democracy, latest, USA

The 1 Percent’s Useful Idiots

by Chris Hedges, for Truthdig

The parade of useful idiots, the bankrupt liberal class that long ago sold its soul to corporate power, is now led by Sen. Bernie Sanders. His final capitulation, symbolized by his pathetic motion to suspend the roll call, giving Hillary Clinton the Democratic nomination by acclamation, is an abject betrayal of millions of his supporters and his call for a political revolution.

No doubt the Democrats will continue to let Sanders be a member of the Democratic Caucus. No doubt the Democrats will continue to agree not to run a serious candidate against him in Vermont. No doubt Sanders will be given an ample platform and media opportunities to shill for Clinton and the corporate machine. No doubt he will remain a member of the political establishment.

Sanders squandered his most important historical moment. He had a chance, one chance, to take the energy, anger and momentum, walk out the doors of the Wells Fargo Center and into the streets to help build a third-party movement. His call to his delegates to face “reality” and support Clinton was an insulting repudiation of the reality his supporters, mostly young men and young women, had overcome by lifting him from an obscure candidate polling at 12 percent into a serious contender for the nomination. Sanders not only sold out his base, he mocked it. This was a spiritual wound, not a political one. For this he must ask forgiveness.

Whatever resistance happens will happen without him. Whatever political revolution happens will happen without him. Whatever hope we have for a sustainable future will happen without him. Sanders, who once lifted up the yearnings of millions, has become an impediment to change. He took his 30 pieces of silver and joined with a bankrupt liberal establishment on behalf of a candidate who is a tool of Wall Street, a proponent of endless war and an enemy of the working class.

Sanders, like all of the self-identified liberals who are whoring themselves out for the Democrats, will use fear as the primary reason to remain enslaved by the neoliberal assault. And, in return, the corporate state will allow him and the other useful idiots among the 1 percent to have their careers and construct pathetic monuments to themselves.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will be pushed through whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is president. The fracking industry, fossil fuel industry and animal agriculture industry will ravage the ecosystem whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is president. The predatory financial institutions on Wall Street will trash the economy and loot the U.S. Treasury on the way to another economic collapse whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is president.  Poor, unarmed people of color will be gunned down in the streets of our cities whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is president.  The system of neoslavery in our prisons, where we keep poor men and poor women of color in cages because we have taken from them the possibility of employment, education and dignity, will be maintained whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is president.  Millions of undocumented people will be deported whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is president.  Austerity programs will cut or abolish public services, further decay the infrastructure and curtail social programs whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is president.  Money will replace the vote whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is president. And half the country, which now lives in poverty, will remain in misery whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton becomes president.

This is not speculation. We know this because there has been total continuity on every issue, from trade agreements to war to mass deportations, between the Bush administration and the administration of Barack Obama. The problem is not Donald Trump. The problem is capitalism. And this is the beast we are called to fight and slay. Until that is done, nothing of substance will change.

To reduce the political debate, as Sanders and others are doing, to political personalities is political infantilism.  We have undergone a corporate coup.  Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will not reverse this coup.  They, like Barack Obama, know where the centers of power lie.  They serve these centers of power.

You can read the full article here.


  1. Excellent article.
    Sanders drove his supporters right into brick wall.
    Now we have to try to pick up the pieces (if it’s not too late,) and try again in 2020.

    Sanders complete capitulation and sickening kowtowing before Hillary Clinton was ghastly to watch and reminds me of the famous Shakespeare quote:
    “There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries.”

    Sanders omitted.

  2. deschutes says

    Seriously: did ANYBODY ever take the Sanders’ run for democratic nominee seriously? Even from the very beginning of the primaries? What a joke it all is, what a horse and pony show with the inevitable conclusion with Hillary’s nomination. “Betrayal of Sanders supporters”? You’ve got to be kidding. The Sanders supporters who “feel betrayed” are either very young, hence naive of American election politics, or so stupid that they have no grounding in reality. That reality being that America is a corporate state where elections are strictly controlled with ONLY a corporate approved candidate becoming president who MUST be completely subordinate to Wall Street and corporate America’s interests. Period! There is absolutely no way in hell that anybody even remotely progressive, even remotely standing for rolling back the neoliberal gains of the past 40 years will get into ANY administration’s positions of power. For there to be any real change in American elections will take enormous and concerted organizing at the grassroots level to create a viable, powerful third party that builds up at the local levels, city levels and then up to into Congress and finally to presidential elections. But this won’t happen because the system is deliberately structured to keep the repub-dem duopoly of corporate power in place, indefinitely. Best solution? Get enough Greens to build a space ship and blast off to Mars and set up a new Green republic there!

