I Support Bernie Sanders Because I’m A Leftist, Not A Greendividualist

I’m a leftist in the United States, where parties can’t build national power by getting five percent or so of the vote. Under parliamentary systems, that works. It worked for the Greens in West Germany. It works all over Europe. It doesn’t work here.

In the United States, two parties contend in the general election. If you can’t influence a party’s policies before an election, you are shit out of luck and have constrained choices. Being an individualist that can’t work within an organization means you aren’t really a leftist.

Bernie Sanders gets that. He caucuses with the Democrats and helps them build the party organizationally. He runs independent but functions as a Democrat, having learned early on that even local third party scenarios don’t play out well for his policies.

The Greens have had over thirty years to build power. They haven’t because they can’t. They fail to build local power, even in favorable circumstances. Look at Arkansas history, especially in very progressive Fayetteville and Eureka Springs. I was there for those failures. I failed along with them. It don’t work.

Green Individualism is the opposite of leftism. It’s Greendividualism and I say the hell with it.

Wishing away structural barriers that keep leftists out of power is pissing into the wind. It sucks worse for those who stand around you than it does for you. Bernie Sanders is smart. He’s building power outside the party and inside. You don’t need a raincoat to stand with him.

That said, the “Lefties for Trump”┬áslur is also bullshit. It smacks of the Old Left style of analysis: “You are objectively racist in your anti-racist activities.” That’s useless overstatement performed to make the person who says it feel superior. It usually, though not always, comes out of the mouth of someone with class privilege.

People make their choices on both pragmatic and principled grounds. Telling people “you’re really for Trump if you vote Green/Libertarian/independent/not at all” is just mind reading. People hear it, know subjectively it’s false, and correctly reject it.

If you want to influence people away from counterproductive forms of leftism, don’t tell them false things about their state of mind. Say true things about the effects their actions have. Don’t tell people to your left they are really on your right. It’s not true and we all know it.

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