Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear speaks with Stewart Alexander, the 2012 candidate for the Socialist Party USA and Jane Cutter, an activist with the ANSWER Coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) in Seattle.
In May, Sanders appointed a group of activists and intellectuals to propose progressive amendments and additions to the Democratic Party platform.
Cutter said that a number of critical planks were rejected by the platform committee. "One of them was the $15 an hour minimum wage, which was adopted. However, Rep. Keith Ellison also suggested that $15 minimum wage be indexed to grow over time so that it would truly be more of livable wage. And that was voted down." She added that, "A very important demand by Bill McKibben, one of the most prominent environmentalists in the world today, attempted to put in language on a carbon tax, which is a very well-respected reform to reduce emissions, and a national moratorium on fracking. But both of those proposals were rejected. Similarly, Doctor James Zogby proposed they add a line on ending the occupation in Palestine and called to rebuild Gaza, and this was voted down by the majority Hillary Clinton supporters. That’s just a fraction of the things the Sander’s people brought there that were voted down."
Alexander said that the minimum wage increase measure was "a joke" because it will be enacted over the course of a few years instead of immediately. "Even within their own party, they have members, including Elizabeth Warren, saying that $15 doesn’t meet the requirement of a livable wage. She has even suggested it being $22 an hour…when they start talking about $15 an hour, by the year 2020…we’re basically back at poverty wages. So it’s not going to be enough."
Loud & Clear host Brian Becker noted that, "In the Democrat Party or Republican Party, platforms exist, but there’s not a requirement on the candidate to adhere to the program. In other words…The Democrat or Republican candidate, once elected, can pretty much do whatever they want."
Cutter agreed, adding, "That’s what makes this refusal to make these incredibly popular progressive planks into their platform even more of a slap in the face to the hundreds of thousands of people who have rallied around the Sanders movement. The Democrats can’t even give meaningless verbal support to popular demands that people would resonate with."
"We have one party with two names." Alexander remarked, "And essentially Bernie Sanders really was never the progressive that the Left was really looking for." He feels that Sanders portrayed himself as separate from the status quo by using a socialist label without any of its politics.
"They didn’t have people like Gloria La Riva (from the Party of Socialism and Liberation), on the real Left, that would be talking about real reforms that would object to much of this platform, that would challenge, not endorse, HIllary Clinton. But they have someone that is going along with the program. Someone who is supporting the program of the party, that is not progressive at all. When you talk about the Palestinians, when you talk about fracking, when you talk about minimum wage, healthcare reform, those are things that are not really being addressed by the Democrats."