome a majority by denigrating the opposition; they've been using this technique ever since.

In 2016, Trump won Wisconsin by some20,000 votes; more than 200,000 democrats who normally vote, didn't. Trump, with the help of Fox and Facebook, made Hillary an anathema. But for that, Hillary would have won Wisconsin by ~180,000 votes. Trump was schooled by Robert Moses and Roy Cohn. Moses' secret was to have dirt on everyone; Cohn's, to attack, attack, …

Trump, Fox, and Putin want Bernie to win the nomination; they think they can beat him. Trump has the dirt, Fox will spread it and make more up if necessary. Russia will provide more dirt and use social media (Facebook) and Wikileaks to manipulate the manipulable.

Bernie, more than any other single factor, bears responsibility for Trump's occupying the White House.

Bernie knowingly got help from Russia in 2016; didn't back Hillary. Trump knows which states he needs to carry to be reelected; which of those states will not vote for Bernie.

Bernie is like the guy who shows up at your door, pushes his way in, takes a seat at the table and eats more than his share, at first sleeps on the couch then moves into the bed with you and your wife, then kicks you out of the bed and you sleep on the couch, and then kicks you out of your own house.

But, if Bernie is nominated, the party will fall in line, and Trump will be reelected.

It may be that democracy is too complicated. It may take years for the voting public to understand how modern electoral politics. They haven't come to grips with 2016, never understood how they were manipulated by Carl Rove, never saw through Reagan. The Republicans know how to win without a majority. When they knew they couldn't win an honest election, they gave up on democracy.

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

Unkonwn,

I would say that James Comey was a lot more important than Bernie in putting Trump in the White HOuse, a fact easily forgotten in all of the denunciations of Comey by Trump.

Anonymous,

I am mystified by some of your remarks. This really has nothing to do with sex or cinema, and certainly not Kowalski and Stella. I am not sure I have ever seen such an uutterly irrelevant and misguided remark. This is just in lala land. This indeed was simply about the pathetic ifgnorance by young people, who might only know of Trotsky through a film.

I find it astounding that you know nothing of Trotsky, and your stated desire not to hear of him to be even more bizarre. He ws about as far from Kowalski as can be imagined, with his brief affair with Kahhlo the only interesting thing about him socially. He was largely a solidly married man, quite boring personally, and his home in the Mexico City suburb of Coyoccan, is still owned by great grandchildren of his, and is a museum, qquite interesting really, both a place of propaganda for the Trotskyist cause, as well as playing off the dramatic assassinatinn of him in 1940 by Ramon Mercader, agent of Stalin, using an axe, which hapened in the house. Kahlo's house, a few blocks away, is also a muaeum.

You may dismiss Trotsky as of no importance, but Trotskyist parrties are activ in about 65 nations, some of them moseratly influential, such as the OUP in Franc that is to the left of the Communist Party and regularly gets several percents in first round presidential elections. You may wish to pretend that he did not exist or is of no importance, but there are plenty of people around the world who take him seriously, and frankly it is an unanswered question what Bernie thought or thinks of him.

Also, this is not a matter of worrying that Bernie is some awful person or communist becuause of his suuport of Trotskyist canidates during the early and mid-1980s, when he was in his late 30s and erarly 40s, not just some young guy like the people I knew in the late 60s who were Trotskyists. But he was never an actual member of the SWP or claimed to be a communist or even a Trotskyist. That is also not the issue, although if he goes far enough he will at some point have to face answering just what his view of his own past is.

No, the problem is precisely that the GOP will use this against him big time if he gets the nomination, and it looks like he will have trouble getting out from under it, even though I for one do not think it means he supports having US enlisted personnel shoot their officers, as the 1980 SWP presidential candidate advocated and whom Bernie supported. This stuff will be thrown at him.

Noww, as already noted, this stuff may not matter to Bernie's youthgul supporters, who, as I already noted, might think Trotsky is not somebody to be upset about but who was indeed cool because of his odd link with Kahhlo. But there are plenty of middle and older aged people who will find this stuff disturbing, possibly very disturbing, especially if Bernie is unable to come up with reasonable explanation (I would imagine that if pushed he will essentiallly have to say that he ha s moved on and rejected most of that stuff).

Of course, in the end he may b in more trouble for his uncompromising support for the mislabled "Medicare-for-all," which is supported by about 60% of the population until they are told this means the end all private health insurance, which then leads that support to basically fall in half. That is why both Harris and Warren moved off that position, but that was a move that seriously damaged both of them, probably the candidates in the best position to unite the two main factions of the Dam Party. None of the current supposed leadders in the race look like they will be bvery good at doing that, which is really needed to defeat Trump.

