Against unity

What set me off was this headline that I saw on a Facebook profile, "Bernie Sanders Asks Supporters to Donate to Democratic Party, 'Show Commitment to Party Unity.'" I'm against Democratic Party unity, because the Democrats at the top of the party hierarchy are a bunch of corporate commodities masquerading as politicians. We need to stop voting for these people if we want anything out of the Federal government. But, more specifically, I'm against the whole promotion of "unity" in politics. I'll explain my reasoning below.

"Unity," in its political sense, is a concept peculiarly adapted to majoritarian political systems. We are all supposed to be "united" behind Candidate A in a hamfisted attempt to defeat Candidate B. We should act, then, as if we are not thinking about Candidate A's serious drawbacks, and as if we were fixated upon Candidate B's serious drawbacks. "Unity" in this sense is a way of getting us to screw ourselves.

"Unity" is the stupidest reason one could give to support a member of the political class, or for that matter a political party. If we are united behind good things in the political class, such as (for instance) Bernie Sanders' calls for Medicare for All and for College for All (and please put me on record as supporting College for All), it is because of the power of those good things to draw equally helpful responses from us, not because we're responding to some fatuous call for "unity."

There is an obvious ALTERNATIVE to "unity," and that is: respect for the thinking political individual. The thinking individual has a right to her own opinion, her own voting choices, and her own campaign donations, free from coercive calls to "unity." We are to respect those rights. If we are to respond to appeals to vote for particular candidates, say for instance Nick Heuertz of Oregon's second Congressional district, we will do so because Nick Heuertz is doing things which appeal to us, and not because we are being recruited through appeals to "unity." So here is my imagined letter to Bernie Sanders:

Dear Bernie Sanders,

I liked you, and I volunteered for you, because you offered things I liked. I do not count your appeal to "unity" among those things. I saw your appeal to "unity" in a Newsweek article. And I must request that you please refrain from future appeals to "unity" in your political speeches. I'm not going to be "united" behind the Democratic Party, or for that matter any political party. Instead, I would ask that you respect my opinions, my voting choices, and my ability to donate to campaigns, and the other opinions, choices, and donations of your other former volunteers, and that you respect those things in word and in deed by appealing to us in a proactive manner, and not through calls to "unity."

I do not agree with your rhetoric about Donald Trump as being "the worst President in modern American history." Donald Trump is a bad President, but there have been a lot of bad Presidents, some in ways worse than what Trump has done. George W., for instance. Has Donald Trump really done anything half as bad as W.'s Iraq War?

In many ways Trump is bad because he is building upon the bad legacies of previous Presidents. We should at some point hope for Presidents who are not merely building upon bad legacies through the commission of further bad deeds, and who instead doing things which actually appeal to us. But we are currently not acting in support of such a hope. Instead we are merely supporting lesser-evil candidates in hopes, perhaps vain, of getting something slightly less worse.

Respectfully,

Cassiodorus

PS as regards your good friend Joe Biden? He has billionaires. Why does he need our money?

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magiamma's picture

Exactly. Unbelievable. I would not have been so nice.

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Bollox Ref's picture

but I'm not a Democrat, so have no interest with regard to 'unity' with that particular party.

I see our former Guv, Jesse Ventura is contemplating something. That might mix things up.

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Gëzuar!!
from a reasonably stable genius.

Pluto's Republic's picture

...Party is currently in a state of conflict, friction, hostility, antagonism, antipathy, dissension, opposition, and infighting?

Unity is not a remedy. It is a natural state that is produced when people are in protective and caring environments that seek immediate relief from society's acute and chronic problems.

Sanders' call for Unity must actually be a cry for help. The Party must be overwhelmed with toxic discord. The solution for that is to root out and expell the toxins that are causing the discord. Then, Unity will return.

It seems to me that the Party is currently happy and enthusiastic. They are all smiles. They successfully expelled most of the toxic elements. If they kick out the rest, the Party will be fully unified.

Unless "unity' is really a euphemism for "lost sheep that are owned by the Democratic Party, who must be returned because they are not allowed to take their votes with them. We know their votes are valuable but we are not going to buy them with national health care or college loan forgiveness or even food stamps. And we, for sure, are not going to buy their votes with UBI just because we raided the Treasury for $4 trillion dollars and gave their share to the Fat Cats to trickle down. We don't have to pay them for votes because they don't have anywhere else to go. Don't they know Putin is controlling Donald Trump?"

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____________________
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.
— Voltaire

Cassiodorus's picture

@Pluto's Republic I guess he wants to ingratiate himself to the Dem top slice because he wants to avoid some sort of war against him in the internal politics of the Senate, or something like that. It's, in short, him, not us.

My message in response to Bernie's ploy here is that people, all the bystanders reading this, should feel free to ignore Bernie Sanders when he does this kind of thing. As for "unity," discord in OUR political system occurs when rich people purchase the services of noise machines to energize fools to make more noise. The problem is solved by lots of people recognizing what kind of crap is going down and mobilizing against it.

The Zapatistas, for instance, don't worry about "unity" because they have a consensus process, inherited from the Maya past, in which otherwise repressed voices are heard by the whole community. So that's how they are effective without any interest in calls for "unity." The point of Bernie Sanders' call for "unity" in the abovecited particular instance is to shove repressed voices under so that those who want to promote Joe Biden without reference to who Joe Biden is can do so undisturbed by dissenting voices.

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Pricknick's picture

@Pluto's Republic
believe in unity between our current two party system, as they are one.
The only way out is third party or sit back and wait for it all to blow up.
I'm in for blowing up.

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Pluto's Republic's picture

@Pricknick

...perhaps the final opportunity, for the People to demonstrate their real power in the 2020 election through strategic voting. Suffice to say that the Democratic Party will not easily recover if the People decide to leave a mark.

