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Wednesday, August 24, 2016


This is not good.


Chris said...

This news is really upsetting, especially since Jeff Weaver was often the most radical (i.e., LEFT) voice within the Sanders' campaign speaking entourage. If you ever watched him making the rounds on MSNBC, NBC, ABC, etc., he was the most articulate at defining 'the establishment', and the nature between money and politics, in a way Bernie, Jane, and Tad were not. He also has a long history of progressive activism (e.g., was expelled from college for setting up anti apartheid camps on campus). So it's a real shock that his being appointed (I was thrilled!), is a source of resignation!? What is going on????

Lawrence Milford said...

From the article:
Weaver has other ideas. He wanted to supplement the group's organizing and online fundraising efforts with independent expenditure TV advertising and larger checks from major donors. Internal critics say that contradicts the spirit of Sanders' movement, which was built around fighting big money in politics.

In the Politico article it states that Weaver was just back from a fundraising meeting with Tim Steyer, a billionaire fund manager..

Not my kind of "revolution", sounds ominously like being sheep-dogged into the Party fold...

Chris said...

Lawrence I'm unfamiliar with the last expression, so unsure what this means:

"Not my kind of "revolution", sounds ominously like being sheep-dogged into the Party fold..."

On the one hand I'm shocked that would be Weaver's style, since he claims to be in sync with Bernie and we KNOW Bernie is anti billionaire donations, and much more grass roots. Weaver was always making the media circuit critiquing Clinton and others for being corporate dems who took large donations. That said, if it true that that's his preferred style for fund raising then yeah there's a real problem with him as leader and I understand the resignations.

Lawrence Milford said...

Sheep-dogging is essentially a tactic of the Party to run someone to the left to gather voters/activists who would otherwise potentially attempt to organize outside the Party and keep them in the Party fold. Basically to co-opt and diffuse any movements.

That said, I am not accusing anyone - I only say that I am suspicious...

s. wallerstein said...

The left always has and I fear always will waste a goodly part of its energies fighting with one another.

Read the life of Marx and see how much energy he dedicates to putting down other socialists or communists. Even if Marx was always right, one can ally oneself politically with people who are not 100% right and are not philosophically geniuses as Marx was.

Lenin was into the same sport. Read the stuff he wrote about poor Kautsky. I have no idea what Kautsky's sin was, but reading Lenin's polemics against him, makes me sympathize with him.

By the time we get around to Trotsky vs Stalin, the sport gets deadly.

All my political life, beginning in the early 60's, I've been on the left and witnessed its inability to unite in a common cause, due to minute ideological differences, to ethical puritanism, and to clashes of gigantic egos.

I guess when you imagine that you have the solution to all the problems of humanity, as so many leftwing leaders do, you find it hard to tolerate working together with benighted souls who do not recognize the 100% correctness of your political analysis.

The whole syndrome is tiring.

Lawrence Milford said...

I certainly agree with you about left infighting, it is the fighting it is best at unfortunately!

I disagree, though, that the question of whether a true progressive left organization can be built around billionaire hedge fund managers and the like can be disregarded as minute ideological differences or ethical puritanism...

s. wallerstein said...

I don't know the details, but there may be billionaire hedge fund managers who are willing, for many reasons, to bankroll true progressive left organizations (maybe not revolutionary ones). People's motives are complicated and I wouldn't write someone off because they have a lot of money.

Lawrence Milford said...

Indeed, only time will tell. Although I have to always remind myself of the other great Wallerstein that the most important thing the Left can do is to focus on easing the suffering in society. Now, that is something that may be accomplished with such an organization as well as an effort well worth doing...

Chris said...

Wallerstein, I have to disagree in terms of why Bernie is popular and why that strategy will be dangerous. The fear is that, let us say Money Bags A donates a billion to Bernie, and Money Bags A is really progressive EXCEPT he is a big fan of coal energy. Everything else is progressive but that. Then the revolutionary institution knows that in order to keep bringing in A LIONS SHARE of their operative money, they have to be quiet on coal, but progressive on everything else, otherwise they will literally lose a major sector of their institutional resources. Whereas, if tons of grassroots people donate, you can lose a few coal supporters (maybe even gain some greener people), without a radical foundation shift. This is why all our democrats are spineless wimps, because each one is too heavily tied to this or that industry and so while good on some issues, votes like a villain on others for fear of losing necessary reelection money.

We need big money out of institutions because we need unnecessary capitalist class influence out of institutions, and that will remain under what appears to be Weaver's plan.

Chris said...

Also, maybe I know I'm much too sectarian for many (including regular members of this blog), but if it true that the man I adored (Weaver) is behind this desire to bring big money into the institution, I'm ready to say he needs to go, and we should turn our backs on him until he repents for his sins ;)

s. wallerstein said...

Lawrence Milford,

Thank you. Being grouped, even slightly ironically, with Immanuel Wallerstein (not a relative) is an honor.

Lawrence Milford said...

I also have to agree with Chris's assessment. This is not "religious" dogmatism, just being honest. The excitement for the OR group (in my mind) was that it would be an organization built from grassroots contributions and as such would seek to maintain an implicit agreement that the organization and the activists would work with and for each other.
Once overwhelming contributions come from a number of sources, those group dynamics change. Inevitably there will be conflicts in such groups, but large donor funding makes some members' conflicts more important than others. Sure, the group would have a higher profile with more money and may do good, but what then differentiates it from other political organizations with similar structures?
We have shown the power of grassroots funding and I was hoping that would continue past the election. I have every right to be disappointed in the outcome without being accused of being some sort of "purist". I would have to say that be labeled as such just for expressing my concern and reservation is disappointing...

s. wallerstein said...


If that comment on considering you too sectarian is directed towards me, no, I don't consider you to be especially sectarian. People who comment on this blog regularly are characterized by having an open mind.

I know that you're to the left of most who comment here, but that does not mean that you're more sectarian.

I myself know only one Wall St. trader (who is not a billionaire) and he is quite progressive. I could imagine him, having made as much money as he needs (a lot by my standards), funding a genuinely progressive movement without any partiality for special interest groups such as big coal or oil or anyone else. Still, I agree with you that it would be better that a progressive movement be funded, if possible, by small donations from ordinary people.

Lawrence Milford said...

That last comment was not addressed to you, Mr. Wallerstein. :)

I have to admit, I had wondered in the past if there was any relation!

Chris said...

No I was just joking around wallerstein, it wasn't direct at anyone really.

Chris said...

This is exactly right:

"Sure, the group would have a higher profile with more money and may do good, but what then differentiates it from other political organizations with similar structures? "

What room would OR have to critique the DNC, or RNC, for their banquets and big donations, if we are just as guilty. THE PROBLEM is class money in politics, the solution is not MORE class money in politics, that's the solution that always exacerbates the problem (e.g., Clinton, Barney Frank, Wasserman-Schultz, Obama, and other corporate dems)!

Bernie showed you don't need big class money to make a difference (sort of), so why compromise now?

I can just see the media now
Sanders and his supporters: You take wall street money you shouldn't be elected.
Response: So do you...guess we can't elect your candidates either.