Anonymous said...

Barkley Rosser,

I always appreciate your posts, all your posts, but when a post is written with the evident intent of intimidating me about voting by name-dropping bizarre characters who lived 50 to 100 years ago and can have no actual relevance to the election of 2020 I choose to be critical and dismissive. I do not care a fig about a bizarre comical-named character whose mention is supposed to give me goose-bumps and run off to vote for a Bloomberg.

The bizarre comical-named character that is mentioned over and over is a ploy that is and will remain meaningless to me and I will never so much as mention the name.

Remind me now not to vote for Frida Kahlo, however.

I surely do appreciate even this post and response, but I choose to be critical and dismissive.

Anonymous said...

Who Frida Kahlo may have slept with is of no interest to me and never will be. Fortunately, for all the history I know and I know a great deal of history, this so-called history I dismiss.

Oh, and I realize the need to support Bernie Sanders now more than before.

Anonymous said...

Barkley Rosser:

I find it astounding that you know nothing of Popeye the Sailor, * and your stated desire not to hear of Popeye the Sailor to be even more bizarre....

[ What this sort of sentence is about is using a spooky-scary name to try to frighten and shame me, and I am not about to be frightened or shamed and the name can have nothing to do with me or with anything I do or will ever do.

The repeatedly used spooky-scary name is meant only to frighten or shame me and in some way or other control how I vote.

* Apologies to Popeye, I think, whatever Popeye may actually be. ]

Anonymous said...

Barkley Rosser,

Again, I do appreciate this post and the response even though after thorough readings I choose to be dismissive of the argument. Many, many readers may agree with the argument of the post and think my dismissal foolish and that is fine with me. The argument is wrong for "me." Also, I refuse to learn anything about the scary-named character referred to in the post and response because I simply do not want to be frightened by a ghost in deciding who to vote for.

My relevant history is about Bernie Sanders supporting a Martin Luther King.

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

Anonymous,

I am not teelling anybody not to vote for Bernie. I did so in 2016. Just noting people should be clear eyed about what they are doing when they do.

And as for Frida Kahlo and Trottky, you probably should be glad they sleptt together because it means that if Bernie is the candidate and the Trump people really go after him over this stuff, as I fear, it will not drive away young people from voting for Bernie because they may dismiss Bernie's support for Trotskyist candidates in the early 1980s because of this oddd bit of hisotry. But, clearly, it will make no difference to you one way or the other, which is fine.

Anonymous said...

Barkley Rosser,

I surely do appreciate the post and these responses, and only hope your well told story will have no influence on voters no matter who they may wind up supporting from here. Yes, though I complained, you told the story well and patiently and I appreciate that and understand the importance of the telling.

Thank you!

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

A.,

You are welcome.

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

It really is or should be a sideshow, but I am sitting in Madison, Wisconsin right now visiting a daughter, and it is triggering me to think about some history of Trotskyism. I note that while it is not dead as a movement, it is not strong anywhere.

However, back in the late 60s here it was quite strong on the left. A sign of that is that there actually were factions of the movement, at one point apparently as many as three.

The first one was the the old established vesrsion, the one associated with the Fourth International and the US Socialist Workers Party, the group Bernie supported candidates of in the early-mid 1980s. Its followers at UW in Madison in the late 60s were oftn Red/Trotskyist Diapoer babies, children of Trotskyists who belonged to its youth group, the Young Socialist Alliance (YSA).

The second group, which had more energy and was still putting up signe on campus for meetings aslate as the 90s (I have seen zero anywhere on this visit, except for a few tieed to Dem presidential candidates). These were the International Sociallists. This group split off from the older group in the late 40s over rise of Cold War issues, I forget who took what position. But the IS folkds considered themselves to be purer than the YSA folks. There was a famous phot fro an anti-war demo of a guy intensely confronting a cop. He was an IS avtivist I knew.

Finally we had the Naational Caucus of Labor Committees (NCLC) NCLC, a cultish group led by somebody who then called himself "Lynn Marcus" after Lenin and Marx, who even wrote a book entitled Dialectical Materialism under that naem. They targeted me for recruitment, which I did not respond to. As it turns out they did not stress their Trotskyist roots and were busy carving out their own identity.

