Unity Subverted, Unity Reclaimed

Unity Subverted, Unity Reclaimed

Unity Subverted, Unity Reclaimed
Unity Subverted, Unity Reclaimed

Photo: John Nicksic.  This article first appeared in Dialogue & Discourse on February 6, 2020

By Hank Edson

Ever since George Orwell wrote his dystopian novel, 1984, it’s been common knowledge that those in power like to justify oppression of human beings by asserting that treachery is really a virtue. In 1984, Big Brother had three Party slogans that employed this rhetoric, which it termed “doublespeak”: “War is Peace,” “Freedom is Slavery,” and “Ignorance is Strength.” In 2020, the Democratic Party’s favorite slogan is really not much different: “Betrayal is Unity.” Betrayal, in this instance, is the Party’s betrayal of the interests of the voters and the principles of democracy. Unity is the value its doublespeak falsely claims to represent and claims to be owed by voters on the political Left.

For the most part, the Party does not acknowledge its betrayal, but its doublespeak is blatant all the same. But then again, there was that time on April 25, 2017 when the DNC candidly argued in court that it did not see itself as having a duty to respect the vote in the 2016 primaries and therefore its rigging of the process in favor of Hilary Clinton was not illegal. Betrayal is Unity, your Honor; Cheating is Democratic.

But the subversion of the meaning of unity by the Democratic Party is worse than that. The Party is not content to simply defend its actions with doublespeak lies, but prefers to go on the offensive, attacking voters insisting on defending their voting rights for failing to unify around the Party’s betrayal of their interests.

And like the oppressed living under Big Brother’s shadow, many are the regular citizens living under the torrent of corporate media propaganda who have been conditioned to repeat the Party line and to blame other, more independent voters for the consequences of the lack of unity in the Party. To these brainwashed Party loyalists, the source of this disunity is these independent thinking voters who insist on their rights and on political process integrity; it’s not the corruption and treachery of the Democratic Party establishment. Their cognitive dissonance is deafening: “Your lack of unity with my self-contradictory submission to betrayal of our shared interests is immoral!”

What these manipulated voters fail to recognize is that the voters who refuse to support a nomination that violates their votes, their interests, and the principles of democracy are only reflecting back to the Democratic Party its own disunity with its own chosen name and the claimed values, goals, and interests it regularly betrays. Indeed, the ones who are most deeply in unity with the principles underlying democracy and the values and goals that make democracy the most inspiring social construct the world has ever known are the very voters who draw a boundary against such corruption. Unity cannot unify with disunity. The doublespeak buck stops here.

And yet a further twist of the blade in the voter’s back inflicted by the Democratic Party’s doublespeak is that it uses it as a weapon in the primaries to subvert the process with an illegitimately timed idea. The primaries are the time that voters on the political Left are considering which candidate seeking the Party nomination is most in unity with their interests; the question of supporting an unknown candidate nominated through a process, the integrity of which is also not known, is completely premature.

When the voters know how to effectively exercise their rights, they focus on the policy platforms each candidate is advancing and use their common sense to decide which policy platform is most true to democratic principles and most equitable in distributing the fruits of our social collaboration. This formula has been the key to human and global prosperity and well-being. It achieves, not just the greatest material security for society, but also the greatest and most self-sustaining growth in wisdom, peace, and contentment among all people.

When the voters are manipulated by the oligarchy, however, they focus on arguments that are often called “realistic” or “pragmatic” that urge acceptance of the corruption in the process and try to persuade the voters to support a candidate “likely to win.” This is the formula that has been followed for the last five decades and has led to a staggeringly unsustainable, painful and traumatic national and planetary imbalance. As if Orwell wrote this history himself, we owe never ending war, the climate crisis, and everything from the water in Flint Michigan to the babies separated from their parents in border detention camps to the doublespeak slogan “Corruption is Pragmatic.”

But it’s most particularly when a leading contender in the primaries is a threat to the oligarchy controlling the Democratic Party establishment, that the oligarchy pulls out the “unity” doublespeak, asking the threatening candidate, “Will you support the Party’s nominee, if it’s not you?” This question is also parroted from the conditioned establishment loyalists to the supporters of the candidate who stands in opposition to the corruption of the oligarchy.

This question is doublespeak because it urges unity with an outcome, the integrity of which is undermined by the question itself. The point of the primaries is to choose the candidate most in unity with the voter’s interests. Focus on any other question during the primaries is a corruption of the primary process. Demanding unity with a corrupt process is to demand disunity with oneself. And as we noted, unity cannot unify with disunity. Again, the cognitive dissonance of those blaming boundary-drawing voters is deafening. Anyone who asks you if you will support the Party’s nominee before the nominee has been nominated is a servant of the oligarchy wearing unity like a mask that barely conceals their own lack of unity with their own best interests. They don’t see their own mask, but you do.