    • Agree entirely. The recent record of reformist parties – Democrats in the US, social-democrats in Europe – has been abysmal. They are simply capitalism’s reserve team. Reading Roberto Michels’ seminal work – Political Parties 1911 – will tell you all you need to know about would-be reformers of capitalism. There was a very interesting comment from the great German social theorist, Max Weber, who was very much against repression of the SPD by the German state. He argued that SPD should be free to take part in the political life of Germany, both at the level of the state and Landau, join veterans associations, and generally become an important institution in Germany society. He then added, very presciently, that ” … then it would be shown not that social-democracy was conquering city and state, but on the contrary that city and state is conquering social-democracy.” Now that is what I call politically adroit.

    • Richard Le Sarcophage says

      Quite true. Sanders was the geriatric Obama, the ‘Hopium Peddler’ for this cycle of chicanery and confidence-trickery. As you say, to fall for it requires zero historical memory or knowledge, and heaps of youthful, infantile, credulity. Like as sort of internal ‘Colour Revolution’ pulled off on a new generation of suckers every four years.

      • deschutes says

        ‘Sanders was the geriatric Obama’–too funny and spot on! They even had Obama peddling that same “we are change” crap mantra at the Dem convention. Can you believe it? There’s ‘Mr. Change’ of 2008, eight years later, peddling that same lie about ‘change’ as Gitmo remains open, America increasing its belligerence and war activities not only in Iraq/Afghanistan/Syria/Russian border regions/South China Sea pivot to Asia…etc. Those peeps cheering on Obama and Clinton at the DNC are delusional idiots if they haven’t caught on by now.

        • Brian Harry, Australia says

          “Like”……….Obama should send his “Nobel Peace Prize” back with a letter of apology for accepting it in the first place. What a disappointment he’s been(and you can bet Hillary will be too)……………….

    • Hey, we can dream, can’t we?
      Your rather grim prediction is kinda self-fulfilling; If you don’t do anything, nothing happens.
      I agree with you that it is important to build from the ground up, but the top down is not impossible. America is messianic country; how else could one explain the jaw-dropping ascendancy of a black president?
      Furthermore, America does not like its presidential candidates groomed by their respective parties; they like dark horses out of nowhere. Carter, peanut farmer, Bill Clinton, a poor nobody from? Obama?
      Furthermore, there is a paradigm shift occurring. Whatever faults he had in the last lap, Bernie Sanders demonstrated that you can be a serious contender without handouts from the very rich. Furthermore, an increasing amount of people get their information from social media, where family and friends have the ability to instantly send sensible, non-corporate articles they dig up – like this one.
      The times are changing, and I don’t think the billionaires and their corporate media propaganda machines will have it easy next time around.

  3. Brian Harry, Australia says

    Given Sanders complete capitulation, despite the ‘Hope’ that he offered the American people, and the accepted cynicism people have for “Democracy” in the USA, I guess this just shows that the nomination process plan by the Democrats worked perfectly to script.
    It always comes down to a two horse race in the end. Independents, or third parties need not apply.

    • J Garbo says

      It’s not even a “two horse race” since both nags are owned by the same stable and both jockeys are paid by the same owners. The jockeys just wear different colors to fool the punters.

      • Brian Harry, Australia says

        Yeah, and it works every time. The American people just love a good show, too bad they always end up being ‘shafted’ in the process……………….But then again, the same thing happens to us, here in Australia….

  4. Jim Porter says

    I have watched Sanders for the last year and hoped, and hoped, and……….nothing. I hope Corbyn here in the UK gets further.

  5. rtj1211 says

    The issue actually is a very simple one: how you handle the different circumstances of small business and big business.

    As this currently stand, businesses get treated by Governments the same way no matter how they behave. They can be appalling employers using zero hours contracts and minimum wage rather than living wage, and they are treated the same as an employer that genuinely tries to pay a living wage, offering full employment and to retain workers beyond the period when they can receive statutory benefits.

