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Est. April 5, 2002
June 02, 2016 - Issue 656

After California
An Immodest Proposal
For Bernie!

By Dr. Carlos Russell, PhD

"Can you imagine? The former Co-Chair
of Hillary Clinton’s prior presidential bid,
serving as Chair of the DNC. Fair you say?
O.K. There is a bridge for sale in Brooklyn."

I believe that I am, perhaps, one of the few old “Black Guys” – emphasis on the old - who, from day one, was, and continues to be, an unapologetic supporter of Bernie Sanders and his vision for America and humanity.

Unbelievable but true! Yes, I have been consistent and persistent in my conviction that political, economic, cultural and social transformation can and will occur in America if only we stay strong. Yes we can! When? “Ay! That is the rub of it!” I remember that once Dr. King was asked “ How long?” he responded, “Not long!” and nodded his head.

In 1964, writing for the New York Amsterdam News, and supporting George McGovern’s candidacy, I said. “McGovern is America’s Last Chance.” Unfortunately, history tells us, in the words of Muhammad Ali, McGovern was “whupped”. Sadly, the only State McGovern won was Massachusetts.

Yes, I have been consistent and persistent. To be “au currant” in my commitment to struggle, I have argued that had the primary contest been fair – meaning, that had the media, pundits, pecuniary self interested politicians AND the Democratic Party’s Establishment – remained neutral or AT LEAST OBJECTIVE; Bernie would have beaten Hillary! Can you imagine? The former Co-Chair of Hillary Clinton’s prior presidential bid, serving as Chair of the DNC. Fair you say? O.K. There is a bridge for sale in Brooklyn.

We are where now?

Hillary, thanks to the prospective convention votes of the Super Delegates, - supposedly already allotted prior to California - is mathematically assured of the nomination. True, Yogi Berra told the world “It ain’t over till its over” and yes, GOLDEN STATE defeated OKLAHOMA, but, seemingly, the writing is on the wall.

Like many, I continue to cling to Tug McGraw’s exhortation “You gotta believe!“. We are hoping that Bernie wins California and marches to the convention with the momentum of the WIN as wind at his back propelling towards the sagging sails of Hillary’s California defeat.

Granted, he, more than likely, will not be the presidential candidate many of us desire; but, for an army of change seekers, he will be the standard bearer who comprise a huge number of Americans. Thus, I offer “THIS IMMODEST SUGGESTED PROPOSAL TO BERNIE”:

  1. Do not dismantle your base.

  2. Instead, transform it, as in England, into a loyal opposition to the traditional Democratic party’s establishment - within and outside of the party’s political machinery.

  3. Work closely with its leadership. however, in policies and finance, continue to be functionally and fearlessly independent by steadfastly supporting candidates in federal, state and local elections who will fight for the ideals and policies which were the kernel of the campaign.

  4. The movement should not, directly or indirectly, become a “party within a party”. Neither should you, in any form or fashion, be viewed as a “co-president”. There no such thing in our constitution. Rather, the movement you consolidate and expand must retain it’s activist passion and it’s viability to challenge the status quo, as such. Resist the temptation of a vice presidency. It’s a trap. So too, but less ominous, is the platform committee. it could be tantamount to being “bait and switch”. An independent and organizationally mired Bernie Sanders can be a more powerful and moral champion and challenger for change while keeping the president on course.

  5. Above all, keep the faith. A people united will never be defeated!

These are but five personal suggestions to take after California – whether you/we win or loose. “We have come long way baby.” As was often said in the sixties … “straight ahead.” Guest Commentator, Dr. Carlos E. Russell, PhD is Professor Emeritus C.U.N.Y. - Brooklyn College. In the sixties, he served as an Associate Editor of the Liberator magazine. As such, he was one of the first to interview Malcolm X after he left the Nation. He is best remembered as the founder of Black Solidarity Day in New York in 1969 and as the Chair of the Black Caucus of the Conference on New Politics in 1967. In addition, he was a consultant to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the planning for the Poor Peoples March. Excerpts of his participation can be seen in Citizen King and Eyes on the Prize (PBS Mini Series Boxed Set). Born in the Republic of Panama, he has served as that country’s representative to the U.N and the O.A.S. with the rank of Ambassador. He has also served as the nightly host of “Thinking it Through” a talk show that was aired on WLIB in New York. He is a playwright and poet as well. Contact Dr.Russell.




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