In our current moment, and for the past four years, there has only been one candidate who has advanced a campaign in unity with democratic principles. This means that there has been only one campaign that stands as a threat to the corrupt Big Brother controlling the Democratic Party, the Big Brother proclaiming, “Cheating is Democratic; Betrayal is Unity; and Oligarchy is Democracy.”

That threat to corruption, that candidate of honor is Bernie Sanders, the candidate who did more than just say that the first and most important thing that must be done in American politics is take money out of politics. He did so much more than point out that every other problem we have arises from this corruption and that no remedy for any of our problems is possible until this corruption is removed so that our political process can function properly. What else did he do? Bernie Sanders also walked his talk and disproved one of the Democratic Party’s other doublespeak slogans, “The Possible is Impossible.” That is, Bernie Sanders removed the corruption of money from his own campaign by refusing to take SuperPAC funding and corporate donations. Instead, he organized a people’s movement funded on small donations averaging less than $20 apiece.

It’s one thing to say, “We need unity with the interests of the voters and we need unity with democratic principles.” It’s another thing altogether to actually bring oneself and one’s campaign into unity with the voters’ interests and democratic principles by refusing to obligate oneself to anti-democratic corporate donors. Bernie is the only one who can say he had the vision and the moral compass, the record, the integrity and the leadership to persuade millions of voters to make this unity with the voters’ interests and democratic principles a thriving reality. In 2016, every other present presidential candidate (except Tulsi Gabbard), embraced the doublespeak slogan “Campaign Finance Reform is Hilary Clinton’s Five SuperPACs.”

Against these faithful champions of Big Brother’s oligarchy, Sanders’ 2016 campaign was a historic, groundbreaking achievement, and still today, with a field of opportunistic copycats, his campaign remains the standard of integrity, far out shining the compromised, back-tracked, sly funding strategies of his competitors. And of course, none of the other copycats endorsed the importance of small-donor funded campaigns in 2016. They all regarded victory without corruption as impossible and sided with Hillary Clinton, hoping to receive a seat at the oligarchs’ table.

Now, Newsweek reports that only 53% of voters supporting Sanders, who is leading the pack with former Vice President Joe Biden in a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll, will answer the unity question affirmatively, as in: “Yes, I will support the Party’s nominee.” Sixteen percent of Sanders’ voters stated that they definitely would not support the nominee if it was not Sanders.

Cue the chorus of establishment-conditioned voters venting their rage at “Bernie Bros.” Never mind that Bernie has no such “base;” there are more young women supporting Sanders than young men. This blame-the-voter trope mined endlessly by Hillary Clinton’s campaign has worn so thin that it cannot mask the transparent lack of meaningful policy alternatives being offered by those preaching Party unity. Indeed, from those mythical misogynist Bernie Bros who are yet oddly passionate about social justice (and supporters of Alexandria Ocasio Cortez) to feminist icon Gloria Steinem’s infamous indictment of boy-crazy young women, to allegedly uninformed voters who yet when asked remain persistently focused on Bernie’s democratic policies to all those “deplorables,” for whom Clinton herself had so much scorn, even as she courted their votes, this blame-the-voter doublespeak plays no better than Clinton’s recent widely mocked claim that “no one likes Bernie” at the same time that he is setting records for individual donations and continues his multi-year run as the nation’s most popular senator.

The irony is that those who corrupt the primary process by making Party unity an issue before the convention now face an argument for voters to strategically unite behind Sanders based on a pragmatic, common sense understanding of the psychology of unity. Unity is, after all, an organic principle, not a superficial mask.

That is, the unity achieved by pressuring people to support the representative of the very powers abusing their right to vote cannot be strong. The unity achieved by pressuring people in a voice echoing the very corporate media that undermines the people’s right to a level playing field in the political process will inevitably be extremely weak. No wonder that in 2016, forty-three percent of the electorate, 100 million people, did not vote in the general election. The Democratic Party has given them no reason to feel the party is united behind their interests. But now, the weakness in this oppressive and manipulative “unity” doublespeak is more apparent than ever.

If Sanders presently has roughly twenty-five percent of the vote on the political Left and if sixteen to forty-seven percent of his voters anticipate possibly or definitely not supporting any other potential nominee in the general election, then we have a sizeable segment of society prepared to draw a boundary against abusive misconduct for as long as it takes to achieve the critical mass needed for change.

