Since the crash of 2008, the neoliberal structures that have dominated our political lives and discourse for the last forty years have been fending off a legitimization crisis . Obama spent eight years using his award-winning brand of progressive neoliberalism to hope and change it away for one portion of the populace. Then, when that left 43% of Americans unable to afford the basics and 78% living paycheck to paycheck, Trump promised to make America great again for the other half… With a nativist, racist take on the same essential neoliberal approach.
If neoliberalism has been brilliant at anything, it’s been its ability to morph, rebrand and integrate different aesthetics into the process of justifying its perpetuation. Only now, with accelerating economic precarity and UN scientists giving us 12 years to get our climate act together, neoliberal institutions are marshalling every tool at their disposal to stave off a growing, existential threat to its dominance.
And what ominous specter has DEM leaning billionaires, corporations, media, politicians and think tanks caballing behind closed doors to beat it back? That’s right, the ghoul is a septuagenarian social democratic Senator from Vermont, running a campaign fueled by small individual donations that average a whopping $16/per, promising to fight for monstrous public goods, like universal healthcare.
But make no mistake, Bernie Sanders is a threat. And he’s a threat precisely because his movement stands in clear antagonistic opposition to the material depravity of current structures. Sanders has been making the same analysis and argument for his entire political career. He understands that the ability to challenge entrenched power arises out of class solidarity and movement muscle catalyzed by the commonality of material needs.