Bernie Sanders, the most famous Marxist in Britain, and a former terrorist leader walk into a bar.
What would you call the result? The Progressive International.
First there was the Communist International, then the Labour and Socialist International, and now, about a century later, there is the Progressive International. All three organizations share a preference for red color schemes and red politics right down to the winking Marxist references and catchphrases.
“It is time for progressives of the world to unite,” the Sanders Institute and DiEM25 declared in 2018.
The slogan is a tip of the hat to the Communist Manifesto’s “Workers of the World Unite”, but the proggies of Progressive International, now officially launched, have stopped pretending that they work.
Senator Bernie Sanders has spent as much time working for a living as Karl Marx did. The Sanders Institute was created to employ his wife and stepson. But Marx at least expected to attract workers to his cause, Sanders knows that only academic dilletantes, wannabe artists, and angry keyboard pounders will be joining as the foot soldiers of any of his causes, including the Progressive International.
Forget workers of the world, now it’s Marxist theoreticians with political aspirations unite.
Bernie’s partner, Yanis Varoufakis, the Greek Marxist who launched DiEM25, once gushed that, “Karl Marx was responsible for framing my perspective of the world we live in, from my childhood to this day.” Varoufakis even wrote an introduction to the Communist Manifesto.
How does the Progressive International define progressive?
The Progressive International’s Council includes John McDonnell, a Corbynite, hailed as “the most famous living Marxist in Britain”, Fernando Haddad, the Lebanese Brazilian Marxist academic and Workers Party presidential candidate, and Alvaro Garcia-Linera, a former Bolivian Marxist terrorist leader who had declared, after winning an election, “the general horizon of the era is Communist.”
Communists pretend that they’re just Marxists, and Marxists pretend that they’re just progressives.
Senator Bernie Sanders, a huge fan of breadlines and Castro’s literacy programs, is as much of a progressive as McDonnell and the other Marxist Corbynites who pretended they were just socialists. The Sanders campaign overlapped with the Corbyn campaign through international networks of socialist organizations. The Progressive International attempts to build a formal structure around them.
Instead of the Comintern, there’s the Progintern.
The launch of the Progintern is likely to be ignored by everyone except the Guardian, The Nation, and The Intercept, but what does it say that shortly after being the Democrat front runner, Sanders is working together with Marxists to launch an international organization to fight against the free market?
And while Bernie likely has lost, unless Biden is forced to drop out, his ideas are defining the Democrats. The handpicked choices of a radical leftist who is participating in an international organization full of Marxists will be deciding what the Democrats stand for and, if Trump loses, how the country will be run.
The Progressive International’s existence is an indictment of how radical the Democrats have become.
The Sanders Institute had called for it in 2018. Yet no Democrat seemed to think that collaborating with the author of an introduction to the Communist Manifesto should disqualify him from running.
The Progintern launch was delayed only long enough for Sanders to lose the nomination.
No one with any sense of history thought that Bernie’s honeymoon in the Soviet Union, or his regular praise for Marxists dictatorships, were anything other than political solidarity. But Senator Sanders and the Democrats have tried to invent rationalizations, excuses, and pretenses for the socialist’s behavior.
Bernie, we were told, has too much integrity not to praise brutal Marxist regimes for the good they do.
The launch of the Progressive International makes it laughably obvious what Bernie Sanders was all along. It’s as subtle as the constant Neo-Communist cosplaying everywhere in the Progintern materials.
“The time has come for progressives everywhere to form a common front,” declares the Progintern’s launch video. Its logo is a red circle and its self-proclaimed mission is a “a common front in the fight against the twin forces of fascism and free market fundamentalism”.
The Democrats have a long, tangled history, but they’re becoming just another leftist party, a political movement defined not by its old electorates, but by radical organizations whose roots are not geographic, but ideological. That’s how Bernie Sanders almost won the Democrat nomination.
The radical who succeeds him might win.
The only remaining debate among Democrats is not whether to go socialist, but how quickly. The Democrats don’t believe in anything and only a discomfort with radical change is holding them back. The average American living today was a child when the Soviet Union fell. The new Commies don’t use the C-word or the M-word. They call themselves progressives because it sounds modern and sophisticated.
They’re most dangerous when it’s not obvious what they are.
The Progintern isn’t meant to appeal to those people, but to the Sanders class who remember the USSR fondly. The obvious problem with it is that it’s a reflection of Sanders, a collection of washed up leftist politicians who wound up on the losing side of history in America, in Europe, and Latin America. The Progintern would like to be the Comintern, but while the Russians have helped Corbyn and Sanders, more for influence than for ideology, it’s a pale shadow of the power the Soviet Union once wielded.
And yet a motley collection of Marxist theoreticians, failed politicians, radical egomaniacs like Noam Chomsky and Naomi Klein, who would show up even if no one asked them to, publications like The Nation and Jacobin whose greatest tragedy was the fall of the USSR, are at the wheel of the Democrats.
A century ago, much of what people believed in came apart around them. And out of the ashes of those catastrophes, people became willing to turn over their societies to new sorts of ideological regimes.
Millions died, and, if the worst had happened, billions might have been killed.
Once again, much of what people believed in appears to be coming apart around them. Some on the Right are flirting with everything from fascism to pre-constitutional theocracies, while the Left is drawn back to its old collectivist ideology of charnel houses, frozen wastelands, and muddy killing fields.
That’s how a 78-year-old socialist became the future of the Democrats.
When people lose the lessons of history and abandon their principles, they can believe in anything.
No matter how many times the scribblings of Marx have been discredited, they rise again from the grave once people forget, once they’re angry, and once the values of their society have fallen apart. They will never go away until their roots in the follies of the mind and the evils of the heart have been uprooted.
The Progintern is absurd, but it’s also a warning that it’s not just the socialists, but the Marxists who are the future of the Democrats unless they break off their adulterous ideological romance with the Left.