Bernie Sanders: the “sewer socialist” par excellence

Bernie Sanders, the voluble man of the people, went through a candidates debate with Clinton (the other three jamokes present might as well be mannequins) without mentioning US wars–after 24 years of deployment & barbarisms in Iraq & on the 14th anniversary of the occupation of Afghanistan. And people who call themselves socialists campaign for him!?

“Sewer socialists” is an old derogatory term from the early 20th century used against socialists elected to local office who boasted about the public sewer system in their cities & neglected other questions in national & international politics–like war. Without US investment in war, there would be funds for all sorts of essential infrastructure programs–like re-building the bridges that are collapsing all over the country.

No one would ever deny the absolute necessity of public sewer systems but one should try not to draw their politics from the same source. How does that distinguish you from India’s fascist prime minister Narendra Modi who’s on a clean-up program in India while leaving the occupation of Kashmir & caste oppression in India solidly in place–& still half of India’s cities have no sewer system?

In politics, one should be able to connect things & Sanders can’t connect war to our paychecks. But much more damning, he has no sense of shared humanity with the people of Afghanistan & Iraq. There’s another socialist tradition, long since buried in the debris of these pretenders, that considers war the first priority to address. That tradition was reflected in the anti-Vietnam War movement where participants were encouraged to link their concerns & form contingents as women, Latinos, Blacks, Native Americans, LGBTs, immigrant rights, Palestinian solidarity activists & other pressing social issues to the expenditures on war.

Sanders can’t lead that because he supports war & apartheid. No matter how loud he shouts, he can never make up for the provincialism, racism, & xenophobia of his views.