The Sanders Phenomenon

The little that I am, the little that I am hoping to be, I owe to the Socialist movement. It has given me my ideas and ideals; my principles and convictions, and I would not exchange one of them for all of Rockefeller’s bloodstained dollars.  – Eugene Debbs

An analysis in advance of the first Democratic debate

Image by Gage Skidmore

Editor’s note: The first Democratic debate of the 2016 presidential campaign will take place tonight. In advance of the debate—a look at Sanders’ candidacy up to now.

4 thoughts on “The Sanders Phenomenon

  1. TV debate: showbiz to promote Hilary ... says:
    There is only one party in the United States, 
    the Property Party … and it has two right wings: 
    Republican and Democrat
                           ― Gore Vidal

    I watched some of the debate for Presidential nomination of the Democratic Party. It was essentially a showpiece to promote the Democratic Party’s nominee for the 2016 Presidential election, Hiliary Clinton. A con to trick people into thinking the Democrats are a party with sane leaders concerned about issues facing ordinary Americans.

    Yet Bernie Sanders, even though he was a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War, said he supported the bombing of Syria and Kosovo . Sanders may be a liberal, but Hilary Clinton voted in 2002 for the Iraq war that destroyed millions of lives and is responsible for the current chaos in Syria.

    The TV debate was designed to make Hilary Clinton look good. All the Democrat candidates support the war in Afghanistan, which Obama is trying to prolong. None of them, including Sanders, is a Jeremy Corben who looks like bringing a ‘Whitlam moment’ to Britain.

    Corben defended ordinary people, Sanders defends what Democrats call the middle class, many of whom have been driven down into the working class by carrying a lot of debt.

    When Tories attacked Corben who recently took over the leadership of the British Labour party, it did not work because Corben is saying it is hard to get a roof over your head in Britain. There is a big homeless problem with people sleeping in alleyways. Such attacks by the Tories didn’t wash because ordinary people remember how hard Thatcher’s Britain was and how Tony Blair like Clinton really support the 1%.

    Ian Curr
    October 2015

    Highlights of the debate are at

  2. Predictions for 2016 says:

    Each year a group of my friends gather on New Year’s Eve and try to predict what will happen in the next year. Most of the predictions are outlandish. One year I predicted (correctly) that the $A would fall from parity with the $US to below 50 cents US. The fall in the $A looked something like this:

    My prediction was a fluke. But a similar fall may be repeated again in 2016.

    Now The Huffington Post has gone out on a limb and says Bernie Sanders will defeat Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Party nomination for US President and then trounce Trump to become President.

    Has internet journalism gone mad I ask? Would Bernie Sanders even make it to the polls? Surely the Tea Party would have him shot. Or more accurately, if by some super miracle Sanders got there, what would they let him do?

    Here are some predictions from my friends (some probable, some not) for 2016:

    1) Civil war in Turkey.
    2) Declaration of Palestinian state
    3) Malcolm Turnbull calls a double dissolution election before the May budget and wins in a landslide, possibly taking control of the Senate for the first time in 40 years.
    4) Jumping Fences will put out a new CD.
    5) Donald Trump will become president of the United States exposing the fraud of American democracy and thus realising Bob Dylan’s portent in the song It’s alright Ma : “But even the president of the United States / Sometimes must have to stand naked

    We will just have to wait and see who has the most outrageous predictions, my friends or the Huffington Post. In the meantime here is the Huffington Post’s argument …

    1. The Next Global Financial Crisis by Jamie C. says:

      The Current and Future Economic Scenario

      There is growing concern in bourgeois economic circles that GFC Mk2 will arrive soon, and hit Australia much harder than the GFC of 2008-2009.

      Apart from books with dramatic titles such as “The End of Australia—The Real Story Behind Australia’s Coming Economic Collapse and What You Can Do to Survive It” (by Vern Gowdie), there are the public statements of professional economists employed by major financial enterprises as exemplified below.

      Some economists’ views on GFC Mk2
      Jordan Eliseo, chief economist with ABC Bullion, claims that the problems leading to the GFC haven’t been dealt with and global economies are arguably in a worse shape today. “Governments around the world are running record budget deficits hand-in-hand with extreme levels of public debt, interest rates have been slashed to zero or below, and trillions of dollars, euros, yen, francs and pounds have been ‘created out of thin air’ and pumped intravenously into the world’s economies” he said.

      HSBC chief economist, Stephen King, issued a dire warning that the global economy was “like an ocean liner without lifeboats”, with governments’ traditional recession-fighting ammunition all but exhausted following an ‘insipid’ post-GFC recovery. .