Sanders has said from the outset that his campaign is a campaign for revolution, peaceful revolution, but revolution no less deserving of the word for that. Revolutionary movements often take years to accomplish. The women’s suffrage movement took seventy years of commitment and boundary drawing. Today’s people’s movement began a little over four years ago and, in that time, it has only gotten stronger and larger. Meanwhile the dishonesty and feebleness of the “no one likes Bernie” and blame-the-voter demand for unity has only grown more obvious to the voting public.

In this context, for those who believe in the importance of unity among the Political Left, the math is simple. Instead of requiring Sanders voters to unite with whatever representative the DNC’s abusive process produces come the convention, this math makes clear that voters who care about unity should be the ones to unite behind Sanders before the convention, during the primaries, and give him the 51% majority that will prevent the DNC’s superdelegates from stealing the nomination. What’s more, they should demand that the DNC take whatever actions necessary to ensure the nominee is the winner of the primary process and not selected by Super Delegates because that is in unity with the voter’s rights and the voter’s interests.

Voting for Sanders in the primaries is the only way to secure the Bernie-or-Bust vote in the general election and, as Sanders has been correctly indicating all along, the only way to inspire large numbers of 2016’s non-voters to vote for a Political Left candidate. This is consistent with polling data showing Sanders will beat Trump by a larger margin than any other candidate.

Instead of clinging to the unrealistic idea of pressuring others to adopt their belief in the importance of unity, the self-contradicting unity preachers should follow Sanders’ example and walk their own talk. If they believe in the importance of unity; it’s time for them now, not for others later, to do the unifying they’re so concerned about. They do this by uniting themselves with Sanders campaign in the primaries, not because anyone else says so, but because it is the only course of action in unity with their own stated belief in the importance of unity among the voters on the Political Left. Any other course of action only creates disunity and, indeed, staggering conflicts of interest with the voters at far deeper, more significant levels than can be overcome with manipulative propaganda. Such disunity at these deeper levels will inevitably result in low-voter turn-out and a loss to Trump, which the establishment of the Democratic Party will consider a victory because their power franchise will remain in their control.

For the rest of us who are not drinking the establishment’s unity Kool-Aid, we can remain focused, as we should be, on evaluating which candidate’s platform, leadership, judgment, integrity, and record are most united with our own interests and then on supporting and voting for that candidate. If the corporate media behaves as CNN did during its Iowa debate and if the DNC behaves as it did in 2016, their unity is not with the interests of the voter, but with the conflicting interests of the oligarchy.

The recent news that DNC Chairman Tom Perez has packed the convention committee with anti-progressive establishment power brokers and lobbyists only confirms that the nomination process is being rigged and corrupted even as calls for Party unity intensify. On the heels of this news, we learn that the establishment insiders are whispering about changing the convention rules so that superdelegates can be in a position to overturn the vote in the first round of convention voting if Senator Sanders is leading. On top of this, debate rules are being changed to allow Mike Bloomberg to participate in a Hail Mary attempt to derail Senator Sanders momentum. To cap off all this corrupt maneuvering, Hilary Clinton, Joe Biden, and Amy Klobuchar have all made statements recently expressing, in true doublespeak fashion, out of both sides of their mouth, an unwillingness to unify behind Senator Sanders if he is the nominee even as they say they will support the nominee. These betrayers among the DNC leadership so desperate to oppose a candidate not beholden to the oligarchy sow the seeds of their own failure as more and more voters are waking up, drawing boundaries, and committing to the revolution for the long haul.

Indeed, it is the concentrated and growing mass of the people’s movement advancing through Sanders’ campaign for the presidency that is the best model of unity the United States has seen in fifty years. The oligarchy has attempted to subvert what unity means to us with its doublespeak but the people are reclaiming its meaning by living it in the alignment of their core interests with their exercise of their political rights.

Sometimes the exercise of our political rights requires the strength to draw boundaries against abuse, especially when the abusers are unrepentant addicts to a corruption for which they would sell their nation and their people into endless war, global environmental peril, and economic injustices of every stripe that will bring just one more buck to the 1%. This addiction and abuse are what threaten our democracy far more than Trump. It’s this addiction and abuse that is the only reason Trump has not yet been removed from office. To overthrow this addiction and abuse usurping our political process, we must be sophisticated enough to understand a deeper unity will be required than unity with a corrupt Democratic Party establishment. It is a unity that must be strong and farseeing enough to sustain itself through election cycles, a unity that has freed itself of conflicts of interest and self-contradictions and that has perfect integrity in its alignment with the people’s democratic values. This is the unity Senator Sanders is inspiring in the most important social movement in our lives. So, for all those “vote blue no matter who” voters who are self-righteously thumping on about unity, you’re beginning to look rather ridiculous. Senator Sanders’ voters are more united than you may ever know.