Feminists: America Needs Bernie Sanders

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According to Linda Martin Alcoff writing on “What’s A Feminist to Do?” America needs Bernie Sanders for President of the United States. For one thing, without Senator Bernie Sanders the race may very well falter: many democratic voters will stay home. Liberals won’t, as Thom Hartmann suggests, “just pinch their noses and vote for Hillary.”

Older voters may stay home because they haven’t forgotten Bill Clinton era scandals such as Whitewater Savings and Loan, even if today’s SuperPACs offer limitless campaign financing. Other voters object to Bill and Hillary Clinton pro-NATO policies instigating the Balkan Wars or more recently in Libya. There have been additional scandals revolving around dead secret service agents from during Bill Clinton’s administration.

Hillary Clinton’s tepid platform rings hollow compared with Bernie Sanders; you can compare point by point the candidates on the issues at their respective websites. Whether on Climate Change, Energy, Foreign policy, Economy, Trade, Infrastructure—matters dear to liberals—Sanders comes out stronger and more authentic, particularly in light of past Back-to-Work proposals presented with the Congressional Progressive Caucus. (The 2015 People’s Budget was sponsored by CPC Co-Chair Keith Ellison Democratic Representative from Minnesota).

Feminist philosophy professor Linda Alcoff of City University of New York, who said she plans to vote for Bernie Sanders, explains:

Clinton’s credentials as a social progressive are as fake as a teenager’s ID. She helped decimate the paltry U.S. welfare state and stood by while her husband expanded the prison industrial complex.

Alcoff describes the First Lady as having condoned her husband’s actions whether in war or in her own Senatorial pro-war votes and policies, issues that affect women:

These issues—from war to welfare to racism to the security state—are women’s issues just as much as reproductive rights and gender violence.

Indeed, today’s economy coupled with debt sequestration encourages the kind of Welfare-to-Work programs that ensures single working mothers will have to work two jobs to support their families, while unaccounted billions in profits are off-shored, for instance, by drug companies such as Pfizer.

The multinational companies and banks openly back either Trump or Clinton because they are counting on them to help pass the Trans-Pacific Pact, a deal that will make it legal for these corporations to manipulate local laws and enforce exploitation of native resources and intellectual property rights.

Professor Alcoff does acknowledge—as many feminists do—that Hillary Clinton is talented and courageous, and that criticisms based upon gender, however subtle or oblique the innuendos, are sexist:

Sexism still dominates the public domain of discourse without sufficient response from the left. We need women candidates of all races to reconfigure the social imaginary, including that of the left.

Nevertheless, even opining how white women have struggled just to gain the vote, Alcoff willingly distances herself from Hillary’s brand of feminism:

Hillary’s feminism is not actually white feminism, it’s corporate feminism. Her track record on economic issues has not helped white women, not to mention African-American women or Latinas.

White women in this country—not to mention for women of color—remain seriously underpaid even in the fields they dominate. Even while this is partly attributed to ingrained consciousness that supports undermining other women, women—particularly women of color—remain an underclass. But Hillary Clinton does promise to fight to improve the minimum wage and equalize the playing field for women at the workplace, it’s just that these improvements may be minuscule in light of the billions needed for change:

Clinton’s campaign, meanwhile, is mum on tax increases for the rich, on austerity measures in Europe and on the desperate need to fight for the right to organize workers.

Ms. Clinton promises more accountability on Wall Street, but not the kind of upfront revenue generating exchange taxes that Sanders promises. Workers, as economics lecturer Richard Wolff has described, have fallen way behind the curve in wages, and union memberships are at a historical low-point. So despite Sanders “being a white guy,” based on the intersection of issues affecting women’s opportunities, Alcoff believes he is the better candidate:

Sanders is the best candidate not because his “class” agenda trumps all else, but because he offers the most on these interrelated fronts [poverty, unemployment, and exploitation].

As for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, she may very well just remain a cultural icon:

Clinton’s upfront feminism and the sexism she faces daily don’t justify our votes, but they do justify paying serious attention to the multiple and complicated identity issues that beset the political field of play.

Read Professor Linda Martin Alcoff’s essay “What’s a Feminist to Do” at the Indypendent (bit.ly/1VP7vHE).