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Thursday, April 14, 2016


I was watching Andrea Mitchell interviewing Jane Sanders [Bernie's wife and chief adviser] during lunch a few minutes ago and finally hear her say the words I have been waiting for.  Mitchell asked her whether, if Bernie failed to get the nomination, he would feel that he had, nevertheless, achieved a good deal.  Now, all of us political junkies know that the automatic no-brainer de rigueur answer to that question is, "Well, Andrea, we are confident that we are going to win."   But Jane Sanders is an actual person, so instead she gave an honest answer, and it made my day.  "We have started a revolution," she said.  "If Bernie wins, he will expect all the people who have supported him to keep working for that revolution, and if he does not win, we will continue to lead that revolution and want all of his supporters to keep working" [or words to that effect.]  

My heart swelled.  Those are the words I have been waiting for.  I am all in.

By the way, just before this interview, Robbie Mook, Clinton spokesperson, was interviewed.  He simply could not answer Mitchell's repeated question, namely, "Is it hypocrisy for Secretary Clinton to walk the Verizon Communications Workers of America picket line when she took $225,000 from Verizon in 2013 for a speech?"  Mitchell is a class act.


s. wallerstein said...

It's good to remind people that Bernie is an "actual person", to use your well-put phrase, as is his wife.

It's not entirely a political thing. Bill and Hillary are not "actual persons", but even our much criticized and repudiated Paul Krugman still is one, although he's trying hard to be as "plastic" as his heroes, Bill and Hillary. Krugman's tragedy is that, try as he may, he doesn't have the makings of a truly plastic

Chris said...

I don't watch much mainstream news but I have noticed that Andrew Mitchell has been giving Sanders the 'fairest' and best interviews for months now. Dating back to Iowa and New Hampshire. Unlike the rest of the media she has taken his candidacy seriously.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Mitchell is a class act with a long track record of real reporting.

The sad thing is that I think Hillary started out as a real human being [Bill not so much]. Krugman is about as successful as an academic can be, and he is obviously very smart, but there is something a bit forlorn about him, like this Friday music thing on his blog, as though he were still trying to convince the cool kids that he is not a total nerd.

Chris said...

Professor Wolff,
How do we keep 'the revolution' going, in such a way that isn't easily absorbed by capital, and the state apparatus arm of capital, e.g., the democratic party?

(p.s. Watched more Matthews recently, seriously this guy is drunk!)

s. wallerstein said...

I'm trying to think of what it means to be a real human being.

Authenticity seems to be a necessary, but not sufficient condition, because we can think of lots of horrid monsters who were all too authentic. Also not lying to oneself and to others, not being in constant bad faith (to use Sartre's phrase), which is closely related to authenticity.

Finally, it seems necessary to respond to others, to recognize others, to respect others. To see yourself as part of the human race, as one more human being among others.

While someone on the right can be authentic, all too authentic, it seems impossible to be rightwing and to respond to others, to recognize and to respect them. At least not politically rightwing, not participating in rightwing politics.

Chris said...

I think, and Professor Wolff may agree, part of being a real human being is treating others as ends in themselves. Hillary has always treated others as means to her ends (e.g., political power). If we are to treat humanity in such a way that we are universalizing moral imperatives, then Hillary is not a human since she has no universal conception as to how humanity ought to be treated.

Now I'm no Kantian, but I do think there's an element of truth to what I'm saying.

s. wallerstein said...


I agree that treating others as ends in themselves would be the ideal. I'd settle for not treating them as means to one's own ends though. In-between treating others as ends in themselves and not treating them as means to one's own ends there's letting others be (I think). However, if you're going to engage actively in politics, yes, it seems that you should treat others as ends in themselves.

Chris said...

And it's important to note that the logic of capital requires people to be treated as means (productive workers) to an end (surplus value). As a corporatist democratic, she's necessarily not a consummate human being! ;)

s. wallerstein said...

I take back what I said yesterday about Krugman, that, try as he may to be plastic like the Clintons, he's still a person.

Having read his column today, the Pastrami Principle, I can see that he's working very hard to leave the person category and that he may well succeed.

Keep at it Paul: the soul you lose may be your own!

Tom Cathcart said...

s. wallerstein,
I always enjoy your thoughtful comments. Google Translate tells me that your occupation (from your profile) is "subversive skeptic/pedestrian." Subversive and skeptic I get. As for "pedestrian," did Google Translate screw up? Or are you a peripatetic philosopher like Aristotle? Or perhaps a Stoic, walking back and forth in the stoa? Whichever, please keep up the thoughtful comments.

s. wallerstein said...

Tom Cathcart,

Thank you very much for your kind words. I also enjoy your thoughtful comments.

Google gets it right. "Peaton" means "pedestrian". I don't own a car and since I'm phobic to crowds, I avoid public transportation and walk as much as I can. I've always hated cars and in fact, I failed driver education in high school (that's true). If I were younger and more agile, I'd use a bicycle.

If there is any ancient philosophical school I identify with it's more Epicureanism than Aristotle or the Stoics.