If they care to use it, the People have a voting block that can drag any duopoly election into chaos — until they get a party of their own. All barriers waved.

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____________________
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Alligator Ed's picture

@Pluto's Republic is to leave them completely. Salve your conscience by the thought that you do not have to vote for a Republican. Let the two villainous groups fight it out amongst themselves.

When enough nowhere-to-go voters go nowhere, the game is over for the Dems.

The best blow for Unity is to go nowhere, to vote no where. The Dems will fail and collapse when enough people who used to vote D no longer vote. The enthusiastic Republicans will destroy the D party weakened by attrition. Vote No no matter who is Blue.

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all of his political capital propping up Nancy Antoinette and Chuckles Schemer.

Fuck Bernie.

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Biden would unite the party by making Bernie his running mate.
That he doesn't exposes the lie that it's imperative to beat Trump.

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Cassiodorus's picture

@Battle of Blair Mountain throughout his tenure as President. It's the common folk that worry that Trump is some sort of dictator, not those who pass his "defense" budgets.

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"The future is inside us/ It's not somewhere else." -- Radiohead

election day and that night with my sweetheart, so as to have something always beautiful and important to remember the day.
Too bad we don't hold elections daily.

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Unity is just a mathematical concept in this case. They, the democratic party, don't want us. They don't care about what we care about. They don't respect us. In many ways they hate us, will join with republicans to defeat us. They don't care if we give our vote enthusiastically, shamed into or have it beaten beaten out of us. They just want our vote.

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lotlizard's picture

In fact, the Dem bigwigs backed Lieberman in his independent (“Connecticut for Lieberman Party”) run against the official D candidate for senator, Ned Lamont.

And later, Obama and Dem congressional leadership ensured that Lieberman suffered no consequences even after Lieberman endorsed and campaigned for Republican presidential candidate John McCain.

Apparently this “unity” principle — a.k.a. Leninist “democratic centralism”? — is something that only applies to us peons, not to creatures of higher caste, like Joe Lieberman.

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Alligator Ed's picture

There is an obvious ALTERNATIVE to "unity," and that is: respect for the thinking political individual. The thinking individual has a right to her own opinion, her own voting choices, and her own campaign donations, free from coercive calls to "unity."

The numerical volume of thinking individuals in the electorate is insufficient to do anything useful. Sad but true. If one wishes to strengthen our country, the best policy is to abandon the D party and let it collapse. But even this won't work because the monied interests will simply create another foil of the Laurel and Hardy Show we call the Duopoly.

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Cassiodorus's picture

@Alligator Ed as it is anything else. People had grown so politically obtuse that they had forgotten that they were supposed to get something substantive in exchange for their tax dollars. Bernie Sanders came along to offer a lot of substantive programs -- stuff that would have been rolled out over the course of a decade back in the Age of Utopian Dreaming (i.e. between the Enlightenment and the 1970s). Also, in the Age of Utopian Dreaming there wouldn't be only one person heading up the promotional work.

This was Sanders' big educational problem, then -- presenting too much, too fast for the politically-obtuse voter. But Sanders is old and in each of his campaigns his political enemies wanted him shut down in a hurry, so the voters got to see the whole package all at once and in a very short span of political time. Thinking voters have to be cultivated.

Ralph Nader's big failing as a politician was not that he ran outside of the two-party system, but rather that he spent too little time on his political campaigns and he thought too little of his affiliation with the Green Party, which he might have reformed for the better had he thought enough of the task.

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QMS's picture

@Cassiodorus

for the body politic

educating voters, as you point out
takes time, resources and focus

Nader still has a voice of reason
rarely carried by the popular press

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

talks about "unity:"

SPOCK: I fail to see why you do not understand us. You yourself have stated the need for unity of authority on this planet. We agree.

OXMYX: Yeah, but I got to be the unity.

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"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

There is an obvious ALTERNATIVE to "unity," and that is: respect for the thinking political individual. The thinking individual has a right to her own opinion, her own voting choices, and her own campaign donations, free from coercive calls to "unity." We are to respect those rights.

Unity and reason can't both be the foundation of one's politics. At some point, someone in your country/state/city/town/political party/non-profit will want to do something irrational, whether it's an irrational strategy or an irrational goal (like a goal that leaves you massively wealthy and in control over much of the planet, but also destroys human civilization and most of the life on the planet). If you "unify" with them, you will abandon reason. If you advocate for rational policy or politics, you will, necessarily, not be united with them.

I also see a connection between the topic I've been struggling to talk about lately and your topic here. It has to do with politicians and businessmen no longer feeling that they need to compete for our votes or dollars. When you say

If we are to respond to appeals to vote for particular candidates, say for instance Nick Heuertz of Oregon's second Congressional district, we will do so because Nick Heuertz is doing things which appeal to us, and not because we are being recruited through appeals to "unity."

the idea is that Nick Heuertz needs to do something, something that appeals to voters (most of whom are in the 99%) in order to get votes. We are being forcibly transitioned from a system based on that idea to a system based on the idea that we must offer unquestioning loyalty to a political party's leadership or else a terrible bad guy will hurt us--or somebody else.

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"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

Cassiodorus's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal Unquestioning loyalty. Bernie Sanders chipped away at it a bit, then said: "Okay, back to paying party dues." Twice. So now we're back to a politics in which a tiny number of people are like "issues matter," and everyone else is sucked into the D versus R shouting match.

In my interview of Albert Lee I tried to emphasize two issues: Medicare for All and College for All. That's the core of what I thought needed to be defended when Bernie Sanders quit. What did you think about it? Like I said, I can't watch myself.

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"The future is inside us/ It's not somewhere else." -- Radiohead