Coming Soon:

The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON
LECTURE ONE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d__In2PQS60
LECTURE TWO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Al7O2puvdDA

ALSO AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ONE THROUGH TEN ON IDEOLOGICAL CRITIQUE



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Thursday, July 7, 2016

GIVE CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE

I have just read a report that Bernie Sanders will endorse Hillary Clinton next week.  I think this is a good time to observe how brilliantly he has played his hand for the last six months.  Starting from a hole so deep that he could scarcely see daylight at its top, he ran a campaign that made him a genuine contender for the nomination.  His small donation fund raising completely turned conventional wisdom on its head, and, at least to my astonishment, he made "socialist" an acceptable label in mainstream American politics.

Ever since it became clear that he could not win the nomination, which is to say some months ago, sober, realistic talking heads have been calling on him to drop out and endorse Clinton.  His refusal has brought down on his head all manner of abuse and created the myth that he is an obstinate old fool who cannot put the good of the party and the nation ahead of his own overblown ego.

Meanwhile, he has forced Clinton to move farther and farther to the left, turning against TPP, embracing a fifteen dollar an hour minimum wage, calling for free tuition at public colleges and universities for all children of families below the upper middle class.  The draft party platform leaked this week is by far the most progressive in the history of the Democratic Party, all because of the influence of Bernie Sanders.  

Now he will endorse Clinton and work all Fall to defeat Donald Trump.  With his help and Elizabeth Warren's, the diehard Sanders loyalists will come round to voting for Clinton, holding their noses as I will.  But his influence will continue, and if he chooses, as I hope, to create an on-going progressive movement, funded by a flood of small donations, then he may well succeed in transforming American politics.

Not bad for a grumpy Vermont socialist with bad hair and the oratorical skills of a bulldog.

10 comments:

David Palmeter said...

Creation of an on-going progressive movement is vital, and it should not be focused only on the presidency. Republicans now have the majority not only in the House and Senate, but also of governorships and as well as control of most state legislatures. These are breeding grounds for national candidates, and also the sources of all kinds of legislation—abortion restrictions, irresponsible gun laws, and all of the rest. States also define House districts, something the Republicans have turned into a fine art. Moreover , assuming she’s elected this year, Clinton is likely to be a one-term president. Not only is she not popular in her own right, in 2020 she would be running for the Democrats’ fourth consecutive term. Even FDR had a difficult time doing that, war or no war. Further, assuming that the Democrats win control of the Senate this year, they’re likely to lose it in 2018, both because off year elections are usually bad for the party in the White House, and also because (unlike this year) most of the contested seats will be Democrat. The best way for progressives to deal with this bleak situation is to start at the grass roots. It would be tragic to let the movement Bernie has started wither away, which is pretty much what it would do if it confined itself to presidential elections.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

Everything David Palmeter says is absolutely true. I am ready if Bernie gives the call. I signed up to do voter registration in Chapel Hill tomorrow morning. First things first. We have a chance of taking a governorship, a senatorial seat, and the electoral votes here in North carolina.

Jerry Fresia said...

Bernie's campaign has been absolutely brilliant. Even if he were a true Wolffite, knowing Marx backwards and forwards along with the irony and literary references, he could not have played it better. Perhaps he knew something we didn't a posteriori.

Anonymous said...

One small note: Hillary came out against the TPP in October 2015, so it's unlikely that Bernie had much to do with that. It's true that absent Bernie, opposition to the TPP wouldn't have made it into the party platform.

Jerry Fresia said...

Oh my! I flubbed my moment on the big stage. What I meant to say: "Perhaps he knew something we didn't a priori."

Robert Paul Wolff said...

big stage, indeed. We few, we happy few ...

Anonymous said...

I don't think you are correct in saying that Sanders supporters will back Clinton. It is hard to believe she will actually pursue any goals that Sanders supporters call for. Also, the more ideological Sanders supporters may possibly stick to their strong beliefs and refuse to support the status quo and establishment.

tom llewellyn said...

I am a Bernie backer, but will vote for Hillary for obvious reasons. As a good utilitarian the lesser of two evils will produce less evil. Not that Hillary is evil. Just a money-grubbing wheeler-dealer who probably used to have great values before she sold them to the highest bidder. But she is not a sociopathic narcissist, so she will get my vote.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

I don't think Hillary sold out to the highest bidder. If it were that simple, we could just put in a higher bid. I think the problem is much deeper and more intractable than that.

chobbs said...
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