    No-one discusses whether there should be a taxation system which says:
    1. If you treat your workers right, you will pay a lower rate of corporation tax and dividends will be entirely free of tax. But if you treat your workers badly, your corporation tax rate will go up on a sliding scale the worse you treat your workers and your shareholders dividends will be taxed at higher rates too.
    2. If you retain jobs in this country rather than outsource them to low cost economies overseas, you will pay lower rates of taxation, as we, the Government, don’t have more people needing state aid. We will not punish you for letting products for foreign markets be manufactured in those foreign markets, as you will be being a good corporate citizen overseas too in that scenario.
    3. We will reduce your corporation tax if you make investments in plant and offices which reduce your energy bills to zero. We want America to be a country with efficient and effective infrastructure, so we will modify the tax system to reflect that.
    4. We will reduce your taxation burden if you can demonstrate an ongoing use of suppliers in the developing world who treat their own workers well, since this will reduce our requirements to spend money on foreign aid to ease our consciences.
    5. As financial services organisations, we will reduce your tax rates if you invest a greater amount of your available funds in the USA economy, up to a suitable ceiling, since efficient asset allocation may indicate that significant overseas investment is appropriate. This is because a financial services industry is a service industry to America, not a bunch of pigs with their trotters in the trough……
    6. We will tax higher those who replace humans with robots, since they expect the state to subsidise such people. We expect all companies using robots to automate the preparation of all their financial statements with attendant loss of salary for the Finance Director and numerous other financial staff. This will be particularly true in all Wall Street Firms who should see the loss of high paid jobs just as much as on Main Street………

    This is not a final solution, but a set of ideas to be discussed.

    The principle is how you integrate morality into corporate economics and government taxation policy.

    What is critical is that you distinguish between big companies perfectly capable of doing these things and young companies struggling to survive.

    It’s not simple, but unless people engage in this manner, nothing will change.

    • Jim Porter says

      Those are great ideas – can we have them for the UK as well

    • Kevin says

      Fantastic ideas that not only apply to the USA but most of the ‘developed’ world.

    • Jen says

      No 4 would be hard to enforce because some suppliers in developing countries might claim they’re treating their workers well when they are not and governments in those countries could claim to have the appropriate industrial relations laws on their books (but not be enforcing them). It would be far more appropriate for US companies to source suppliers locally where possible and they should get tax breaks for doing this and for building or helping to build appropriate infrastructure that enables the use of local suppliers.

      A tax on speculation on the sharemarket (Tobin tax) and property is needed as well. Shifting the taxation base to land value taxation is another possibility. You might be interested in this speech on land value taxation given at the Macquarie University School of Economics in 1988; it refers specifically to Australia but you may find some relevance for the US.

      Indeed a group of US-based economists wrote an open letter to Mikhail Gorbachev in 1990 urging him to adopt a taxation system based on land value taxation for the Soviet Union and to hold all land in public ownership. The letter can be found at this link:

  6. Capitalism is not the problem.

    In a capitalist society no corporation or bank is too big to fail. The moment our traitor politicians deemed the banks too big to fail, capitalism died. We now live in a crony-corporatist state, where the Banksters’ debts have been put on our children & grandchildren. The correct name for a govt which is a collaboration between politics & business is Fascism.

    We now live in a Fascist state.

    If this chap thinks the valid alternative is socialism he is way off. Socialism is just a slow way to bankruptcy, which is where all Western nations are now: bankrupt & in bondage to the Banksters. Greece is where they are herding us.

    Two books I recommend:
    Pawns in the Game, William Guy Carr.
    The creature from Jekyll Island, G. Edward Griffin.

    John Doran.

    • Capitalism is not OK. The free market doesn’t work, it leads to exploitation, adulterated food and a society based on greed. A race to the bottom. There has to be government involvement to prevent the worst excesses. Look how Clintons removal of banking restrictions turned out.

      Unfortunately in the US and consequently every allied economy, government interference is seen as “socialism”. This is far from the truth.

      Socialism is not a slow way to bankruptcy, how would we ever know? Every nascent socialist state has been destroyed by US interference, even the Soviet union was the victim of sanctions and underhand dealings.

      Ultimately socialist ideals are the only ones that treat people as equals. As our environment is destroyed and resources run low, equitable sharing can be the only way forward – unless you subscribe to mass murder via nuclear war.

      • I did not recommend an unregulated capitalism. Two further books I recommend: Merchants of Despair, Robert Zubrin; The Ultimate Resource 2, Julian Simon.

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