Following Hilary Clinton’s disasterous campaign, and subsequent catastrophic loss to Donald Trump for the US presidency, the progressive American left is launching a new campaign to run hundreds of Bernie Sander’s style left-wingers for office and rid the Democratic Party of Corporate funding.
The campaign — called the “Justice Democrats” is being led by former senior advisors to Sanders’ campaign and is supported by a number of progressive independent news outlets — marking the beginning of a much needed left-wing response to the Trump presidency, and hopefully an end to the failure of the corporate Democrats.
The battle to reclaim the soul of America’s major left-wing Party from the rule of neo-liberal corporatists bears a striking similarity to that of the fight to reclaim Labour in the UK. They illustrate the global fightback against the neo-liberal center — a generation of policies that have resulted in half of the US living in poverty.
These movements are enthusiastically driven by the primary victims of the neo-liberal period — young people — those of us who have grown up knowing nothing other than decreasing pay, living standards, and opportunities — who as a result have become increasingly politically activated through the Sander’s and Corbyn campaigns — providing reasons to have great optimism for the future.
On Monday (23rd January 2017) a group of left-wing, influential progressives launched a campaign called the “Justice Democrats” to take back control of America’s Democratic Party. Former advisors to Bernie Sanders — Saikat Chakrabarti (former director of organizing technology) and Zack Exley (former senior adviser) are collaborating with the hosts of progressive independent news outlets Cenk Ugur (The Young Turks) and Kyle Kulinski (Secular Talk) to spearhead the campaign.
The Justice Democrats are aiming to recruit hundreds of new Sander’s style progressives to run for office in the near future, as well as finding volunteers to help organise the movement, and fighting for Sander’s style progressive policies. They are also aiming to get money out of politics — putting an end to the massive amounts of corporate “donations” used to essentially buy supposedly left-wing Democrats (essentially a form of legalised political corruption.)
Sander’s campaign to become the Democratic Party’s Presidential Nominee last year was all but ignored, mocked, and derided (the usual story) by the mainstream media — both in the US and here, yet it was nothing short of amazing to watch. Sanders essentially came out of know where, and very nearly won the nomination for the Presidency — politically activating millions of young people in the process — on a platform that (by US standards) was very much to the left of the spectrum.
Unfortunately, the corporate-funded Democratic Party elites, along with the entire mainstream media had already long ago decided that Hilary Clinton was to be the nominee, despite the fact that she was one of the least liked politicians in America (second only to Trump). Polling taken before the nomination heavily suggests that Sanders would’ve almost certainly beaten Trump to the Presidency.
Sander’s ran on a platform that included: increasing the amount of tax that the ultra wealthy pay, with a heavy focus on the “top one-tenth of one percent” — increasing social security payments — introducing a single payer healthcare system (an American NHS) — free University for everybody — ending the kinds of fraud that lead to the disastrous financial crash of 2008 “I will take on the bankers on Wall Street” — bringing outsourced manufacturing jobs back to the US (such as those lost through the horrendous NAFTA “trade” deals) — rebuilding the middle class (working class by UK standards) — policies to avoid climate change saying that the issue is so urgent it should be treated as seriously as the threat posed by World War 2 — supporting Black Lives Matters Campaigners, and Minority groups.
The Justice Democrats will be supporting, and fighting for the same kinds of policies as Sanders — these policies poll incredibly well with the American electorate — as do much of Corbyn’s policies here.
What made Bernie’s campaign all the more remarkable was the fact that it was financed mainly by donations from individuals — averaging 27 dollars each — as opposed to relying on insane amounts of money “donated” by huge US corporations. The amount of money donated by US corporations, and spent by candidates running for the presidency is so off the spectrum it isn’t comparable to anywhere else in the world. Unlike the UK (where spending is capped at £19.5m for each of the major parties) there is no limit on the amount of money that candidates can spend during US elections.
Given the amount of money spent by Corporate donors (especially banks) on American elections, it should be no surprise that the legislation that follows is tailored made for the wealthy elite minority — not the majority of voters.
As is well documented by the hacked emails hosted by Wikileaks of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Clinton’s former Campaign Manager, the billionaire, and lobbyist John Podesta, the DNC colluded with Clinton stop Sanders from winning the nominations — driven by these corporate interests.
The DNC were supposed to act impartially during the nomination process — instead, they clearly heavily favored Clinton from the outset, and strategised against the Sander’s campaign. For instance, this email from former DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz to former DNC Communications Director Luis Miranda from the 21st of May when there were still 9 primaries left, in which Shultz states that Sanders “isn’t going to be president.”
One of the key goals of the Justice Democrats is to get rid out the corporate money driving so much of this lunacy, and corruption in the Democratic Party.
The battle for the soul of the Democratic Party will look familiar to many around the world.
Of course, in the UK we have almost exactly the same battle within the Labour party and more specifically between the members of the Labour Party and the neo-liberal “Red Tory” Blairites. The Justice Democrats campaign bears some similarity to that of Momentum in the UK — this should be no surprise as Sanders is often referred to as the US’s Corbyn.
The policies that the Justice Democrats are fighting for should be supported by the left wing across the world — if the US moves further to the left, and further away from the neoliberal centrist doctrine then it will make it easier for us to, and vice versa.
The justice Democrats, Corbyn’s leadership of Labour in the UK, Podemos in Spain, Syriza in Greece, and the recent emergence and popularity of progressive socialist Benoit Hamon — a candidate for the upcoming French Presidency show that there is a significant movement to save the world from neo-liberalist orthodoxy, just don’t expect to hear about it much in the mainstream media. They would rather focus on the rise of right-wing nationalism, one that at its core is just another strain of neo-liberalism and so, therefore, presents no real threat to them. The rise of the left wing, on the other hand, does present a threat to their corporate interests, and that is why they treat it as such.
The on-going popular mass struggle to reclaim our left-wing parties are perhaps the most significant political movements for a generation, and with people like Trump now leading the most powerful and wealthy nation on earth, it is not one we can afford to lose.
Since launching on Monday over 950 people have nominated themselves to run for office, over 50,000 people have signed up to the website and over 200,00 have made donations to the Justice Democrats.