By Mark Wachtler
October 29, 2015. San Francisco, CA. (ONN) With a lack of candidates for the Democratic Presidential nomination, Vermont’s independent US Senator Bernie Sanders has not only infiltrated the Party, but captured much of the spotlight. And with that spotlight comes Sanders’ socialist platform. But America’s real socialists - the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) - insist the Vermont Senator and Presidential hopeful is only a reformer, not a socialist.
Gloria La Riva, PSL’s 2016 Presidential nominee.
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Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Senator Bernie Sanders may be trailing Hillary Clinton by 20 points around the country. But he’s only a few points behind in many of the early Primary and Caucus states. And since he’s currently in second place among Democrat candidates, he’s also guaranteed a prime spot in the televised debates. Sanders continues to use those opportunities to slam Wall Street corporations, corrupt government officials, and war profiteers.
But the Party for Socialism and Liberation calls the independent Vermont Senator a reformer, not a socialist. A recent editorial from PSL explains why. ‘An unexpected response to this obscene form of “dollar democracy,” rapidly widening inequality, and other regressive developments has come in the form of the Bernie Sanders election campaign,’ they wrote, ‘Sanders, an Independent senator from Vermont and self-described socialist, is seeking the Democratic party nomination for president against Hillary Clinton and others.’
After detailing how some Republican Presidential candidates like Ted Cruz have received $36 million in campaign contributions from just six individuals, PSL contrasts that with the grassroots support Bernie Sanders has garnered. They cite the thousands of passionate Sanders supporters that come out for each of the candidate’s local appearances as one example. PSL goes on to add, ‘In sharp contrast to other candidates, more than 80 percent of Sanders’ campaign contributions, now totaling more than $17 million, are less than $200, with an average donation of $31.21.’
Socialist or Reformer?
Is Bernie Sanders a socialist as he touts, or just a reformer? PSL answers that question saying, ‘While Sanders calls himself a democratic socialist, his program is not socialist, nor does the word appear on his campaign website. He does not call for nationalizing the corporations and banks, without which the reorganization of the economy to meet people’s needs rather than maximizing the profits of capitalist investors could not take place. In his speeches, he advocates for a “political revolution,” but he is clearly seeking to reform the existing capitalist system.’
The PSL announcement goes on to criticize Sanders’ past positions on war, Israel and other foreign policy matters. ‘On foreign policy, Sanders’ stance is that of a mainstream imperialist Democrat,’ the statement reads, ‘He opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq but supported the 1999 US/NATO bombing war against Yugoslavia. He is critical of some of Israel’s most extreme actions but is a supporter of the massive US aid to the Israeli military.’
PSL leaders do give Bernie Sanders some credit for his various positions, saying of the Presidential candidate, ‘Sanders calls for a $15 minimum wage, the right of workers to unionize, a federal jobs program, taxing the rich, free tuition at public universities, universal health care, measures to reduce global warming, women’s reproductive rights, overturning of the Citizens United decision and limits on campaign contributions, expanded voting rights, prison reform, an end to structural racism and racial profiling, and a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. He has been a vocal opponent of the XL Pipeline, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and NSA warrantless surveillance of people inside the United States.’
Bringing socialism into the mainstream
The PSL statement points out that while Bernie Sanders may not be a true socialist, he is at least bringing many socialist beliefs into America’s mainstream, a mainstream with a history of being extremely anti-socialist. ‘Of major significance is that this massive outpouring of support is for a candidate who calls himself a socialist, in a country whose politics have been for so long dominated by virulent anti-communism and anti-socialism,’ they explain.
‘It is clear that what is driving the response to the Sanders campaign is the desire on the part of a huge number of people for profound political change,’ PSL leaders add, ‘As revolutionary Marxists, we in the Party for Socialism and Liberation regard this as fertile ground for a movement that can truly uproot the capitalist system.’
Gloria La Riva for President
In exposing Bernie Sanders as a Democrat in socialists’ clothing, PSL reminds voters that there is a true socialist candidate for President and that is Gloria La Riva. Along with her running mate Eugene Puryear, La Riva will top the PSL ticket in 2016 as the Party’s Presidential nominee. That’s the same spot she occupied in 2008 when she ran for President, also on the PSL ballot line. Additionally, La Riva was the Peace & Freedom Party’s nominee for California Governor. She’s run for San Francisco Mayor as a socialist, finishing third in the race.
Last month, Opposition News reported on PSL’s nomination of La Riva and Puryear as the Party’s Presidential ticket. Announcing her candidacy, La Riva told crowds of supporters, “Capitalism is a corrupt, bankrupt system that is destroying the environment while the super-rich accrue obscene wealth. The capitalist bankers torched the economy and the federal government bailed them out with our money. What an outrage! Today the criminal bankers are richer than ever while millions of working people have been plunged into poverty.”
The PSL Presidential nominee also supports closing all US military bases around the world, making jobs, healthcare and education a Constitutional right, abortion on demand, repealing anti-union laws, and going after racist and corrupt local police departments. She would also extend the civil and Constitutional rights US citizens enjoy to all immigrants, legal and illegal.
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