It turned out that the real name of Lynn Marcus was Lyndon LaRouche, Jr. IIn 1974 the NCLC suddenly shifted from far left to far right and changed its name, with LaRouchee shifting to using his real name. In any case, La Rouche, who had been in the US military in Burma/Myanmar in WW II, was initially a Fourth Internationa/SWP Trotskyist in the late 40s and 50s, only gardually moving away from that. As of late 60s/early 70s, the NCLC was still viewed as a Trotskyist faction.

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

I double checked on LaRouche. His nom de plume was "Lyn Marcus." Also apparently he joined the SWP in 1949, but he left it in 1961, something that coincided with him separating from his first wife. However, that he had been in SWP was known leading to many to view his group as yet another Trotskyist faction that had split off until the group shifted far right. Of course, he is now dead, and I think his movement is all but dead as well.

I should check on the IS, which i suspect is kaput now, wven though they were still kicking around in Madison as late as the 90s.

The SWP itself is still functioning and running candidates, although deeply weakened (1976 wass their top year in terms of performance by their presidential candidates) andd have at least partially disconnected themselves from Trotsky, although apparently they still publish his books.

An odd point comes to my mind, this business of some former Trotskyists going to the opposite end of the political spectrum, first the neoconservatives like Kristol and Himmelfarb and then LaRouche.

One difference is that for the former this happened more gradually. They moved out of Trotskyism into being essentiall Cold War Democrats in the late 40s, this easily done given their anti-Stalin position. They became foreign policy hawks and became alienated from the Dems both as they reacted in the 60s against some of LBJ's Great Society programs as well as later as anti-war Forces became prominent in the party, especially with McGovern. So by the 70s they began to call themselves neoconservatives, pushing hawkish and conservative and strongly pro-Israel positions, with many of them then openly becoming Republican when some joined the Reagan administration in 1981.

OTOH, LaRouche made this suddden shift in 1974, apparently again tied to his personal life with a new wife from Germany who was right wing. But unlike with the neoconservatives, he barely changed his specific views on issues, having by then cooked up his weird conspiratorial view of history with its emphasis on the financial sector suppressing the industrial sector. That eesily fit into a quasi-anti-Semitic view (although many LaRouchoids were Jewish, as were many Trotskyists more generally) that also led to an anti_israel position. In that regard, LaRouche was vwry far from the neoconservatives, whose views were not nearly as radical as LaRouche's more generally.

And all this may be more than anybody is interested in reading about and is certainly very far from Bernie's history or viewss, although on him I remain in the dark regarding his own view of his own past association with the SWP.

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

To tie this up I have just checked on the Internationoal Socialists. They only exist in 6 nations now: Norway, Sweden, Canada, Netherlands, Brazil, and Denmark (pretty Nordic mostly, it seems). The US group was expelled in 2001 from the international group (I do not know why). The remnant of the US group became part of another group called Solidarity that I have vaguely heard of but am not going to go check on. In any case, the US group no longer has an idependent existence, although it is possible this Solidarity group has some Trotskyist connection or influence.

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

OK, curiosity got the better of me. Not much on the internet on Solidarity, which does not seem to amount to much. It is described as a "feminist, anti-racist" group, with something called the New American Movement, which I have also vaguely heard of, being the main other group that formed it with the International Socialists. In the description of it there is mention of part of it previously having a Trotskyist connection, but that seems to be pretty much gone now.

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

Something the various Trotskyist groups shared back in the 60s and early 70s was that each of them declared themselves to be the "purest" Marxist-Leninist group, especially cmopared to the Soviet-supported US Communist Party, which had gone completely soft with its Khrushchevian revisionism, and the Maoist Progressive Labor Party (PLP), who continued to defend Stalin, much less the various anarchist groups floating around.

With regard to the LaRouchian NCLC before they switched over to being far right wing in 1974, there was a period in the early 70s in Madison when they would show up at meetings of other leftist groups and denounce them for supposedly not supporting the working class strongly enough and disrupt their meetings. They were against anybody talking about racism or the environment or feminism or any of those things now a big deal on the left, which may have been a sign of what was to come when they made their switch to the right.

Curiously when recently one of those SWP presidential candidates Bernie supported was asked about him, this person said that after the early 1980s Bernie's "support for the working class had weakened," especially after he entered Congress and became more involved with conventional politics, even as he remained officially an independent.

Sandwichman said...

Speaking of left to right transitions, Larry Kudlow was SDS in the 1960s -- at U.W., Madison!

Sandwichman said...