      The Bank of International Settlements (BIS) pointed out that “certain major economies were seeing a sharp rise in debt-to-GDP ratios, which were well outside historic norms. In China, the rest of Asia and Brazil, private-sector borrowing has risen so quickly that BIS’s dashboard of risk is flashing red. In two-thirds of all cases, red warnings such as this are followed by a major banking crisis within three years.” .

      Again according to British banking giant HSBC, global trade is down 8.4 percent so far this year, and global GDP expressed in U.S. dollars is down 3.4 percent. So those that are waiting for the next worldwide economic recession to begin can stop waiting. It is officially here. … money is fleeing emerging markets at a blistering pace, major global banks are stuck with huge loans that will never be repaid, and it looks like a very significant worldwide credit crunch has begun. … the IMF, the UN, the BIS and Citibank were all warning that a major economic crisis could be imminent. … .

      “China’s banks are, in effect, bust: few of the vast loans they have made can ever be repaid, so they cannot now lend at the rate needed to sustain China’s once super-high but illusory growth rates. China’s real growth is now below that of the Mao years: the economic crisis will spawn a crisis of legitimacy for the deeply corrupt communist party. Commodity prices have crashed. … Money is flooding out of the Emerging Market Economies (EMEs), leaving over borrowed companies, indebted households and stricken banks, but EMEs do not have institutions such as the Federal Reserve or European Central Bank to knock up rescue packages. Yet these nations now account for more than half of global GDP. Small wonder the IMF is worried.” .

      Andy Haldane suggests a rate cut may improve economic growth, given signs third phase of global financial crisis is looming. … He argued that the latest developments in China and Greece should be seen as part of a pattern. “In my view, these should not been seen as independent events, as lightning bolts from the blue. Rather, they are part of a connected sequence of financial disturbances that have hit the global economic and financial system over the past decade,” he said. “Recent events form the latest leg of what might be called a three-part crisis trilogy. Part one of that trilogy was the ‘Anglo-Saxon’ crisis of 2008-09. Part two was the ‘euro-area’ crisis of 2011-12. And we may now be entering the early stages of part three of the trilogy, the ‘emerging market’ crisis of 2015 onwards.”

      The World Economies
      The economic realities throughout the world are pointing everywhere to a gathering storm. Here, I will briefly focus on the European Union, and in subsequent reports deal in detail with the USA; China, India, Japan and other Asian countries; as well as the situation in Africa, Latin America and Oceania.

      The European Union
      The EU is currently composed of 28 member states from Germany, the industrial giant, to Malta, the tiny archipelago. Contradictions abound such as those between the major imperialist and the struggling “wanna be” nations, between the Brussel’s centralization solution to crises and the members’ pressure for decentralization, between the brain drain from the poorer European countries and the consequent gain to the richer members, between the beacon of hope and safety for Syrian and other refugees and the growing neo-fascist strength and demagoguery that Europe’s security and “Christian values” are being threatened.

      The liberal dream of the EU as a major socio-eco-political superpower—the World’s largest single market bloc with one currency—in which workers’ rights are relatively protected; social-welfare programs flourish; open borders bound the members’ nations; and leading advances are made in environmental protection, renewable energy and human rights, is taking second place to the growing EU nightmare of economic austerity, rapidly growing debt, unemployment and poverty. The nightmare is fueling the anti-Europe faction’s cause, resulting in a British referendum before the end of 2017 on whether Britain should remain in the EU, as well as public disgust with the growing EU reality rising even in France and Germany.

      Economic prediction is not an exact science
      In November 1720, Sir Isaac Newton, arguably the greatest physicist and mathematician of all time, lost all his fortune in the South Sea Bubble—the stock disaster from which the term “bubble” was coined. His famous quote “I can calculate the movement of stars, but not the madness of men” epitomizes the difference, even today, between predictions of science and economics.

      Marx’s analysis, grounded in historical materialism, is a brilliant framework for understanding humanity’s socioeconomic development, and makes major predictions about the demise of the capitalist mode of production. But it is necessarily silent as to its exact timing.

      Recent mathematical models have had some limited success in predicting micro-economic phenomena. But no economist can predict when GFC MK2 will happen—some say it has already started, others that it will occur within the next three years. Neither can economists predict the sequence of events which will constitute it.

      Crises have been averted before, but it’s different this time
      In the early days of capitalism and even in the early days of the imperialist stage, crises had been averted by the export of religion, goods and finally capital to newly-found or under-developed lands. But today, with China having joined the World Bank and having capitulated to capitalism, all countries are inextricably linked in a global economic tangle centred primarily on US imperialism. There are no new lands to be found, and China, the saviour of the GFC of 2008-2009, is now in no position to save itself let alone anyone else.

      For these reasons, we can be sure that GFC Mark 2 is coming soon. It will be more severe than the GFC of 2008-2009, and we need to be prepared.

      The next global financial crisis on the Vanguard

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