Correction: Kudlow was SDS at University of Rochester.

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

Not done on this Trostkyist story. So indeed the SWP officiallly separated from the Trotskyist Fourth International in 1990 while the old LaRouche group stopped being Trotskyist decades ago, and the International Socialists have essentiallly disappreared into the Solidarity group. Looks like death for Trotskyism in the US.

But apparently in 1983 the SWP expelled various people/sub-groups from the party that were viewed as being too Trotskyists in preparation for the later separation from the Fourth Internainational, These epelllees then formed two groups, one of which disappeared in 1995. But one has survived and is making lots of noise now as America's leading Trotskyist party.

They are Socialist Action, and they are running a guy named Jeff Merkler for president while bragging about their deep-died Trotskyism. As it is, Merkler has specifically compared himself to Bernie Sanders because of his former links with the SWP (and that was going on when the SWP was expelling its hardcore Trotskyists). According to Merkler, Bernie is a "reformed socialist" while he, Merlker, is "a committed working class revolutionary." So there.

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

All this digging around pushed me to go and try to figure out more clearly exactly what Sanders's position is and what it has been. His Wikipedia entry provides a lot of interesting information, although there is a very curious lacuna in it: not a whisper of his relations with the Socialist Workers Party. When it gets to the early 1980s, its discussion focuses solely on his activities as Mayor of Burlington, where by most accounts he did a good job, especially in overseeing a successful downtown revival, and with Burllington currently widely viewed as one of the best cities to live in in the US.

Born in Brooklyn, he briefly attended Brooklyn College before shifting to the University of Chicago from where he graduated in 1964. While there he led the campus chapter of CORE leading demos that changed university housing policy and getting himelf arrested in 1963 in a demo, a year I also was in demos organized by CORE (Congress of Racial Equality), although I did not get arrested then.

He lived in New York from 64-68, working as a carpeenter, psychiatric aide, and Head Start teacher, then moving to a small town in Vermont where he also was a carpenter, writer, and political activist. In 1971 he joined the brand new Liberty Unity Party, which still exists and is describes as being "democractic socialist." Bernie ran for several offices on its ticket, including governor, on its ticket, losing each time, only to leave the party in 1977, not sure why. He would e elcted Mayor of Burlington in 1981 as an Independent, which apparently he has officially remained ever since while calling himself a "democratic socialist."

He was elected to the House of Representatives in 1990 and then to the Senate in 2006.

This brings us to what do I think was going on with his dalliance with the Trotskyist SWP, with him serving as a Vermont elector for 1980 SWP presidential candidate, Gene DeBerry, delivering a major speech for their Mass state candidates in Boston in 1982, and in 1984 supporting their presidential candidate, Mel Mason, a former Black Panther who has recently declared that after Bernie went to Congress he "became less supportive of the working class."

I think a major bottom line is that he is not now and never has been a Trotskist. A key piece of this is that he had nothing to do with the SWP or aany other Trotskyist group back in the 1960s when lots of people I knew were doing it. As someone raised in Brooklyn in the 1940s and 1950s and Jewish he most certainly would have known about them and many people who were, but he never went with them. When did he support them, while never joining their party? In the early 1980s when the SWP was in the midst of expelling hardcores Trotskyists from the party, the bunch that would form strongly Trotskyist Socialist Action. It may well be that Bernie's connection with them was partly connected to their move to distance themselves from their Trotskyist roots.

I would also note that when he honeymooned in the USSR in 1988, that nation was becoming democratic, even as this democracy would lead to the nation falling apart in 1991.

I cloase this with noting a column in today's WaPo by Jackson Diehl, moderately consevative commentator. He praises Bernie for having a forign policy that consistently supports democracy, with him labeling the old USSR "an authoritarian dictatorship" and calling for Cuba to move towards democaracy, and also Maduro in Venezuela, with him having defended Venezuela up until quite recently.

In short, we may not be quite sure what Bernie's "democratic socialism" is, but we can be fairly certain that it really is democratic.


Barkley Rosser

Calgacus said...

Sorry, but it is simply false that Bernie does better than all the others against Trump. He does pretty well, but until about a week ago, Biden did better against Trump than Bernie in nearly every poll.

I've been ill and didn't have the energy to recheck. A couple months ago, before I posted that, Sanders did out poll everyone else, decisively defeating Trump, strikingly so, by large margins in every poll but one maybe out of 50 or so. Changed a bit since then - and changed again a bit later, but the polls suggest he would win if nominated, more so than many other candidates.